Sure, we love the internet for how it makes freely available so many cultural artifacts. And sure, we also love the internet for how it allows us to disseminate our own work. But the internet gets the most interesting, I would submit, when it makes freely available cultural artifacts with the express purpose of letting creators use them in their own work — which we then all get to experience through the internet. The new Public Domain Project will soon become an important resource for many such creators, offering as it does “thousands of historic media files for your creative projects, completely free and made available by Pond5,” an entity that brands itself as “the world’s most vibrant marketplace for creativity.”
Yesterday I wrote about the hugely influential film journal Cahiers du cinéma. It is not hyperbole to say that the publication not only altered the course of cinema history but it also, most likely, affected the way that you understand film. If you think of The Shining as a Stanley Kubrick movie instead of a Jack Nicholson flick, you can thank Cahiers du Cinema.
Dostoevsky, a doodler? Surely not! Great Russian brow furrowed over the meaning of love and hate and faith and crime, diving into squalid hells, ascending to the heights of spiritual ecstasy, taking a gasp of heavenly air, then back down to the depths again to churn out the pages and hundreds of character arcs—that’s Dostoevsky’s style.
Last month, we featured Every Frame a Painting, Tony Zhou’s series of video essays examining the filmmaking techniques of directors like Martin Scorsese, Edgar Wright, Steven Spielberg, and David Fincher. His newest piece looks at just one element of just one scene, but one directed by one of the highest figures, if not the highest figure, in the cinematic pantheon: Akira Kurosawa. Zhou, as any cinephile might expect, has a full-length examination of “the Emperor” of Japanese film in the works, but for now he’s put out a short video essay on the geometry of a couple minutes from The Bad Sleep Well (1960).
Soir Bleu by Edward Hopper, 1914.
The trend has now become delightfully clear: the world’s best-known art institutions have got around to the important business of making their collections freely viewable online. We’ve already featured the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Rijksmuseum, and the National Gallery (as well as new, internet-based institutions such as theGoogle Art Project and Art.sy). Today, we bring news that the Whitney Museum of American Art has joined in as well.