James Baldwin is back in the news these days (feels great to be able to say that) as the subject of the Oscar-nominated "I Am Not Your Negro," which is currently playing all over town, including Midtown Art Cinema. Andy Ditzler, Atlanta-based curator of Film Love, had a screening with a Baldwin film on Friday night, and it was great to see a packed-house for Baldwin's words and wisdom at Gallery 992 in the West End.
Colberg & Mason's conversation piqued my interest, in that I'd never seen the book before, so after a few cursory searches yielded a price-point outside my ballpark, I found that Jörg had video'd paging-through the book back in 2011. Remarkable.
"Artist Pickergill's photography series, Removed, went viral and touched a collectively universal nerve. He makes visible what so many have tried to explain about the ways personal devices alter human behavior, helping us relearn how to be truly connected in our device-dominated age.
Artist and change agent, Eric Pickersgill, explores the psychological and social effects that cameras and their artifacts have on individuals and societies as a whole. His viral photography series, Removed, has made visible what so many have tried to explain about the ways personal devices alter human behavior. We live in a time where the line between the real and virtual is nearly invisible. The use of personal devices is so common that the terms in which we use them is no longer discussed. Despite the accelerated proliferation of digital photographs, art still has the power to shape perspectives and alter habits. Eric is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art in NY and is on the Executive Board of Directors at The Light Factory."
While 360 cameras have been available for a while, and the technology keeps getting better (more resolution, better software to stitch the files together) I haven't seen an example that didn't feel frivolous, forced, or unnecessary.
All that changed with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro's new story for RYOT / Huffington Post on "Rethinking Cuba". If you've seen photographs (or footage, even) from Cuba and wondered what was beyond the frame, 360 video is racing to fill that gap. Jelly-Schapiro's example merges journalism with a new kind of travel voyeurism that I haven't seen before.
Plus, it's fascinating how 360 footage presents a kind of experience that's akin to watching a livestream from a fixed camera location. As a viewer, you feel like you don't know what will happen next, and that you're empowered to (in some small way) control the outcome by panning and scrolling through the frame. (Use your mouse, folks!) It's a YouTube-based "Choose Your Own Adventure".
When new cameras, equipment (or apps, even!) come along there's a race to figure out their best use, and Jelly-Schapiro's example comes as close as I've seen to realizing the strength and uniqueness of 360 video's promise.