I recently finished via BBC iPlayer to catch up and view all 9 episodes of Civilisation along with articles and radio programs that look at what mean when we used term 'Civilsiation' .
It was amazing stuff - as the presenter and rostrum camera linger on works of art, ancient, modern and in the last episode contemporary.
Over the 9 hours of arts programming the historians and academics; Simon Schama, Mark Beard and David Olusoga, over two years travelled to all corners of the world to discover monuments of civilisations giving their own interpretation of the what makes a civilisations.
In the most recent episode of the radio program Point of View the Anglo-Pakistani Author Kamila Shamsie highlights one problem with the series that rather than look for unique cultural remnants that illustrate the presenters argument, be they the Khmer Empire Monument to the Hindu religion Angkor Wat or the Mughal Taj Mahal in India as the finale of a 'truly great' civilisation. It is (and one that I agree too, though considering my work and inspirations I would wouldn't I?) the cross fertilisation between cultures that is true the mark of civilisation. Looking at the art of Gandhara, India that drew heavily on Greek and Persian culture and absorbed them into the local culture that is still sustained today.
Another thing that was missing from the last episode was the idea of Imagined Civilisations. IN other connected and global world we no longer have to live in a world constructed by those in power or influence and can due to the power oft free market construct and choose our own imagined civilisations.
The worlds built in media such as Televsion, Film and print matter can offer us worlds better than our own where we can inhabit. The worlds of Star Trek created at a time of great civic change presented a future (and unlike such as monuments like the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt that mark a long gone kingdom) that was hopefully and one many people want to exist in. Other series on film and Televsion enthral millions around the world and the recent film Black Panther seeks to caret one, that is more inclusive of those you have been under-representative.
Whilst the last episode presented by Simon Schama looked at a diverse group of contemporary artists working today the series missed an opportunity to turn and look to the future and the power that more democratic civilisations that are being created, give or take a few trolls on twitter; in the digital sphere of the internet.