The revolution will not be televised, it will be digitised; this issue’s PlayList bangs on your door in the middle of the night to evoke memories of the Eastern Bloc and consider what life would be like under the yolk of a repressive and uncaring regime.
For an experimental take on the Cold War defrosting process, Glasgow video artist Santa Kaos creatively manipulates footage of a trip to the Berlin Wall in the short eBerlin (www.youtube.com/watch). Set to an electronica soundtrack by Scottish band The Super Scientists, eBerlin’s visual effects and distortions uncover anarchic sensibilities within the concrete landscapes of the old East German capital.
The days of Stalinist state censorship are hopefully long gone, but the British media isn’t always as free as you might imagine. So switch on the gramophone to confuse any listening surveillance men, pull down the blinds, and check out the much-banned British political filmmaker Peter Watkins. His BBC film The War Game (www.youtube.com) was removed from public eyes in 1965, and contains a stark black and white realisation of the immediate effect of a nuclear attack. Even more subversively, Watkins’ extraordinary 1967 film Privilege (pictured) takes a blurred snapshot of the extraordinary life of fictional popstar Steven Shorter, a tortured star whose image and life-style are carefully manipulated as a way of controlling the masses (www.youtube.com). Both films were banned before their release and have never been issued on DVD or VHS; in the past, you’d need dogged determination and strong anti-authority connections to get a sniff of the subversive quality of Watkins’ work. Thanks to the Internet, the change in the way we watch films means that Watkins’ long-repressed politicised polemics are now available for your home ‘intertainment’ at the touch of a button. Vive la revolution!