A rushed three hour write-up on the Pirate Bay en route to the Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle on Friday, got me looking back to the first time the Pirate Bayern was in the news, when I wrote a piece here linking it to Hakim Bay's Pirate Utopias and the Temporary Autonomous Zone which was written back in spring 1990, long before the birth of the Web. If Cluetrain is the text that precursed social networks and user-generated media, the TAZ pre-empted the Web - both perhaps the first document to name it and is prophetic of many of its features.
It begins by talking of the 'pirate utopias' of the 18th century as islands and remote hidouts, scattered through an "information network" and goes onto define a Web evolving within that net. It's scarily ahead of its time:
"we'll use the term Web to refer to the alternate horizontal open structure of info- exchange, the non-hierarchic network, and reserve the term counter-Net to indicate clandestine illegal and rebellious use of the Web, including actual data-piracy and other forms of leeching off the Net itself."
He goes on, suggesting that re-use of what we find is part of our biological nature, and that because the web removes production and distribution costs, free non-hierarchical access is assumed as standard:
"(Digression: Before you condemn the Web or counter-Net for its "parasitism," which can never be a truly revolutionary force, ask yourself what "production" consists of in the Age of Simulation. What is the "productive class"? Perhaps you'll be forced to admit that these terms seem to have lost their meaning. In any case the answers to such questions are so complex that the TAZ tends to ignore them altogether and simply picks up what it can use. "Culture is our Nature"-- and we are the thieving magpies, or the hunter/gatherers of the world of CommTech.)"
He doesn't have much hope for efforts to limit technical control of what he calls 'data piracy', citing chaos theory, which is not to assume there's no model to produce good content in the face of collapsing presales (watch this space!):
"Like Gibson and Sterling I am assuming that the official Net will never succeed in shutting down the Web or the counter-Net--that data-piracy, unauthorized transmissions and the free flow of information can never be frozen. (In fact, as I understand it, chaos theory predicts that any universal Control-system is impossible.)"
The very latest Bollywood upcoming release is Krrish, starring top actor Hritik Roshan, but 60% of the film was shot in Singapore, and overseas shoots just like this one are increasingly becoming the Bollywood rule, not the exception. What are the factors that pull India's film productions abroad and what advantages do host countries gain from hosting a Hindi song and dance blockbuster. James MacGregor has been abroad with Bollywood to find out.
Controversy is raging in the US over Cannes – and whether the world's greatest film festival has relevance to American Cinema or not. James MacGregor has been examining the evidence.
...Red, apparently, though not necessarily with the blood sacrificed by directors trying hard to gain acceptance from the selectors of the world's greatest festival of film. The odds against selection for Cannes are huge, so it is particularly heart warming that one of the films in competition this year is Red Road, a British debut feature from Andrea Arnold, who last year won an Oscar for her short film Wasp.