Ambient, atmospheric landscape cinematography, the kind of thing we love at Flatland Frequencies.
This book, published just a couple of months before the death of Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Scheider earlier this year, is a timely retrospective of the band that changed the shape of popular (and not so popular) music forever.
Readers of this blog will no doubt include many die-hard Kraftwerk fans, so this general introduction probably won’t feature much information that is not already known. However, there is still something of interest to be found in this book. Aside from the usual biographies and discographies, Uwe Shütte considers the aesthetic and philosophical aspects that shaped the Kraftwerk sound and ethos.
Sam Winston spent a month living in total darkness. In his blacked-out studio, he created images that were informed by sound, touch and the written word. This film documents his experiences, you can read more on the website A Delicate Sight.
Listen to linguist, anthropologist, philosopher, and author Dan Everett talking about his theory of culture. He discusses exactly what it is, how it exists on a macro and micro level, how it affects our language and our cognition, and how without it, we would die.
Everett spent many decades living with hunter-gatherers in the Amazon jungle. The language of the natives who he lived with, Piraha, is unlike all other known languages in that it has no words for numbers, colours or the future. He explains what his knowledge of the Piraha language, tells us about the intersection of language and culture.
He also talks about the practice of the science of linguistics, animal vs human communication, universal translation, and what unites and what divides us as humans.
The Emoji Movie is a story of rebellion and co-option. This video shows the parallels that this story has with the nature of the culture industry as a whole. When the profit motive completely takes over society, cultural innovation and rebellion are transformed into another commodity that is sold back to us to be passively consumed. If Adornian critiques of trashy kids’ films are your thing check this out.
In art and everyday life are we dominated by an endless quest for the new? Composer Claire van Kampen, film director Sophie Fiennes, music journalist Ammar Kalia and musician Brian Eno discuss and explain their ideas in this 40 minute debate.
Can popular music be subversive? According to the critical theorist Theodore Adorno the answer is firmly, ‘no’. The reasons for this are related to the structure of contemporary society itself; “We live in a society of commodities—that is, a society in which production of goods is taking place, not primarily to satisfy human wants and needs, but for profit. Human needs are satisfied only incidentally, as it were. This basic condition of production affects the form of the product as well as the human interrelationships.” – A Social Critique of Radio Music – Adorno
Art is a reflection of the society that produces it. In the second decade of the twentieth century, Europe had turned itself into a vast slaughterhouse. In Zurich a group of artists gathered in the Cabaret Voltaire and set about a total rejection of the values that had produced the First World War. The irrationality and absurdity of capitalist society was mocked and satirized in an iconoclastic and nihilistic style that was as irrational and meaningless as the times that had produced it.
“The cinema too must be destroyed”
Not many films are made to deliberately discourage passive consumption. Instead of trying to entertain or seduce the viewer with aesthetically soothing shots this film deliberately interrupts itself and pauses to criticise the institute of cinema itself. It is a commentary on the fractured and fragmentary nature of everyday life with all its discontinuities, contradictions, hopes and frustrations.