Joanna Does Greece And Another.
Its not as touching nor as well photographed as her travel series on India and on Japan but it has strengths other travel programs don’t have. As in the past a deal is unscripted, its often off the beaten track and she shows a keen interest in and sympathy for ordinary, barking mad (a Brit) or unusual people. Done in an informed but unpretentious fashion amidst crowds of other tourists it has a freshness and spontaneity not often seen. Egotistical and affected experts are rare.
It is easy to forget that her formal speaking/acting voice is very attractive/expressive.
The coverage of the Mani in the Peloponnese is overdue and this area has one fine quality to it – very few tourists or tourists easy to avoid/drive out.
Compared with that Greek Government funded fatuous series on Greek History by Michael Scott, prematurely obese, it stands out.
A deal of Joanna is on YouTube – here is Part 1
Part 3 or 4
The related but broader programs of 15 years ago by Spivey are much more academic, a broader focus and more about archaeological sites/objects but worth watching because he takes a unique approach to history/art based on human consciousness. Its very well photographed.
Some might remember Spivey’s BBC TV series 15 years ago called How Art Made The World which I thought astounding and beautifull. The reviews at the time were good but it seems not on Youtube which is odd because the BBC made it.
It was about the art of the Etruscan, Greek and Roman world in the classical period but also its predecessors 20,000 years ago. He is a bit full of himself but has a lot to tell - a deal of it unexpected/striking.
The program ran around the world – but not in Egypt that just does digging and no interpretation also like Mary Beard.
The essential premise of the show, according to Nigel Spivey, is that of all the defining characteristics of humanity as a species, none is more basic than the inclination to make art. Great apes will smear paint on canvas if they are given brushes and shown how, but they do not instinctively produce art any more than parrots produce conversation. We humans are alone in developing the capacity for symbolic imagery
He has written prolifically including How Art Made the World and a deal on Etruscan art which used to be his specialty. A major work on Greek Art and a very odd book on pain and suffering in art have also been written and published by academic or high quality presses. A review of How Art.. by the distinguished poet Conrad https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2005/may/22/art
Here is my point – he knows featuring art objects will draw a TV audience which he then turns into an explanation of the humans who made them and their values which lay behind these images. A bit like Lord Clark ages ago but with a greater emphasis on the history that surrounds the objects and a deal about what we now know of the human brain and its attraction to images and the creation of them. With the exception of Nefertiti’s bust and a few other things there is little in 3,000 years of Egyptian that could be described as creative at the personal/emotional level.
His theories, which were well based on science and his successful career as an ancient historian/archaeologist, seem not to have followed up by the work of others. I don’t know why this is the case and he has never been criticized by peers. I suspect he was trying to expand archaeology and build bridges with what we know about enduring human personality and needs and this is often an exercise where everyone hates you because you are changing the professional rules and boundaries of their ‘special’ field and threatening their careers. If you cross boundaries you also don't have a 'club' backing you. Who knows.
The TV series is viewable for free on Daily Motion maybe only just Part 1.
Meanwhile Egypt awaits someone who can photograph beautifully, a director who knows how to tell a wide story, researchers who can summarize the complex without cheapening it and develop generalizations and a front person with a voice, brain, charisma who doesn’t want to hog the camera. Its been a long time – maybe it never happened.
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