This programme compares the ideas of Ruskin and Marx towards industrialisation and the division of labour, using film of Venice, pictures of medieval craftmanship and film from Russian sources toge...ther with various stills of British industrial life to illustrate the theme. The final part of the programme is taken up with a description of William Morris's work and his own attitudes formed both by Ruskin and Marx towards decoration, design and the use of machinery.
|Module code and title:
|A101, An arts foundation course
|First transmission date:
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|Alasdair Clayre; Garard Green
|BBC Open University
|Gothic; Industrialisation; Marx; Morris; Ruskin; Work
|Film of Venice, over which Green reads Ruskin's views on the beauty of Venice and the decline of craftsmen. Old film of heavy industrial development in the Urals, over which Green quotes Marx's optimistic views on the benefit of industrialisation. Over portraits of Ruskin and Marx, as well as old stills of 19th century industrial development in Britain, Clayre briefly outlines the background of both men's concern with the nature of work. Shots of pottery production line. Shots of hand potter at work. Clayre describes Ruskin's ideas on the importance of craftsmanship, numerous prints from his book The Stones of Venice are shown, with medieval music over. He explains Ruskin's enthusiasm for Gothic forms, over many examples. His ideas on work in a Christian society are explained. Over a number of illustrations Clayre explains that the work of pre-industrial craftsmen was far from idyllic. He sets out Marx's views on the benefits of industrialisation. Film of large Soviet industrial centre at Magnetogorsk, 1963. Clayre explains how Marx hoped industrialisation would enrich the life of every worker. Further film of Russian workers. Over this and examples of Constructivist art Clayre describes early 20th century enthusiasm in Russia for machinery and technology. Constructivist projects are examined in detail, including an extract frwm Vertov's film Three Songs of Lenin. Clayre comments on the 'optimism' of Marxism. Stills of Nasmyth's Steam Hammer and other 19thcentury machinery. Green quotes Marx on his enthusiasm for the hammer. Clayre describes Marx's belief in the growth of centralised industrial centres, and outlines Karl Popper's criticism of this belief. Film of a water-mill in operation. Over this and portraits of William Morris Clayre describes Ruskin's influence on Morris, Morris designs and productions are shown, over which Clayre describes his acheivements. Green quotes Ruskin on the ideal of the Gothic craftsman. (music). Clayre describes Marx's influence on Morris, stills of Morris's pamphlets and workshops. Green quotes Morris's views on industrialisation. Morris theories of work are descirbed over print and film of Kelmscott. Green reads Morris's opinion of the house at Kelmscott. Stills of modern factories, over which Clayre comments on the relevance of Ruskin's ideas to the present day. Film of potter's wheel in action. Clayre explains the difficulty of making industrial work individually satisfying. Film of an attempt to acheive this on the Volvo production line. Clayre concludes with comments on the relevance of the ideas of Ruskin, Marx and Morris, over portraits of all three.
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