“One can only say this culture is mad.” That was John Berger from his influential 1972 BBC documentary “Ways of Seeing,” describing the juxtaposition of glamorous advertising imagery with the real-world suffering of the working classes and the third world. He was just talking about how a magazine story about Pakistani refugees ran with a liquor ad. I wonder what he would think of a Twitter feed.
Thanks to Lorna Mills, now 58 web-based artists have given “Ways of Seeing” an update for the times. In “Ways of Something”, Mills chose 58 web-based artists to re-illustrate each minute of the series, right down to the subtitles. All apply Berger’s narrative to a post-Internet landscape. As Mills writes, in Bergerspeak, “The combined work is, in effect, art about art about television about the internet.”
We have seen it, and we will say this: It’s so lucid, and so thoughtfully produced, that even though we’re not making art, we’re jealous that we didn’t make it.
Originally commissioned by the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, you can watch the film’s first screening here in the States this Saturday at Transfer Gallery in Brooklyn. Episodes one and two start at 8:00 p.m., followed by a panel discussion at 9:00 p.m. with curator Lorna Mills, Julia van Mourik of The One Minutes at Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, and AFC’s own Paddy Johnson.