Franny Armstrong (2009). "The Age of Stupid". London, Spanner Films / Passion Pictures.
"Melvyn Bragg considers how technology and increasing access to education made possible the rise of a true mass culture in the twentieth century. He examines how the rise of cinema and photography opened the cultural realms to millions, and how our understanding of what culture is, and what it's for, was transformed by the work of scholars such as Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams."
(Melvyn Bragg, 2013)
"The Value of Culture: Two Cultures", Radio broadcast, Episode 4 of 5, Duration: 42 minutes, First broadcast: Thursday 03 January 2013, Presenter/Melvyn Bragg, Producer/Thomas Morris for the BBC Radio 4, UK.
"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)
"This documentary explicitly reveals under cover work of missionary agencies and individuals in the destruction of an ethnic group, the Akha people of South East Asia. It is a picture of evil cloaked in righteousness. Evangelical missionaries come with the Good News of the Gospel, and aid for the poverty stricken mountain people. The reality is division, destruction of family core groups, human rights violations, displacement, forced relocation, theft of land, cultural genocide, racism and power of a majority people group over the indigenous group.
[Tomáš] Ryška does an excellent job presenting the contrast of hypocrisy and wealth of the missionary, aid, food and clothing, the underworld of child trafficking versus the appearance of cleanliness and holiness, worship done the 'right' way, versus the 'pagan way.' He contrasts land theft, greed for the rich mountain resources, good business versus God's service. He uncovers the fear of eternal punishment versus the joys of heaven, fear of death threats for those who dare expose evil that dwells in the fundamentalist Christian missionary centres, corruption versus holiness, forced relocation, illness, depression, malaria, and prison camps in the lowlands for the unfortunate mountain people. It is colonization all over again."
(Akha Heritage Foundation)
"The 'bob–haired muse', the 'holy shears' and 'Dada's good girl' are a few of the epitaphs that prevail in the comfortable little niche art history has carved out for Hannah Höch. These sound bites are seriously challenged by this travelling retrospective organised by the Walker Art Center. 'The Photomontages of Hannah Höch' momentously reconstructs her marginalised role in early 20th–century art and perhaps even ordains her as the single most influential female artist of the century. The exhibition surveying Höch's 55 years of photomontage not only rescues her from the anti–art antics of the legendary Berlin Dada circle but inclusively chronicles her private and aesthetic journey through the social and cultural constructs that have emerged in the 20th century. While she may have been remembered by her bombastic Dada colleagues for her 'sandwiches, beer and coffee', her lifetime of artistic practice reveals a vital and critical woman who could magically collide disparate reproductions of needlepoint patterns, political figures, film stars, animal life and non–Western artefacts into explorations of androgyny, Aryan activity, gender roles, imperialism, race and lesbianism."
(Michelle Grabner, Issue 33 March–April 1997, Frieze Magazine)
Fig.1 Hannah Höch "Entwurf für das Denkmal eines bedeutenden Spitzenhemdes", 1922, Entwurf, Tafelmalerei, Collage, 27,4 x 17 cm, Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Ikonographie (Iconclass)