Monday Links

Some of the links I’ve been thinking about as I gear up for another week of classes:

  • Like a lot of people, I’m still having some difficulty wrapping my head around the protests and uprisings taking place all over the globe. I am heartened by President Obama’s expressions of support for the right to unionize in Madison and tentatively hopeful about the democratizing forces, but I’m also fascinated by the role of personal media technologies and social media tools in shaping how those events are represented (for lack of a better phrase). Of course, it’s not accurate to say that social media tools (or cell phones for that matter) caused any of these events, but I think it’s worth sampling some of the recent reflections on the intersections between documentary, mobile video, and social media tools. To that end, Jennifer Preston and Brian Stelter of The New York Times discuss the role of phone cameras, through which “the protesters upstaged government accounts and drew worldwide attention to their demands.”  James Katz of the Rutgers Center for Mobile Communication Studies describes these tools as the “dagger” that will help to topple oppressive regimes.
  • On a related note, Jonathan Gray traces the role of popular culture in informing many of the signs created for the protests of Government Scott Walker’s anti-union efforts  in Madison. Like Jonathan, I think the use of intertextual references can be helpful in framing a message about an issue, and the humorous references to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and other popular culture texts are humorous ways of engaging an issue and creating solidarity.
  • Brian Stelter discusses the role of Twitter and Facebook in directing attention to TV events such as awards shows and all-star games, which have been bucking the trend of lower ratings. Stelter discusses the ongoing efforts of the Oscars to facilitate “two-screen viewing.” But in my own experience, much of my consumption is based around Twitter and the show itself on TV–I rarely engage the “behind the scenes” stuff on the web, such as the “backstage” thank-you cams.
  • Documentary Tech, inspired by the website for Life in a Day, explores the potentials of YouTube in fostering the growth of “mosaic documentaries,” in which there is increasing conflict between the database of online content and the attempts to craft a linear narrative.
  • Matt Dentler discusses some ongoing shifts in theatrical distribution and VOD windows.
  • Anthony Kaufman points to the ongoing Iranian Film Blogathon, a “tribute … to Iranian film in support of sentenced filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammed Rasoulof,” taking place at The Sheila Variations.

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