Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: July 2010

As McLuhan noted in 1963, the artist ‘sees’ the present more clearly than the rest of us, who tend to look at the present as though through a rear-view mirror. This is why (he says) we talk of artists as being ‘ahead of their time’. The idea for a film about artists and their interpretation of the zeitgeist began to emerge at Cannes in the early summer of 2009 (at the time of the Film Festival). I thought of the great Modernists of early last century – especially those who experimented with technology and those who changed how we think about the World. I wanted ZeitEYE to capture something of this feeling of being ‘in touch’ with whats going on. Maybe all creative people draw their inspiration from the spirit of the age – and I remember how good this identification felt when I was 17 and discovering the world of art college, folk and blues music, pop festivals, pop art and so on. It seemed entirely logical at the time that the Beatles should encapsulate their liking for the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen into Day in the Life, and that Warhol should include lights, film and projectors in the performance of the Velvet Underground, or Buckminster Fuller should propose the famous World Game, or Stewart Brand edit the Whole Earth Catalog, or that I should be helping Ray Foulk organise the Bob Dylan festival on the Isle of Wight in 1969.

So a developing project is the notion of researching the artists, designers and engineers who visualised the zeitgeist at important moments in the last 100 years. For example, a shortlist might include: Picasso and Braque and their immediate circle 1907-1911, Giorgio de Chirico in his metaphysical paintings 1911-1919, Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, Eisenstein, Malevich, Vertov, Medvedkin and Tatlin during the Russian Revolution and Civil War; Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie (etc) during 1941-1951 and the development of Bebop; Maya Derren in the 1940s; Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and the abstract expressionists during 1943-1953, and of course many more prescient(?) artists since then. This project will result in several films. The first (and proof of concept) is ZeitEYE – an eleven minute montage providing an overview of innovation in arts and media since 1900. Others will include:

Core Realtime – focussing on the counterpoint of the Cold War/Counterculture emergences post WW2. To Dave Brubeck’s Unsquare Dance. ‘Core’ refers to Core Memory – Jay Forrester’s innovation of electro-magnetic memory for the Whirlwind Realtime computerĀ in the early 1950s.

Sixties – A personal memoire of my experience – both existential and reflective – on the innovations in media, arts, and technologies from c1955-to c1975, focussing on the counter-cultural innovations that characterise the Sixties.

These two are in advanced stages of editing.

Also planned are a series focussing on the innovations in core media – the individual component media that form the bedrock of 21st century media-space: Zeit-Grafik, Zeit-Kino, Zeit-Anim0, Zeit-Jive, etc…


ZeitEYE is showing this weekend (16-18th July 2010) at SCAN’s Public Domain Festival at the Big Screen Lower Gardens, Bournemouth city centre.

from Public Domain programme...