HyperNormalisation (Exclusively on BBC iPlayer)

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HyperNormalisation (Exclusively on BBC iPlayer)

October 21, 2016 - 15:43
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Do you have bad dreams? I do, and most of them are rather like Hyper Normalisation.

Hypernormalisation: Adam Curtis on chatbots, AI and Colonel Gaddafi

By Phil Jones (@PhilLlwynog)

Do you have bad dreams? I do, and most of them are rather like Hyper Normalisation.

If you are not aware of the work of film maker Adam Curtis, then this could be considered a difficult watch, if for no other reason than it’s almost three hours long. Often accused of having too much style over substance, his work always has a strong narrative driven by a desire to tell the truth. His truth.

His ‘collageumentary' style’ have always been a mix of cut and paste cultural and news footage, and a juxtaposing musical score, which has often drawn criticism, and in this sense we have more of the same. I like to think of his ‘documentaries’ more like art, as it’s up to the viewer to look for their own meaning in the work, although visually it’s good to look at. Curtis provides one voiceover, but in a way, you could add your own, perhaps a less cynical one, but it does make hypnotic, colorful and in parts very disturbing viewing rather like looking at the pop art work of Robert Rauschenberg whilst heavily sedated on class A drugs.

So what’s it all about? Basically it’s Curtis’s way of telling us that nothing you really see any more is real., or should I say that everything you see is lies. Everything spewed up at us by the likes of bankers and the political elite is post-truth politics. Curtis begins his story in 1975 New York where, in a state of financial ruin, bankers, to hand over the whole city to them, blackmailed politicians. From there, Curtis takes us to Syria, where he begins to tell the story of the unraveling of the Middle East. We are shown footage of the breakdown of the Soviet Union, the emergence of suicide bombers in Syria and the warmongering and game playing of Western interventionists. Alongside this, using clips of the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring, Curtis looks at why popular movements failed to stop traditional politics.

During all this, we have time to stop, take a virtual breath and discuss Trump, Facebook (for me the most interesting segment) the brutal death of Gadaffi (difficult to watch scenes), and somehow the exercise routines of Jane Fonda!

Although very long, this, I’d say, is aimed at those that digest news and information in a new way. It’s no coincidence that this is exclusively on BBC iPlayer, as it allows the viewer to interact with it within their own time frame. It’s unlikely that many will watch this in ‘one sitting’. It asks you to rewind, it asks you to look back take a second look and ask what the hell just happened. It asks the viewer to interact and do some of their own thinking, something rare on today’s terrestrial channels, and sadly missing in many so-called documentaries.

Whether you think that Curtis’s ideas are ‘far fetched’, inconclusive or lack facts there’s no denying this is an epic, disturbing well researched piece of film making, and if nothing else will make you think, and perhaps form some of your own opinions. If you are on social media, the segment that discusses the Facebook algorithm that traps it’s users only to see what they like, and only what they agree with is genuinely tragic, and so very true. It asks you to think for yourselves, and not take for granted what we see and hear on mainstream news, and what is most tragic, the use of the internet, which it’s inventors were convinced would be the perfect vehicle for real free speech around the globe, has also been manipulated and ‘bought’ by the very elite it was attempting to stand up against. The curbs, governments want to bring to the internet in the name of freedom, is no more than a huge smoke screen, and what is most worrying is that we live in a society and a time when the powerful can create as many smoke screens as they wish.

God Bless Trump!