For about 10 years, Video Nation has been letting people record, edit and broadcast their own stories on national television. The website has now become the archive and dominant prescence of Video Nation when it is off-air. It recently redesigned to create a more accessible archive, and navigation by geography amongst other improvements.
In the history section of the site, a social research organisation called “Mass Observation” is cited as an inspiration for Video Nation.
When this happens, I pay attention.
Found therein, a quote from David Mellor:
“One guise which reconciled the twin demands of the Surrealist and the Documentarist was that of the Poet Reporter. In his BBC broadcasts of 1938, on the general theme of Poetry and the Public, Jennings posited a unity which once existed in English literature before the advent of the mass media in which the poet was a kind of reporter; and poet-reporter was in fact the title adopted by Charles Madge during these years, echoing the Utopian hopes of Mass Observation to have reconciled science and art after their separation brought about by the Industrial Revolution.”
Matt often holds that Radio is the once-and-future medium, and in this IM he pointed to Open Country as a premium example of why it’s different and better than anything else. I caught the 28th December edition, driving to London back from home yesterday and he’s right. It’s fantastic – reportage, atmosphere, happy accidents and connections are rendered in rich, real, audio: a great example of the poet-reporter in action.
I had another IM conversation today with a very smart person, in which I tried to recount this feeling of everything you see being densely interconnected and interwingled with everything else. It quickly moved to Borge’s library of Babel and the death of coincidence in the age of the interweb. As social networks and domains of knowledge become more and more overlapped, the way we find things is changing… it feels more like things are finding us: manufactured serendipity.
When the blogosphere/noosphere sometimes surrounds me so uncomfortably, it seems like the navelgazing about it’s nature is both restricting and constricting, like it’s headed to either a big-crunch, with nothing to guarantee its expansion. Or maybe a heat-death, with nothing but vast, undifferentiated internodal space almost indistinguishable from the rare, dead, dark node.
But then I remember not to take blogs or the internet so seriously; and that there are poet-reporters in the world.