Art and 'Big Brother'

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Sep 17 15:21:08 MDT 2002


Thanks Gary for the really interesting post on trends in art.  I think
we'd be really interested if you wanted to write it up for a future
issue of 'revolution'.

One thing that I disagreed on however was this:
> In my own field documentary film has degenerated into reality television.
> Big Brother represents above all the celebration of the cut throat nature
> of neo-liberalism.  Everything that is bad about the present world is
> endlessly thrust in our faces.  The central message is that humanity is a
> piece of shit that will always betray and plot and scheme against other humans.


I began avoiding the first Aussie series of 'Big Brother' on principle.
But part way through it I began to watch it.  Not the early evening
stuff so much, which was rather dull and also I wasn't home much at that
time anyway.  But I became quite an avid fan of the 'Uncut' episode
which screened each week.

I found that one of the most interesting things was *not* that it
reflected cut-throat competition but that, to the contrary, all kinds of
bonds were formed between completely disparate people.  And I'm talking
more about friendship bonds than the sexual hi-jinks.
This happened also in the second series.  I thought it was more an
interesting indication of how, when they're thrown together, and there
is no discrimination organised by the institutions of the state or by
the operations of the capitalist market, quite diverse people actually
pitch in together and form bonds that they never would in the 'outside'
(ie capitalist) world.

Most reality TV is crap.  It is run coz it's cheap and it is dumbed
down.  So, generally, this is an awful genre.  But 'Big brother',
certainly the two Aussie series, have actually seemed to me to prove
that people can get on across all kinds of 'barriers' of race, sex,
sexuality and so on if they are left to their own devices.  It is
capitalism which gets in the way.

Phil

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