Tuesday, 13 January 2015

London, the modern babylon and patchwork histories.


Julien Temple’s documentary London, the modern babylon is, like it’s subject, a cacophonous cornucopia of sounds and images.

Mixing archival and present day footage with interviews, the mode is an impressionistic sound and image patchwork of a city rather than a by-the-numbers portrait.

The result is overwhelming, but there are calming anchors to the experience, like the 106 year Londoner Hetty Bower recounting just a few of her personal memories.

I loved the freewheeling mixing of music with images from different eras. This is particularly effective when female fronted  punk group X-ray Spex are used for the soundtrack to the archival footage of the suffragette movement.

Recently I’ve been digging around in our own city’s rich history via our Heritage et AL blog one of the many blogs available on the Auckland Libraries website. One recent entry fascinated me, a colleague had collected 11 of her favourite maps of New Zealand. I loved seeing early incarnations of how either parts or the whole country have been visualised. There’s a ton of amazing archival photos, documents, maps and on and on…


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