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Tag 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 |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 | 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.

Watch | Hoffman’s Potion

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On August 16, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann was synthesizing a new compound called lysergic acid diethylamide-25 as part of his search for a drug that could help cure migraines. He accidentally got a couple of drops on his finger. The chemical, later known worldwide as LSD, got absorbed into his system and soon after he experienced an intense state of altered consciousness. On that day Dr Hoffmann became the first person to drop acid.

Intrigued by the experience, Hoffmann set about meticulously experimenting dosed himself with 250 micrograms of LSD and then biked his way home through the streets of Basel.

This documentary traces the discovery of what Hoffmann called ‘medicine for the soul’ and research into its use as a treatment for the mentally ill. All told by the people that were there and did it, including Albert Hoffmann himself, Stanislav Groff, Humphry Osmond, Aldous Huxley and Ram Dass.

Complement with the wonderful documentary Magic Trip. Magic Trip is a real-time documentary, pieced together from 40-year-old film, about a cross-country trek just prior to the whole 60s hippie thing happening.

Ken Kesey was the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest In ’63, he and a few friends were visiting New York City and witnessed the preparations for the following year’s World’s Fair. Kesey, who lived in Oregon, determined on the spot that he’d grab some people and make a trip across America to the fair. The group wound up too big for a station wagon, so an old yellow school bus was procured and customized. The bus was painted in an array of bright, friendly, psychedelic colors. All the various paraphernalia of the various artists aboard came along and so did plenty of cameras and sound recording equipment. Thing was none of them were film makers. As a result the grand plan to make a film of their journey once they got home never happened because they couldn’t piece it together and sync the sound. Then Martin Scorceses’s film foundation stepped in and provided funding for all the footage to be repaired and the separately recorded audio to be synced, the process took over a year.

It’s a fascinating fly on the wall look at the birth of the hippie movement before it was a movement. It’s also notable for having Neal Cassady involved as part of the gang. You’ll know him as the real life Dean Moriaty from Jack Kerouac’s book On The Road. Particularly interesting is the use of LSD of course. Timothy Leary features heavily explaining how he thought it should be used. What’s most interesting is how refreshingly honest it is. The scenes when Ken Kesey’s madcap artistic lot meet Timothy Leary’s lot in their fancy house is great. They were expecting this great meeting of minds but it wasn’t, they were just too different and they didn’t get along. Then there’s the scene when they discover a way to create tie dye in a lake – hilarious.

http://putlocker.bz/watch-magic-trip-online-free-putlocker.html

After watching these documentaries I think about drugs today and I worry about the fact that they are criminalised so we know very little about the new substances that are being developed and used. We know the exact chemical make up of LSD and MDMA, some scientific research was done in the past and more is now starting to be done again (http://www.maps.org). We have even interviewed the scientists who invented the stuff, like Dr Hoffmann. The new stuff is hidden, opaque and potentially dangerous and that can’t be good.

The 10 Best House Music Documentaries

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Before we begin lets listen to the classic introduction to House by Chuck Roberts from 1987 which most will have heard sampled in Mr Finger’s ‘Can You Feel It’ released in 1988.

Brought to you by www.beatport.com. Watched the embedded videos and read descriptions here: http://news.beatport.com/blog/2013/02/11/the-10-best-house-documentaries-of-all-time/

1. Pump Up the Volume

Number 1 on the list and clocking in at over 3 hours is Pump Up the Volume. This immense documentary provides a comprehensive lesson about the origins and history of House and the profound influence it has had on modern music. Essential viewing for everyone interested in music. If you don’t know get to know.

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