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Which clippings match 'Visual Essay' keyword pg.1 of 2
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
14 FEBRUARY 2013

Scene: academic journal for space and scenic production

"Scene is dedicated to a critical examination of space and scenic production. The journal provides an opportunity for dynamic debate, reflection and criticism. With a strong interdisciplinary focus, we welcome articles, interviews, visual essays, reports from conferences and festivals. We want to explore new critical frameworks for the scholarship of creating a scene."

TAGS

academic journal • Alison Oddey • articles • Christine White • concept artcostume design • creating a scene • critical examination of space and scenic production • cultural studies • Intellect (publisher) • interdisciplinary focusinterviews • Iryna Kuksa • media art • new critical frameworks • Ping Lu • reflection and criticismreports • Scene (journal) • scene compositionscene designsceneryscenography • scholarship of creating a scene • Stephen Di Benedetto • technology innovation • theatre design • visual artsvisual essay • Xijia Fan

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 MARCH 2012

Home: a call to action to halt global warming

"In the past 200,000 years, humans have upset the balance of planet Earth, a balance established by nearly four billion years of evolution. We must act now. It is too late to be a pessimist. The price is too high. Humanity has little time to reverse the trend and change its patterns of consumption.

Through visually stunning footage from over fifty countries, all shot from an aerial perspective, Yann Arthus–Bertrand shows us a view most of us have never seen. He shares with us his sense of awe about our planet and his concern for its health. With this film, Arthus–Bertrand hopes to provide a stepping–stone to further the call to action to take care of our HOME.

HOME is the first film that has been made using aerial–only footage. The film marks artist–activist Yann Arthus–Bertrand's feature film directorial debut.

HOME the movie is carbon offset. All of the CO2 emissions engendered by the making of the film are calculated and offset by sums of money that are used to provide clean energy to those who do not have any. For the last ten years, all the work of Yann Arthus–Bertrand has been carbon offset."

(Yann Arthus–Bertrand)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 AUGUST 2011

The Billionaires Bankrolling The US (and Australian) Right

"Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch's tremendous spending power and reach––what the media has dubbed the 'Kochtopus'––is unrivaled. The conservative nonprofit David founded, Americans for Prosperity, has said it plans to spend $45 million this election cycle, more than three times the $13 million the Democratic Governors Association has on hand as of mid–October. There's no way of knowing how much the Kochs have given to the AFP or any other group; new Senate legislation allows tax exempt nonprofits to raise unlimited funds without disclosure. Publicly, only about $3.9 million can be traced to the brothers, including a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association from David, a former vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party."

(Clare O'Connor, Forbes.com, 21 October 2010)

Fig.1 Scott Mitchell (6 April 2011 at 01:32pm). "The Beast File: Koch Brothers", ABC News, [available at: http://hungrybeast.abc.net.au/stories/beast–file–koch–brothers] via: mrpolity1 (uploaded 2 June 2011). "Koch Brothers – The Kochtopus", YouTube

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TAGS

20102DABC News (Australia) • AFP • After Effects • Americans for Prosperity • animated presentationanimationAustralia • billionaire • Charles Koch • climate change • convenient truth • David Koch • Democrat • Democratic Governors Association • Donald Trumpenvironmental changeethics • fertiliser • global warming • global warming sceptics • greenGreenpeaceHungry Beast • Koch Brothers • Kochtopus • Libertarian Party (USA) • lycra • motion graphics • New Media Strategies • oilpoliticsRepublican • Republican Governors Association • Rupert Murdoch • super-rich • sustainability • Tea Party • US electionsvisual essay

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 MARCH 2011

H2Oil: dramatic animated expository sequences

"Alberta sits over one of the largest recoverable oil patches in the world, second only to Saudi Arabia. It covers 149, 000 square kilometers, an area larger than Florida, and holds at least 175 billion barrels of recoverable crude bitumen. Canada has become the largest supplier of oil to the U.S., with over a million barrels per day coming from the oil sands. Currently 40% of all oil produced in Canada is derived from the oil sands.

The crude oil produced from the oil sands, the dirtiest oil in the world, could keep the global appetite for oil at bay for another 50 years.

But oil sands are a fundamentally different kind of oil. They take a lot of energy and a lot of water and leave a very large environmental footprint compared to all other forms of oil extraction. Because of this, the massive changes to the boreal forest and the watershed have prompted the United Nations to list this region as a global hot spot for environmental change.

In addition, oil sands projects are major emitters of greenhouse gases. They accounted for 4% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, making it impossible to meet obligations set out in Kyoto for emissions–reductions."

(H2Oil)

Fig.1 Dale Hayward & Sylvie Trouvé, James Braithwaite, Daniel Legace. 'La Moustache'.

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TAGS

20092D2D animationAfter Effects • Alberta • animated presentationanimation • bitumen • Boreal Forest • Canadaconsumptioncrude oil • Dale Hayward • Daniel Legace • documentaryenvironmentenvironmental change • environmental footprint • ethicsexpositionFloridagreenhouse gas emissionsgreenhouse gases • H2Oil • illustrationJames Braithwaite • Kyoto • La Moustache • motion designmotion graphicsnatureobsolescenceoiloil extraction • oil sands • overburden • Saudi Arabiasequence design • Shannon Walsh • sustainabilityUnited Nationsvisual essaywastewater

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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