Residing at a crossroads between film journal and radical newsreel, Now! A Journal of Urgent Praxis foregrounds films and writings made in rapid yet eloquent engagement with the here and now of political and cultural life. Now! aims to stimulate an alternate form of practice across critical writing and experimental cinema, operating in a different time signature than the academic quarterly, museum exhibition, or film festival. Now! responds to crisis. Now! offers the radical reply.
Despite changes in technology that make it easier than ever, few journals make films available as a central component of their content. Fewer still foreground new films, emphasizing the archive instead. And none focus on films that place an equal weight between formal innovation and political urgency. Now! confronts this absence directly.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, radical cinema artists in Latin America, Africa, the U.S. and Europe explored the political and aesthetic plasticity of the newsreel, previously an almost archaic cinematic convention. The newsreel became a laboratory, a training ground, a set of proposals, the call and also the response. It helped instigate and replenish the most productive period of radical film praxis: the epoch of the third cinema.
In the age of YouTube, the radical newsreel awaits a spectacular, transformative re-birth. Now! is digital flint and steel.
Media criticism resides within a broad chasm. On the one hand is the lengthy time frame of the academic article; on the other, the reflexive retort of the blog posting, tweet, or comment. Now! aims to spur the creation of texts traveling just below the velocity of social media. The thoughtful pause can gather force.
What new forms might arise from the cross pollination of radical collaboration, rigorous peer review, topical instigation, and rapid publication? Now! aims to stimulate original models of critical praxis and practical criticism.
It is important to note that urgency has nothing to do with “newness.” There are urgent documents that have existed for hundreds of years or more. Urgency is defined by Now! in the simplest possible manner. Now! foregrounds work, new or old, that has an urgent value for the present moment. Work that needs to be seen, read, and confronted Now!