Berfrois

May 2011

‘After negotiating a maze of passageways Berners-Lee delivers me at the door of Noam Chomsky’

‘After negotiating a maze of passageways Berners-Lee delivers me at the door of Noam Chomsky’

MIT in Second Life From The Guardian: Before my tour of MIT ends I am given a taste of what this astonishing abundance of riches means in practice. In the space of half an hour I enjoy the company – in the flesh and spacially – of three of...

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“I heard the runners got a little restless”

“I heard the runners got a little restless”

Barkley Marathon, 2009, Michael Hodge From The Believer: On the western edge of Frozen Head State Park, just before dawn, a man in a rust brown trench coat blows a giant conch shell. Runners stir in their tents. They fill their water pouches. They tape their blisters. They eat...

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The Ultimate Rose

The Ultimate Rose

Plucking the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens, Henry Arthur Payne, 1908 From Times Literary Supplement: The rose was made for symbolism, metaphor, allusion. Its beautiful flowers – in the wild, each bearing the symbolically charged number of five petals – bloom alongside vicious thorns. Sight,...

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Freewheelin’

Freewheelin’

Matt Bors, 2007 by David Hayes The most influential and original musician of the 1960s generation remains a figure of protean creativity half a century on. The wealth of attention devoted to Bob Dylan as he reaches his 70th birthday is testament to a career of astonishing range. It...

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Back to the Arcades

Back to the Arcades

by Richard Prouty At one point as I was writing my doctoral dissertation on Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project I jokingly suggested to my dissertation advisor that I should leave the project unfinished, just like the Arcades Project itself. “Ah, the mimetic fallacy!” he responded. That ended the conversation. His...

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There will inevitably come a point when photorealism in videogames reaches its zenith. But what happens after that point is achieved?

There will inevitably come a point when photorealism in videogames reaches its zenith. But what happens after that point is achieved?

Visual Games: Photorealism in Crisis | by Kyle Chayka,

Kill Screen

In certain corners of the world of Super Mario 64, there are graphical glitches that turn a seemingly solid space into a splintered chaos of polygons...

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Keep the Red Textbook Flying

Keep the Red Textbook Flying

Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels Statue, Berlin, AC-50D by Christina Morina Socialism is an old idea. The ideas and movements that can be subsumed under the term, encompassing a plethora of radical or moderate shades, have shaped the course of human history over the last two hundred years. One could argue...

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Why Elif Batuman doesn’t read reviews

Why Elif Batuman doesn’t read reviews

by Elif Batuman Let’s say you’re writing a book.  Every day you get up and think about it and work on it and change it. Then, at some more-or-less arbitrary point (I didn’t realize before I published a book how arbitrary this point is), it’s taken away from you...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma 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...

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