Documentary

My Octopus Teacher

Netflix
by
17 February 2021

In the hands of an occupational hygienist, the combination of light and a fluid medium is a scientific tool to demonstrate the flow of vapours, the way aerosols hang suspended in the air, tiny particles that linger and drift, hovering like miasmas. When the gaseous medium of air is freighted with moisture, light makes air visible, revealing it as dense and saturated. This sudden revelation brings into sharp relief the normally unseen residues that we share with those around us each time we breathe and speak – potentially lethal fluid vectors of contamination. However, if we step back from the anxiety this revelation might induce, we can see this demonstration as a key to understanding how an encounter between linear streams of light and meandering fractals of a fluid medium is at the core of some of the most exquisite and enlivening aesthetic experiences in contemporary culture.

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The Social Dilemma 

Netflix
by
21 September 2020

If you watch one film about technology this year, make it this one. The Social Dilemma (Netflix) features almost every tech insider turned outsider. There’s Tristan Harris, Google’s former chief design ethicist who famously dissented over the company’s attention/addiction business model. There’s Justin Rosenstein, the inventor of the Facebook ‘like’ button, who now regrets his invention. There’s Guillaume Chaslot, inventor of the YouTube recommendations system, who now regrets his invention. There’s Jaron Lanier, founder of virtual reality, who now wants people to delete their social media accounts. There’s Shoshana Zuboff, author of last year’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, who blew the lid on the whole game. And that’s just in the first few minutes.

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Feature-length documentary film has seldom been as commercially successful as fictional drama at the box office. Nevertheless, Nick Fraser tells us that it is now ‘common to hear documentary film described as the new rock ‘n’ roll’. It is exactly this energy, influence, and popular appeal of documentary that Fraser wants to tap into with this book. He seeks to further enliven the documentary aficionado’s appreciation of the genre and to expand their knowledge of titles and filmmakers.

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Australian Documentary: History, Practices, Genres by Trish FitzSimons, Pat Laughren, and Dugald Williamson

by
May 2011, no. 331

The concept of ‘documentary’ is a slippery customer. It may start with John Grierson’s ‘creative treatment of actuality’, but, like holding water in your hand, it bleeds across media from film into television and digital media, and across modes in one direction into news reporting and in the other into docudrama ...

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