All Watched Over By Adam Curtis

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Sitting in front of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, it is easy to let the brilliance of the style wash over you. Illustrated with dazzling imagery, one big idea morphs seamlessly into another, while Curtis’s hypnotic narration smoothes away any cognitive bumps. Like attending a lecture by firebrand philosopher Slavoj Zizek, one comes away feeling overwhelmed and inspired by the relentless pace and mesmerising variety of idea. But there remains a niggling feeling you may have been bamboozled, a feeling that if you stopped and thought about the big themes, they would collapse into a pile of … Continue reading

High-Rise is not so far from reality

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The new film adaption of JG Ballard’s classic 1975 novel High-Rise has been a while coming. Much like the power-cuts that interrupt life in the novel’s namesake, various attempts to translate the book for cinema have been erratic, and ultimately failed. But with director Ben Wheatley’s effort garnering positive reviews and critical acclaim, perhaps it is useful to reconsider the story’s meaning. High-Rise tells the story of Robert Laing – a middle class doctor who moves into a complex of futuristic, luxury tower blocks just outside of London. The building where Laing lives is designed to provide everything its residents … Continue reading

Why has Burkina Faso dumped Monsanto?

The thorny topic of genetically modified (GM) crops was recently thrust into the global spotlight again. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Gates said that GM crops are a necessary tool to fight hunger and poverty in Africa. But something Gates did not discuss was the news that the largest and most significant African adopter of GM crops – Burkina Faso – recently began a phase out of Bt cotton. Bt cotton is the most widely grown GM crop by poor farmers in Africa. Why would Burkina Faso, a nation that struggles with hunger and poverty, turn … Continue reading