Book Review: From Méliès to New Media: Spectral Projections

Reviewed by Amy Ione, August 2020
Leonardo Reviews, https://www.leonardo.info/review/2020/08/from-melies-to-new-media-spectral-projections

From Méliès to New Media: Spectral Projections is an exploration of the presence and importance of film history in contemporary digital culture. Using a media archaeology approach, the author, Wendy Haslem, aims to demonstrate that innovative new media forms are not only indebted to, but firmly embedded within the traditions and conventions of early film culture. Throughout the book Haslem presents an array of projects that deftly move through topics, like indexicality, semiotics, memory, and digital restoration to light, materiality/immateriality, creative experimentation, time and obsolescence. While the overall goal is to introduce a new language of cinema and an alternative approach to historiography, the net result is a good start but falls short. The study is strongest and most original when presenting contemporary projects and examples of spectacle. Haslem tells us:

“Many of the films that I explore in this book favour spectacle over realism, some prioritize non-linear, experimental narration over linear, classical narrative form. Many of the older (and some of the newer) films exhibit surfaces etched with markers of time, and as such, they provide a rich surface aesthetic to encounter and explore. My approach to writing on film has always been to try to explore the surface of the film itself. That means prioritizing the aesthetic, looking for moments where details of the spectacle reveal history. My tendency is to zoom into surface details, focusing on the traces of celluloid that remain present within a digital ecology. Material detail, surface, aesthetic and mise-en-scéne drive my film analysis. This is also an approach that prioritizes the senses. (p. 28)

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ChildArt July-September 2020 issue now online

The current issue of ChildArt is now online. This issue is published in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Institutes of Health, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. You can find it at https://icaf.org/childart/ChildArt_ArtforHealth_July-Sept2020.pdf

Published by the  International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), this group also  produces the World Children’s Festival, which is postponed this year due to Covid-19. It will now take place on July 30th–August 1st, 2021 at The National Mall across from the U.S. Capitol.

As Ashfaq Ishaq, the Founder and Chair of ICAF, points out in the forward to this issue:

“While we rely on science to free us from Covid-19, art opens windows to new vistas and can serve as a mirror for self-improvement.”

Lecture: Working Across Disciplines: Figuring Out How to Figure it Out Together

Working Across Disciplines: Figuring Out How to Figure it Out Together with Tedi Asher and Trevor Smith
Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Trevor Smith, Curator of the Present Tense, and Tedi Asher, Neuroscience Researcher, will share their own collaborative experiences at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) to reflect on reciprocity between the arts and sciences in a museum context, processes relevant to cultivating connections (institutionally and interpersonally) between these fields, and the role that field-specific content (e.g. artwork, data), and our experience of that content, can play in mediating such connections and reciprocal exchange.

Register: https://theopenscholar.com/event/tedi-asher-and-trevor-smith

Leonardo Reviews Posted July 2020

Leonardo Reviews is pleased to announce this month’s reviews posting.

Soundtracking Germany: Popular Music and National Identity
by Melanie Schiller
Reviewed by Beate Peter

Planet of the Humans
by Jeff Gibbs, Director; Michael Moore, Executive Producer
Reviewed by George Gessert

History of Stereoscopic Photography: Virtual 3D-Con 2020

Sessions on the History of Stereoscopic Photography at the Virtual 3D-Con 2020, the National Stereoscopic Society

August 14, 2020, 7:30-11:30 a.m., Pacific Time

Free to the Public

Register here:  http://www.3d-con.com/registration.php

Speaking of Amy Johnson, A Pioneering English Pilot

Today I learned about Amy Johnson (1903-1941), a pioneering English pilot, who was the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, she set many long-distance records during the 1930s. She flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary and died during a ferry flight.
Here’s a wonderful song about her and some newsreel footage.

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New Health Humanities Initiative: CoVid-19: Critical/Creative Studies in Music, Image, and Text

As the outlook surrounding the crisis continues to worsen in the US and around the world, the project carries with it a critical commitment to supporting artists and theorists developing new work and thought responding to the pandemic in real time.

Registration in advance is required, here

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Now Online: Situationist Times!

The extensive publication on The Situationist Times is out now with more or less global distribution. It is accompanied by a website that makes the entire corpus of the magazine freely available: http://vandal.ist/thesituationisttimes

Table of contents and introduction are available at https://files.cargocollective.com/c464040/These-are-Situationist-Times_3-14.pdf

Christopher Tyler discusses three books published by Diatrope Press

Complete Illustrated Edition of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci, from Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects by Giorgio Vasari.. Edited with complete illustrations and annotations by Christopher W. Tyler. Color illustrations throughout. This is the only edition of Vasari’s Life of da Vinci that illustrates every single painting and sculpture mentioned by Vasari. Translated by Gaston du C. De Vere (The Medici Society/Macmillan: London, 1912-1915).

Portraits of his Daughters by Thomas Gainsborough commemorates two delightful sisters painted by their father, the famous 18th century English painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). The daughters are buried together at St Mary’s Church, Hanwell. In 1809, the rector of the Church, George Henry Glass, built the Hanwell cottage where a fountain inscribed in memory of two sisters makes an interesting link with the Gainsborough daughters. Illustrations on every page.

Parallel Alices: Alice through the Looking Glass of Eleanor of Aquitaine. New insights into historical roots of Alice in Wonderland. Examines the historical lines of the Alice books by Lewis Carroll through the historical sources at the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine. 170p. 6×9″ inches. Includes timelines, glossary, bibliography.