558 – Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry by Esther Leslie

“Through coal’s carbon chemistry, and its waste product of coal-tar, a realm of synthetic colours and substances is unlocked from a dense and primitive blackness. The first magic act is coal-tar becoming colour, the first of thousands of substitutions. This magic is a black force. Gravity’s Rainbow lets loose its narrative strands amongst a world of acronyms and neologisms, fictional and actual. spqr, arf, mmpi, soe, spog,
cios, bafo, nta, shaef, pwd, cns, pisces, viam, tsagi, niso, bafo, okw, achtung, Kryptosam, Hexeszüchtigung, ctenophile, Oneirine. These clatter like the evil spells from a necromancer’s manual. These clotted words spell out the coordinates of military, economic and technological power. The most important of these cryptic formulae, the acronyms that generate the rainbow and allow the tracing of its arc,are the colour factory ig Farben and the German Second World War rocket weaponry known as v-1, v-2 or a4. Pynchon brings these two industrial-technological forces into proximity with magic, mysticism and alchemy.”

“Inside the arcades, the ur-architectural phenomenon of the nineteenth century, transitional colours, twinkle, glimmer and reflection danced, and all the more charmingly as night fell. In the early days the gas lighting, whose illumination was an uneven flickering, cast a sparkly sheen over everything. In the arcades, their historian Walter Benjamin claimed, ‘falser colours are possible’, and everything is doused in a special ‘glaucous gleam’, which is reminiscent of aquariums, as Friedrich Gerstäcker imagined in a fictional transposition and, after him, Aragon made so vivid in Paris Peasant. In Gerstäcker’s The Sunken City, the hero sees, to his amazement, that
with the gradual infusion of twilight, these undersea corridors just as gradually lit up by themselves. For everywhere in the bushes of coral and sponge were sitting broad-brimmed, glassy-looking medusas, which already at the outset had given off a weak,greenish phosphorescent light that quickly picked up strength at the approach of darkness and now was shining with great intensity.
The arcades are zones of special effects where optical illusions, tricks of the light and transformations readily occur. This is why the arcades appear so magical, but it also intimates something of their propensity to deception and delusion. The very magic of the space colludes with the commodity promises on sale.”

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Celestis offers space burials, with the ashes compacted in a capsule and sent into orbit (before re-entering) or fired to the moon or into deep space (for ever). That which is legally a ‘final deposition’ can be commodified further in an effort to afford a technologically guaranteed sublime.They also offer a star-naming service.   At the start of the twenty-first century, a Chicago company announced that it had created a new way to memorialize loved ones: by turning their charred remains into a gem. The ‘patent-pending’ LifeGem offers to press the cremated ashes of a lost one into a diamond. You can have your loved one with you whenever you choose, which is something that no other memorial product offers, remarks Greg Herro, LifeGem’s chief executive. ‘Nothing else quite offers that everlasting love.’ (…) ‘The proprietary LifeGem creation process creates diamonds from the true essence of our loved ones, the carbon.”

Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry by Esther Leslie

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Runge_M_80663

Der Bildungstrieb der Stoffe : veranschaulicht in selbstständig gewachsenen Bildern (Fortsetzung der Musterbilder)

by Runge, F. F., 1795-1867 (Includes 23 smaller chromatograms mounted on the title page surrounding the title, and 60 larger chromatograms mounted on 31 leaves. The chromatograms consist of concentric circles of color produced by applying a liquid chemical compound to filter paper.)

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506 – Saul fia / Son of Saul (2015)

spacetime coordinates:  Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, Poland  6 – 7 October 19447a57808c3debe97ad30e7c3e934d0a53Son of Saul (Hungarian: Saul fia) is a 2015 Hungarian drama film directed by László Nemes and co-written by Nemes and Clara Royer. It is set in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, and follows a day-and-a-half in the life of Saul Ausländer (played by Géza Röhrig), a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando. The film’s many historical sources included the personal accounts of Schlomo Venezia and Filip Müller, the records of Miklos Nyiszli, a Romanian-Jewish doctor who was forced to work in the crematoria, and Claude Lanzmann‘s Shoah (1985).

During the preparation, director László Nemes, cinematographer Mátyás Erdély and production designer László Rajk made a pledge to stick to certain rules, or a “dogma”, which included: The film cannot look beautiful. // The film cannot look appealing. // We cannot make a horror film. // Staying with Saul means not going beyond his own field of vision, hearing, or presence. // The camera is his companion, it stays with him throughout this hell.

The film took five months of sound design, where human voices in eight languages were recorded and attached to the original recording of the production. Sound designer Tamás Zányi described the sound in the film “as a sort of acoustic counterpoint to the intentionally narrowed imagery”. The music score by László Melis is intentionally kept so subtle that viewers won’t even notice it. (read more: imdb, wiki)covers_32436The film follows the same stylistic approach as László Nemes’ first and most successful short film Türelem (2007). In the short, the camera follows a woman proceed with her daily work routine with a very narrow focus and vision, until she walks up to a window and sees a group of Jewish prisoners stripped down by Sonderkommando prisoners and SS officers. The short is available online HERE.

478 – Shutter Island (2010)

spacetime coordinates: 1954  Shutter Island in Boston Harbor, Massachusettsshutter island posterShutter Island is a 2010 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Laeta Kalogridis, based on Dennis Lehane‘s 2003 novel of the same nameLeonardo DiCaprio stars as U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels who is investigating a psychiatric facility on Shutter Island after one of the patients goes missing.shutter_island_poster_by_sinhar97-d75dsfjShutter Island is a period piece with nods to different films in the film noir and horror genres, paying particular homage to Alfred Hitchcock‘s works. Scorsese stated in an interview that the main reference to Teddy Daniels was Dana Andrews‘ character in Laura, and that he was also influenced by several very low-budget 1940s zombie movies made by Val LewtonThe main frame of the plot resembles that of William Peter Blatty‘s The Ninth Configuration, as well as The Cabinet of Dr. CaligariLa Croix noted that Shutter Island was a “complex and puzzling” work which borrowed from genres as diverse as detective, fantasy, and the psychological thriller.

wiki   imdb

445 – The Promise (2016)

spacetime coordinates:  1915  small Armenian village of Sirun in the southeast part of the Ottoman Empire >  ConstantinopleIstanbul,  Taurus mountainsthe-promise-2016-01The Promise is a 2016 American historical drama film directed by Terry George and starring Oscar IsaacCharlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale, set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. The entire budget  for the film was donated by American businessman of Armenian origin Kirk Kerkorian.

Ara Sarafian, director of the Gomidas Institute in London and a leading historian of the Armenian Genocide, praised the film for its historical accuracy. “The key themes were historically accurate,” he said. “The producers did not take license to go beyond the historical material at hand yet they managed to capture much of the enormity of the Armenian genocide.” Sarafian also commended director Terry George for his “well balanced and creditworthy” sense of history.

IMDb pre-release voting controversy

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4776998/

409 – First They Killed My Father (2017)

spacetime coordinates: 1975 – 1979  Cambodiafirt-killed-poster-largeFirst They Killed My Father (Khmer: មុនដំបូងខ្មែរក្រហមសម្លាប់ប៉ារបស់ខ្ញុំ Moun dambaung Khmer Krahm samleab ba robsa khnhom) is a 2017 biographical historical thriller film directed by Angelina Jolie and written by Jolie and Loung Ung, based on Ung’s memoir of the same name. Set in 1975, the film depicts 7-year-old Ung who is forced to be trained as a child soldier while her siblings are sent to labor camps during the Socialist Khmer Rouge regime.

Cambodian genocide   //   Khmer Rouge Killing Fields

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4882376/

378 – Experimenter (2015)

Experimenter is a 2015 American biographical drama film written and directed by Michael Almereyda, based on the 1961 Milgram experimentexperimenterposterThe film is based on the true story of famed social psychologist Stanley Milgram, who in 1961 conducted a series of radical behavior experiments at Yale University that tested the willingness of ordinary humans to obey an authority figure while administering electric shocks to strangers.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3726704/

357 – German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (2014)

spacetime coordinates:  1945 Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany // Buchenwald, Weimar, Thuringia, Germany // Dachau, Bavaria, Germany // Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Oswiecim, Malopolskie, Poland // Majdanek, Lublin, Lubelskie, Poland

German Concentration Camps Factual Survey is the official British documentary film on the Nazi concentration camps, based on footage shot by the Allied forces in 1945.

The film was produced by Sidney Bernstein, then with the British Ministry of Information,  with Alfred Hitchcock acting as a “treatment advisor”. The script was written by Richard Crossman and Colin Wills. Soviet filmmaker Sergei Nolbandov was production supervisor.

The project was abandoned in September 1945, and the film was left unfinished for nearly seventy years. The film’s restoration was completed by film scholars at the Imperial War Museum. The finished film had its world premiere early in 2014 at the Berlin Film Festival, and was shown in a limited number of venues in 2015. It was released in North America in 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Concentration_Camps_Factual_Survey

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3455796/

A 70-minute documentary on the making of the 1945 film, entitled Night Will Fall, was assembled from the partially finished material and new original footage by director Andre Singer and producers Sally Angel and Brett RatnerThe New York Times, in its review of the documentary, said that “what the new film accomplishes, more than anything else, is to make you wish you could see the original.”