Three things to keep you entertained: A television series that goes behind the scenes at a world-famous museum, a podcast that reveals the risk of falling down a YouTube rabbit hole, and a potent South Australian storytelling project.
Museum secrets, SA stories and a YouTube rabbit hole
Secrets of the Museum
Pumpie – a much-loved toy elephant handmade by the children of an English family in the early 20th century – is the star of the first episode of this enchanting BBC documentary series that takes viewers behind the scenes of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Secrets of the Museum started streaming on ABC iView this week and highlights the breadth of the V&A’s incredible collection – from Renaissance treasures The Raphael Cartoons (seven huge designs for tapestry painted by Raphael in 1515-16) to a fashion collection spanning five centuries and a glittering butterfly ring gifted by pop singer Beyoncé. Old photos help tell the stories behind many of the items featured in each episode, and there are plenty of tense moments as the curators and restorers work to prepare new displays and perform tricky repairs on delicate treasures like poor old Pumpie, who looks terribly vulnerable once his smart blue sailor suit is removed.
This is theatre for the times – a joint project by State Theatre Company SA and ActNow Theatre in which local writers, directors and actors are working together to create, perform and film 100 new stories, with a fresh episode of 10 monologues being shared online each week for 10 weeks. Some of the themes are loosely based on those of Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th-century work The Decameron, but the stories are entirely contemporary and incredibly diverse. Episode one, Those Who Make Sacrifices, includes tales both heart-breaking and heart-warming, and the way in which they’re filmed adds to the intensity of the experience; watch it on full screen, let yourself be touched by the characters, and make sure you keep viewing until the final monologue. New episodes are being released weekly; sign up to receive them on the State Theatre SA website.
Okay, so we all know that there are mysterious forces at play on the internet constantly manipulating us to buy things and waste time watching videos of baby goats. But what if internet algorithms are actually changing us – our tastes, thoughts and habits? That’s the premise behind this New York Times podcast by tech columnist Kevin Roose, which begins by following a young man called Caleb whose YouTube obsession sees him fall down a “rabbit hole” that gradually changes his beliefs in ways that are frightening and potentially dangerous. It’s captivating stuff that traverses issues like culture wars and the spread of extreme-right political ideology, as well as helping explain why the conspiracy theory industry is booming. Are those baby goats even real?
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