Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Wednesday!

“There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.” -Isaac Asimov

Happy Wednesday!

Videos first:

We live in the future. 

What do those three videos have in common? One hundred years ago, none of them could have existed. One hundred years ago was the very dawn of film itself, and while both live action and animation had become popular, and integrated sound was only fifteen years away, these short films could not have been made.

The first video is actually Japanese, meaning that even if it had been made, I (being an American) would never have seen it and you (being someone who is communicating with an American) would never have been exposed to it. Additionally, the animation style is a sort common to Western tradition and bears little similarity with traditional Japanese illustration.

The second video features two families of mixed race enjoying entertainment together. This would not have happened one hundred years ago. Further, the game they are playing appears to be a (fairly loose) variation of trivial pursuit, a game invented in 1979.

The third video would likely have fallen victim to moralist censorship regimes common even in America a hundred years ago and in many parts of the world today.

Furthermore, all three videos are fundamentally postmodern enterprises. Postmodernism gets a bad rap, in large part because it includes such works as the third video, but without postmodern philosophy informing all three videos, none of them would have been made.

Po-Mo gets attacked for asking abstract-seeming questions like "how does form inform meaning?" in all sorts of inappropriate contexts, and yet it is the very form of the first video that helps build the world, which subtly changes the story from, blind girl runs around, a tale which could have been told in the past, to a tale of childish whimsy. Yes, there have been blind characters since ancient times, but in this video the young girl is not a symbol of anything, she is not romanticized or made super-human, she just goes on an adventure to find a dog. This powerful de-otherization has been a strong driving artistic force only in very recent times.

Similarly, without the techniques of absurdity, without the surrealist disconnection that arose as an artistic force only after World War 1 (and in large part as a reaction to it), neither of the other two videos could have existed.

We live in the future.

Happy Wednesday!

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