Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of early world cinema. This is part one of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1888-1897

1888 is a somewhat arbitrary year to begin this series, but it evens out the decades to finish up 130 years later. Since there was no reliable way to project movies until 1896, most of this post is considered “pre-cinema.” 1896 was also the year that movies were shown outside of Europe and the United States, so as more people used the new medium, it developed (no pun intended) more quickly. Perhaps too quickly, as filmmakers didn’t take the time to preserve what they had created; Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation has estimated that half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost. The ones that remain are a gift that allows us to go back in time. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

Exploring the history of home video and music media

I may need help (honestly). Anyone want to go on this data quest with me?

It wasn’t until November, when Led Zeppelin offered their new concert film (Celebration Day) on Blu-ray, that I asked myself, “Is it finally time to stop buying DVDs?” So I began to dig into the history of home video formats, and decided it would be fun to build a timeline (presented here) of both music and film media over the past 135 years.

Timeline of music and movie media types

This timeline screenshot (in Excel) is a very crude draft of what I’m aiming for. The quest is purely for my own interest, but if anyone else has good data, infographics, books, and links to share on the topic, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m sure I’m biting off more than I can chew, but I’m also interested in what the timeline implies for issues about copyright and the changing face of information exchange and media consumption in general.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s testimony for space exploration (Senate hearing videos and documents)

Astrophysicist superstar Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson (Wikipedia bio), addressed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday; only three of the committee’s 25 members were present. Below is a copy of Dr. Tyson’s submitted testimony, slightly modified from his speech at the hearing; anyone care to transcribe the entire hearing? I’ve also embedded other videos and links relevant to the hearing since I haven’t been able to find everything in one place on other websites.

neil-tyson-hearing
Tyson at March 7th Senate hearing

Takeaway quote:

At what cost? The spending portfolio of the United States currently allocates fifty times as much money to social programs and education than it does to NASA. The 2008 bank bailout of $750 billion was greater than all the money NASA had received in its half-century history; two years’ U.S. military spending exceeds it as well. Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.

Read more Neil deGrasse Tyson’s testimony for space exploration (Senate hearing videos and documents)

Sonnet I by Fernando Pessoa

Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others’ dreams.

35 Sonnets (1918, public domain)

I ran across Fernando Pessoa’s work less than a year ago while browsing the biography section of the library. The Penguin Classic’s cover photo of The Book of Disquiet drew me in, but I wasn’t prepared for the two minds of Pessoa contained within. Arguably Lisbon’s most beloved writer of all time, he invented the term “heteronym” as a way to write as an imaginary character (ultimately creating over 70 of them in his lifetime), each having his own style and voice. But aside from this unique aspect of Pessoa’s writing, the concepts he explores are what strike me most. I typically do not grasp the cadence and meaning of popular poetry; it’s a relief to read someone like Pessoa who uses simple language to describe the thoughts that pour out of him, literally as ink on paper.

A blues primer

A coworker of mine has never heard of B.B. King. This must be remedied. In response, I’ve created “An Evolution of Blues” compilation. It’s not a definitive list and I had to question if certain songs could truly be considered blues tracks (when they’d likely first be catalogued as jazz, rock ballad, folk, country or downtempo, to name a few).

John Mayall
John Mayall by Federico Giammusso

Read more A blues primer