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19 FEBRUARY 2011

Maysles Brothers: Salesman (1968)

"A landmark American documentary, Salesman captures in vivid detail the bygone era of the door–to–door salesman. While laboring to sell a gold–embossed version of the Good Book, Paul Brennan and his colleagues target the beleaguered masses–then face the demands of quotas and the frustrations of life on the road. Following Brennan on his daily rounds, the Maysles discover a real–life Willy Loman, walking the line from hype to despair."

(mubi.com)

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TAGS

1968Albert Maysles • all-American • American dreamAmerican lifeBiblebygone era • Charles McDevitt • Charlotte Zwerinconstructed realityDavid Maysles • Death of a Salesman • desperationdirect cinemadocumentary filmdocumentary truth • door-to-door salesman • emotive manipulationethicseverydayfilm • Good Book • hype • James Baker • landmarkMaysles Brothers • Paul Brennan • profilmic • Raymond Martos • realreal-lifesales and profitSalesman (1968) • salesmen • salespeoplesocial realismsocial realitytruth • Willy Loman

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 AUGUST 2005

Acknowledging the constructed nature of documentary production

"Direct cinema' and 'cinema verité' have historically constituted battlegrounds for the construction of documentary cinema. American direct cinema sought to abolish mediation as far as possible, aspiring to pure transparency. French cinema verité inserted the camera and the filmmaker directly into the profilmic space, and acknowledged the constructed nature of documentary production. ... both schools operated under the guidance of a mimetic imperative to better capture the real. Richard Leacock, insisting on direct cinema's fidelity to the real, once said that 'we don't cheat'."
Joanne Richardson (Durham, North Carolina)

Fig.2 Albert Maysles (right) shoots 1975's Grey Gardens with his brother and longtime production partner, David.

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07 DECEMBER 2004

Real: Digital Installation

"Real – the installation – consists of a database of images. Images were chosen that had the potential to raise issues of mediation and authenticity – details from postcards, signage and survey forms, street scenes, museum displays and advertising. The images are categorised according to terms such as nature, prosthesis and body–terms that reveal something of the practices, often implicit, that are at play in the interpretation of contemporary environments. The digital medium allowed us to construct and explore a matrix of associations between images and categories in the database. Sequences of images relevant to a category are displayed over multiple monitors. Through the juxtaposition of images with images, and images with categories, shifts in understanding occur. Assumptions about the real are brought into play.

The project grew out of an interest in two bodies of work The first, the work of the Situationist International with their focus on the social and cultural mediation that occurs in urban environments. We were particularly interested in the Situationist strategy of the dérive (drift) as a means of renegotiating and reconceptualising encounters with lived environments. The second body of work was that of writers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, Wittgenstein and Foucault. We were interested in the metaphors that they explored in articulating alternatives to metaphysical concepts of interpretation, truth, language and representation. In particular we were interested in developing a visual and physical response to the insight that we are always already located within constellations of practice. All perception is mediated by prior understanding. All experience is interpretation.

We were also interested in developing modes of expression that draw on specific qualities of digital media. Processes of classification and random combination lie at the heart of the work. These are supported through the use of a database and random generation algorithms. Combinations of images and categories that might not otherwise come to light are constructed."

(Aaron Fry & Sally McLaughlin)

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TAGS

2001 • Aaron Fry • authenticityconstellationsdata-drivendatabasederivedesiredigital image processingdigital media • digital processing • environmentfragmentinstallationinterpretationjuxtapositionmediationNew Zealand artistpracticerealrelationships • Sally McLaughlin • samplingsimulationvirtual reality
11 JUNE 2004

A structural model which arrests reality for an instant

"A system is a structural model which arrests reality for an instant and tries to make it intelligible. But this arrest, necessary for communication, impoverishes the real instead of enriching it. The model is of value only if it stimulates and advance to a new level of understanding of reality, a level on which it then seems inadequate ...Best of all, though, is to "explore" a model. This means creating many specific examples of a general model, where each one explains a single stylized fact or perhaps a few features of the world."
Aditya Goenka (Univesity of Essex)

2). PDF: "http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~goenka/black.pdf" no longer available.

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TAGS

modelreal • structural mode
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