Joanne McNeil
Since 2010
Works in Brooklyn United States of America

writer (Los Angeles Times, Wired UK, Frieze, etc) // former editor of

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Science Fiction TV Film World on a Wire

Released shortly before Ali: Fear Eats Soul Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1973 sci-fi tv movie World on a Wire is newly restored and playing around the country:

A dystopic science-fiction epic, World on a Wire is German wunderkind Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s gloriously cracked, boundlessly inventive take on future paranoia. With dashes of Kubrick, Vonnegut, and Dick, but a flavor entirely his own, Fassbinder tells the noir-spiked tale of reluctant action hero Fred Stiller (Klaus Lowitsch), a cybernetics engineer who uncovers a massive corporate and governmental conspiracy. At risk? Our entire (virtual) reality as we know it. This long unseen three-and-a-half-hour labyrinth is a satiric and surreal look at the weird world of tomorrow from one of cinema’s kinkiest geniuses.




An Illustrated History of Afrofuturism

Adrienne Crew is writing a series on Afrofuturism for HiLobrow, with special consideration of Pedro Bell's cover designs. From her third post on alien iconography:


Parliament was also one of the first creators to introduce into mainstream pop culture the narrative that aliens jump-started Egyptian, and by extension African, civilization. Many had been captivated by Erich von Däniken’s 1968 book, Chariot of the Gods, but P-Funk took the idea further and pushed a more Afrocentric agenda than Däniken.

Aliens and alienation are key features of Afrofuturism. [Pedro] Bell’s aliens were not alienated from their place in the world. Funk offered the promise of feeling at peace with the universe; a condition that often eludes African Americans.

Her second post considers "transportation—especially ships—as both a danger, and a vehicle for escape from danger."


[Bell's] Dali-esque cover for Standing on the Verge of Getting On features an actual chariot, manned by a Greek hero ready to fight space aliens. There’s even a detailed rendering of a Space Needle on the cover of Tales of Kidd Funkedelic.



Weekend Clicking


"Most sci-fi pic you will see today" - @bilder (Accompanying article:In South Korea, all textbooks will be e-books by 2015) via @bruces 

  • This morning I was reading an article about Bjork’s upcoming Biophilia project and it starts by saying that her whole career “has been a quest for the ultimate fusion of the organic and the electronic.” I relate to Bjork on this, and the juxtapositions in Antlers Wifi can be seen as part of a similar quest/search. - Rick Silva interviewed in Beautiful Decay
  • How The Internet Transformed The American Rave Scene In the early-to-mid-1990s, it was driven not by stars but a sudden collective sense that, as the Milwaukee rave zine Massive put it in every issue above the masthead, "The underground is massive." (via Kottke)
  • Lost languages as teen cyphertools (Futurismic) We’ve talked about social steganography before; for teenagers and other folk restricted to communicating in public and/or monitored virtual spaces, a shared coded language becomes a necessity for the communication of ideas which you don’t want the watchers (be they parents, governments or whatever else) to be able to parse..... [Now kids are] reviving nigh-extinct local languages as a way of carving out their own cultural spaces. Example: southern Chilean hip hop videos posted on YouTube in Huilliche, a language on the brink of extinction.
  • "We once believed we were auteurs but we weren't. We had no idea, really. Film is over. It's sad nobody is really exploring it. But what to do? And anyway, with mobile phones and everything, everyone is now an auteur." - Jean-Luc Godard (The Guardian) See all of Film Socialisme compressed to a two minute clip and released by the  filmmaker on Youtube.
  • People aren’t sure about what an image or object is anymore. They ...
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    A Two-Minute Visual History of the Spacewalk (Video)


    The Atlantic's Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg created this visual history of the spacewalk using archival footage from NASA and the Internet Archive.

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    Skeuomorphic Sounds: Digital Camera Shutter Clicks and Car Door Clunks


    BBC looks at ways audio engineers have retained classic sounds of objects. The shutter noise on a digital camera is entirely uneccessary. An ENV hydrogen-powered motorbike is silent, but an artificial roar warns "road users it is approaching." These "manufacturers of cars, phones and cameras are merely responding to their own archaic ideas of how things should sound."

    About ten years ago, car doors no longer made the classic openning sound due new safety standards in car manufacturing that made parts of the car lighter and doors heavier. Instead of a clunk, car doors openned with a tinny sound. To make the car sound "more expensive ... dampeners were introduced into the door cavity to muffle the tinny effect and engineers altered the locking mechanism to make just the right sort of click."


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