Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

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Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Goat Boy » 19 Oct 2016, 09:20

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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Toby » 19 Oct 2016, 11:49

I'm ambivalent about Adam Curtis. In my experience he hauls together lots of disembodied argument constructions and then hauls them together into some sort of audio-visual omelette so overwhelming that you sort of forget what the program is really about.


I watched about 60 minutes of this before I tired of it. It is interesting in its construction and themes, but anyone with more than passing knowledge of the Middle East over the past 4 decades would already know a great deal about it. As the spoof piss take of his material says "He had created a the televisual equivalent of a late night drunken Wikipedia binge with pretensions to narrative coherence".


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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby The Savage Young Gash » 19 Oct 2016, 12:20

I agree with some of that though Curtis isn't exactly didactic is he? Obviously the aggregation of images/suggestions point to his feelings but they're undercut by the woozy, nightmarish presentation that suggests ambivalence or stoned overload.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Goat Boy » 19 Oct 2016, 12:49

Toby wrote: In my experience he hauls together lots of disembodied argument constructions and then hauls them together into some sort of audio-visual omelette so overwhelming that you sort of forget what the program is really about.




See that sounds kinda awesome.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Darkness_Fish » 19 Oct 2016, 12:53

I started watching this last night, and got about halfway through. His work is always visually lovely and cheap, it feels like the best bits of Screenwipe, Brass Eye, and Jam spliced together whilst a hypno-calm voiceover patronises you with soundbites. I might be risky judging this halfway through, but so far I've gathered that in The West, the people with money have the power, and in The East, there's been some state-sponsored terrorism. And it's all something to do with William Gibson's Neuromancer.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Spec » 19 Oct 2016, 13:07

I find his stuff visually stimulating, presents some interesting ideas but doesn't always convince or stand up to scrutiny (because they are so dense that are very hard to scrutinise).

His masterpiece for me is The Century of the Self.

The media praise the fact that he can do his films online and release them on iPlayer giving him more freedom and not being restricted by the TV format. However, I wonder if he would be better if he was on TV and was both more restricted in the format (and length) and better edited. Maybe not.

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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Darkness_Fish » 19 Oct 2016, 13:48

Watching it now, whilst ostensibly working. Just learned that Assad's favourite band was ELO. Just when you think you've run out of reasons to despise someone...
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Rayge » 19 Oct 2016, 18:37

I didn't notice this was on; if I had, I'd have recorded it, and watched it when I had two and a half straight hours to spare, but I suppose I'll have to watch it on line.
I tend to see Curtis not as a documentary maker, nor as a polemicist, but an artist and montage maker, with that voiceover that Fish mentions part of the mix, its function textural as well as textual. I'm not particularly troubled about following the lines of the argument, just bathing in the visual.
He seems to me to be largely sui generis, rather like Wisconsin Death Trip.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Darkness_Fish » 19 Oct 2016, 20:24

Rayge wrote:I didn't notice this was on; if I had, I'd have recorded it, and watched it when I had two and a half straight hours to spare, but I suppose I'll have to watch it on line.

It's only available via the iPlayer, it wasn't actually given a terrestrial/satellite (oah, oh, the terrestrialites) proper broadcast. Well worth watching, not worth taking too much notice of.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Jimbo » 05 Jan 2017, 18:07

It's on YouTube and I just watched the whole thing. As a conspiracy guy I have to applaud Curtis for tickling my curiosity bone for this doc is chock full of conspiracy and he comes pretty close to saying what I have been arguing for a long time: whatever the government and media tell you is probably bullshit. We are being played big time. The film shows how "perception management" has been around since the Reagan years and is with us still. I encourage my detractors here to watch and tell me what you have learned.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby The Savage Young Gash » 05 Jan 2017, 18:14

Yeah, Curtis believes all that edgy conspiracy stuff, that's what I got from it.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Jimbo » 05 Jan 2017, 18:34

I never realized, if true, that Syria, especially under the father's regime, was such a spawner of terrorism and the birthplace of the suicide bomber. Curtis really lays into Syria and its connection to bombings throughout the last 30 years but IMO he doesn't convince me of a motive for Syria to be so violent except for avenging a slight from Kissinger back in the day. Curtis may be laying it so thickly on "old" Syria in order to bring us full circle to the "new" and at war Syria in the film's conclusion.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby The Savage Young Gash » 10 Mar 2017, 10:22

Dogshit wrote:I'd like to say I;d never resort to bombs - but I;m not sure I can ever truly walk in those shoes


Dogshit wrote:I do find the inclusion of women unsavoury


Dogshit wrote:Did either Duck Dunn or James Jefferson change music irrevocably?


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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby The Write Profile » 04 Jul 2017, 22:10

Spec wrote:I find his stuff visually stimulating, presents some interesting ideas but doesn't always convince or stand up to scrutiny (because they are so dense that are very hard to scrutinise).

His masterpiece for me is The Century of the Self.

The media praise the fact that he can do his films online and release them on iPlayer giving him more freedom and not being restricted by the TV format. However, I wonder if he would be better if he was on TV and was both more restricted in the format (and length) and better edited. Maybe not.


I've recently watched Hypernormalisation and Century of the Self and I agree totally with your points. The thing about Century of the Self is that for all its detours, there is a very strong narrative running through it, and it's clear that Curtis has done the journalistic legwork, there are a host of interviews and a real sense that everything falls into place- I love the second and third episodes in particular, which looks at the links between the modern psychiatric movement and the rise of consumerism, while there's a host of amazing found archival footage. In contrast, Hypernormalisation doesn't really have much of a thesis statement to it and so just bounces from one idea to another. It's occasionally effective but there's too much stuff to sift through. Ironically, some of his best recent work is his mini pieces for Charlie Brooker's Wipe series, which are brief enough not to become too overwhelming.
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Re: Adam Curtis - Hypernormalisation

Postby Tactful Cactus » 05 Jul 2017, 11:56

I thought the narrative for H was great - on the one hand you have the Middle East simmering in the 1960's, Assad the chess player, Qaddafi the pawn and the old enemy in the West. In the meantime the Wests political power is crumbling and the Banks swoop in to fill the vacuum. Both strands meet head-on in the 21st century, which is how we got to today. Ok its never that black & white but thats beside the point. I loved it.


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