Monday, 23 June 2008

Bleep & Booster

I have fond memories of Bleep & Booster's little adventures as featured on Blue Peter from the late 60's to the early 70's. They were instrumental in my growing fascination with science fiction (along with Fireball XL5) and appeared at about the time BBC 2 arrived, which was soon bringing some much needed colour into our monochrome '60s lives.

The characters where drawn by William Timym (known as Tim), stories were written by Dorothy Smith and when shown on BP they were augmented with sound effects by Brian Hodgson and narrated by Peter Hawkins (of Captain Pugwash fame) These innocent cartoons about a boy and his alien friend captured my young imagination as the stories developed across the weeks and the simple panning and zooming rostrum techniques used to animate the tales served to bring the adventures to life.

I can only recall seeing them in black and white but there must have been a changeover to colour at about this time.

I'm interested in these historical crossover points between black and white and colour media and how they have affected our visual perceptions of the world. Recently, with the rediscovery of early colour work by the likes of Albert Khan and colour documentary film of the Second World War, I feel that our nostalgic evocations of our past have shifted, from grainy monochrome to full-on colour saturation. Perhaps we have lost a certain innocence through being presented with these more "natural" representations of our histories. How were the film going public affected when the miracle of Technicolour started appearing on our cinema screens?

Seeing in black and white, through film, television and photography gives the opportunity to engage with images in a way that is different from our normal vision and expectations. Tone, shape, form and content are highlighted by the abscence of colour and our subjective reactions are challenged. Does work presented in B&W have a more forceful impact in regard to percieved "importance"? In consideration of documentary media such as newspapers, where colour photography and advertising are taking prescedence over "traditional" B&W photojournalism are we taking the news less seriously or is the opposite true ?

I intend to explore some of the issues raised by these questions using my memory of Bleep & Booster as a starting point and considering how developments in broadcast and other media technologies have affected our visions of the past.

23 06 08

(For more info on B&B see link)

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