Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Reading, scholarly activities and the attempt to not to waste time.

The vast number of texts and journals that litter my house is immense. It is like a McLuhan nightmare of “information overload”. There is also the distraction of a number of DVDs: the whole of Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing and Robert Hughes’s Shock of the New being the serious ones. Over Christmas I watched all thirteen episodes of Civilisation and began to read the book, which I have neglected to do over the past twenty years. The three examples here overlap in my mind as they do reference each other. The Shock of the New is like a fusion of Berger and Clark. Hughes emulates Berger, the young, hip radical critic in many of the early documentaries. Compare Hughes discussing Caravaggio for television with Berger’s style and approach in Ways of seeing. I am a bit obsessed with The Shock of the New: I have both additions of the book. The 1980 edition is a signed copy.

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