HyperNormalisation. Adam Curtis is back.

“We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion.” So begin the familiar tones of Adam Curtis….

Watch HyperNormalisation here in full.

We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, random bomb attacks. And those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – they have no idea what to do.

This film is the epic story of how we got to this strange place. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.

It shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us we accept it as normal.

HyperNormalisation
HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis

The film has been made specially for iplayer – and is a giant narrative spanning forty years, with an extraordinary cast of characters. They include the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, the early performance artists in New York, President Putin, intelligent machines, Japanese gangsters, suicide bombers – and the extraordinary untold story of the rise, fall, rise again, and finally the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi.

All these stories are woven together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created. Part of it was done by those in power – politicians, financiers and technological utopians. Rather than face up to the real complexities of the world, they retreated. And instead constructed a simpler version of the world in order to hang onto power

But it wasn’t just those in power. This strange world was built by all of us. We all went along with it because the simplicity was reassuring. And that included the left and the radicals who thought they were attacking the system. The film shows how they too retreated into this make-believe world – which is why their opposition today has no effect, and nothing ever changes.

But there is another world outside. And the film shows dramatically how it is beginning to pierce through into our simplified bubble. Forces that politicians tried to forget and bury forty years ago – that were then left to fester and mutate – but which are now turning on us with a vengeful fury.

source:
bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries…

Listen to the Adam Curtis interview from Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service

The award-winning documentarian Adam Curtis speaks to Jarvis Cocker to talk about his new BBC iPlayer film, ‘HyperNormalisation’. HyperNormalisation tells the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion – where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – and have no idea what to do.

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New Adam Curtis Film ‘Bitter Lake’ Trailer

Trailer for Bitter Lake by Adam Curtis

Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events.

But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis – leaving us bewildered and disorientated.

And journalism – that used to tell a grand, unfurling narrative – now also just relays disjointed and often wildly contradictory fragments of information.

Events come and go like waves of a fever. We – and the journalists – live in a state of continual delirium, constantly waiting for the next news event to loom out of the fog – and then disappear again, unexplained.

And the formats – in news and documentaries – have become so rigid and repetitive that the audiences never really look at them.

In the face of this people retreat from journalism and politics. They turn away into their own worlds, and the stories they and their friends tell each other.

I think this is wrong, sad, and bad for democracy – because it means the politicians become more and more unaccountable.

I have made a film that tries to respond to this in two ways.

It tells a big story about why the stories we are told today have stopped making sense.

But it is also an experiment in a new way of reporting the world. To do this I’ve used techniques that you wouldn’t normally associate with TV journalism. My aim is to make something more emotional and involving – so it reconnects and feels more real.

BBC iPlayer has given me the opportunity to do this – because it isn’t restrained by the rigid formats and schedules of network television. It’s a place you can go to experiment and try out new ideas.

It is also liberating – both because things can be any length, and also because it allows the audience to watch the films in different ways.

The film is called Bitter Lake. It is a bit of an epic – it’s two hours twenty minutes long.

Continue reading Adam Curtis’ post and watch the trailer here
Adam Curtis
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/TRAILER-TRASH

Concrete Poetry with Jonathan Meades

Joy Behold, It’s Meades-Time.

Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry with Jonathan Meades

Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry with Jonathan Meades

1
Two-part documentary in which Jonathan Meades makes the case for 20th-century concrete Brutalist architecture in an homage to a style that he sees a brave, bold and bloody-minded. Tracing its precursors to the once-hated Victorian edifices described as Modern Gothic and before that to the unapologetic baroque visions created by John Vanbrugh, as well as the martial architecture of World War II, Meades celebrates the emergence of the Brutalist spirit in his usual provocative and incisive style. Never pulling his punches, Meades praises a moment in architecture he considers sublime and decries its detractors.

2
Second of a two-part documentary in which Jonathan Meades makes the case for 20th-century concrete Brutalist architecture, which is once again being appreciated by a younger generation. Focusing initially on the massive influence of Le Corbusier’s post-war work, he reclaims the reputation of buildings that, once much maligned, he argues stood for optimism and grandeur. Delivered in his signature provocative and confrontational manner, Meades’s film draws on extraordinary buildings from all over Europe in a lavish, sometimes surreal, visual collage

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03w7b7x

Broadcast Times

Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry with Jonathan Meades Episode 1 (of 2)
BBC Four, Sunday 16th February at 21.00.
Repeated Thursday 20th February at 00:40.

Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry with Jonathan Meades Episode 2 (of 2)
BBC Four, Sunday, 23rd February 2014 at 21.00.
Repeated Thursday 27th Feb 2014 at 01.40.

Also, don’t forget BBC iPlayer will let you view the programmes online for a designated time thereafter.

The incredible hulks: Jonathan Meades’ A-Z of brutalism

Habitat 67 in Montreal, by Moshe Safdie. Photograph: UIG via Getty Images

Habitat 67 in Montreal, by Moshe Safdie. Photograph: UIG via Getty Images

“It was mocked and misunderstood. But it produced some of the most sublime, awe-inspiring buildings on the planet. Jonathan Meades, maker of a new TV series about brutalism, gives his A-Z” Continue reading at The Guardian

And Another Thing…

I was going to launch into my usual media diatribe, but I changed my mind.
And then I changed my mind again.

Clean that dust-collecting box in the corner of the room, you stuck-in-the-past television-users, it’s that time of year again where one can expect to be spoken to like the adult one has possibly worked hard to educate one’s self to be.

It’s so, so regrettable that so little mainstream media treats us in the way Jonathan Meades does; as Peter Ackroyd does; as Adam Curtis does; as Brian Sewell does. Even venerable David Attenborough has succumbed to a more stylised form of presentation these days – particularly when working alongside Sky TV, though in practice he would have to go a long, long way to significantly blot his copy book. Prof Cox too is easily led by the play-it-safe committee-led stylings of the BBC. C’est la vie. I suppose.

‘Ah, but was it ever thus?’ It’s never a good idea to eulogise the past into perfection, but tinted spectacles aside it was surely never this bland? Perhaps it’s simply the natural order of things that every once and a while evolution becomes bored with all that it has to offer and fetches itself off to bed to spend a few decades surrounded by nymphs proffering endless baskets of fruit and wine and to engage in proclivities most unspoken. And anyway, who am I to complain? Evolution? Hardest job in the world mate!

The Rise of US Covert Surveillance

Secret Surveillance Reports: Channel 4 News

Barack Obama defends secret surveillance reports, assuring citizens phone calls are private. But the Information Commissioner’s Office says there are “real issues” about US agencies accessing UK data.

In his first comments since the government’s surveillance programmes were made public, President Obama insisted that they were conducted with broad safeguards to protect against abuse.

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this programme is about,” said the president.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the National Security Agency and FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading US internet companies. Meanwhile the Guardian reported that the US government is collecting telephone records of millions of Americans as part of counterterrorism efforts.

On Friday, it also emerged that at least one European intelligence agency is using the US Prism service too: the Guardian reported that GCHQ has had access to the system since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year.

Mr Obama insisted that the surveillance programs struck the right balance between keeping Americans safe from terrorist attack and protecting their privacy.

But the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that that there were “real issues” with the revelations. A spokesperson told Channel 4 News that there appeared to be aspects of US law that conflicts with UK law and that the ICO had raised concerns with the EU commission, which is in discussions with the US government.

US vs UK law
In a statement, the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) told Channel 4 News: “There are real issues about the extent to which US law enforcement agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens.

“Aspects of US law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to US agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own data protection act.”

Continue reading… Obama defends US spying on internet and phone data – Channel 4 News.

Further Reading
To be updated

David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities

It is alleged one can have too much even of a good thing, but this oft-repeated assertion has no basis in science fact, plus it neglects to factor in the presence of Sir David Attenborough.

Already this year we’ve had Galapagos for Sky, Africa for the BBC and now, about to begin on Eden, we shall be served with David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities. He’ll be doing house-house calls next. If only!

David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities

Series producer Stephen Dunleavy interviews Sir David about what they hope to achieve.

Stephen Dunleavy
“We have been working on David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities for the past six months and this is very different to your normal series. You’re not out in a vast wilderness; it’s very much more intimate. You’re more generally behind the scenes of museums, but how would you describe the series to this audience?”

Sir David Attenborough
“Well, it puts an extra dimension onto animals. We’ve been making natural history programmes, you and I, and others, for a long time but we’ve always dealt with the animals as they are and sometimes as they might become, but we’ve never thought about them with their history and their particular relationship with human beings – the superstitions we had about them.

This is an extra dimension to animals which I think is particularly fascinating. It has certainly fascinated me ever since I was a kid, ever since I picked up a reproduction of a 17th Century natural history book and saw these fantastic animals, monsters, dragons and mermaids, all of which people thought actually existed and some of which have a really good basis for making them think that. This extra dimension to animals sets you thinking about them as to why they are the way they are, which is something which I don’t think we have done on television before.”

source: Eden

David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities begins on the Eden channel at 8pm on 29th January.