Thursday, 22 July 2010

Twelve Aspects of Postfilm



1. Postfilm is FREE. We are already bombarded by moving images, simulations and surveillance. We resist merely by volunteering our time and our dedication. We subscribe to Creative Commons. No restriction or ownership, please.
2. Postfilm is COMMUNITIES. Working with others we begin to disrupt a mono-cultural “Industry” that serves limited interests and false commercial tastes. By linking with other postfilm communities we combat shallow and deluded capitalist interest groups.
3. Postfilm is OPEN. We will not be asked to produce qualifications or college certificates; or guild, union, association, industry, or any other exclusive membership card. If you have one, throw it away.
4. Postfilm is a range of Co-OPPORTUNITIES for us to think outside the Box (Office)
5. Postfilm is an act of LOVE. We are enriched by a love for what we do and how we share it.
6. Postfilm welcomes MULTI-MEDIA, and TRANSMEDIA. We resist the strait-jackets of specialisation and creative alienation. We play, we interact, we participate.
7. Postfilm resists all hierarchies of study. We are MULTI-DISCIPLINARY. We promote creativity and critique. We think and we feel.
8. Postfilm brings JOY to its participants. We celebrate communication, enchantment, intrigue, dislocation, surprize.
9. Postfilm celebrates PROCESS and PRODUCT. We know that communal making and growth is an end itself. We shun premature and grotesque commodification. But we also know that what we make re-builds our communities.
10. Postfilm is its PARTICIPANTS. We refuse closed systems and a fixed manifesto. We reserve the right to experiment with concepts and practices.
11. Postfilm is the EXPRESSION of our real selves unrestrained by alienating capitalism.
12. Postfilm aims to create spaces free from the ‘white noise’ of the mass media which reduced us to privatized individuals. In this space we seek to create holistic and empowered communities.

A Postfilm Journey:



Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Future of Film Debate: A Short Summary

Thanks to everyone who has taken part so far for a lively and informed debate. There are as many points of view as there are contributors, but perhaps some common themes are emerging

For clarification, I'd offer several points:

'Future': are we thinking about what we will be seeing in 3 years' time or 5, or 10 ?

What aspect of the future are we thinking about? The history of 'film' accommodates and demonstrates swift and revolutionary changes, e.g.

technological such as sound and hand-held cameras, digital etc
educational: skills and training
(non-) commercial structures
distribution systems and platforms
creating new markets, niches, tastes, (sub)genres
etc

There is no reason to assume that the pace of change has stopped or is slowing, what will we see next?

How are we defining 'film' ?

Who will be making 'films' and what will they be making?

What will 'making' mean? For instance, will the market in moving image be much more dominated by transmedia and interactivity/gaming. e.g. many adolescents have spent more of their time gaming than they have in formal schooling

Where will film-making be taking place? How significant will be the shifts in production centres at local, regional, national and international level?

A “Summary” so far, and sorry if it appears to polarise debate (but see 3, below)

POSITION 1: (The Future of ) Film=

entertainment
popular/populist
stars, top-down model
Hollywood or Bollywood?
the industry
uncritical/untheorised
notfilmschool
the past = the present = the future
blockbuster
director-led
cinema-led platforms
bigbudget & rights management
international ambition
90-minutes

POSITION 2: (The Future of ) Film =

diverse participants
critical
minority
independent
non-commercial
unpopular
transnational
filmschool informed
anylength
anyform
transmedia
variety of platforms
low-budget, micro-budget
collaborative
amateur elements
Youtube and Nollywood etc
grass-roots, bottom up approaches

POSITION 3: Future of Film = elements of 1 and 2 (above)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Radical Origins of the 'Big Society' ?



Saul Alinsky's 1971 book, Rules for Radicals has been cited recently as an influential source for David Cameron's campaign for a Big Society. The main themes are the importance of citizens as participants and opportunities for re-engagement and re-empowerment.

If you're already questioning why the Conservative manifesto employed a guiding quotation from that book, you're not alone. One alarmed commentators was Gerald Warner, writing in the Daily Telegraph on April Fools' day 2010:

"David Cameron's Big Society is a grotesque fantasy inspired by leftist subversive Saul Alinsky"
"Yet the Conservative Party blurts out this admission in the launch document of Big Society. There is a pedantic debate over whether Alinsky was technically a Marxist, or by-passed Marx as old-hat. What is beyond question is his project to overthrow capitalist society and to do so through infiltration of political parties, institutions and, above all, by the use of “community organisers”. Anybody who thought claims on this blog of Cultural Marxism influencing even the Tory Party were exaggerated can now think again."

I've selected some quotes below from Alinsky's book which I hope readers will find useful:

"What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."

"The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people. One hundred and thirty five years ago Tocqueville gravely warned that unless individual citizens were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self-government would pass from the scene. Citizen participation is the animating spirit and force in a society predicated on voluntarism. (p.xxv)

(p. xxv) Here we are desperately concerned with the vast mass of our people who, thwarted through lack of interest or opportunity, or both, do not participate in the endless (p. xxvi) responsibilties of citizenship and are resigned to lives determined by others. To lose you “identity” as a citizen of democracy is but a step from losing your identity as a person. People react to this frustration by not acting at all. The separation of the people from the routine daily functions of citizenship is heartbreak in a democracy.

"It is a grave situation when a people resign their citizenship or when a resident of a great city, though he may desire to take a hand, lacks the means to participate. That citizen sinks further into apathy, anonymity, and depersonalization. The result is that he comes to depend on public authority and a state of civic sclerosis sets in.

"From time to time there have been external enemies at our gates; there has always been the enemy within, the hidden and malignant inertia that foreshadows more certain destruction to our life and future than any nuclear warhead. There can be no darker or more devastating tragedy than the death of man’s faith in himself and in his power to direct his future.”

Beyond the Big Society idea, Alinsky's preoccupation with the combination of opposites suggests another discourse underpinning the surprise joining of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives:

Perhaps also welcome is the notion of open-ended. Alinsky quotes Niels Bohr, speaking out against dogmatic ideology “Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.” (4)

He further explores dualities such as ying and yang etc

“We know intellectually that everything is functionally interrelated, but in our operations we segment and isolate all values and issues.” (15)

He further quotes Bohr on complementarity “There is not so much hope if we have only one difficulty, but when we have two we can match them off against each other.”

and on p. 16 Alinsky quotes the philosopher Whitehead

“In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of a defeat; but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards a victory”

The jury's still out on politics, philosophy, radicalism; the Big Society Rulebook is yet to be written. I tend to agree with Alinksy at this point: there are more questions than answers

Have the subversives really taken over the Conservatives?

I look forward to reading your Toolkits and Action Plans. Look out for my forthcoming blog 'The Spectre of Community'.