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Category Archives: documentary

Watch | Us Now

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On a similar theme to the Collaboration documentary I posted a while ago Us Now is a film exploring the power of mass collaboration, government and the internet.

Transparency, self-selection and open participation are coming closer and closer to the mainstream of our social and political lives enabled by technology. This film challenges the existing notions of hierarchy and structure of governments. It brings together leading practitioners and thinkers in this field and asks them to determine the opportunities for government.

Watch | The Godmother of Rock & Roll

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Today would have been the 100th birthday of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Godmother of Rock & Roll.

A pioneering crossover artist from the gospel world, Tharpe came from Cotton Plant, Arkansas, a town on the banks of the Mississippi. Born to musical parents, she toured the country with her mother in revival performances across the south and made her first record at the age of 23. By the time she took the Manchester stage to sing “Didn’t it Rain” Tharpe was 49 years old and a highly seasoned, confident performer who could captivate any audience with her powerful voice and phenomenal playing.

Above see a younger Tharpe play some jazz-inflected blues in “That’s All,” a sexy-sounding song about tolerance for sinful men. Sister Tharpe worked clean, but she could get down with the best of ‘em. [source]

Find out more by watching this 2014 documentary.

 

Watch |Collaboration: On the Edge of a New Paradigm?

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Collaboration is a documentary film that was created to record the process of an experiment in collaborative work within the context of the scientific community as well as to be a companion piece to the larger PhD thesis of student from Denmark named Alfred Birkegaard. The film discusses why work in groups of large, diverse numbers is so important in the scope of education and scientific research, the challenges ahead in attempting to apply collaborative work in both educational and professional settings, and also introduces audiences to bio-hackers and biochemists blazing the trail of open source and collaborative work in both Denmark and America.

The lesson to be learned from Collaboration affects more people than those who are currently in, or looking to become involved with, any greater scientific or academic community; although the scientific community is comprised of many people who wouldn’t consider themselves a part of it. The film also makes you re-think how you, and how we as a whole, seek to answer the tough questions, and why the current approach isn’t the best, as proved by how fast problems can be solved when openly sourced vs. when worked on by a single team of scientists.

This is an area I’m very interested in so may write more about it in another post.

Complement with Adapt Why Success Always Starts with Failure

Watch | The Diatomist

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THE DIATOMIST is a short documentary about Klaus Kemp, master of the Victorian art of diatom arrangement.

Diatoms are single cell algae that create jewel-like glass shells around themselves. Microscopists of the Victorian era would arrange them into complex patterns, invisible to the naked eye but spectacular when viewed under magnification.The best of these arrangements are stunning technical feats that reveal the hidden grandeur of some of the smallest organisms on Earth. Klaus Kemp has devoted his entire life to understanding and perfecting diatom arrangement and he is now acknowledged as the last great practitioner of this beautiful combination of art and science. THE DIATOMIST showcases his incredible work.

Soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bernard Herrmann and Cults Percussion Ensemble.

MATTHEW KILLIP is an English filmmaker living in New York. His documentaries have been broadcast on UK television and exhibited in festivals including Sundance and True/False.

Thanks Aeon.

Watch | New Adam Curtis Documentary

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One of the most important film makers working today has released another documentary which aired on BBC 1 in the UK  on Sunday 25th January.

Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer.

It tells a big historical narrative that interweaves America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia. It shows how politicians in the west lost confidence – and began to simplify the stories they told. It explains why this happened – because they increasingly gave their power away to other forces, above all global finance.

But there is one other country at the centre of the film.

Afghanistan.

I have got hold of the unedited rushes of almost everything the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan. It is thousands of hours – some of it is very dull, but large parts of it are extraordinary. Shots that record amazing moments, but also others that are touching, funny and sometimes very odd.

These complicated, fragmentary and emotional images evoke the chaos of real experience. And out of them i have tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan.

A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today

Read Adam’s own thoughts on the piece here.

Essential viewing. If you’re not in the UK install one of those plug-ins and get access to the iplayer. It’s available for 28 days.

This is the trailer

See more of his work here

 

Watch | Shots of Awe

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Jason Silva hosts Shots of Awe, a short documentary series produced and distributed by TestTube (a Discovery Digital Network) that summates some of mankind’s most daunting scientific pursuits into fun and exciting videos, each only a few minutes long, that the layman can understand. All of them produced with hi-octane music and graphics that aims to get the viewer excited, which he does without in any way dumbing down what he says. Some of the topics covered:

Engineering Our Own Divinity: The buildings and spaces we build create a feedback loop that informs the lives we live, so we directly control the world and life we experience.

Digital Shamans: A syllabus of books written by brilliant people whose texts are geared towards thinking beyond the limits of the reality most believe we live in.

Psychedelic Technology: The very first thoughts an inventor has that lead to the invention of a previously uncreated technology are in fact hallucinations – thoughts that are not bound by the present reality.

Existential Bummer: Our most extreme emotions of happiness and love are often tinged with a hint of sadness, and Silva theorizes that it is because we have an understanding of the fleeting nature of all living things – that we and every living thing we love will die.

Artificial Intelligence: Fears that machine will eradicate us, its creator, are unfounded. Artificial intelligence is just an extension of intelligence beyond the bounds of physicality, it is us.

We’re On the Right Track: Despite doom and gloom theories about the disastrous state of present day society, hard data indicates that humanity is prospering as greatly as it ever has – the odds a man will die at the hands of another man, on a global scale, are the lowest they have ever been in history, for example.

 

Watch | Bill Withers

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Bill Withers is an honest, down to earth,  genuinely wonderful human being.  In this documentary he talks with honesty about coping with the music business, his unique take on music, family, depression and his stutter. A great watch.

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