Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stan Brakhage: Expanding the Language of Film, Frame by Frame

One may read infinite interviews with independent filmmakers whining about making a $3,000,000 film on a $750,000 budget, but can we really pity them after we consider how Stan Brakhage (1933-2003) expanded the creative potential of the entire medium using nothing but blank film stock and some felt tip markers? The immensely influential filmmaker completed over 300 films while living a low budget life, working with amateur equipment and discards. His films take us to the extremes of our emotional states while dismissing the tedium of narrative structure. He has opened the doors to new understandings of human experience to all willing to accept his art.

Stan Brakhage - "Eye Myth" (1967)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

One of the Greatest Men of All Time

Douglas Engelbart (1925-2013), whose vision of collaboration using computer technology to help solve the urgent and complex problems of all of humanity, died on July 2, 2013. His comrades believed that his ideas were never fully realized due to his ideas and generosity of spirit. For example, he resisted patenting the "mouse" he'd invented and it eventually fell into the public domain. The robotic rigidity of institutions is also to blame -- most powerful technology companies in American relegated him to R&D. Ted Nelson, professor and inventor of the first hypertext project, delivered Engelbart's eulogy on December 9, 2013. In his tearful delivery, he said the "...real ashes to be mourned are the ashes of Doug’s great dreams and vision, that we dance around in the costume party of fonts that swept aside his ideas of structure and collaboration...Perhaps his notion of accelerating collaboration and cooperation was a pipe dream in this dirty world of organizational politics, jockeying and backstabbing and euphemizing evil." Engelbart articulated his ideas for collaboration publicly in what is known as The Mother of all Demos delivered on December 9, 1968, nearly half a century ago. Some of what he described is still in the process of being realized in commercial forms such as Skype, Google Docs, and more.