who is dead?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #52
Who is dead?
Who is dead?
    Simply leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.]

UPDATE 1 (07 December 2012):
Who is meeting in front of that church?
As nobody seems fit to guess anything when Google’s image search fails, here’s another hint. I also could’ve asked: Who is meeting in front of that church? No, the painter from the first screencap doesn’t meet anyone there. He already is dead by the time. But the two people meeting there are intertwined with the story of his death.

UPDATE 2 and solution (08 December 2012):
Kojak at the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave, Manhattan, New York City in 'The Belarus File' (Markowitz 1985).

Kojak (Telly Savalas) at the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine—1047 Amsterdam Ave, Manhattan, New York City in ‘The Belarus File’ (Markowitz 1985).

Mona cleverly solved the riddle and correctly answered both questions. The first one by citing the New York Times: ‘an elderly Russian, who may or may not have been a Nazi war criminal,’ and the second one directly: ‘Kojak [Telly Savalas] meets Elissa Barak [Betsy Aidem].’
    The movie is ‘Kojak: The Belarus file’ (Markowitz 1985) which originally aired in the US on 16 February 1985. An alternate title is ‘The Return of Kojak’ [aptly chosen, as zeph’s pop culture quiz began with Kojak], because this television movie, running 95 minutes, was made seven years after the famous original TV-series had ended.
    Compared to the latter, the atmosphere of ‘The Belarus File’ is much darker, more serious, menacing even—I definitely would describe it as neo-noir. The saxophone soundtrack induces a matching mood. Engulfed by that soundscape, created by Joseph Conlan and Barry de Vorzon, you’d hardly be surprised if Mike Hammer would walk around a corner and onto the scene. An associative connection to Germany, and in consequence to the Third Reich, is accomplished by Max von Sydow impersonating Peter Barak, one of the leading characters.
    The whole cold war plus Third Reich heritage story is a bit reminiscent of ‘The Odessa File’ (Neame 1974), based on Frederick Forsyth’s novel of the same name (1972), ‘Marathon Man’ (Schlesinger 1976), based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name (1974), and ‘The Boys from Brazil’ (Schaffner 1978), based on Ira Levin’s novel of the same name (1976). But in contrast to these movies, ‘The Belarus File’ is based on a non-fiction book, John Loftus’ controversial ‘The Belarus Secret’ (1982)—the text on its cover reads:

The first full account of an extraordinary clandestine operation carried out in direct defiance of presidential orders: How certain government agencies, in the aftermath of World War II, smuggled into the United States hundreds of Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe—and have continued to protect them from investigation and deportation

FORSYTH, FREDERICK. 1972. The Odessa file. London: Hutchinson.
GOLDMAN, WILLIAM. 1974. Marathon man. New York: Delacorte Press.
LEVIN, IRA. 1976. The boys from Brazil. New York: Random House.
LOFTUS, JOHN JOSEPH. 1982. The Belarus secret. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
MARKOWITZ, ROBERT. 1985. Kojak: The Belarus file [TV movie]. New York: CBS.
NEAME, RONALD. 1974. The Odessa file [motion picture]. Culver City: Columbia Pictures.
SCHAFFNER, FRANKLIN JAMES. 1978. The boys from Brazil [motion picture]. Century City: 20th Century Fox.
SCHLESINGER, JOHN RICHARD. 1976. Marathon man [motion picture]. Hollywood: Paramount Pictures.

war as text

Currently I am bit by bit re-reading Latour’s ‘We have never been modern’ (1993 [1991]). In one of the classes I am holding this term I am coercing the students to do this reading, and loyally I am joining in. Latour’s criticism of postmodernism induced an association inside me. Especially this paragraph:

When we are dealing with science and technology it is hard to imagine for long that we are a text that is writing itself, a discourse that is speaking all by itself, a play of signifiers without signifieds. It is hard to reduce the entire cosmos to a grand narrative, the physics of subatomic particles to a text, subway systems to rhetorical devices, all social structures to discourse. (Latour 1993 [1991]: 64)

This, and everything around, heavily reminds me of Neal Stephenson’s fulminant satire on some of postmodernism’s excrescent intellectualisms ;) embedded in his novel ‘Cryptonomicon’ (1999). It—said satire, not the novel—begins like this:

Avi’s telephone call, some eighty hours ago, arrived in the middle of a major interdisciplinary conference called “The Intermediate Phase (1939-45) of the Global Hegemony Struggle of the Twentieth Century (Common Era).” This is a bit of a mouthful and so it has been given a pithy nickname: “War as Text.” (Stephenson 1999: 50)

LATOUR, BRUNO. 1993 [1991]. We have never been modern: . Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
STEPHENSON, NEAL TOWN. 1999. Cryptonomicon. London: William Heinemann.

anthropologist of search

Daniel M. Russell works at Google and this is how he describes what he does there: ‘I study the way people search and research. I guess that makes me an anthropologist of search.’ Back in June this year he spoke at the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference in Boston. John Tedesco, an investigative reporter for the San Antonio Express-News was there, took extensive notes, and posted them at his weblog: How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques.

via entry at boingboing

who is arriving?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #51
Who is arriving?
Who is just arriving here?
    Simply leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.]

UPDATE and solution (07 December 2012):
Due to a negligence of mine ryoku solved #51 immediately by dragging the picture upon Google’s image search field. Thereby he reached Fantômas Over Paris and easily could deduce that in the screencap Princess Sonia Danidoff (Jane Faber) is arriving at the Royal Palace Hotel towards the beginning of the first chapter—‘Le Vol du Royal Palace Hotel’ [‘The Theft at the Royal Palace Hotel’]—of Louis Feuillade‘s 1913 movie serial Fantômas.’ For all about Fantômas see Fantomas Lives!

FEUILLADE, LOUIS. 1913. Fantômas I: À l’ombre de la guillotine [‘Fantômas: In the shadow of the guillotine’]. Neuilly-sur-Seine: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont.

space by movement

My physical inbox today was graced by the presence of the newest issue (60/2012) of the ‘Berliner Blätter: Ethnographische und ethnologische Beiträge’ [Berlin leafs: Ethnographic and Anthropological Contributions], a German language anthropology journal. It bears the title: ‘Räume durch Bewegung: Ethnographische Perspektiven auf eine vernetzte Welt’ [Space by Movement: Ethnographic Perspectives upon a Networked World]. The editors of said issue, Beatrix Hoffmann and Hansjörg Dilger—who did a truly fine job—sent me the specimen, because it contains a short contribution by yours truly. Here’s the abstract, taken from the issue’s introduction:

Alexander Knorr erläutert in seinem Beitrag Möglichkiten ethnografischer Forschung unter Gemeinschaften, die sich ohne Bezug zu einem physisch-materiellen Raum ausschließlich auf der Basis virtueller Interaktionen konstituieren. Am Beispiel von game moddern, Internet-Akteuren, die sich der Modifizierung und Weiterentwicklung von Computerspielen widmen, zeigt Knorr, dass auf der Basis “Dichter Teilnahme”, d.h. der Beobachtung und Initiierung von sozialen Interaktionen und durch die interative Teilhabe daran Feldforschung auch unter solchen Gemeinschaften möglich ist, deren Mitglieder sich nie physisch begegnen. (Hoffmann & Dilger 2012: 11-12)

To my eye all articles within the issue, which is the result of a conference which took place in November 2010 in Berlin, are interesting and worthwhile, but I am especially struck by Martin Zillinger‘s contribution. Again from the introduction:

Die Erläuterung von Möglichkeiten und Grenzen ethnografischer Forschung unter den Bedingungen medial gestalteter Räume, Beziehungen und Praxen steht im Fokus des Beitrags von Martin Zillinger. Am Beispiel von in Brüssel lebenden marokkanischen Migranten und deren Kontakten zu sufi-Trance-Bruderschaften in ihrer nordafrikanischen Heimat beschreibt Zillinger die Eigenschaften medialer Räume und stellt zugleich methodische Ansätze für ihre Erforschung vor. Von zentraler Bedeutung ist dabei die Beobachtung von Praxen der Zirkulation von Dingen, Zeichen und Ideen über nationale und soziale Grenzen hinweg, welche dem Ethnologen den Blick auf mediale Austauschräume eröffnet: Mit seiner dichten Nachzeichnung der “Medienpraktiken” unterschiedlicher Akteure der Bruderschaften zeigt Zillinger, wie im Zuge ritueller Ereignisse ein transnationaler Raum aufgespannt wird, der sich aus den multidirektionalen Interaktionen zwischen den Mitgliedern der rituellen Gemeinschaft, sowie durch die Zirkulation der von ihnen mobilisierten und genutzten Zeichen, symbolischen Praktiken und Gegenstände immer wieder neu konstituiert. (Hoffmann & Dilger 2012: 11)

If that’s to your taste, then Martin’s upcoming book definitely is, too: ‘Die Trance, das Blut, die Kamera: Trance-Medien und Neue Medien im marokkanischen Sufismus’ (2013). ‘Trance, Blood, and Camera’ … that is what I call a title for an ethnography! Here’s the official abstract:

Im 21. Jahrhundert haben Migration, der Einsatz Neuer Medien und eine zunehmende Kommerzialisierung marokkanische Sufi-Gruppen und ihre Trance-Rituale verändert. Angesichts islamistischer Reformbewegungen, nationalpolitischer Ansprüche und transnationaler Verflechtungen werden Konflikte um religiöse Lebensführung an den Orten dieser Bruderschaften, ihrer Heiligen und Dämonen, neu verortet.
    Dieses Buch untersucht im Anschluss an die Studien von Vincent Crapanzano (1973, 1980), wie mit der Nutzung Neuer Medien bisherige Praktiken der Isawa und Hamadsa regeneriert und ihre Besessenheitsrituale und öffentlichen Zeremonien in neue Zusammenhänge und Lebenswelten übersetzt werden.

HOFFMANN, BEATRIX AND HANSJÖRG DILGER. 2012. Einleitung: Räume durch Bewegung. Berliner Blätter: Ethnographische und ethnologische Beiträge 60/2012: 8-13.
KNORR, ALEXANDER. 2012. Räume online. Berliner Blätter: Ethnographische und ethnologische Beiträge 60/2012: 80-88.
ZILLINGER, MARTIN. 2012. Die Medialisierung von Personen, Zeichen und Dingen bei marokkanischen Trancebruderschaften: Zur Erforschung medialer Räume entlang transnationaler Migrationswege. Berliner Blätter: Ethnographische und ethnologische Beiträge 60/2012: 68-79.
ZILLINGER, MARTIN. 2013. Die Trance, das Blut, die Kamera: Trance-Medien und Neue Medien im marokkanischen Sufismus. Bielefeld: Transcript.

the witch reboot

Last Tuesday the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell (WITCH) was rebooted for the first time since the 1970s. For two and a half years volunteers had restaurated the machine, which was built in 1951, at Great Britain’s National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

via article at wired

who is checking?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #50
Who is checking the time?
Who is checking the time on his fob watch?
    Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.]

UPDATE and solution (21 November 2012):
Titlecard of 'The Thomas Crown Affair' (Jewison 1968)
The day will come when I again will post screencaps of movies like The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler,’ Vexille,’ or Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation and Alexander Rabitsch won’t recognize them right away like he has done again: It indeed is Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown checking the time—Mr. Rabitsch even furnished us with the knowledge that the watch is a Patek Philippe—in The Thomas Crown Affair,’ directed by Norman Jewison (1968). To the cyberpunk aficionado Jewison of course is best known for his magnificent Rollerball (1975). ‘Thomas Crown’ has nothing to do with cyberpunk whatsoever. It is a heist movie, remarkable for its atmosphere, the chemistry between McQueen and Faye Dunaway, and maybe best remembered for the employed split-screen technique. When, as a youth, I saw ‘Thomas Crown’ for the first time (on television), I found the split-screen scenes to be irritating, unnerving, and in consequence downright boring. Today, since more than a decade well used to sitting in front of multiple screens, I somehow like it. So I was delighted to see the split-screens being used for the elaborate cut-scenes in Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Vancouver 2012). And I am amused that Microsoft’s advertising machine currently tries to convince us all that tiles are the up-to-date interactive design thing for graphical user interfaces, all the while acting like they’re selling us a Mondrian Composition at a bargain.
    ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ was remade in 1999, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, John McTiernan directing—no multi-dynamic image technique here. Three years later McTiernan remade yet another film by Norman Jewison, the already mentioned ‘Rollerball.’ The remake was shredded by the critics and failed at the box office.

JEWISON, NORMAN FREDERICK. 1968. The Thomas Crown affair [motion picture]. Los Angeles: United Artists.
JEWISON, NORMAN FREDERICK. 1975. Rollerball [motion picture]. Century City: United Artists.
MCTIERNAN, JOHN CAMPBELL. 1999. The Thomas Crown affair [motion picture]. Beverly Hills: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
MCTIERNAN, JOHN CAMPBELL. 2002. Rollerball [motion picture]. Beverly Hills, Burbank: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Touchstone Pictures, Buena Vista International.
ROCKSTAR VANCOUVER. 2012. Max Payne 3 [computer game]. New York: Rockstar Games.

deus ex movie

Detail of opening splash screen of Deus Ex: Humn Revolution
The day before yesterday CBS Films announced that Scott Derrickson, who directed e.g. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) [the remake, obviously], will direct a movie based on the ‘Deus Ex’ series of computer games, the latest installment, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal & Nixxes Software 2011) in particular.

EIDOS MONTREAL AND NIXXES SOFTWARE. 2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution [computer game]. Shibuya: Square Enix.
DERRICKSON, SCOTT. 2008. The day the Earth stood still [motion picture]. Century City: 20th Century Fox.
DERRICKSON, SCOTT. 2014. Deus ex [motion picture]. Brentwood: CBS Films.
via HP at fb—tnx!