In 1978 the British series Connections presented a non-linear, non-teleological view of technological change and development. The series starred the historian of science James Burke. A dynamic speaker, and witty in that particularly British short of way, Burke led audiences from touch stones to atomic bombs, from stirrups to telecommunications, and from monasteries to modern assembly lines. As he did so, he showed the extreme contingency, and indirect paths taken by innovation and discovery in which more often than not greed, religion, accident or warfare led to the development of ideas and devices capable of being used in radically different ways than could have been expected from their originally intended use. The series was so popular that it spawned another run in 1994 and 1998. It was also an early and popular venue for Burke to explore the ideas of Thomas Kuhn and other theorists of technoscientific change, something that I’ve not seen a great deal of in the past decade.
I was thus greatly enthused to learn that Brit Cruise, a filmmaker from British Columbia, was attempting to find backing and support for a new series of shows dedicated to applying “the template behind the TV show Connections to concepts instead of inventions”, exploring:
the roots of great conceptual ideas by following the history of problems from which they arose. Each episode will follow one ancient problem and explore how it reoccurs again and again in more modern forms. This allows us to follow conceptual ideas along the context of their inception – making it easier to digest challenging theoretical ideas.
The great thing about Kick Starter as a form of microfinance is that it allows almost anyone to help fund and support ideas that they believe in, and connects the widest possible array of dreamers and schemers with people who could help them get their projects off the ground. While documenting each stage of the production for his supporters, Brit also provides valuable insights into his working methods and helps to show how others could see their own ideas reach full fruition through the various new sources of funding and development opening up to independent creative talent around the world. I look forward to being able to continue watching his progress as he continues to develop the series.
For More Information:
Brit Cruise’s Kick Starter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/artoftheproblem/gambling-with-secrets
And “The Making of” Blog: http://artoftheproblem.net/behind-the-scenes/