Gabriele Pedullà’s In Broad Daylight: Movies and Spectators After the Cinema has been reviewed recently in both the Guardian and international film magazine, Sight & Sound.
In his Non-fiction roundup, the Guardian’s Steven Poole sets the scene:
Going to the cinema used to be the only way you could watch a film. Now you can do it anywhere. Pedullà's interesting little book announces that the age of the cinema theatre as the form's primary "aesthetic device" is over.
Our age, Pedullà fears, has lost touch with the "tragic", and we are reduced to "docile consumers of à la carte emotions".
Claire Bishop, author of Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, writes for the Guardian this week on the history and current popularity of participatory art. Bishop contextualises where Tino Sehgal’s latest work These Associations, which opened to the public this week as the 13th Unilever Commission in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern gallery in London.
It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Alexander Cockburn, our good friend and staunch comrade, a wonderfully gifted writer and courageous journalist. We were privileged to publish half a dozen of his books, each major contributions to the culture and politics of the Left. Corruptions of Empire, published in 1988, displayed the impressive range of his writings, from trenchant indictments of imperialism and biting satire of liberal humbug to lyrical memories of his childhood and sardonic observation of the ruling order. Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers and Defenders of the Amazon, written with Susanna Hecht, remains an exemplary account of a ravaged planet. Washington Babylon, written with Ken Silverstein, is a classic exposé of US politics and business. Each of these books went through many editions.
Across more than four decades Cockburn was a relentless and prophetic opponent of US militarism—his brothers Patrick and Andrew ensured that Alexander’s polemics were very well informed. We were proud to publish such works as Imperial Crusades (2004), written with Jeffrey St Clair and exploring the interconnections of the US wars of intervention. Alexander wrote for a wide spectrum of publications, with columns at different epochs in the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal as well as the Village Voice (in its heyday) and the Nation. ‘Press Clips’ in the Village Voice set new standards for scrutiny of print and broadcast media. Alexander’s ‘Beat the Devil’ column in the Nation ran for nearly three decades and established him as the most radical, literate, consistent, uncompromising—and witty—voice of the Left in the United States. Cockburn was a long-time editor of the London-based New Left Review. In the 1990s, with Jeffrey St Clair, Alexander founded Counterpunch, the much-consulted political newsletter and website. The response to 9/11 was soon to show the necessity for independent media outlets. At some future date we hope to contribute to an appropriate memorial to ‘Alexander the Brilliant’ - as Edward Said once called him. In the meantime, all our sympathy goes out to his cruelly-bereaved family and friends.
Published last September, Melissa Benn’s School Wars was very much a product of its time. The year before its publication was an occasionally empowering but often crippling time to be a student, both in terms of morale and the bank balance – or extended overdraft in most cases. In August 2010, many misguidedly put their faith in - and more detrimentally gave their vote to - a Tory-boy masquerading behind a yellow tie. This was then followed in November by the protests at Millbank: demonstrations that had some appalled at the rage they witnessed in the streets, and others relieved that young people appeared to have finally woken up. Then, in August 2011, the frustrations of a “disenfranchised youth” culminated in riots and it became plain for all the world to see that the younger generation in Britain had in many ways been failed and were now demanding better.
A high-profile campaigner for comprehensive education and frequent broadcaster and regular speaker for educational issues, Melissa Benn is a founder member of the Local Schools Network, set up to support local schools and to counter media misinformation about their achievements and the challenges they face. Almost a year on from the publication of School Wars and “as the debate about British education becomes increasingly fractious”, Melissa Benn spoke to Ed Lewis at the New Left Project last week about developments regarding government strategy, the role of Ofsted and the nature of the response from the NUT.
The essence of Owen Hatherley’s new book, A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain, was well captured this week in a review by Gavin Bowd for Scotland on Sunday:
“In this hugely depressing but supremely entertaining book, the radical critic sets off on a series of urban trawls, skewering the UK’s neoliberal dystopia while seeking out solace in the past and future.”
Visit Scotland on Sunday to read the review in full.