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Which clippings match 'Television Series' keyword pg.2 of 4
31 JULY 2013

Was Ways of Seeing the first pre-digital book?

"Everyone is talking about the way in which digital media is destabilizing print. I thought it was interesting to choose the reverse scenario: something that started digital but found its real audience in print. Ways of Seeing started as a four–part television series on the BBC in England conceived of and written by art critic John Berger. Berger was reacting specifically to the traditional connoisseurship of Kenneth Clark in the Civilisation series, another famous television program, which inscribed the canonical march of Western culture in heroic terms. As a critique of Clark, Berger created a popular reading of the icons of western art not as aesthetic objects, but deeply cultural artifacts that reveal, upon close 'reading', the limitation, prejudice, bias, and obsession of the culture from which they sprang.

This form of cultural criticism was established in the Universities, especially Marxist leaning polytechnics, but had never before had such a popular airing. The idea that classic paintings could be decoded to reveal social facts–and in fact Berger compared them to modern advertising–was heretical and his work was met with incredulity and anger in the hallowed halls of University Art History departments around the country, But Berger's position, especially his proto–feminist critique of female nudes, would grow to become the dominant form of art criticism in the years ahead.

The television program had moderate success but shortly after it aired Berger joined with producer Mike Dibb and graphic designer Richard Hollis to produce a printed version of the televised series. Clark had also produced a book to accompany Civilisation: a huge, lavish, full–color coffee table monster that must have weighted 10 kilos. In contrast Berger, Dibb and Hollis produced a slim paperback, 127 x 203mm, of only 166 pages. Even more radical, the book was produced in black + white, reducing the famous art to mere notations on standard, uncoated paper of a trade book. It was published by the BBC Books under the Pelican Books imprint, a division of the venerable Penguin Press organized to publish books to educate rather than entertain the reading public.

Even more striking was the book's design. Hollis starts the text of the first essay on the cover: 'Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.' This simple typographic trick gives the book both a certain modesty (saves on pages) and an urgency (no time to waste). Starting on the outside also suggests a digital quality, the content is broadcast to the reader even as they pass the shelf.

The interior is equally unusual. Hollis set the entire book in a bold sans serif font, a very unlikely choice and aggressively un–civilized. There is no nod to classicism, the book is an entirely modern form. The text is broken down into short bursts, usually no more than a paragraph coupled with a visual example. Again reflecting its origin as a televisual experience the text and images work simultaneously, one form leveraging the other. There are five such text–and–image essays on everything from renaissance nudes to modern advertising. But Berger also adds for entirely visual essays. He assembles a series of examples that by the power of his selection and through their aggressive juxtaposition, he makes his thesis without any words at all. In so doing he presages the development of the curated playlist as a predominant contemporary form and creates the first pre–digital book."

(Michael Rock, 2011, 2x4)

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TAGS

2011 • 2x4 • aesthetic objectsart criticismart history • BBC Books • BBC Twoblack and white • canonical march • Civilisation (series) • contemporary form • cultural artefactscultural criticism • curated playlist • destabilising force • digital media • digital quality • educate rather than entertain • end of print • famous art • female nudes • heroic terms • John Bergerjuxtaposition • Kenneth Clark • Michael Rock • Mike Dibb • modern advertising • modern form • modestypaperback • Pelican Books • Penguin Random Housepolytechnic • pre-digital book • print and digitalprinted version • proto-feminist critique • renaissance nudes • Richard Hollis • sans-serif typeface • seeing comes before words • short formsocial factstelevision programmetelevision seriestelevisual experiencetext and image • trade book • typographic trick • uncoated paper • urgency • visual culturevisual essayWays of Seeingwestern artWestern culture

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 JULY 2013

Alas Smith and Jones: famous parody of cliched character archetypes

Fig.1 "Nazi Generals" sketch from Series 5 Episode 5 of Alas Smith & Jones [http://epguides.com/AlasSmithandJones/].

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TAGS

1980s1989 • Alas Smith and Jones • Andy Hamilton • archetypal charactersBBCBritish comedycharacter archetypecharacter oversimplification • Chris Langham • cliche • Clive Anderson • Colin Bostock-Smith • comedycomedy series • Griff Rhys Jones • hackneyedhumour • Mel Smith • military leaderNazi • Not the Nine OClock News • parodysketch comedystereotypes • Talkback Productions • television series • trite

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 NOVEMBER 2012

The Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement

"The Dark Ages have been misunderstood. History has identified the period following the fall of the Roman Empire with a descent into barbarism – a terrible time when civilisation stopped.

Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this four–part series he argues that the Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement, with new ideas and religions provoking new artistic adventures. He embarks on a fascinating trip across Europe, Africa and Asia, visits the world's most famous collections and discovers hidden artistic gems, all to prove that the Dark Ages were actually an 'Age of Light'.

In the first episode he looks at how Christianity emerged into the Roman Empire as an artistic force in the third and fourth centuries. But with no description of Jesus in the Bible, how were Christians to represent their God? Waldemar explores how Christian artists drew on images of ancient gods for inspiration and developed new forms of architecture to contain their art."

(BBC Four)

"The Dark Ages: An Age of Light" first broadcast BBC Four, 9:00PM Tue, 27 Nov 2012, duration 60 minutes.

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TAGS

3rd century • 4th century • age of light • alpha • ancient Gods • androgynous • androgynyart history • artistic achievement • artistic adventures • artistic force • barbarian • barbarism • BBC FourBible • catacombs • Christian art • Christian artists • Christianity • Christians • church architecturecivilisation • cross-shape • cryptic marker • cryptic symbols • dark ages • dogmatic • Early Christian • godshistoryJesus Christmosaic • new forms of architecture • new ideas • omega • pagan • pagan religion • pagan tradition • paganism • palindrome • paternosterreligion • representations of God • representations of Jesus • Roman Empire • SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS • television series • Waldemar Januszczak • Xmas

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 NOVEMBER 2012

Max Headroom: an anarchic and irreverent cybernetic protagonist

"Max Headroom was one of the most innovative science fiction series ever produced for American television, an ambitious attempt to build upon the cyberpunk movement in science fiction literature. The character of Max Headroom, the series's unlikely cybernetic protagonist, was originally introduced in a 1984 British television movie, produced by Peter Wagg, and starring Canadian actor Matt Frewer. ABC brought the series to American television in March 1987, refilming the original movie as a pilot but recasting most of the secondary roles. The ABC series attracted critical acclaim and a cult following, but only lasted for fourteen episodes. The anarchic and irreverent Max went on to become an advertising spokesman for Coca–Cola and to host his own talk show on the Cinemax cable network."

(The Museum of Broadcast Communications)

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TAGS

1980s198780s television • American television • anarchicBlade Runner (1982)Bruce SterlingCoca-Colacomputer animation • cult following • cyberneticcyberpunk • cyberpunk movement • cyberspace • irreverent • Matt Frewer • Max Headroom • Museum of Broadcast CommunicationsNeuromancer • Pat Cadigan • Peter Wagg • Rudy Ruckerscience fiction literaturescience fiction television series • telefilm • televisiontelevision series • The Road Warrior • TVWilliam Gibson

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 APRIL 2012

An American Family: the genesis of reality television

"Unlike most documentaries of its day, An American Family had no host, no interviews, and almost no voice–over narration. Producer Craig Gilbert presented the family's daily life – as captured by filmmakers Alan Raymond behind the camera, and Susan Raymond covering sound – in the style of cinéma vérité. It was the most controversial and talked–about television program of its era.

PBS was then a fledgling 'fourth network' joining CBS, NBC and ABC, and despite its non–commercial profile was looking for blockbuster hits, according to Bill Kobin, Vice President for programming at NET at the time. In the course of its 12 week run, An American Family riveted the country and drew in a record 10 million viewers a week. In the years since it was first broadcast, the series has become the subject of lengthy articles and reviews, including panel discussions with anthropologist Margaret Mead, who speculated that An American Family could be the beginning of a new way to explore the complexities of contemporary reality, 'maybe as important for our time as were the invention of drama and the novel for earlier generations.'

Now, 40 years since filming, the original filmmakers have edited a new 2–hour feature–length special capturing the most memorable and compelling moments of the landmark series. See for yourself why An American Family is one of the 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time (TV Guide, 2002)."

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

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TAGS

197119721973 • Alan Raymond • American family lifeAn American Family • Bill Kobin • Bill Loud • cinema verite • contemporary reality • Craig Gilbert • cultural anthropologydaily life • Delilah Loud • direct cinemadocumentaryethnographic filmfamilyfamily lifefly-on-the-wall • Grant Loud • Kevin Loud • Lance Loud • landmark series • Loud family • Margaret Mead • Michele Loud • non-commercialnon-fiction televisionNorth Americaobservational seriesobservational style • Pat Loud • PBSportrait of a familyportrait of family lifereal behaviourrealityreality televisionsocial reality • Susan Raymond • televisiontelevision documentarytelevision programmetelevision series • The Louds • The Raymonds • TV • video verite • visual anthropology • WNET

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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