Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘film’

06 FEBRUARY, 2013

Obey: How the Rise of Mass Propaganda Killed Populism

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“A populace that can no longer find the words to articulate what is happening to it is cut off from rational discourse.”

British filmmaker and illustrator Temujin Doran has previously delighted and stimulated us with his visual love letters to language and illustration, his opinionated meditations on democracy and the art of protest, and his poetic documentaries about a small Arctic town and a dying occupation. His latest film, made entirely out of footage found on the web, is based on the book The Death of the Liberal Class (public library; UK) by cultural critic and foreign correspondent Chris Hedges and explores how the rise of the Corporate State precipitated everything from income inequality to environmental collapse to the mainstream media’s metamorphosis from a tool of public service into a weapon of private interest.

We unite behind brands, behind celebrities, rather than behind nations. We have become more than nation states — we are corporation states.

The opening of the film comes from the epigraph to The Death of the Liberal Class, in which George Orwell reminds us:

At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.

Complement with Adam Curtis’s excellent BBC chronicle of consumerism, The Century of the Self.

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23 JANUARY, 2013

Life in Five Seconds: Minimalist Pictogram Summaries of Pop Culture and Historical Events

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From The Matrix to Marie Antoinette’s execution, irreverent visual synopses of pop culture staples.

While reductionism in science might be a terrible idea, graphic reductionism in pop culture can be a source of endless delight. In 2011, Milan-based creative agency H-57 brought us an entertaining series of minimalist pictogram flowcharts depicting famous lives, from Darth Vader to Jesus. This year, they’re out with an entire book titled Life in Five Seconds (UK; public library), applying the same irreverent aesthetic to everything from cult movies to the biographies of historical figures.

Complement with the history of how pictograms came to dominate visual culture and their early use in vintage infographics.

Laughing Squid

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14 JANUARY, 2013

Head Garden: A Lyrical Animated Film by Lilli Carré

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I’ve been a longtime admirer of Chicago-based artist Lilli Carré’s tender illustration and clever comics, but only recently came across her film Head Garden — a lyrical, surreal, mesmerizing exegesis of what it’s like to lose your head.

Heads or Tails (public library), a sublime collection of Carré’s short story comics from the past five years, was published last November and is an absolute treat:

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