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In Immemory of Chris Marker (1921-2012) from Film studies for Free

In Immemory of Chris Marker (1921-2012) from Film studies for Free | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it

A terrific collection of links, articles, and videos brought to us by the indefatigable and brilliant Catherine Grant. The video essay on sound in La Jetee is particularly wonderful. Keep watching here for updates as the work of remembering Marker's amazing career continues. Meanwhile: could someone please get Le Joli Mai and Level Five out on DVD?? (I'll help with subtitles!

Here's another great site on Marker's career, david hudson's Keyframe:

http://www.fandor.com/blog/daily-chris-marker-1921-2012/

Good obit by the NYT here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/movies/chris-marker-enigmatic-multimedia-artist-dies-at-91.html and

another here good one at the Washington Post by former UCL French and film student (now all grown up), Thomas Adamson:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/chris-marker-famed-french-filmmaker-who-directed-la-jetee-dies-at-91/2012/07/30/gJQAT7PBKX_story.html

 

 

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RIP Robert Gardner, brilliant documentary filmmaker

RIP Robert Gardner, brilliant documentary filmmaker | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Mr. Gardner’s career took him around the world to observe societies and film their rituals and customs.
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The beacon for several generations of filmmakers in the Boston area has left us. I'll post other obituaries as they come in.

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Pity the Archives: TWOP Saved

Pity the Archives: TWOP Saved | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Those recaps of "Dawson's Creek" are saved, and Pacey insults will not disappear in the digital ether!
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The campaign of by twitter to save the Television without Pity has--almost stunningly--worked 4 days before the site was to disappear into a dungeon deeper than the Skull and Bones Tomb. This article on the NBC-owed Re/code suggests that there have been some serious offers to purchase the site (and well there should have been, not just for its monetization but for the important television culture history that it represents). I'm hoping there's more good news to come here. Maybe someone will get it all on a university server to be properly held for research (and fandom) and maybe someone will actually have ideas about how to recreate the snark and fun for a post-Twitter era.

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Proposal for saving the TWOP Archive

Proposal for saving the TWOP Archive | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Bowling Green State University has a department of pop culture and the Center for Popular Culture Studies and the Browne Popular Culture Library. The University of Texas is doing exciting work in pop culture studies. (I spoke at their FLOW conference twice.) I bring this up not to announce any...
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The best proposal I have seen so far for salvaging the TWOP archives. It's like NBC Universal is shuttering access to the Library of Alexandria for popular culture. Shame on them not to arrange for this wealth to be available to researchers, students, and fans.

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What Helen Tartar's work meant

What Helen Tartar's work meant | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it

Sideswiped

 

The Autopsies Group's insight:

The brilliant, kind, creative, supportive editor Helen Tartar was killed in a car accident this week. Haun Saussy writes a beautiful tribute and asks "Who can carry on her work?"

We have to pledge to do so. She deserved the best we can do even if we never can do half of what she would have. The world of university publishing--no, the world of the humanities--has lost a star.

 

A lovely tribute here, too, from Avital Ronell. 

http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/people/article/61303-fordham-s-editorial-director-dies-in-crash.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_360871250719035_1571714_361772980628862#ff3cc6c3c

Thanks to Publishers Weekly for their tribute page.

 

And a Facebook memorial page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Memorial-Page-for-Helen-Tartar/286225904866135



A memorial piece by the French Consulate in NYC:

http://frenchculture.org/books/news/helen-tartar-french-thought-has-lost-great-friend?utm_source=&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=

 

 

And a terrific nuanced portrait of Helen's work as an editor by Henry Sussman on the Open Humanities Press website:

http://openhumanitiespress.org/feedback/literature/helen-tartar-editorial-director-fordham-university-press-1951-2014/

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Metro Makeovers for the Abandoned Stations of Paris

Metro Makeovers for the Abandoned Stations of Paris | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Anyone who wants to make a swimming pool out of an abandoned metro station neglected for 75 years, has definitely got my attention. The ghosts of the Parisian underground could soon be resurrected if city voters play their cards right in the upcoming mayoral elections. Promising candidate, Nathalie Koziuscot-Morizet, who would become the first female to [...]
The Autopsies Group's insight:

This is so much fun it doesn't even need a comment!  I want a lap pool in my nearest phantom station!....

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Museums in Ruins?

Museums in Ruins? | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
The Autopsies Group's insight:

A great post from Mira Schor about the relationship between museums, exhibits, and our understanding of art--provoked in part because of the announcement this week by the Museum of Modern Art in NY to expand and destroy the small recently established Museum of American Folk Art at the 53rd street location. More on that in due time, but first, Mira and TJ Clark on Klee--and on intimacy, spectacle, and how museums create both.

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Silent Keys

Silent Keys | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Bino Gan, who started working in his brother’s typewriter repair shop after immigrating from the Philippines in 1976, is closing the shop he founded in 1987.
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Another typewriter repair store closes. Who will keep Manhattan's beloved machines clicking now? 

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Durrell's Alexandria threatened by bulldozers

Durrell's Alexandria threatened by bulldozers | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Villa Ambron, inspiration for The Alexandria Quartet, may be bulldozed to make way for high-rise apartment block
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"Alexandria is lost" declares the founder and president of the Alexandria Preservation Trust. But how, even activists agree, can you talk about preserving architectural heritage when the housing in so many areas where people live is collapsing....

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The Stick at its End

The Stick at its End | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
The Autopsies Group's insight:

This is very much an "ephemeral cities" story: Candlestick Park has inspired controversy since its beginnings as the first baseball stadium built from reinforced concrete (first used by the Giants in 1960). Because of its location in west San Francisco overlooking the Bay, giving onto the foggy bay, it was cold and windy even in the summer--in a way that San Francisco gives a whole new meaning to cold and windy (my favorite anecdote from that era--I don't think it's a myth--was that a grand piano was once rolled out to accompany the National Anthem during a Giants game and the wind literally whipped the piano on its ear).

 

By the 1970s, it had become a football stadium. But the World Series was being played there in 1989 when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the city just before Game 3, nearly toppling the Bay Bridge and reminding Californians just how vulnerable the city still is (photos of that moment are here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/san-francisco-earthquake-_n_1974206.html#slide=1652636 ;). But the stadium itself, even if it gained some cracks, did not collapse. 

 

The stadium was used less and less from the year 1999 after the Giants moved to a new stadium in South Beach. A power outage in 2011 sealed its fate.

  On Monday its last game was played. Reported the Chronicle, " there was no word from stadium security as to how many wrenches or screwdrivers were confiscated from fans looking to unloosen a little piece of history."

 

The Chronicle published back in September a great set of photos from its early days, here: 

http://blog.sfgate.com/49ers/2013/12/19/the-greatest-photos-ever-taken-at-candlestick-park/

Its feature series on the park's end is here: http://www.sfchronicle.com/candlestick/item/Candlestick-Park-Memories-26148.php

 

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"Where did they all go?"

"Where did they all go?" | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
A Baltimore mother is fighting to hold accountable those responsible for her city's urban decay.
The Autopsies Group's insight:

Carol Ott, Baltimore blogger has taken half a million photographs of decayed abandoned buildings in Baltimore--of over a thousand buildings since she began her blog. Bill Moyers's blog written by John Light profiles her with a short video. The Atlantic (Katherine Wells) discusses her work: http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2013/12/the-hunt-for-baltimores-slumlords/282483/.  

Her blog, Baltimore Slumlord Watch, is here with a tagline "If you own vacant property in Baltimore, clean it up":

http://slumlordwatch.wordpress.com/

Her organization, Housing Policy Watch, estimates that the official count of blighted buildings at 16,000 isn't half the story. A must-read article in Baltimore's City Paper in September 2013 summed things up: "According to the 2010 census, the city has 46,000 empty housing units." (http://citypaper.com/news/urban-artillery-1.1545933 ;)

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David Lynch's Ruined Industrial Spaces

David Lynch's Ruined Industrial Spaces | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
The Factory Photographs 
           17 January - 30 March 2014
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David Lynch exhibit of Factory photos opens 17 January at the Photographers' Gallery in London. Book of the photographs forthcoming too.  The 80 photos of abandoned factories in NY, England, Poland, and Germany date from 1980 and 2000 (is it relevant they all date from long before the financial crisis has rusted even further so many areas of the US and UK?). There's an article with links from interviews about this work in Hypoallergenic reprinted in salon here: http://www.salon.com/2013/12/07/david_lynch%E2%80%99s_abandoned_factory_photographs_are_unnerving_partner/h

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Transphobic Red-light District Amateur Hates Kale

Transphobic Red-light District Amateur Hates Kale | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
The Autopsies Group's insight:

Today, thanks to the NYTimes, we have a lament for the lost grittiness of Paris--and not just any Paris, but the Paris of prostitution and sex trafficking. (What next? will the NYTimes soon be lamenting the absence of prisons for prostitutes with venereal disease? Forced gynecological exams for the purveyors of cheap blowjobs on the peripherique?) 

 

I link this piece only because it infuriated me so much I wanted to write a letter to the editor, but I'm not sure it even merits my time. France has been in the middle of a really disturbing battle around whether to penalize Johns (as opposed to penalizing prostiution: the last administration had introduced harassing laws against 'racolage passif' or passive solicitation). The proposed law, which will be introduced into the National Assembly on 27 November, led to a manifesto in a right-leaning magazine by a bunch of men who called themselves, after a famous petition from 1973 by women who had the courage to confess to having had a then-illegal abortion ("les 343 salopes"), the 343 salauds. Except that the men were not 343 strong (at least one even thought better about what he'd joined up into and renounced the project publicly; a campaign to get more to do so is underway)--and they seem to have forgotten that the use of "salopes" in the earlier petition was ironic. If ever a group of men demonstrated themselves to be saluds, well, it was this group, who had the audacity to further cite a the famous campaign slogan against racism as their tagline: "Touche pas a mon pote" became (terrifyingly), "Touch pas a ma pute"--except that the former slogan, meant to show solidarity with men and women who had been harassed and threatened by skinheads, by racist FN-sympathizers, and by other racists within French society (including, alas, sometimes even the police) whereas the slogan of the roughly 100 men signing the new petition objectified the women and turned them into nothing more than possessions--"Ma pute" resonated as "mon jouet" (plaything), as if sexworkerw were their due, suddenly threatened by laws being formulated, according to the government Minister of Women, Najat Vallaud-Belkecem, to protect all women from the exploitation of sex trafficking.

 

And now, from the NYTimes, we get this nearly obscene lament for the brothels of Pigalle:

 

'These “hostess bars,” marked by barely dressed women perched in the windows, are the direct descendants of the regulated brothels that thrived here from Napoleon’s time until the postwar purge of the 1940s. The French daily Libération reports that in 2005 there were 84 such establishments around Pigalle. Today there are fewer than 20. Their disappearance is a watermark of the quarter’s rapid loss of grit and character alike.

When my wife and I first moved here in 2011, I wasn’t sure what to make of living in the middle of a functioning red-light district. Our neighborhood, though safe and well on its way to gentrification, remained funky in the original sense of the term. In addition to cigarette smoke and baking bread, there was the whiff of dirt and sex in the air. It took a while for me to get used to the tap-tapping on windows — or hissing and tongue clicking from open doors — that greeted me as I passed the bars on my way to fill a prescription or buy a bottle of Pouilly-Fumé.

I have never quite gotten used to the transsexual hookers who traipse the Boulevard de Clichy outside the area’s various sex shops and with whom I must share the carnivalesque sidewalk on my way in and out of the post office. Frankly, they make me uncomfortable.'

 

Beyond the transphobia of Thomas Chatterton Williams (did we really need to know he finds the trans prostitutes less pleasant than the good old fashioned girls?), the piece is one long whine about how Americans are ruining Paris (yes, really, he's upset that American juicebars and kale have come to Paris!)--what's he doing in Paris then this American? Not only that, but he paints a hyperbolic picture of how healthfood and chic chefs have overrun the brothels of Pigalle.  He links a piece from May 2013 from  Liberation about the drop in the numbers of these "bar a femmes" from 84 to 20 just since 2005. Of course, Tom Chatterton Wms doesn't pause to think about the changing fabric of prostitution--the influx of Eastern European trafficking on the peripherique, for example, the changing clientele, even the changing nature of the services demanded--nor does he contemplate what kind of argument might be made in favor of the law that led to what he called the "spirited manifesto" by men he generously dubs "writers and lluminaries" relating to the penalization of Johns. 

 

As someone who has been writing about prostitution for decades now, I'm ambivalent about the way the French government has gone about its crackdown, but I'm also disgusted by the "salauds" petition, its values, and its tone.  I'm equally revolted by this article lamenting the disappearing "whiff of dirt and sex in the air" in the Paris red-light district.  Thomas Chatterton Williams's  wife has no name in the article (while he seems to have more than his share) and one wonders what she thinks about sharing sidewalks with female and trans prostitutes who regularly struggle with exploitation, violence, and a world where even their defenders relish their dirt and their objectification.

 

 

[The liberation piece from May 2013 by Elvire Bardeleben, from which I borrowed the image above by Julien Mignot is here:

http://next.liberation.fr/nuit/2013/05/07/ou-sont-passes-les-bars-a-hotesses_899829 ]

 

A Site detailing those who signed the "salauds" petition is here: http://343connards.fr/

 

A report from the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles with further links is here: http://www.lesinrocks.com/2013/10/30/actualite/manifeste-343-salauds-11440961/

 

An op-ed piece in Le Monde about the petition: http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2013/10/29/l-appel-touche-pas-a-ma-pute-humilie-les-femmes_3504547_3232.html

 

and another by feminist Selma James in the Guardian who has signed a petition against the criminalisation of prostitution but opposes, insightfully, the petition: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/01/sex-workers-hands-off-my-whore-france-prostitutes?CMP=twt_gu

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Wiseman goes to Berkeley

Wiseman goes to Berkeley | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Full (and proud) disclosure: I—like my mother before me, as a matter of fact!—am an alumna of the University of California at Berkeley. I was a Ph.D. student there during a period that sprawled over more than a decade.
The Autopsies Group's insight:

Wiseman's At Berkeley, his 39th documentary, reviewed by Berkeley alum Dana Stevens (full--and proud--disclosure from me too: Berkeley PhD in Comparative Literature, 1988). Her bottom line, one worth hearing amidst the ongoing budget crises wracking California's extraordinary higher education system and the UK where fees tripled 3 years ago (practically shutting down the ability of UK/EU students to do MA and PhD work since there's almost financial support anymore for them): "Education, like speech, should be free."

 

A very interesting piece by Andrew O'Hehir about *At Berkeley* appeared in *Salon* on neoliberalism and the attack on higher education:

 http://www.salon.com/2013/11/09/at_berkeley_krugmans_warning_becomes_reality/

 

A propos, two great reviews of a new book on the crisis in the UK, Andrew McGettigan's The Great University Gamble (2013)

http://utotherescue.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-british-are-coming.html

The one in the LA Review of Books by my esteemed colleague and friend Chris Newfield is particularly informative and thorough.

 

 

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Television Amnesia

Television Amnesia | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Late one night a couple of years ago, I stumbled upon an exciting new channel out in the back alleys of my cable package. That’s when I first laid eyes on Peter Gunn, which was exotic even apart from its shadowy look and circus-murder hook. I was bewitched from the moment the carnival barker interru
The Autopsies Group's insight:

A recent article by Mike Ryan argued that the "death of the rerun" was causing Gen-X to have no knowledge of television before the year 2000. It's certainly true that my students look at me blankly when I talk about Gunsmoke (an important series to know if you're thinking about the last of the movie westerns in the 50s and 60s) and my own junior high school favorite, Night Gallery. DVD replays of The Little Mermaid and Toy Story seem to have replaced the guilty pleasures of watching, at a friend's house after school, Perry Mason (prohibited tv in my Bible Belt family--though honestly I can't think what dangerous habits anyone thought it would encourage except a belief that lying corrup slimebags will always have to pay for their crimes). I Spy and the Man from U.N.C.L.E.? If it's not on Netflix, nobody will have a clue. And in Europe (UK where I teach, France where I research) where streaming tv is still relatively new, jeebus, a lot of what passes as tv culture remains limited to watching blurry clips posted to youtube or pixelated downloads. 

 

While I want everyone to have access to Northern Exposure and China Beach, All in the Family, it's even more distressing that series as recent as Veronica Mars, The Wire, and Six Feet Under are not available to stream on Netflix (see Anne Helen Peterson's LARB piece linked in the AV Club article or here: http://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/deartv/77/ ; ). 

 

Of course this is all the more reason why the memory archives of Television without Pity are so crucial. But there's more to it than that: it has to do with how we understand the past of our culture and what precisely we call culture to begin with.

 

My much esteemed colleague Catherine Grant of Film Studies for Free and Audiovisualcy has just participated in the launch of an open access online journal that will feature video essays:

http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/intransition/2014/03/04/intransition-editors-introduction which will be empowered by the loosening of constraints on fair use and let students and scholars share their knowledge of film (and tv) and moving image history not just through words but through images with sound.

 

Grant's other videographic site http://vimeo.com/groups/audiovisualcy

has been doing some great essays this week on 10 favorite films that begin with M or P or B. One is struck by how eclectic these films lists are, even if often touched by the cinephilia of montage-makers' youthful pleasures and relatively heavily centred around Hollywood and American/British independent films. A sense of cinema's longue duree is visible in every essay posted to date.


DVDs have made our film history so much richer than even 10 or 25 years ago. Films I could only imagine seeing now have Criterion copies that we can all have on our living room shelves. If this is a TV golden age, it will profit from having our recent and past television culture accessible too. Should we worry that streaming, even for film, is being driven by lowest-common-denominator interests? Or hope that instead of watching television, everyone will watch more Mizoguchi, Antonioni, Godard, and Chantal Akerman?

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Chris Marker show at White Chapel London

Chris Marker show at White Chapel London | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Christian Hippolyte François Georges Bouche-Villeneuve changed his name to Chris Marker, he said, because it fitted more easily on his passport. That wasn’t literally true, of course, but he was making a point. Chris Marker was not just a pseudonym;
The Autopsies Group's insight:

A Chris Marker retrospective is about to open at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. This should be an extraordinary opportunity for those who want to know more about his work.  Le Joli Mai has also been at last rereleased

see this about it in the NYer last fall:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2013/09/chris-marker-and-pierre-lhommes-le-joli-mai.html

 

and a dvd review: http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s4359joli.html

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The Soon-to-be-lost Archives of Television Without Pity

The Soon-to-be-lost Archives of Television Without Pity | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
If Television Without Pity had never existed, the internet would be a very different place -- but it's also hard to imagine that soon, we won't be able to delve into TWoP's copious archives of television recaps and insanely detailed snarkery. Television Without Pity is closing down on April 4, and many voices are being silenced.
The Autopsies Group's insight:

With the sad news that Television without Pity is to be shut down by its new owners comes even more sad--no downright shocking--news: its archives are to be closed permanently. They'll exist but no one will see them? What possible reason can there be for closing the door to this vast detailed collection of recaps and comments--not to mention to the wonderful discussions by fans in the forums? I'll try to monitor this with more press and academic discussions. What is especially hard is that there's almost no time to attempt to get this material off the web and into a useable, searchable form. There was no warning--and the archives close on 4 April, barely a week after the announcement.  Can the tv industry see this archive as a threat to DVD and netflix sales? No, really? Then why can't we have the archives forever available? Seriously, what would it cost? No joking, what would it take for someone to keep the world of television fandom alive, with a little pity, this time?

 

Postscript: Here's news of an attempt to archive the site. More to come: http://fyeahcopyright.tumblr.com/post/80919533970/tvwithoutpity-twop-will-cease-operations

 

Here are other obituaries and cries of pain about the soon-to-be-lost archives:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2014/03/raised-on-television-without-pity.html

 

http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/03/end-of-an-internet-era-television-without-pity-gets-shuttered/359733/

 

http://www.vulture.com/2014/03/how-television-without-pity-shaped-pop-culture.html

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/03/31/297338377/10-absolutely-true-stories-about-writing-for-television-without-pity

 

http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/television-without-pity-dailycandy-to-shut-down-imminently

 

http://althouse.blogspot.fr/2014/03/shame-on-nbcuninversal-its-shutting.html

 

http://www.levityandwit.com/on-television-without-pity

 

http://popwatch.ew.com/2014/03/28/television-without-pity-essay/

 

Its founders' twitterfeed @previously.tv carries on--but without the history.

https://twitter.com/PreviouslyTV?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.indiewire.com%2Fcriticwire%2Ftelevision-without-pity-dailycandy-to-shut-down-imminently&tw_i=449216494258233344&tw_p=tweetembed

 

and a good emily nussbaum interview about why TWOP was so important (from 2012): 

http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/16/3649592/emily-nussbaum-new-yorker-interview-future-of-tv

 

For so many of us who work on television and the media, losing the archive is not just losing history, but it's losing a crucial tool for our work. ..... I'll be eager to hear of efforts to  create a way to access this fabulous material that fans and scholars can share in supporting.

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Why reading images matters

Why reading images matters | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
A Columbia University graduate student makes the cultural, economic, and populist case for studying art history in the wake of Obama's recent comments.
The Autopsies Group's insight:

A splendid response to Obama's snitty remarks about art history by Tina Rivers--who teaches Art Hum at Columbia (a course in the Core Columbia that Obama himself must have had to take once upon a time. when he was an undergrad there). Here's the key moment: "I don’t think he would make a public statement against teaching our children to read…so why should he implicitly ridicule teaching people how to read images, when images are now as important as text in the construction of our common culture?"

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Marville at MOMA

Marville at MOMA | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue, which include both icons and little-known works, are the first to examine the life and career of Charles Marville (1813–1879) in their entirety.
The Autopsies Group's insight:

It was said of Charles Marville that when he showed up to photograph an area of Paris, the metaphorical wrecking ball of Haussmann followed immediately after. 

 

How ironic then that MOMA, which is in the process of wrecking part of its own neighborhood (and one of its ancillary museums) for the sake of expansion, would be putting on a big Marville retrospective beginning at the end of the month!

 

Even with the irony, this is a hugely exciting event, an opportunity to see what Marville did besides valorize the Haussmannian efforts, and a chance to put Marville into perspective alongside the Heliographic photographers of the 1850s (see Shelley Rice's great book) and Atget's efforts of the fin-de-siecle (mostly 1890-1914, see Molly Nesbitt's crucial volume). 

 

But it's hard not to think that praising Marville with a big show right now has a bite to it. What wrecking balls will follow? More when we've seen the catalogue....

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Home to the Femnist Power, Revisited

Home to the Femnist Power, Revisited | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
In the early 1970s a group of 25 feminist art students took over a deserted mansion in Hollywood, transforming the space into the historic project known as "Womanhouse." Seeking to confront the old Virginia Woolf challenge of finding a “room of...
The Autopsies Group's insight:

Mira Schor curates a return to 1972's pathbreaking Womanhouse. Although I didn't see the exhibit, when I was in art school, that exhibit was the gold standard that we all aspired to--the inspiration, the fantasy, the promise of possibilities for political art. The return is fascinating. I'll be posting other responses here as they come in. Send things along.

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The Last VW Van

The Last VW Van | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
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What will Scooby-Doo and company ride in now?

 

This is actually a case where I had no idea these were still being produced.   See the tributes in pictures for a good nostalgic laugh.

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Storms strand Christmas travelers

Storms strand Christmas travelers | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it

Swans in floodwater from River Severn in Worcester

The Autopsies Group's insight:

I'm sure the people at Gatwick airport have it worse today, but I have rarely felt so glad to be someplace warm and dry as when I saw this image of swans being swept on floodwater through the streets of Worcester.  May the power failures, storms, and hassles end quickly for all who are caught in the storms. 

 

The photo above is by Joe Giddens/ PA Wire

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Mad Men's Dubious Memories

Mad Men's Dubious Memories | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
We're suckers for "Mad Men" and slick '60s odes to authenticity. And in the end we're just that -- suckers
The Autopsies Group's insight:

Sometimes I feel like the only person who doesn't think Mad Men is the best remaining program on television now that Breaking Bad (and Friday Night Lights) have folded their tents. The show's uses of nostalgia have always felt more like a love fest than a critique, perhaps because, as Salon's Thomas Frank writes here, they seem to to have walked straight out of 1950s and 1960s works like The Affluent Society," "The Exurbanites," to demonstrate that people of the 1950s-1960s are "bad"--and to let us enjoy condeming them while taking pleasure in revisiting all the pretty stuff of our childhoods. Writes Frank: 

"Not only do they litter, they smoke — on airplanes, or when they’re pregnant. They let their kids play with dry-cleaning bags, they don’t bother with seat belts, and they slap children not their own. They drink and drive and drink some more, and say mean things, racist things, leeringly sexist things. They probably coat their nursery walls with lead paint too." But by Season 4, we were no longer in a register of critique but far more of nostalgia, what Frank calls a "libidinal fascination" that let us get back to the brand names of our childhood. 

    What I like best about Frank's article, however, is his reading of Mad Men in relation to the financial crisis that began just as the show started. These "were, corporate sins we could actually comprehend, and that we found downright soothing to contemplate." There's more to say about Mad Men's shift away from its critique of the 50s and toward an increasing pleasure in creating the veneer of the 60s--and especially about how this show has made it fun to identify with anti-diluvian gender values. But that's for another article--which I hope Frank will also write. It's not for nothing that the man who speaks my own tagline, Don Draper's father-in-law, is saying the soul that all this empty wealth is bad for is a young woman who starts out at least with dreams of being an artist. The abyss opened up by Mad Men may be bad for all our souls.

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Earthquakes out of Now

Earthquakes out of Now | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
Since 2010, San Francisco photographer Shawn Clover has been working on a striking series of then and now composite photos of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. To create the series, Clover
The Autopsies Group's insight:

These photoshopped composite photographs of the SF Earthquake aftermath of 1906 layered onto the present of 2010-2013 seem both eerie and, well, vaguely exploitative of the fear that lives in the heart of every Bay Area resident (I went to grad school at Berkeley and though I'd moved back east just before it, was watching the World Series in 1989 when the Bay Bridge collapsed during an earthquake). But at the same time, I like the rigor of the work--his attempt to figure out exactly how the photograph was taken, with what lens, from what perspective, and in what light--and the obsessive attempt to reconstitute that moment of photography in the present day.

 

Here is the photographer's website about his work: 

http://shawnclover.com/2012/08/17/1906-today-the-earthquake-blend-part-ii/

 

The then and now of many websites could take lessons from this project--at the very least because Clover's research on the moment of 1906 is excellent and he provides a fascinating comment on survival by helping us see the way the city and its buildings have stood up to disaster.

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The Destroyer's Guide to Ravaging Pigalle

The Destroyer's Guide to Ravaging Pigalle | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
A recent editorial in the New York Times claims that hipsters have ruined Pigalle. However, the author's withering references to good coffee and gourmet hot dogs lacked the concrete details necessary to procure these delicious items.
The Autopsies Group's insight:

a great riposte to the complaint of last weekend. let's go ravage pigalle with the destroyers!

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Blockbusted

Blockbusted | The Afterlife of Dead Objects | Scoop.it
With the exception of Blockbuster’s innocent retail employees, it’s hard to muster much sympathy for the company, even after its demise.
The Autopsies Group's insight:

Another schadenfreude-laden epitaph for Blockbuster from the New Yorker's Ben Mauk, this time with some really great links about the store's business model (especially the 2010 NYer piece by James Surowiecki on the company's work as a "category killer."  I had completely forgotten the extraordinary sequence linked here (to a youtube clip) of Ethan Hawke's Hamlet in Almeyrada's eponymous film wandering through the sanitized blue lanes of boxes delivering the "To Be or Not to Be" monologue.

 

In further BBdies news, a colleague pointed out this wild Robert Downey Jr video of the actor in 2008, recently released from prison and not yet making Iron Man bucks, in BBer, wandering through BBer shopping (and making trouble), ostensibly promoting Gothika. Did BBer actually encourage this?

 

The Onion a few years ago did a weird satirical nostalgia piece about an imaginary BBer Museum in Auburn Hills Museum that shows "the difficulties life held for Americans in the past," where "customers exchanged money for the short-term use of videos in an archaic system called renting:

http://www.theonion.com/video/historic-blockbuster-store-offers-glimpse-of-how-m,14233/

 

Buzzfeed also offered up a "Video Stores Explained to Modern Kids" piece that points up some of the reasons that video stores offered ways to communicate about film culture:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/video/henrygoldman/video-stores-explained-to-modern-kids

 

Dissolve did a great piece about why video stores matter (I'll come back to this more later in the week): 

http://thedissolve.com/news/853-op-ed-why-we-still-need-video-stores/

 

In other responses, 

A piece from Forbes by a former BBer employee notes that Blockbuster missed the boat by turning its entertainment business into a "convenience store" rather than capitalizing on the customers' need for expertise about their cinema-going experience: 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathansalembaskin/2013/11/08/the-internet-didnt-kill-blockbuster-the-company-did-it-to-itself/

I'm not sure he's right about this, given BBer's obsessive insistence on family-friendly (and big-time hollywood) policies--despite their loading up junkfood at kid-height at the checkout point. If BBer didn't manage to make meaningful relationships with customers, after all, maybe that was because people in the company believed middle-Americans would rent (and buy) whatever BBer sold them. Why educate the convenience store shopper: he or she will only start complaining about trans-fats and asking for kale and free-range eggs (or the cinematic equivalent: clamoring for subtitled Godard films and DVDs from the Criterion Collection ...)

 

And this piece from EW turned us onto a link to a devastating critique of a Blockbuster Training Video (the article is right: this video is several miles into dire sexism and several leagues over the line into crazy:

http://www.progressiveboink.com/2012/7/16/3162983/buster-sales-training-at-blockbuster-video-in-the-1990s

The EW piece on 10 things I won't miss about Blockbuster is here:

http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/11/06/blockbuster-video-we-wont-miss/?cnn=yes

 

 

There's a good set of response links in this CNN article:

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/06/tech/gaming-gadgets/blockbuster-video-stores-impact/

including a reference to a forthcoming book from UC Press called Videoland by Daniel Herbert (who is more of a fan of BBer than most of those writing about it this week)

http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520279636

 

 

And a great exhibit by Brian Ulrich whose great photography of empty malls and boarded up stores has done a great job of chronicling the wasted space of the financial crisis.

http://ncartmuseum.org/exhibitions/brian_ulrich_copiaretail_thrift_and_dark_stores_20012011/

 

Here's Ulrich's website, with link specifically to that sequence of photography: http://notifbutwhen.com/copia/dark-stores/

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