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02 MARCH 2014

TED: simply toying with risk so as to re-affirm the comfortable?

"We hear that not only is change accelerating but that the pace of change is accelerating as well. While this is true of computational carrying–capacity at a planetary level, at the same time ––and in fact the two are connected–– we are also in a moment of cultural de–acceleration. We invest our energy in futuristic information technologies, including our cars, but drive them home to kitsch architecture copied from the 18th century. The future on offer is one in which everything changes, so long as everything stays the same. We'll have Google Glass, but still also business casual. This timidity is our path to the future? No, this is incredibly conservative, and there is no reason to think that more Gigaflops will inoculate us. Because, if a problem is in fact endemic to a system, then the exponential effects of Moore's Law also serve to amplify what's broken. It is more computation along the wrong curve, and I don't think this is necessarily a triumph of reason. Part of my work explores deep technocultural shifts, from post–humanism to the post–anthropocene, but TED's version has too much faith in technology, and not nearly enough commitment to technology. It is placebo technoradicalism, toying with risk so as to re–affirm the comfortable. So our machines get smarter and we get stupider. But it doesn't have to be like that. Both can be much more intelligent. Another futurism is possible."

(Benjamin Bratton, 20 December 2013)

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2013 • American Idol (reality television) • astrophysics • Benjamin Bratton • bright futures • business casual • California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology • call to actioncommunicate to the massescomplex issuescomplexitycultural changecultural transformation • design and geopoltics • egalitarian utopia • epiphany • epiphimony • frightening problems • Google Glass • information technology • infotainment • insight and realisation • intellectual viability • kitsch architecture • Kony2012meaningful ideas • middlebrow megachurch infotainment • moment of wonder • oversimplificationpersonal journeypersonal revelationpersonal story • personal testimony • placebo innovation • placebo medicine • placebo politics • placebo science • placebo technoradicalism • popularisation • re-affirm the comfortable • reductionism • rhetorical device • San Diego • smart people • smart things • swallowed without chewing • technological determinismtechnology and culturetechnology innovationTED Talks • toying with risk • triumphs and tribulations • University of California • vicarious insight • world-changing ideas

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 AUGUST 2013

In Spring One Plants Alone: intimate portrait of a mother and her son

"This is the story of Puhi, an aged Maori woman and Niki, her fully grown but wholly dependent son. The world they occupy is not a world of large events but the rituals of everyday life, traditions and interdependence. 'In Spring One Plants Alone' documents the minutiae of their very enclosed existence. Filmed over a period of one and a half years, it emerges as a rare, haunting and powerful portrayal of their life together. This is the story of their rituals and of their survival. The small and disconnected instances that we encounter form a lone vision of the rifts and the bond between an old woman and her disturbed son."

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TAGS

16mm1980 • Alun Bollinger • Aotearoa New Zealand • Chris Lancaster • cultural traditionscultural valuesdirect cinemadisableddocumentary filmdocumentary truth • enclosed existence • everyday lifefeature-length documentaryFirst Nations • In Spring One Plants Alone (1980) • Indigenousinterdependenceintimate lives • intimate perspectives • intimate portrait • isolated communities • isolationiwiJack BodyLeon NarbeyMaoriMaori eldersMaori people • Maori woman • minutiae • New Zealand cinema • Niki • personal rituals • personal storyportrait of everyday life • Puhi • Queen Elizabeth II Arts Councilremote communitiessocial realismsocial reality • Stephen Upston • student filmstraditionsVincent Ward

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 AUGUST 2013

Making Documentaries for Radio

"Prepared by veteran producer Jack Perkins, this series of tutorials is for anyone interested in making audio documentaries. They include guidance in the technical, practical and philosophical approaches to working with audio, including field recording, scripting, interviewing techniques and the marriage of sound and word."

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audio capture • audio documentaries • audio recorderdocumentary • documentary making • field recordinghow toindividual interviewsindividual perspectives • interviewing techniques • intimate lives • Jack Perkins • oral historiesoral historypersonal interviewspersonal narrativespersonal story • radio documentary • Radio New Zealand • Radio New Zealand National • social reality • sound portrait • sound recording • working with audio

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 APRIL 2011

Heavy Water: a film for Chernobyl

"On April 26th, 1986, reactor four at Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending an enormous radioactive cloud over Northern Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus. The danger is kept a secret from the rest of the world and the nearby population who go about their business as usual. May Day celebrations begin, children play and the residents of Pripyat marvel at the spectacular fire raging at the reactor. After three days, an area the size of England becomes contaminated with radioactive dust, creating a 'zone' of poisoned land.

Produced by Seventh Art Productions and based on Mario Petrucci's award–winning book–length poem, Heavy Water: a film for Chernobyl tells the story of the people who dealt with the disaster at ground–level: the fire–fighters, the soldiers, the 'liquidators', and their families."

(Seventh Art Productions)

'Heavy Water: a film for Chernobyl' (2007). Directed by David Bickerstaff and Phil Grabsky, Poetry by Mario Petrucci, 52 minutes

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1986 • 25th anniversary • BelarusChernobylconsequencescontaminationdisasterdocumentaryenvironment • explosion • familyfilmfilm essayfirefirefighter • heavy water • Heavy Water (film) • legacy • liquidator • Mario Petrucci • May Day celebrations • mortalitynuclear disasternuclear power stationnuclear reactorpersonal storypoempoisonPripyatradiationradioactiveradioactive contaminationradioactive dustsecret • Seventh Art Productions • soldierUkrainezone

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 APRIL 2011

A personal story of the materiality of contamination

Yelena Popova's reflections on the materiality of contamination and the Kyshtym nuclear disaster of the 9th September 1957.

Fig.1 Yelena Popova (2010). still from 'Unnamed', short artist documentary telling a personal story of a secret town in Russia, 10 minutes.

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19451957 • artist documentary • atom bomb • Chernobylcitizenshipcold warconsequencescontamination • density • disasterenvironmentfilm essayglass • glass blowing • invisibleKazakhstan • Kyshtym disaster • Lake Kyzyltash • mapmaterials • Mayak plant • metaphor • molten • nationalityNevadanuclear disaster • Ozyorsk • paper weight • personal storyradiationradioactive contaminationRussiasandsecretsecret townshort filmsouvenirtranslucenceunderstandingYelena Popova

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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