Berfrois

Alone, Together

Alone, Together

Yet culture is glaringly absent in digital connectivity. In clutching at multiple digital floats on a confusing sea of bites and images, one may not have to confront the empty core of one’s personality, moral integrity, or engage in a moment of reflection on life’s meaning.

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We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

The prevailing attitude in political and journalistic circles is to cling onto this widely-held belief, rooted in the philosophical and social systems of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that individualism remains triumphant. Yet the plural person and emotional tribes – this is the reality we see all around us...

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Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place — as one is watching the film. And even if one knows the filmmaker, even if one has watched the film because the filmmaker is a...

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On the Flying Time

On the Flying Time

Presentism—the notion that everything that exists is only what can and does exist right now—is countered in metaphysics by eternalism: the idea that time is not a process but a dimension, and in that dimension all reference points have equal validity, and thus all time, past, present, and future,...

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Jason S. Polley: Prawns

Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly assortment of itinerant “aliens” in an informal zone, aka a third-world slum.

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Salt & Vinegar?

Salt & Vinegar?

Or: An Experiment in Behavior Modification. There is an old saying in Camden Town: If you give BERFROIS fish and chips, it’ll eat fish and chips and read the paper it came wrapped in. But if you teach BERFROIS to fish and chips, it’ll eat fish and chips and...

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2014 Poetry Prize

2014 Poetry Prize

Between midnight on November 30, 2014 and 11:59:59 pm GMT on Sunday December 31, 2014, poets may submit to Berfrois, using its online submission manager, a single, original, poem in English which is not a translation, but may be in any mode or form, up to 300 lines.

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

The Anatomy of the Brain, Explained in a Series of Engravings, Charles Bell, 1802. by Michael Munro There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous poiêtikos, al-‘aql al-fa‘‘āl). The few dense, cryptic sentences...

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Pynchon: The Movie by Albert Rolls

Pynchon: The Movie by Albert Rolls

The pleasure of watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, much like the pleasure of reading Pynchon’s novels, is, however, to be found elsewhere, and those who insist on having tidiness of structure and an ending that unites the various elements of the story into some...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Featured Contributor

You should read MY book because it’s the official (offal) sequel (squeak) to Cynthia, how spells your name?. The difference is seeding.
Cynthia was about all the feelings I didn’t feel while playing an online match of Call of Duty. I didn’t feel angry; I didn’t feel fanous; I didn’t feel frozen.

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We want the suffering and scandal in books to be real, but not so real….

We want the suffering and scandal in books to be real, but not so real….

There are few things to do in Anacostia, Maryland, besides visit the home of Frederick Douglass. It’s an estate called Cedar Hill, a large, white, red-gabled colonial with the type of rocking chair-laden porch that begs you to sit down with an iced tea and a bowl of strawberries.

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Eric Beck Rubin on Daniel Libeskind

Eric Beck Rubin on Daniel Libeskind

Dresden Museum of Military History by Eric Beck Rubin In late Spring of 2013, the Canadian federal government announced a design competition for a National Holocaust Monument in the capital, Ottawa. The response was diverse. Was this another part of the reigning Conservative party’s strategy of appealing to Canadian-Jewish...

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Carolina Armenteros on Dominican Gagá

Carolina Armenteros on Dominican Gagá

The feast, for which around 100 people are present, takes place in the backyard of one of Bocachica’s poor homes, where a goat was killed that morning to honor the saint. On entering the yard, I walk past a cauldron containing the remains of the goat looking for Gambao,...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Two Fingers

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Two Fingers

The former “Obelisk of Democracy” a.k.a. “Monument with Two Fingers” in Kavajë by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei Being the son of a famed sculptor from the communist period who co-created, amongst many other works, the Independence Monument in Vlorë, and the Mother Albania statue on the National Martyrs’...

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“Martin Luther King’s the Greatest Artist of the Twentieth Century”

“Martin Luther King’s the Greatest Artist of the Twentieth Century”

Martin Luther King’s not just a political martyr and the Civil Rights Movement is not just some political phenomenon. Nope. Instead: Ta-dah! Martin Luther King’s the Greatest Artist of the Twentieth Century and the Civil Rights Movement is the greatest exhibition of performance art ever...

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O, Scotland

O, Scotland

Many ‘No’ voters wanted what a plurality of Scots have wanted for nearly forty years: to govern themselves as other small nations do but, if possible, within the United Kingdom. They were cheated too. Devo-max, whose minimum version means full fiscal autonomy, would have suited them.

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Heidegger’s Little Black Books

Heidegger’s Little Black Books

For Heidegger the “inner truth and greatness” of the Nazi movement lay in “the encounter between global technology and modern humanity” (a specification he secretly added to a 1935 lecture when it was published in 1953). These are not the words of a brutal realist

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

Read More
Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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