Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PBS Arts Off Book

Watch Off Book: Visual Culture Online on PBS. See more from OFF BOOK.

This is a PBS documentary series loosely related to the 'arts'. It's very slickly produced, and interviews the very fashionable in New York City. If you find a great cynicism welling up in yourself while watching these, I think it is forgivable. Perhaps the best description of this particular series of videos is that they highlight a number of popular cultural trends that have probably just reached their apex and are now sloping downwards.

An interesting point to note is that there is almost no mention of galleries or museums despite the majority of them being filmed in NYC (lazy or underfunded producers I guess). The role of the curator is therefore superseded by that of the director(s). (They actually refer to the documentary series as "exhibitions" and their role as "curators").

Another point of note is an overall emphasis on groups in some form or another. That I think is a much more general trend straying away from the individual. This is probably due to the hazards of overemphasis on the individual; namely narcissism. I was, however, surprised to find an emphasis on group work and group projects at Suny New Paltz.

It's really an odd collection of videos. There is one episode about, "type" another about, "light painting" and yet another about, "visual culture online" which could actually be a general appellation for the whole collection. I must just be expecting too much from PBS. They profess poor Pier's, "despair is existential" and yet they don't comfort him. Maybe they think he could just talk to his drummer if he were really that sad.


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