"Propaganda 2012 is a 95-minute video that presents itself as a North Korean educational video intending to inform the citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea about the dangers of Western propaganda. The video's uploader, known as 'Sabine', reiterates a statement she gave to the Federal Police regarding the movie's origins. She explains how the film was given to her by people claiming to be North Korean defectors whilst she was visiting Seoul. ...
Although the origins of Propaganda 2012 are contentious, its power lies in the fact that much of its content attempts to avoid invented history. Considering the media buzzwords associated with the alleged country of origin, Propaganda 2012 turns a mirror onto the Western world and seeks to criticise its entire history and culture – from the genocide and imperialism of its past, to the interventionism and consumerism of the modern era. The movie's overall attitude seems to express an intention to educate, shock and caution its audience into realising that people in the West are governed by a super-rich ruling class (The one per cent), who do not offer them true democracy; but instead seek to invade and assimilate as many countries as possible, whilst distracting their population with a smokescreen of consumerism, celebrity, and reality television. This message is spread across the video's 17 chapters, which each attempt to focus on specific examples of Western indoctrination and oppression. The film is regularly punctuated by commentary from an anonymous North Korean professor, and quotes from Western thinkers such as Noam Chomsky and Richard Dawkins. ...
Propaganda 2012 is certainly a film where the audience takes from it what they bring to it, and a variety of emotions can be induced upon viewing. Laughter, cynicism, outrage, contemplation and reflection would all be adequate responses to the video's tough, and often graphic, portrayal of the complex world in which we are living. Yet perhaps the most important thing to remember when watching the film is that the video is available to view uncensored, on a largely unregulated world wide web, and merely represents an extreme end of the vast spectrum of free expression. Therefore, during this festive end to an austere year, enjoy Propaganda 2012 as an interesting and beguiling alternative voice that cries loudly against the dangers of religious consumerism, and reminds us to remain humble and reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves."
(Kieran Turner-Dave, 17 December 2012, Independent Arts Blogs)
Third International Conference on the Image, Higher School of Humanities and Journalism, Poznań, Poland, 14-16 September 2012
"Welcome to the Third International Conference on the Image. The conference will be held at the Higher School of Humanities and Journalism, Poznań, Poland from 14-16 September 2012 and is organized in partnership with the Polish Mediations Biennale 3, The Unknown – Nieznane. The conference encompasses participation in Biennale Special Events including a Biennale Day on September 15 featuring curators Tomasz Wendland, Fumio Nanjo, Denise Carvalho, and Friedhelm Mennekes, as well as the opportunity to submit artistic work for consideration in a Special Exhibition at the Polish Mediations Biennale.
In conversation with the MEDIATIONS BIENNALE theme, 'The Unknown – Nieznane', The Image Conference will address the 2012 special conference theme – The Thread to the Unknown: Is the Unknown a construct? Can we hold the pretense that human hands and minds organize the realm of the Unknown? Are our constructions replicas of known things that hide the unknown from us?
The conference aims to shed light on the boundaries of language, culture, scientific research, artistic production, and visual communication in relation to the Unknown – Are there structural limits in science and human society that necessarily hide what is unknown from us? Or is the Unknown the complex and enormous form of existence that includes our knowledge and consciousness as one very small element?"
(Third International Conference on the Image)
"Although the 'Atoms for Peace' campaign was formally launched in 1957, corporate America began to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy as early as the first few months after Hiroshima. A Is For Atom, an artifact of this effort, takes this highly loaded and threatening issue straight to the public in an attempt to 'humanize' the figure of the atom.
A Is For Atom speaks of five atomic 'giants' which 'man has released from within the atom's heart': the warrior and destroyer, the farmer, the healer, the engineer and the research worker. Each is pictured as a majestic, shimmering outline figure towering over the earth. 'But all are within man's power - subject to his command,' says the narrator reassuringly, and our future depends 'on man's wisdom, on his firmness in the use of that power.'
General Electric, a long-time manufacturer of electric appliances, power generation plants, and nuclear weapon components, is staking a claim here, asserting their interest in managing and exploiting this new and bewildering technology. Its pitch: this is powerful, frightening, near-apocalyptic technology, but managed with firmness, it can be profitable and promising. This 'Trust us with the control of technology, and we'll give you progress without end' pitch resembles what we've seen in films like General Motors' To New Horizons (on the Ephemeral Films disc). But the automobile, of course, wasn't a weapon of mass destruction.
In its first two years of release, A Is For Atom was seen by over seven million people in this version and a shortened ten-minute theatrical cut. In 1953 it won first prizes in both the Columbus (Ohio) and Turin (Italy) Film Festivals, the Freedoms Foundation Award, an 'oscar' from the Cleveland Film Festival, and a Merit Award from Scholastic Teacher. In 1954 it won first prize in the Stamford Film Festival, a Golden Reel Award from the American Film Assembly, and a second Grand Award from the Venice Film Festival. The film was remade in the mid-sixties and is still available for rental.
Like other John Sutherland films, A Is For Atom presents a portentious message in a visually delightful and often self-deprecating manner. 'Element Town' and its quirky inhabitants, including hyped-up Radium and somnolent Lead, is unforgettable, and the animated chain reaction manages to avoid any suggestion of nuclear fear."
"During World War II, Disney's provided some political education for Americans at home -- and for soldiers on the front, too. 'Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi' appeared in movie theaters in 1943. The tone of the movie was serious, and it didn't feature the likes of Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse. Instead, it used impressive images to describe how children in Nazi Germany were raised to hate and to participate in the war effort -- and how little blonde Hans' only purpose in life was to die on the front."
(Sven Stillich, 2009)
"Adam Curtis' acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.
To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?
The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund's devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund's great grandson, Matthew Freud.
Sigmund Freud's work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society's belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man's ultimate goal."
(InformationLiberation, 21 March 2006)