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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
21 JUNE 2009

CC Talks With: Illegal Art

"A museum exhibit called 'Illegal Art' might sound like a history of naughty pictures. Turns out that the exhibit (through July 25 at SF MOMA Artist's Gallery) is more innocuous than most primetime TV: A Mickey Mouse gasmask. Pez candy dispensers honoring fallen hip–hop stars. A litigious Little Mermaid. Not kids' stuff, exactly–but illegal?

Copyright holders have threatened and sued many of the show's artists for sampling, remixing, and recontextualizing other people's artistic creations without permission. Featuring audio and visual exhibits, a full length CD, and several films, the show highlights how copyright, typically considered an engine of creativity, can stifle art and free speech.

'Copyright is often so esoteric and theoretical,' said Carrie McLaren, the exhibit's curator. 'We wanted to make copyright's problems as real to the average person as they are to our featured artists.'"
(Creative Commons)

TAGS

attributioncommercialismcommonscopyrightcreative capitalCreative Commonsfree culturefunding • lessig • market failuremarkets • no derivatives • non-commercialopen sourceownershippatronpiracy • share-alike • social gainsponsorshipvalue of art

CONTRIBUTOR

David Rogerson
29 DECEMBER 2008

Boundless Broadband Co-operative

"Boundless Co–op is a broadband co–operative and provides wireless internet access for the local community in the Deptford area.

More and more residents with computer and a wireless card have joined the co–op and have now access to the internet without any cable connection.

The broadband connection is sustained by several nodes, which distribute the bandwidth through the airwaves to the users.

These nodes are located all over the Deptford area, often in private homes, where volunteering co–op members are looking after the equipment and in this way help to provide wireless internet access for locals.

The Community Wireless Network does not use commercial software, but relies on open source programmes, like Linux software."
(southeastlondon.org)

TAGS

802.11accessboundless.coop wireless networkcommunity • community wireless network • Deptford • distributed • ICTLondonnodenon-commercialopen sourceparticipationtechnologyUKvolunteer

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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