November 9, 2008

CHAPTER VII : TELEVISION

the video
This scene was shot at the restaurant La Contéa, in Neive, a little town in the province of Cuneo in italy, around the table are Luciano Rigolini (comissionning editor for the french german channel Arte), Claire Simon (a director who has a film opening in France this week: les bureaux de Dieux), film critic Scott Foundas and Kim and Orin Domenico

Don't hesitate to react. Send comments, pictures, videos, audios...

write us at camerawar@gmail.com

9 comments:

  1. I believe I saw others around the table as well. :-)

    ... An interesting conversation. Since I know Orin, I have heard his arguments, but it was interesting to hear some other viewpoints.

    I find myself somewhere in the middle, here. Which is very rare.

    While I agree with Orin that the United States culture is vacuous, I do not agree however that inexpensive digital video cameras are necessarily a bad thing. The woman Claire pointed out that she had seen two children who were making funny sitcoms, and Scott was paraphrasing a film maker when he said that only NOW will we know who the great film makers since cameras are becoming ubiquitous.

    If this plethora of video cameras are used for nothing more than to point at policemen, to enforce their good behaviour, then it's a good thing.

    I'm reminded of a film I saw a few years ago in which VERY POOR children from India were given cameras to explore their creative sides, to both create art, and to show the children that there are things out there worth living for, and looking forward to... and most of these children excelled. This raised their self esteem, and raised their expectations about their own lives. Should we have not given these cameras to these children because they represent evil technology? In having done so, did they suddenly become McDonalds spokes-people?

    One example that I am always hearing from one of the people was at that table is: "I can't think of a good use for an atomic bomb...."

    Well one day, perhaps in the not so distant future, we may need to detonate a nuclear weapon near an asteroid to alter its trajectory so that it doesn't collide with Earth.

    Sounds like a great use of an atomic bomb to me...

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is the seventh week on line. It has been an exhilarating ride! I have been traveling, shooting and editing since August 25th. Thousands of people in 106 countries have watched the chapters. In several weeks I will be in Paris and then around the world to continue filming. The story unfolds. I want to thank all the people who are following the chapters.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When will you be back in Utica? I almost have the Podcasting studio in my apartment finished! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. In response to Rich and Claire,I think that Luciano was trying to draw a distinction between individuals owning video cameras and broadcast television. That distinction was somewhat lost as the conversation progressed. The evil that I was discussing there was broadcast television. I wasn't even thinking about the home use of the technology; though, to be honest, I'm not terribly fond of it. I like the use that Lech is putting that technology to here in Camerawar, but I'm not sure that any of this electronic shit is going to part of a sustainable future, including computers.

    As it stands, television has clearly played a pivotal role in turning citizens into consumers and along with compulsory education has led to an incredible dumbing down of the American people. It is also instrumental in the spreading of corporate culture throughout the world and in the intentional destruction of indigenous cultures. I guess I regret getting so hot in the discussion of TV at La Contea, but I do hate fucking television.

    Orin

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, clearly there is a huge difference between people owning video cameras, and broadcast television. The two can barely be equated.

    If your argument is that mass production of electronic devices (which is an industry that pollutes massively, and then there's the disposal of the devices when they break and/or are antiquated) is not part of a sustainable future, then you're probably right.

    But that does not mean that people can not do creative things with the devices themselves. To me those ideas are mutually exclusive.

    I do not disagree that television for the most part is bad. I believe you once said that television was the greatest gift ever given to Wall Street, and you're probably correct.

    I have a nice television, but I bought it largely to watch films in an immersive environment. I watch exactly one network TV show, and a few cable shows per week.

    It would have been a pleasure to have been a part of these conversations at this restaurant. I would be curious to hear more of what Claire has to say, despite the fact that it appeared as though that she missed the nuances of what some of you were saying since English isn't her first language.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I found myself wanting to return to this conversation even before Rich posted his most recent comment. I have come to question my choice of the word "evil" to describe any of the technologies that I object to. Perhaps a better choice would be inappropriate. Ivan Illich wrote long ago in Tools for Conviviality about how technologies cross certain threshold points where they no longer serve us but rather we end up serving them. Many indigenous societies relied upon elders to decide whether the tribe would adopt certain new technologies. The elders would consider what were apt to be the long term consequences of adopting a technology. We, in our modern "democratic" societies allow commercial interests to make these decisions for us. If they can make it and sell it then we deploy it.

    Some might ask "how are we going to know what effect a technology is going to have on the future?" While we might not be able to predict exactly where a technology is liable to lead us, but through dialogue, conversation, careful consideration and debate we can make some pretty good estimations. For instance, many visionaries, such as B.Traven predicted quite accurately at the very beginning of the automobile age the terrible destructive effects the car would have on community life, on our cities and on the natural world.

    To return to the atom bomb example, yes Rich, it would be a cool use of the atom bomb to divert an asteroid from destroying earth but does that slim eventuality justify our having built and stockpiled these awful devices? Does it make Nagasaki and Hiroshima all right? Does it make acceptable the fear of nuclear annihilation that people my age around the world grew up with just hunky dory? Does it make acceptable the terror we now live with of terrorists getting their hands on a bomb or the terror others must experience of our country having a nuclear arsenal that some people seem to be just itching to use?

    I tend to look at the real results that a technology has produced in the world rather than at some theoretical good they might produce in some Utopian future. I have for most of my life enjoyed watching sports on TV, but would I gladly have given all that up to erase the terrible damage TV has done to individuals and to community? You bet your ass I would! The very fact that many people can't imagine what they'd do with themselves and their lives without TV tells you everything you need to know about how destructive it has been. It is not a coincidence that we have become a nation of ignorant, docile, consumers. It happened by design, and TV has played a central role in the implementation of that design.

    While I was at the cigar shop trying to enjoy a quiet smoke yesterday, they had a the Travel Channel on the big, flat-screen, high-def boob tube. Some really cool looking older American dude with perfect hair and a killer casual wardrobe was touring back country Laos with a Laotian guide. The show, which was extremely well produced and which featured breathtaking cinematography, presented a balanced view of the country. It even included a segment on the job of clearing the land of the tons of unexploded ordinance from the illegal American bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War. There are, for instance, estimated to be over 70 million ball-shaped, little anti-personal cluster bombs littering the land waiting to kill maim innocent Laotians who weren't even born when the War was fought. (Another fucking wonderful technology that I hope someone is buring in hell for developing.) At the end of his wonderful visit to this beautiful and still largely traditional land, the host laments how shows like this one are going to lead to an onslaught of tourists and then to the "inevitable" development and industrialization of this "natural" place. I want to know why we call such intentional human behavior as "development" inevitable?

    Orin

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would certainly not use my asteroid argument to defend nuclear proliferation, or the use of nucelar weapons against japan. I was only thinking of an abstract (or perhaps not so) example where a nuclear weapon would do some good.

    Obviously we don't want "terrorists" getting their hands on a nuclear device, but I don't think there's a high likelihood of that happening, and I'm surprised you even used that example since it's been a classic argument used by the right to defend our actions in the middle east.

    It's also fair to say that we don't know what events would or would not have transpired if we didn't have television,or iPods, or X-Boxes, or cell phones. It's very easy and convenient to argue that things would bet better, but there's simply no way of knowing.

    We are a curious species that likes to learn, and the development of "new things" is a part of that whether we like it or not. The elites certainly benefit from the vacuous and docile sheep that we have in this country, but progress would happen whether there were elites or not, egging it on or influencing it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ...and of course, something that occurred to me, is that artificial knee replacements are certainly a form of modern technology. Should those afflicted with damaged joints be made to suffer for the rest of their lives?

    ReplyDelete

Your comments!