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robertogreco : wernerherzog   10

Werner Herzog Taps into the Humanity of the Internet
"At this point, it seems like Herzog has to be knowingly participating in his own memes of production. He’s certainly aware of people using him in memes: in a video over at The Daily Beast in which he analyzes Kanye West’s “Famous,” he observes that “there’s a lot of doppelgängers pretending to be me, trying to speak in my accent, my voice, answering things on Facebook, on Twitter. It’s all impostors.” In that same video, he describes storytelling as the art of telling one narrative while simultaneously in pursuit of a “parallel story that only occurs in the collective mind of the audience.” The parallel story I found myself faced with while watching Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, Herzog’s most recent documentary, was one of taking a subject readily dismissed with memetic shorthand (the internet) and exploring its deeper, weirder truths. As in many of his other films, the subject matter is paradoxically both crucial and incidental: Lo and Behold is a film about the internet in the same way that Fitzcarraldo is about an opera house, or Grizzly Man is about some guy who really liked bears. Herzog makes films about humans trying to actualize dreams — about people in pursuit of something far greater than themselves, and the contradictions and calamities endured in that pursuit.

In Lo and Behold, he at times goes for breadth over depth, providing fairly superficial context for topics as far-flung as internet history, radiation sickness, game addiction, artificial intelligence, cyberwarfare, and the Internet of Things. Herzog treats his interview subjects (who range from legends of internet history to recovering gaming addicts to cosmologists studying deep space) to disarmingly intimate questions about the ambitions of technology, such as “Does the internet dream of itself?” Intermittently he ruminates on malevolent dwarves and fantasizes about a Chicago emptied of humans by a successful SpaceX mission to Mars (a sequence that made me long for a Herzog documentary about the internet that veers deeper into the kind of illuminating absurdity he pulled off so beautifully in Lessons of Darkness — what would a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi history of the internet look and sound like, and could anyone but Herzog pull it off?).

It’s in the midst of these weird ruminations, as well as the more polished invective, that it’s hard to believe Herzog isn’t in on the joke of his own memeification. There is little in this world as satisfying as listening to Werner Herzog express disgust at or disdain for something — and little as unnerving, as his loathing often suggests a way of living few are capable of pulling off. When Herzog declares the hallways of UCLA’s Boelter Hall “repulsive” before entering the college’s weird shrine to the “birthplace of the internet,” the audience doesn’t laugh because the hallway is perfectly fine — we laugh because we have no better way to contend with the idea of living a life in such uncompromising pursuit of what Herzog calls “ecstatic truth” that an uninspiring hallway can inspire revulsion. It’s also, frankly, far easier and more entertaining to formulaically imitate Herzogian disgust than Herzogian joy: just insert the words “agony,” “murder,” or “unbearable cruelty of the universe” into a sentence, deliver with flat Bavarian intensity, and boom! You’ve invoked all the signifiers of Herzog without having to contend with the actual strangeness or complexity of his oeuvre (she typed, after renewing the domain name wernerherzogvalentines.com).

Some of the most compelling aspects of Lo and Behold aren’t Herzog providing tweetable, nihilistic soundbites, however; they’re moments that showcase the deep generosity and compassion that the filmmaker affords many of his subjects. For example, the victims of radio sensitivity (people made physically ill by cell phone and wifi signals) that Herzog meets in the National Radio Quiet Zone are granted a degree of dignity and kindness that, it’s clear in interviews, they were rarely offered while living in our hypermediated world. Herzog even elicits compassion for figures I might otherwise have been hard-pressed to find redeeming. In one sequence, he juxtaposes astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz’s devastating critique of Mars exploration with an immediate cut to a silent, sullen-looking Elon Musk. It would have been easy to let that zinger stand, but instead, after a long silence, the tech billionaire and SpaceX founder proceeds to respond to an unheard question about his dreams, confessing that he “only remembers the nightmares.” In that moment, Musk briefly ceases to be the cartoonish Bond villain I typically take him for and reveals himself as just another vulnerable, terrified man trying to build something greater than himself in a world that he clearly suspects is too far gone for salvation.

There are a few chapters of the film that touch on doomsday anxieties and depression at the cruelties of humanity — a story about the unspeakable cruelty of online mobs, discussion of the possibility of a solar flare destroying all human communication systems, a look at the threats of cyber warfare and the inherent insecurity of the network — but they’re presented not as cautions against a networked world so much as the grave realities of it. We continue to live in and build a networked world in spite of all those harms and threats — in spite of not knowing what benefits actually emerge from, say, building football-playing robots capable of defeating a FIFA World Cup champion. When Herzog asks Joydeep Biswas, the Carnegie Mellon student working on those football-playing robots, if he loves one of the particularly talented machines, Biswas’s sincere, enthusiastic “yes” isn’t really played for laughs, any more than the film’s closing sequence of residents in the National Radio Quiet Zone enjoying the simpler pleasures of their offline community. It’s by diving into that very human in spite of that Herzog reminds me why his disdainful bon mots are more hopeful and more generous than he’s often given credit for, and where the film offers some of its more compelling observations."
wernerherzog  internet  film  2016  ingridburrington  documentary  dignity  kindness  elonmusk  humanity  humans 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Werner Herzog on the future of film school, critical connectivity, and Pokémon Go | The Verge
"EY: Have you seen any changes or shifts in the work and in the submissions over the past seven years?

WH: There are always surprises. All of a sudden there is a film that is not really accomplished, but in the film there is a minute of utterly new unseen stuff that just makes you sit down and take a deep breath. Those are the [filmmakers] I would invite [to Rogue Film School], those who are not following on the trodden path. The MasterClass speaks to you in the same way. Find your own voice, do not just stupidly and blindly follow the so-called rules of storytelling in terms of screenplays, the three-act theory, all these things. Find your voice, find your own identity, don't be afraid just to step into it.

Because today it's fairly easy; you can make a film with a very high caliber camera that's not expensive anymore. You can record sound on your cell phone if you add a good microphone and you can edit your film on your laptop. In other words, you can make a feature film for $10,000 or under. And that's what I keep telling the students or those who watch the MasterClass: don't wait for the system to accept you. You create your own system, create your own [budget] and make your own first feature film or your first own documentary.

EY: More and more that DIY spirit is the dominant attitude of young filmmakers, especially those putting their work directly online. Do you think traditional film school will ever go extinct?

WH: No, unfortunately they are not going to go completely extinct; I wish they would. I wish everybody would come out of nowhere and be self-taught by life itself, by the world itself. No, [film school is] going to stay because there is a general demand for content, let's say, on television. And the film industry has some sort of a permanent demand for content. Let it be like that. I do not want to challenge it. But when you look into my MasterClass you better be out for something else."



"WH: No, you shouldn't watch it [the MasterClass] all at once. That would be completely mad. And be careful with the assignments, because sometimes I would say you do not need to follow them. Create your own assignments, be intelligent. Giving assignments, it reeks of high school and getting homework.

EY: Some people respond to that though, some people like that.

WH: Yes, but I always was reluctant to give any assignments. But it's fine. Let it be as it is. It's part of the format and it's part of the charm of it. When it comes to assignment I'm not the one who should be a high school principal.

EY: Right.

WH: I'd rather jump from Golden Gate Bridge if that happens.

EY: I asked about film school because I graduated from a film program less than a decade ago, and already many of the technical skills I learned are outdated. And it seems the things that remain are very personal lessons that usually don't come from the curriculum itself.

WH: Yeah, certain things you can neither learn in film school nor let's say the MasterClass nor in the Rogue Film School. It's just life, raw life as it is has to give you insight and has to allow you to make the right decisions and ask the right questions and gathering enough courage to do something."



"WH: If you are too much into the internet, yes, because it's a parallel surrogate life. It has nothing to do with the real world or examination of the real world, if you delegate too much to your cell phone and applications."



"WH: You see, I come from a world where you touch things, like a roll of celluloid. But I have to get better accustomed to the virtual world."



EY: Lo and Behold is officially being released in August, but in the meantime you've had the chance to screen it several times. What kinds of reactions have you gotten, especially from people who are perhaps more embedded in the "connected world" than you are?

WH: Well, everybody has been enthusiastic so far and the buzz is enormous. I never expected it, because in the beginning I was to do some YouTube tips on texting and driving. The financiers of the film, NETSCOUT, understood there was something much, much bigger and they supported me with that. The response has been totally unprecedented for me. What is also remarkable I get a lot of emails nowadays [from] 12, 14, 15-year-olds. And that's something really surprising because they speak a different language, the language of their age group. And yet [they are] making some very intelligent remarks."
wernerherzog  masterclass  education  filmmaking  2016  interviews  emilyyoshida  experience  unschooling  deschooling  internet  virtualreality  pokémongo  pokémon  pokemon  making  observation  roguefilmschool  diy  film  documentary  assignments  howweteach  howwelearn  learning  teaching  pokemongo  edg  srg  vr 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Werner-Herzog comenta en I am Werner Herzog, the filmmaker. AMA.
"Q: You’ve covered everything from the prehistoric Chauvet Cave to the impending overthrow of not-so-far-off futuristic artificial intelligence. What about humankind's history/capability terrifies you the most?

A: It's a difficult question, because it encompasses almost all of human history so far. What is interesting about this paleolithic cave is that we see with our own eyes the origins, the beginning of the modern human soul. These people were like us, and what their concept of art was, we do not really comprehend fully. We can only guess.

And of course now today, we are into almost futuristic moments where we create artificial intelligence and we may not even need other human beings anymore as companions. We can have fluffy robots, and we can have assistants who brew the coffee for us and serve us to the bed, and all these things. So we have to be very careful and should understand what basic things, what makes us human, what essentially makes us into what we are. And once we understand that, we can make our educated choices, and we can use our inner filters, our conceptual filters. How far would we use artificial intelligence? How far would we trust, for example into the logic of a self-driving car? Will it crash or not if we don't look after the steering wheel ourselves?

So, we should make a clear choice, what we would like to preserve as human beings, and for that, for these kinds of conceptual answers, I always advise to read books. Read read read read read! And I say that not only to filmmakers, I say that to everyone. People do not read enough, and that's how you create critical thinking, conceptual thinking. You create a way of how to shape your life. Although, it seems to elude us into a pseudo-life, into a synthetic life out there in cyberspace, out there in social media. So it's good that we are using Facebook, but use it wisely."
via:savasavasava  wernerherzog  2016  reading  ai  artificialintelligence  humanity  humans  humanism  criticalthinking  coneptualithinking  thinking  howwething  howwelearn  socialmedia  cyberspace  redditama 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Insignificant Bullets, Evil Poachers, and L.A. Culture | Work in Progress
"PC: You live in Los Angeles, home of sun, surf and vitamins.

WH: I leave such things—including gyms, exercising in public and tanning salons, all the idiocies of modern urban life—to Californians. I have been down to Venice Beach, where the musclemen congregate, only a couple of times, and that was to show it to some curious friends. What I like about Los Angeles is that it allows everyone to live his or her own lifestyle. Drive around the hills and you find a Moorish castle next to a Swiss chalet sitting beside a house shaped like a UFO. There is a lot of creative energy in Los Angeles not channelled into the film business. Florence and Venice have great surface beauty, but as cities they feel like museums, whereas for me Los Angeles is the city in America with the most substance, even if it’s raw, uncouth and sometimes quite bizarre. Wherever you look is an immense depth, a tumult that resonates with me. New York is more concerned with finance than anything else. It doesn’t create culture, only consumes it; most of what you find in New York comes from elsewhere. Things actually get done in Los Angeles. Look beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and a wild excitement of intense dreams opens up; it has more horizons than any other place. There is a great deal of industry in the city and a real working class; I also appreciate the vibrant presence of the Mexicans. In the last half century every significant cultural and technical trend has emerged from California, including the Free Speech Movement and the acceptance of gays and lesbians as an integral part of a dignified society, computers and the Internet, and—thanks to Hollywood—the collective dreams of the entire world. A fascinating density of things exists there like nowhere else in the world. Muslim fundamentalism is probably the only contemporary mass movement that wasn’t born there. One reason I’m so comfortable in Los Angeles is that Hollywood doesn’t need me and I don’t need Hollywood. I rarely involve myself with industry rituals and am rarely on the red carpet.

Of course, California is also where some of humanity’s most astonishing stupidities started, like the hippie movement, New Age babble, stretch limos, pyramid energy, plastic surgery, yoga classes for children, vitamins and marijuana smoking. Whenever someone wants to pass on “good vibes” to me, I look for the nearest empty elevator shaft. There are a lot of well-educated people doing very silly things in Los Angeles, like a man in my neighbourhood who one day casually mentioned his cat was in some sort of a frenzy, so he called the cat psychic. He put the receiver to his pet’s ear and for $200 the animal’s problems were solved. I would rather jump off the Golden Gate Bridge than visit a psychiatrist. Self-scrutiny is a strong taboo for me, and if I had to stop and analyse myself, there’s no doubt I would end up wrapped around the next tree. Psychoanalysis is no more scientific than the cranial surgery practiced under the middle-period pharaohs, and by jerking the deepest secrets out into the open, it denies and destroys the great mysteries of our souls. Human beings illuminated to the last corner of their darkest soul are unbearable, the same way an apartment is uninhabitable if every corner is flooded with light. The Spanish Inquisition was a similar mistake in human history, forcing people to disclose the innermost nature of their religious faith. It did no good to anyone.

But ranting about cultural decay isn’t very useful. The poet must not avert his eyes. When you look at the cultural shifts that have taken place over the centuries in the representation of female beauty, for example, someone as uncouth as Anna Nicole Smith becomes fascinating. The earliest representations of females are small statues from forty thousand years ago, like the Venus of Willendorf, with no face but a massive belly and breasts; this is apparently an idealized version of fertility and fecundity. Greek antiquity has its own well-known Venuses, and in late-mediaeval paintings we see fragile Madonnas, with porcelain-like skin and small breasts. Rubens’s Three Graces, by comparison, are real porkers. With Anna Nicole Smith, the ideal of femininity was transformed into comic-book proportions. When combined in one person, breast enhancement, Botox and lip augmentation make for a walking art installation. However vulgar she was, there was something of great enormity and momentousness about Anna Nicole. I wish I had made a film with her."

[via: http://submittedforyourperusal.com/2015/06/29/werner-herzog-on-los-angeles/ ]
wernerherzog  losangeles  2014  california  culture  cities 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Matt Jones: Jumping to the End -- Practical Design Fiction on Vimeo
[Matt says (http://magicalnihilism.com/2015/03/06/my-ixd15-conference-talk-jumping-to-the-end/ ):

"This talk summarizes a lot of the approaches that we used in the studio at BERG, and some of those that have carried on in my work with the gang at Google Creative Lab in NYC.

Unfortunately, I can’t show a lot of that work in public, so many of the examples are from BERG days…

Many thanks to Catherine Nygaard and Ben Fullerton for inviting me (and especially to Catherine for putting up with me clowning around behind here while she was introducing me…)"]

[At ~35:00:
“[(Copy)Writers] are the fastest designers in the world. They are amazing… They are just amazing at that kind of boiling down of incredibly abstract concepts into tiny packages of cognition, language. Working with writers has been my favorite thing of the last two years.”
mattjones  berg  berglondon  google  googlecreativelab  interactiondesign  scifi  sciencefiction  designfiction  futurism  speculativefiction  julianbleecker  howwework  1970s  comics  marvel  marvelcomics  2001aspaceodyssey  fiction  speculation  technology  history  umbertoeco  design  wernerherzog  dansaffer  storytelling  stories  microinteractions  signaturemoments  worldbuilding  stanleykubrick  details  grain  grammars  computervision  ai  artificialintelligence  ui  personofinterest  culture  popculture  surveillance  networks  productdesign  canon  communication  johnthackara  macroscopes  howethink  thinking  context  patternsensing  systemsthinking  systems  mattrolandson  objects  buckminsterfuller  normanfoster  brianarthur  advertising  experiencedesign  ux  copywriting  writing  film  filmmaking  prototyping  posters  video  howwewrite  cognition  language  ara  openstudioproject  transdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  sketching  time  change  seams  seamlessness 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Jóhann Jóhannsson | Fordlândia
"The album has a theme, although it's more loose and open to interpretation than on my last album, IBM 1401, a User's Manual.

One of the two main threads running through it is this idea of failed utopia, as represented by the "Fordlândia" title - the story of the rubber plantation Henry Ford established in the Amazon in the 1920’s, and his dreams of creating an idealized American town in the middle of the jungle complete with white picket fences, hamburgers and alcohol prohibition. The project – started because of the high price Ford had to pay for the rubber necessary for his cars’ tyres – failed, of course, as the indigenous workers soon rioted against the alien conditions. It reminded me of Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, this doomed attempt at taming the heart of darkness. The remains of the town are still there today. The image of the Amazon forest slowly and surely reclaiming the ruins of Fordlândia is the one that gave spark to this album…"
fordlandia  jóhannjøhannsson  music  utopia  machines  henryford  amazon  wernerherzog  alejandrojodorowsky  kennethanger 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Leigh Blackall: Notes on Herzog's film: Where Green Ants Dream
"Where The Green Ants Dream is a MUST see for anyone interested in the issues between indigenous and migrant Australia, land rights, traditions vs change, and the question of sustainability. Herzog, devoted this film to his mother, and took liberties in the basis of the story, making it entirely a work of fiction, but it is none-the-less based a whole range of real events. He certainly captures the depth of the issues, in a way Herzog only can, offering us in Australia, the valuable perspective of a thinking outsider to our plights. As always, the audio commentary from Herzog in the extra features of the DVD is well worth a viewing also."
wernerherzog  leighblackall  australia  aborigines  indigenous  film  sustainability  westernworld  westernculture  landrights  tradition  change  wheregreenantsdream 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Where the Green Ants Dream - Wikipedia
"Where the Green Ants Dream (German: Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen) is a 1984 film by German film director Werner Herzog. It is set in the Australian desert and is about a land feud between a mining company and the native Aborigines. The Aborigines claim that an area the mining company wishes to work on is the place where green ants dream, and that disturbing them will destroy humanity. The film was entered into the 1984 Cannes Film Festival."
film  wernerherzog  towatch  australia  aborigines  mining  development  landfeuds  1984  via:leighblackall 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Jonathan Harris . The fading light
""It seems like anytime I go on a trip with someone, we end up breaking up right afterwards," I said. "But for me, I don't think it's because the excitement is gone. For me I think it's something different. It's like, there are these gaps between everyone. Every couple, every set of siblings, every parent and child, every group of friends, and you don't really know how big or small the gap is, because there's all this fog in the gap so you can't see into it. You start to imagine a bridge in the gap, hiding in the fog, and you're pretty sure it's there and if you ever really needed to you could go across the bridge. But when you take a trip with someone, and spend so much time together, all that fog blows away, and you can finally see the gap for what it is. Sometimes the gap is much smaller than you thought it was, and you grow a lot closer. Sometimes it's much bigger than you thought, and then you grow apart or break up."…"
jonathanharris  relationships  ecstatictruth  writing  work  travel  experience  fiction  nonfiction  journalism  wernerherzog  documentary 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Ecstatic Truth [.pdf]
"“Ecstatic truth” is a term used by the German director Werner Herzog to describe a filmmaking technique that favors emotional accuracy over detail-oriented accuracy in a documentary context. To achieve a sense of “ecstatic truth,” a filmmaker, instead of attempting to portray characters or events in an objective or factual way, fabricates a situation that plays with the emotional intensity of the subjects and reaches a level of sincerity that the facts alone could not achieve. In Herzog’s manifesto, the Minnesota Declaration: Truth and Fact in Documentary Cinema written in 1999, point five states:

“There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”"

[from a follow-up search after reading: http://number27.org/today.php?d=20100821 ]
wernerherzog  ecstatictruth  emotion  rtruth  filmmaking  fabrication  imagination  stylization  poetry  accuracy  minnesotadeclaration  filetype:pdf  media:document 
august 2010 by robertogreco

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