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The Week In Context: DECEMBER 3RD, 2016

MUST READS OF THE WEEK

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL IMAGES OF ALL TIME

This is an ambitious and well-put together curated feature at Time, selecting the most prominent images in our cultural psyche. They include Jeff Widener, Nick Ut, Andreas Gursky and Neil Armstrong among many spectacular others. Documentaries and analysis are included for each of the 100 photos.

A HISTORY OF GLOBALISATION SPANNING 4,000 YEARS

Greg Clark
Guardian Cities
This extract from Greg Clark’s new timely book Global Cities takes an historical glance at how countries and regions looked out beyond their borders and across oceans to create new connections with the world. Largely leaving aside colonialism in this debate he focuses on trade, industrialism and eventually of course, the internet.

 

FIRST LADIES IN FILM

“Prominent as their role is in public life, First Ladies almost never have movies made about them.” On the eve of Pablo Larrain’s lauded feature film, Jackie this excellent feature looks at the portrayal of U.S. first ladies in film, finding, with the exception of a few, more of a pageant than a meaningful portrait.

 

BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Discover – Something by a publisher new to Cureditor this week
The Times Literary Supplement

And it begins. There’s a lot to enjoy about this epic list of top books from various eclectic contributors, writers, economists and literary thinkers, which include Hilary Mantel, Andrew Motion, Marjorie Perloff and many more. A few nods to Elena Ferrante, and many that will be new to you.

HOT TOPIC

DOWNSIDES OF ENGAGEMENT

You don't have to watch all three seasons of Black Mirror or closely follow the U.S election to work out that social media isn't one happy family. I've been working on a project that is exploring why self-interest has become such an integral part of modern culture and in particular looking at collectors, facilitators, curators and many others who are rejecting that culture in favour of celebrating the work of others. In the research for that there have been many surprising and fascinating explanations of our selfishness, in particular how we obsess with the self when we have little impact over our environment, because if there's one thing we can change or manipulate it's ourselves. Anyway, this is all to say that over engagement with social media is symptomatic of a greater ill, within ourselves and within our societies.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS KILLING DISCOURSE BECAUSE IT'S TOO MUCH LIKE TV

Ask most editors about the future of digital publishing and they will say “text is dying” or that the attention economy is making real discourse next to impossible. Hossein Derakhshan’s article must be understood on those terms, that there is a tension between what people have grown to want and what’s good for them.

THERAPY'S DIGITAL DISCONNECT

Is internet culture changing so fast that a generational cultural chasm has opened up between digital natives and ‘immigrants’? (awful term) So much that young people require a therapist so versed with internet culture so as to understand the unique pressures it brings, for those who “carry the urgency of the internet on their shoulders”.

MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION

“It’s the spectacle, I think, that makes a disaster a disaster. A disaster is not defined simply by damage or death count.” In a sprawling essay, Elisa Gabbert excellently captures how television and now social media make a spectacle of a disaster and turn the spotlight on our reactions, making us thirsty for more.

CONCRETE CLICKBAIT

An interesting article, especially if paired with Hossein Derakhshan’s piece on social media and the passivity of its users, allowing for the so-called fake news/post-truth world to emerge. Owen Hatherley’s piece engages with ideas relating to whether relics and monuments can remain relevant to new generations, or indeed if they should.

MOST POPULAR

A few of the most popular recommendations on Cureditor this week.

BOOKS OF THE YEAR

And it begins. There’s a lot to enjoy about this epic list of top books from various eclectic contributors, writers, economists and literary thinkers, which include Hilary Mantel, Andrew Motion, Marjorie Perloff and many more. A few nods to Elena Ferrante, and many that will be new to you.


 

HOW HUMANS BECAME 'CONSUMERS': A HISTORY

This fascinating article is penned by a writer whose new book I cannot wait to get started on. Here, he briefly takes us on a breakneck tour of wealth and consumption from Adam Smith right up to the materialism, sharing economies and social responsibility debates that frame our consumption today.


 

10 MIND-BLOWING MOSQUE DESIGNS

Nicely put together examples of variation and beauty in mosque design. The feature includes one list of intricate Iranian mosaics, and another of design eclecticism particularly focusing on modern architecture’s influence on mosque design.

ANIME TOURISM: THE MOVIES TURNING RURAL JAPAN INTO A MECCA

There’s a great history of exploring locations that appear in films. In fact film tourism is a big business that starts with collaborations between producers and countries and cities’ tourist boards. This is an interesting example of how it seeps into realistic anime, with great photos included.

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