CLIP Dreams of Helvetica Bold

As promised, I finally updated But This Was A Fantasy. And it’s a bumper update too; not only The Living Dead, but also the Nick Leeson Inside Story and the Modern Times documentary on Henrietta Lacks. That finishes Adam Curtis’ 90s output. Next up will be Century of The Self, and then I’ll close out the 2000s with the duo of The Power of Nightmares and The Trap. You’ll then get All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace and Hypernormalisation, but I’ve decided to skip Bitter Lake, as it’s a different sort of film, and is also very explicit in its violence, so I’m leaving it out so it doesn’t give you upsetting results on random queries.

(I’ve made a small discovery that the version of the Nick Leeson documentary we’ve been watching all these years is different from the version that was originally broadcast; the iPlayer version is seven minutes longer and has different archive footage - perhaps to make overseas sales easier? Anyway, I’ll be doing a follow-up post outlining the differences at some point in the future.)

The update has confused CLIP in some ways, but it’s astounding in others: enter ‘henrietta lacks’ into the search box, and you get five great results with no text in the frame to help the network out at all. I’m assuming that some of the images were in CLIP’s training set and labelled correctly - anyway, it makes the search engine look superhuman.

Finally on the Adam Curtis front for the moment: this episode of Politics Theory Other has a great discussion on Curtis, specifically on Can’t Get You Out of My Head but also his work at large. I completely agree with Owen Hatherley that his work has suffered since dropping the Curtis-led interviews, and that few seem to pick up on the jokes. “but they had become radical lesbian nuns” in an accent that seems to come straight from Reith himself will never not be hilarious.