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150 7 Bound together Attached to history Artwork: Nayland Blake, FREE!LOVE!TOOL!BOX!, 2012 ‘Dust,’ writes Carolyn Steedman, ‘is about circularity, the impossibility of things disappearing, or going away, or being gone.’1 A pulverized, dry matter, agitated dust suspends in clouds and eventually settles in thin, even coats. Sure, dust may be vacuumed, wiped, and thrown away in good turn, in deference to cleanliness and in obeisance to a persnickety order, but dust never really departs in an existential sense. It always winds up somewhere else. The endurance of

in Bound together
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2 Short histories This chapter provides short overviews of the long doc works that will be the subject of more extensive analysis and inquiry in subsequent chapters. I offer these potted histories in the knowledge that not all readers will be familiar with the works in question and that they might therefore welcome a brief introduction about how the films came to be made, together with some indication of the significance they have acquired. By staking out the ground in this way I also hope to be able to flag up the shaping influence of different production contexts

in Taking the long view

3 Spatial and architectural memory in oral histories of working life Introduction What happens if we invert the cliche ‘if walls could talk?’ and explore what former factory workers might say about those walls? At first this may sound absurd, but in a broad sense this chapter demonstrates this very approach, for it is here that we turn our attention to the richness of content contained within workers’ memories of the buildings in which they worked. While the disciplines of oral history, design history and architectural history are all beginning to engage with

in Hot metal
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Material culture and tangible labour

With the increasing digitisation of almost every facet of human endeavour, concerns persist about ‘deskilling’ and precarious employment. The publishing industry has turned its energy to online and electronic media, and jobs continue to disappear from printing, publishing and journalism. The replacement of human labour with computerised technologies is not merely a contemporary issue; it has an established history dating from the mid-twentieth century. What is often missing from this record is an understanding of how the world of work is tightly interwoven with the tangible and affective worlds of material culture and design, even in ‘clean’ computerised environments. Workplace culture is not only made up of socio-political relationships and dynamics. It is also bound up with a world of things, with and through which the social and gendered processes of workplace life are enacted and experienced. Understanding how we interact with and interpret design is crucial for appreciating the complexities of the labour experience, particularly at times of technological disruption. Hot Metal reveals integral labour-design relationships through an examination of three decades in the printing industry, between the 1960s and 1980s. This was the period when hot-metal typesetting and letterpress was in decline; the early years of the ‘digital switch’. Using oral histories from an intriguing case-study – a doggedly traditional Government Printing Office in Australia – this book provides an evocative rendering of design culture and embodied practice in a context that was, like many workplaces, not quite ‘up-to-date’ with technology. Hot Metal is also history of how digital technologies ruptured and transformed working life in manufacturing. Rather than focusing solely on ‘official’ labour, this book will introduce the reader to workers’ clandestine creative practices; the making of things ‘on the side’.

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the mock-documentary form here is to parody the (at the time of the film, recent) establishment of the legend of the Beatles. One of the early sequences in the film is a virtual reconstruction of a Pathé News item on the Beatles, here called ‘Pathetique News’. In fact, most of the sequences in the film represent close re-constructions of well-known public moments from the Beatles’ history; virtual recreations of their

in Faking it

is a long history of pictorial representation as a mode of scientific evidence, a tradition extended by the development of the camera as a scientific instrument. In his discussion of the development of the camera, Winston ( 1995 ) suggests that the public understanding (and acceptance) of the camera as an accurate recorder of reality was shaped by its association with other scientific apparatus such as the barometer and the

in Faking it
Situating the mock-documentary

(1996), 4 has talked about why he used the codes and conventions of documentary. What prompted you to use the quasi-documentary format? The format is important in terms of questioning the truth of history. It was a ‘gift’ in this complex, dialogue driven story to have the occasional interviews with experts which

in Faking it

filmmaking, collectively they represent a disruption to Hollywood realist narrative story-telling traditions. His 1970s films in particular – such as M.A.S.H. (1970), McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971), The Long Goodbye (1973), Nashville (1975), Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (1976), and Health (1979) – all offer elements of a distinctive approach to fictional filmmaking. 9

in Faking it

foundations of the genre. We are interested here in the ways in which these new forms have extended the basic assumptions of documentary, and have incorporated a range of codes and conventions beyond those usually associated with the genre. Different histories/shared futures? Big-budget feature-length documentary has shown that it can draw large audiences to cinemas – one only has to look at

in Faking it

political history (the Boland Amendment, Iran-Contra, the Savings and Loans scandal, Panama’s Noriega and the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq). There are also fictional news reports of the electoral contest between Roberts and incumbent Senator Brickley Paiste (Gore Vidal) and, as suggested above, these are an important part of the film’s political critique. The superficial nature of these reports suggests that the mainstream American

in Faking it