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William Kentridge: Drawing the Passing

Kentridge discusses the creative process of making his animated films, drawings, and theatre work. Shows him in the final stages of animating "Stereoscope" and includes excepts from various works. In his artistic works he has investigated the diseased, amnesiac consciousness of late and post-apartheid South Africa.
Ivy (By Request)

Iran [electronic resource]: Departure Into the Unknown

In Iran, even laughter is considered sinful by the nation's strict Shiite regime. Yet after revolution and war, Iranians cherish hopes of a freer future. This program describes the impact of life in a modern fundamentalist society on Iran's diverse population, which includes Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It also spotlights the joyful celebration of Sizdah Bedar, which welcomes the spring; the incomparable Iranian crown jewels; monuments such as the magnificent palace of Shah Abas the First, the huge Imam Mosque, the ruins of Persepolis, and the wind towers of Nain; and the lifestyles of artisans, craftspeople, laborers, and students.
2007; 1998

Pakistan [electronic resource]: Between the Chitralis and Pathans

Situated in western Asia, Pakistan occupies a region of political and economic tension. This program looks at Pakistan's complex relations with Iran, India, and the United States and the contributions of its multicultural population. The influences of Punjabi and Pathan, Sindhi and Baluchi, and Ismaili and Buddhist are all captured, set against the background of life both in cities and in rural communities. The region's heritage as the seat of the Indus Valley civilization is also explored.
2005; 1998

India [electronic resource]: River of Life

Containing nearly a sixth of the world's population, India is home to almost a billion people, more than half of whom live in rural villages. This program provides an overview of topics such as the caste system as it exists in the holy Hindu town of Varanasi and the massive pilgrimages to Allahabad, where millions of Hindus come to ritually bathe at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers. Also discussed are arranged marriages; local trades in Agra, site of the matchless Taj Mahal; Sikhism in the city of Amritsar; the Indian/Pakistani tug-of-war for Kashmir; and the plight of small farmers, driven from their holdings by powerful landowners.
2005; 1998

Burma [electronic resource]: In the Garden of the Crying Buddha

Renamed Myanmar by its ruling junta, Burma is one of the world's poorest nations due to decades of iron-fisted military control and despite its valuable natural resources and priceless national treasures. This program presents an intriguing glimpse of Burmese life, ranging from washing the sacred Buddha at the Maha Muni Pagoda and the initiation of young Buddhist novices amid the ruins of Bagan to farming the amazing floating gardens of Lake Inle. Issues including Burma's 40-year civil war, the vital role of the railway and the cinema, and rampant smuggling are addressed as well.
2007; 1998

Laos [electronic resource]: In the Shadow of the Giants

Impoverished, sparsely populated, and still recovering from the Vietnam War, Laos exists on the edge of the abyss. This program considers the cultural and economic impact on Laotians and Hmong alike of initiatives designed to improve the country, such as the new highway being built by Swedish engineers. Although the regime's "reeducation camps" show no signs of being closed and antigovernment rebels continue to make travel dangerous, foreign tourism is being courted for the currency it can bring, while the country's rich spiritual life-expressed through the practices of Buddhism and animism-serenely continues.
2007; 1998

China [electronic resource]: Dance Around Golden Calf

As China continues to experiment with Western-style economics, many city dwellers already enjoy the prerogatives of a market economy. But how will China feed itself as more and more farmers flee their land for the allure of urban living? This program seeks to understand the effects of economic reform on Chinese society, from the villages to the cities. Will cultural values and the traditional arts and sciences retain their importance as China makes its bid for first-world status, or will they and the rest of the old China be swept away by Western attitudes, a burgeoning middle-class, and the country's new identity as a nascent economic powerhouse?
2006; 1997

Digital Dark Age? [electronic resource]: Gambling With Humankind's Knowledge

Compact and portable, digitized information is an attractive alternative to bulky books, analog media, and emulsion-based photographs-but can it stand the test of time? In this program, Stewart Brand, co-inventor of the TCP/IP Internet protocol, and others in the know assess the rapid proliferation of digitization; confront the alarming risk of massive data loss through technology obsolescence, platform incompatibilities, and storage media degradation; explore the potentially catastrophic impact of data loss on cultural identity; and outline some of the efforts being made to stave off a digital dark age.
2005; 2002

No Rest for the Weary [electronic resource]: Cultural Revolution and Its Origins

From World War II until Mao's death in 1976, the Chinese faced recurring hardships, the Cultural Revolution perhaps the most damaging to their traditional society. This program carefully traces the origins and implementation of Mao's agenda of social upheaval, bringing together documentary footage and firsthand accounts from those who experienced it. Among those interviewed is Song Yongyi, a history professor at Dickinson College who left China in order to write an account of the movement.
2005; 2003

The Unfortunate Generation [electronic resource]: Cultural Revolution and Beyond

Within two years of the Cultural Revolution, armed factions battled each other in Mao's name. To avoid civil war, Mao essentially banished his zealots to the countryside. This program chronicles the Cultural Revolution, its disastrous aftermath, and the role of Mao's wife, Jiang Qing. Scholars, diplomats, and survivors discuss the forced labor camps known as "Schools of May 7th"; the attacks on foreign consulates in Hong Kong and Beijing; China's support of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge; and the trial of the "Gang of Four." The program concludes with Deng Xiaoping opening China to the West.
2005; 2003

The Masai Today [electronic resource]: Changing Traditions

Swahili or English? Extended or nuclear family? Cattle or camel herding? For the proud, pastoral Masai tribe of Africa, Western culture's advance brings decisions in every area of an ancient lifestyle. Filmed over the course of seven years, this program follows one family as it contends with the challenges of modernity facing the Masai people as a whole. Through interviews and an extremely detailed depiction of Masai daily life, the program explores changing gender relations, language and identity, tribal leadership and family structure, and the influence of education.
2006; 2003

By River Into the Unknown [electronic resource]

Scientist, cartographer, and ecological pioneer, Alexander von Humboldt set himself a vast goal: "to find out how the forces of nature interact upon one another." This program follows the first two years of Humboldt and Bonpland's explorations as they charted rivers, gathered samples, and documented thousands of species of fauna and flora in Colombia, Cuba, and the Andes. Along with striking location footage, many of the expedition's original maps, manuscripts, and diverse specimens are seen in Berlin's Humboldt Museum for Natural History.
2006; 1999

Expedition Above the Clouds [electronic resource]

From the tangled jungle of river basins, Humboldt and Bonpland journeyed into the thin air of Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico, reaching a literal height with their ascent of Mt. Chimborazo. This program weaves location footage, reenactments, rare manuscripts, and readings from Humboldt's letters and journals to present the second half of a scientific odyssey. Humboldt's paradigm of "botanical geography" is clearly seen as the precursor to today's concept of ecological systems.
2006; 1999

Gary Hill [electronic resource]: Transcending the Senses

Gary Hill's transformative films, performances, and video installations offer resonant philosophic and poetic insights as he explores the tensions that reverberate among electronic media, language, the senses, and the self. In this program, Hill uses a number of his pieces to investigate otherness and ambiguity, dislocation of the senses, the boundary between words and comprehension, the physicality of text, and figurative interactivity. Featured works include Wall Piece; Crossbow; Liminal Objects; Reflex Chamber; Conundrum; Remarks on Color; Suspension of Disbelief; I Believe It Is an Image in Light of the Other; Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come on Petunia); CRUX; Primarily Speaking; and Mediations. Contains brief nudity.
2005; 2001

Expressing the Inexpressible [electronic resource]: Shirin Neshat

An acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and video artist, Iranian-born Shirin Neshat addresses the complex forces shaping the identity of Muslim women throughout the world and explores the social, political, and psychological dimensions of women's experiences. In this program, she explicates her haunting video installations Shadow Under the Web; Turbulent; Soliloquy; Rapture; and Fervor, as well as her seminal series of still images, The Women of Allah. In addition, she discusses being both an insider and an outsider in two different cultures, the narrative power of cinema, sexual taboos in Islamic society, the tension between traditional and modern values, the nature of expression when expression itself is forbidden, and the quiet strength and bravery of women that prompts them to reb [...]
2005; 2000

The Body as a Matrix [electronic resource]: Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle

With the five-part Cremaster Cycle of films, multi-award-winning artist Matthew Barney invented a densely layered and interconnected sculptural world that surreally combines sports, biology, sexuality, history, and mythology as it organically evolves. In this program, Barney, Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector, and others deconstruct the Cycle's filming and subsequent translation into sculptural installations. The locations, characters, and symbols that organize the Cycle films; the Cycle installations as spatial content carriers and extensions of the performances; and objectification of the body and undifferentiated sexuality are addressed, as are the intricacies of costuming, makeup, and sculpting with Barney's signature materials: plastic, metal, and Vaseline. Contains nudity and ma [...]
2005; 2002

Thailand [electronic resource]: King, Combat, and Ad Karabao

Unlike its neighbors, Thailand has never been colonized or annexed-but keeping it that way has been a stern challenge. This program examines Thailand's political independence, which is based on democratic and generally peaceful rule by a culturally supported monarchy. However, growing dissatisfaction has caused grass-roots dissent, as demonstrated by the lyrics of pop music idol d Karabao, who protests against imported consumer goods, and the agitation of "Ubon Without a Border," a group lobbying for open access with Laos and Cambodia. The powerful yet incongruous influences of Thai boxing and Buddhism are also assessed.
2007; 1998

William Kentridge [electronic resource]: Art From the Ashes

In this program, artist, filmmaker, and dramatist William Kentridge demonstrates his remarkable filmmaking technique-stop-action animation using photos of charcoal drawings in which he has erased and redrawn scenes in different arrangements-as he works on Stereoscope. Footage from that piece as well as from History of the Main Complaint; Felix in Exile; Sobriety, Obesity & Growing Old; Mine; and Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City After Paris powerfully illustrates his abiding concerns with the sociopolitical legacy of racial oppression and colonialism in South Africa. The film clips also reveal how his polemical "drawings for projection" evoke a nuanced sense of time's passage as each image builds upon the shadowy remnants of prior ones.
2005; 1999

Mission Possible [electronic resource]: Cradle-to-Cradle Design

German chemist Michael Braungart wants to save the world - but not in the way some environmentalists have in mind. Rather than promoting reduced consumption, Braungart and his collaborator, American architect William McDonough, are proposing "intelligent production" or a design approach known as cradle-to-cradle. This film traces the ideas of both visionaries and the obstacles they are encountering, particularly from the waste processing industries. Real-world architectural and manufacturing case studies are presented along with extensive conversations with Braungart and additional commentary from McDonough, while observers familiar with their work express varying opinions about it.

Linking Africa [electronic resource]: The Future Is Digital

Africa has the fastest-growing cell phone market in the world, fueling the continent's IT boom and making Nokia and Google sit up and take notice. This program examines East Africa's burgeoning and innovative use of information technology in small businesses, health care, education, and social activism. Viewers meet the software developers and digital pioneers who are increasing Africa's connectivity with programs such as One Laptop Per Child-an initiative that brings hope to an area ravaged by civil strife. The video also looks at the mixed feelings of uneasy governments who see the Internet as both potential spark for an Arab Spring-style uprising and a lucrative way to bring their countries into the 21st century.