ARCHITECTURE. – Architecture is the expression of the true nature of societies, as physiognomy is the expression of the nature of individuals. However, this comparison is applicable, above all, to the physiognomy of officials (prelates, magistrates, admirals). In fact, only society’s ideal nature – that of authoritative command and prohibition – expresses itself in actual architectural constructions. Thus great monuments rise up like dams, opposing a logic of majesty and authority to all unquiet elements; it is in the form of cathedrals and palaces that church and state speak to and impose silence upon the crowds. Indeed, monuments obviously inspire good social behaviour and often even genuine fear. The fall of the Bastille is symbolic of this state of things. This mass movement is difficult to explain otherwise than by popular hostility toward monuments, which are their veritable masters.Click to Keep Reading . . .
Above: The controversial video from Invisible Children’s Kony2012 campaign.
Like many people across the world, I am in the large minority that takes internet access for granted. On March 7th, millions of wealthy people who count themselves among that group watched a half-hour long video made by a group called Invisible Children.
The video went viral and ended up gaining unprecedented support via a mixture of pledges of support and video sharing, both quite innocent, and donations. The request for these donations after an emotionally manipulative video, however, is quite sinister – brazenly so. It was a tour de force in coercion, emotional manipulation and sophistry, and millions are falling for it.
I can’t tell you what to do with your money, that’s entirely up to you. But if you had not heard of Joseph Kony before yesterday and are now thinking of reaching into your wallet for some change or your credit card, stop. Stop right now, please. I can’t tell you what to do with your money, but I can ask you what to not do with it, and what you should not do is donate to this group. Let’s say you do decide to donate though, as is your right; where would the proportion of your donation that is not spent on salaries and administration go?Click to Keep Reading . . .
Above: David Holzman’s Diary demonstrates how TV works.
The above clip from David Holzman’s Diary demonstrates the functioning of a television set and why it is so effective. We can consciously (or cynically) disavow what we see, float in and out of attentiveness, or change the channel – but as in the above clip, the raw effect of television is to impress thousands of carefully curated images upon the brain. By showing television in its reduced form, this clip demonstrates the futility of conscious engagement with the medium.
Beyond offering this insight into television, David Holzman’s Diary is a classic of media criticism. It marks the inauguration of the mock-documentary genre, appearing as a novelty in1967. The film draws into question the assumption of objectivity that accompanied the cinema verité documentary movement. It concerns a New York filmmaker who, ironically sensing a disconnection from reality, decides to film everything in his life. As such, the film consists of diary passages in which David Holzman opens up to his camera, or alternatively ventures out into the public sphere. It mixes staged narrative passages with pure observational cinema, in the spirit of New York street photography.Click to Keep Reading . . .