Wooh! New Adam Curtis

An Adam Curtis TV series is always something of an event, and his new work, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (starting tomorrow on BBC2) promises to be a welcome addition to an already impressive resume.

His previous works include Pandora’s Box (1992) – on political and technocratic rationalism – The Century of the Self (2002) – Freud and mass-consumerism – and The Power of Nightmares (2004) – radical Islamism and American Neoconservatism.

Curtis’s distinctive style combines critical insight – typically delivered in a calm, reassuring voice – with a highly creative use of imagery and sound. Though hardly unique, his technique of mixing archive footage of reportage and popular culture with eclectic soundtracks pre-empted web-based mash-ups by years, and the effect is still disturbing, compelling and at times, hypnotic.

In this new work, Curtis takes on the internet, suggesting that the myths of utopianism and democratisation that evolved from ecology, systems thinking and the hippy counter culture, are serving to contribute to the illusion of social connectivity and the perpetuation of a global capitalism.

Much of Adam Curtis’s previous work is available to view at thoughtmaybe, and to download from Internet Archive. Hopefully, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace will be added sometime in the future. In the meantime, it will no doubt be available for viewing in the UK on BBC iPlayer. Adam Curtis also blogs at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/

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