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Which clippings match 'Saul Bass' keyword pg.1 of 2
29 JANUARY 2016

Why Man Creates: the great (Western) progress narrative

"How unlikely that one of the least definable films from the last half-century would also be one of the most beloved. A favorite of classroom AV diversions, and an abridged presentation on the very first episode of '60 Minutes' helped make it the most viewed educational film of all time. 'I don't know what it all means,' Saul Bass himself admitted, and his 'Why Man Creates' (1968) is far more loose and playful than the rigid thesis its title might imply. In fact, it is the searching and open-ended nature of the various vignettes that perhaps makes the film resonate so strongly with viewers. Though an Oscar®-winner for Documentary Short Subject, the film is almost entirely invented, apart from recollections of old masters like Edison, Hemingway and Einstein, and brief encounters with scientists striving to innovate for the betterment of mankind. Creators invariably encounter problems, and have no choice but to persevere in the face of discouragement. If the film argues anything, it is that the unbridled pursuit of new ideas makes us uniquely human."

(Sean Savage)

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TAGS

1968Albert Einstein • Alfred Nobel • American Revolution • Ancient Greeceanimated filmArab • birth of civilization • cancer research • cave painting • cavemen • celebrating human achievement • creative inspirationcreativitydark ages • development of writing • dynamite • early humans • Ernest Hemingway • Euclid • Great Pyramids at Giza • Greek achievements • hand-drawn animationhistory of ideashuman civilizationinvention of the wheelinventiveness • James Bonner • Jesse Greenstein • Leonardo da VincilibertyLouis PasteurLudwig van Beethovenman • mathematical discovery • Mayo Simon • Michelangelo • nature of creativity • nature of justice • organised labour • origin of the universe • Paul Saltman • pioneering mathematicsprogress narratives • pursuit of happiness • religion • Renato Dulbecco • Saul Bassscience historyscientific progressThomas EdisonvignetteWestern culture • Why Man Creates (1968) • zero

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
05 AUGUST 2012

A Game with No Rules: rear projected Kiwi short film melodrama

"A trio of future Kiwi screen stars smoke, smoulder, steal – and worse – in Scott Reynolds' serpentine short noir. Kane (Marton Csokas) and his Zambesi–clad woman on the side (Danielle Cormack) set about ripping off Kane's rich wife (Jennifer Ward–Lealand) with bloody results. Writer/director Scott Reynolds and longtime partner in crime, cinematographer Simon Raby, serve notice of their talents – and inspirations – with heady lighting, deliberately shonky back projection, and opening titles right out of Hitchcock [Saul Bass inspired]. Muso Greg Johnson supplies the horns."

(NZ On Screen)

Fig.1 Scott Reynolds/Zee Films (1994), "A Game with No Rules" Aotearoa New Zealand, 35mm 16 minutes.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MAY 2011

Communication Design: defined, standardised, professionally certified?

"So now there's yet someone else adding to the pile of what they feel is 'the' definition, when it's really just 'their' definition. I have mine, Bass has his. Rand had his. I bet Armin has his. Bierut, Scher, Danziger,, Bantjes has hers, and the list goes on an on and each definition (as well as the 'definitive' term) is always different, in semantics at least. The philosophy itself varies somewhat less, but it's no less tragic.

This should be a call, loud and clear within our industry, for certification and standardization."

(Michael Holdren, 18 April 2008, comment at Tiny Gigantic)

Holdren, M. (18 April 2008). "A comment replying to 'Communication design, the definitive definition.'" Retrieved 21 May 2011, 2011, from http://www.tinygigantic.com/2008/04/17/communication–design–the–definitive–definition/#comment–27369.

[Michael Holdren attacks Josh Kamler's effort to define 'communication design' as a singularly identifiable discursive field (Kamler, 17 April 2008). In doing so Holdren criticises the effort for being simply a personal definition. This is an appropriate critique given that Kamler fails to draw on available literature in the field. In his comment Holdren calls for communication design to be defined through its standardisation and professional certification. In Basil Bernstein's terms this can be understood as a call for regulation through 'strongly classified singulars'. While this might appear logical from a professional perspective both efforts must be seen as being misguided because they ignore the essential character of communication design. Both efforts are attempts to stall the process of 'disciplinary recontextualisation' which continues to form and reshape the boundaries of communication design and which provides its essential utility as a means for adapting to change.]

Kamler, J. (17 April 2008). "Communication design, the definitive definition." Retrieved 21 May 2011, 2011, from http://www.tinygigantic.com/2008/04/17/communication–design–the–definitive–definition/.

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TAGS

Armin Hofmann • certificationclassificationcommunication designdisciplinary classificationdiscourseJosh Kamler • Language in Common (website) • Louis Danziger • Marian Bantjes • Michael Bierut • Michael Holdren • mutablePaul RandPaula Scher • personal definition • porous boundariesprofessional association for designprofessional certificationrecontextualisationrecontextualisation of knowledgeregionalisation of knowledge • regionalised discourse • regulationSaul BasssingularsstandardisationTiny Gigantic (website)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 JANUARY 2010

John Whitney: Motion Graphics Pioneer

"John Whitney, Sr. was one of the earliest and most influential of the computer animation pioneers. He came at the problem from the background of film, working with his brother James Whitney on a series of experimental films in the 1940s and 1950s. His work in this area gave him the opportunity to collaborate with well known Hollywood filmmakers, including Saul Bass.

His earliest computer work used analog devices for controlling images and cameras. After the second world war, Whitney purchased surplus military equipment and modified it to be used in his art making. One such device was an analog mechanism used in military anti–aircraft controllers, the M–5 (and later the M–7). Whitney and his brother converted this device of war into an animation controller, and used it together with a mounted camera as an animation stand. ...

After establishing his company Motion Graphics, Inc in 1960, he used his analog devices for the opening to the Hitchcock movie Vertigo in 1961. His company was focused on producing titles for film and television, and was also used in graphics for commercials. But Whitney was far more interested in the use of the technology as an art form, and began a series of collaborations in art making that has lasted for years. Many of these early collaborations revolved around the advancement of the vector graphics device as a viable tool for making art. Whitney received funding from IBM to take a look at the use of IBM equipment in the design of motion. He worked with IBM programmers in the development of a language for extending the computer to the control of graphics devices. This resulted in one of his most famous animations, Permutations in 1968."

(Wayne Carlson)

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TAGS

19581968abstract graphic animationAlfred Hitchcockanalogue computeranimation • animation controller • Bernard Herrmanncompositioncomputer animationcustom typeface • digital harmony • IBMinnovatorJames WhitneyJohn Whitney • M-5 • M-7 • mechanical computermotion graphics • Motion Graphics Incorporated • Permutations • pioneerpioneering animatorSan FranciscoSaul Basstitle sequence • UPA studios • Vertigo (1958)visualisation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2009

Expanding the narrow definitions of documentary animation

"The term 'animated documentary' can still upset a truth–seeking purist. But over the last few years our understanding of what a documentary is has expanded from the narrow direct cinema/cinema vérité definition of the 1970s and the 1980s. A more inclusive definition with room for both classic documentaries like the European city symphonies of the 1920s and the personal film essays of the 1990s and the 2000s is now gaining support.

There was a close connection between animation and documentary filmmaking in Europe in the 1920s (Walter Ruttman, Hans Richter, Dziga Vertov) and in the UK in the 1930s (John Grierson, Len Lye, Norman McLaren). This close connection continued at the National Film Board of Canada after World War II and through to this day. Even Hollywood's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences accepted the animated documentary as documentary proper by giving the Oscar to McLaren (Neighbours, 1952) and Saul Bass (Why Man Creates, 1968). The direct cinema/cinema vérité movements and the total dominance of TV documentaries closely based on journalism have dominated the documentary tradition since the 1960s. But postmodernist thinking combined with more individual/personal artistic filmmaking have brought the artistic elements of the European documentaries of the 1920s and 1930s back. And this scene has also opened up for the modern animated documentary.

At the NFB the filmmakers never stopped making animated documentaries, and a similar tradition has been kept alive in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I believe a major reason for this is the social democratic political thinking that lies behind both the ideology of the NFB and the film politics in Scandinavia. The film industry deserves state funding because the films play a vital role in our democracy."

(Gunnar Strøm, March 2005, 'How Swede It Is ...and Danish and Norwegian: Scandinavian documentary animation', p.13, fpsmagazine.com)

Fig.1 Monika Forsberg & Susie Sparrow 2006, We Believe in Happy Endings

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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