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Ways of seeing - click opera — LiveJournal
February 2010
 
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Thu, Jun. 21st, 2007 05:22 am
Ways of seeing

What would I say to the world if the BBC made me a "television essayist" and gave me a series? I might make a programme called London: a modest proposal, like my Click Opera entry of June 21st, 2005:

"All you'd need to do to make London really quite a wonderful place is route all motorised traffic underground, send the businessmen to Birmingham and Hong Kong, install air conditioning everywhere, rip up the grey fitted carpet and install wood floors, change all the food and chefs, halve the price of everything, scrap fees for Japanese art students, introduce the euro and ban the journalists from writing about class. Oh, and turn all the TV and radio stations over to the insane."

I like to think my television essay would be something like John Berger's brilliant, polemical 1972 television series Ways of Seeing. Here are a few precious clips of it which have recently turned up on YouTube, on the subject of advertising:







I love the way Berger makes three studies of the dreamworlds created by advertisements, or flicks through the Sunday Times colour supplement and (Victor Burgin-style) calls the juxtaposition of editorial nightmares (images of Bangladeshi refugees) with sensual advertising dreams "mad". Do we have television essayists today condemning our culture as a mad one? I suppose the great Adam Curtis springs to mind.

Berger, of course, is still around. Give him another series, BBC! And in the meantime, someone put the rest of Ways of Seeing up on YouTube!

5CommentReply

freesurfboards
freesurfboards
freesurfboards
Thu, Jun. 21st, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)

the videos are intresting - i think that the link he was trying to make between the refugees and the advertisments is a bit weak - the photos of refugees are sensationalized by people who were taught at the same schools as fashion photographers. Because of their otherness the suffering is magnifed, or so I think.

"Between these images the truth is blurred" he says. Perhaps advertisments are the filter we see all images through. "The photos of refugees are fantasy, like the thousands of images I see everyday" might be what I'm thinking.


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niddrie_edge
niddrie_edge
raymond
Thu, Jun. 21st, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)

I enjoyed Berger's appearance in the documentary on Sebastião Salgado's Migrations - The Spectre Of Hope.
http://www.frif.com/new2002/spect.html


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 22nd, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)

Shame the Beeb doesn't make Ways of Seeing available on DVD, the companion book published alongside the programme doesn't quite match up to the television series and some of the essays -though still pertinent- are showing their age.
Pleased you brought the YouTubes to attention.
Thomas S.


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jackmottram
jackmottram
Jack
Fri, Jun. 22nd, 2007 09:57 am (UTC)
Fat Man On A Beach

It's definitely time for more "television essayists" - strange to think that folk like B.S. Johnson used to be given slots on primetime ITV to witter about poetry. (No sign of him on YouTube, sadly.)


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 26th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
Ways of Seeing is available

For the record, what I believe to be the complete Ways of Seeing series (4 parts?) is available as a torrent on--

http://karagarga.net


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