Adam Curtis’ stylish and thrilling documentaries, The Power Of Nightmares and All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace were early influences on the Pararchive project. His experimental works illustrated how the BBC’s archival footage could be remixed into radically new narratives, often challenging the original readings.
His works do have a tendency to reframe history as a series of conspiratorial plots, often conflating and connecting events which in truth have little do to with each other and have led to some interesting parodies…
His latest work, Bitter Lake, criticises Western politicians for simplifying complex geopolitics, but ironically falls victim to the same, in creating oversimplified histories which plasticise and edit long agreed upon truths.
As problematic and subjective as Curtis’ video essays are, they do show the potential for tools such as Yarn, helping to invert, remix revivify and resuscitate dusty old orthodoxies.
I’d like to think there’s a budding Adam Curtis out there, reediting the 1970’s light entertainment shows into a documentary on the crimes of serial pedophile, Sir Rolf Yewtree Saville, former director-general of the BBC.