Persuasion, Propaganda and Paranoia Film Series

Sorry you can’t all come to this, but you can certainly watch the films yourself – most are streaming online for free, or available at the rental shop – and then discuss them in the comments, here.

Both as a way for students in Rushkoff’s ‘Technologies of Persuasion’ class to view required films, and as a way to expose the wider community to some interesting movies about technology, media, and madness, we’ll be screening movies most Monday evenings at ITP at 6:30pm. (Schedule subject to change.) Note – only movies with * are required viewing for Persuasion students.

Monday September 12. *Century of the Self, Parts One and Two
Adam Curtis’ acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty. To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

Monday September 19. Century of the Self, Parts Three and Four

Monday September 26. The Merchants of Cool – Rushkoff
They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the “next big thing” that will snare the attention of their prey–a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year. They are the merchants of cool: creators and sellers of popular culture who have made teenagers the hottest consumer demographic in America. But are they simply reflecting teen desires or have they begun to manufacture those desires in a bid to secure this lucrative market? And have they gone too far in their attempts to reach the hearts–and wallets–of America’s youth?

Monday October 3. *The Persuaders – Rushkoff
behind-the-scenes look at the influence industry, and how the techniques of marketing have migrated into politics to create the “citizen consumer.”

Monday October 10. Things to Come – H.G. Wells – 1936 – 113 Min
Things to Come traces a generational saga that begins, presciently, with a global war that outlives its own political purpose, unraveling society to a Balkanized world of isolated communities. In the wake of a subsequent, devastating plague, a new technocracy arises, evolving toward Menzies’s striking vision of vast, subterranean cities, rendered in matte paintings building on then-contemporaneous art-deco “streamlined” aesthetics.

Monday October 17. *Power of Nightmares, Part 1 and 2
In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The Power of Nightmares is a highly controversial BBC documentary that assesses whether the threat from a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion.

Monday October 24. Power of Nightmares, Part 3

Monday October 31. *InfoWars
rtMark, Thing.net, etoy, and other highlights of the online countercutlure wars.

Monday November 7. Disinformation: The Series
“If you don’t think we’re making this up, we’re not doing our jobs.” So says Richard Metzger, creator of the disinformation website and host of this strangely compelling TV series about the bizarre, aired in the UK but ultimately rejected by SciFi Network as contrary to the mission of the station. The purpose of the show was actually a media hack, in itself – seeking to undermine government and corporate disinformation with disinformation of its own.

Monday November 14. *Robert Anton Wilson – Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson
The filmfollows a reality labyrinth which leads through the hollows of human perception to the vast star fields of Sirius where we find one man alone, joyfully accepting his status as Damned Old Crank and Cosmic Schmuck. Beaming with insight, frustration, compassion, and unshakable optimism, the ever-open eye of Robert Anton Wilson penetrates human illusions exposing the mathematical probabilities and spooky synchronicities of the 8 dimensions of his Universe.

Monday November 21. Timothy Leary: “How to Operate Your Brain”(1994), Terence McKenna:Alien Dreamtime (1993)
Two efforts at mind-alteration-through-video, by two of the leading psychedelics explorers of our time. The Leary tape uses brain-frequency techniques, while the McKenna tape is good ol’ Atari mix-ups, and based more on what he says. But both offer access to an altered state, or something to do when you’ve already achieved one.

Monday December 5. Don’t Look Now. Nicolas Roeg
Just for fun, one of the scariest un-gory horror films ever, achieved almost entirely through editing and narrative deconstruction.

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