by Masha Tupitsyn
Do we see (have) these kinds of moments of seeing in real life or do they happen only in camera space? In the fiction of movies. Is the face of the lover loving and seeing the lover restricted to mise-en-scène? Is the lover’s face just another visual trope? Two visual tropes = Love. Seeing the seeing. It’s true, love is also a reaction shot. But who is witness to the reaction shot off-screen?
by Bridget Alsdorf
Despite the figures’ narrow spacing in a supposedly “sociable” group setting, there is no interaction between them; they gaze blindly past each other in all different directions, dissociating into solipsistic individuals. Their close proximity only exacerbates the psychological distance that seems to separate them – at no point do they touch or make eye contact, showing just enough “association” to convey a common purpose while still maintaining distinctly separate realms of attention.
by John Crutchfield
The first time I visited Leipzig, Germany was late in the winter of 1992, not long after the much-hyped reunification. The East was still very much “The East,” and though money was pouring in from the federal government, no one really seemed to know what the rules were. Out of sheer uncertainty, or else habit, people continued to shop at the old communist grocery store chain, Konsum, where there was one kind of bread, one kind of butter, one kind of milk in a bottle you brought back for your 10-pfennig deposit.
by Michael B. Katz
Like most writers on poverty in the late 1980s, I did not realize how hegemonic the conservative story of welfare and poverty had become, and how far to the right American social politics would shift even under Democratic administrations. Nor did we grasp that massive economic inequality accompanied by declining real wages, the erosion of private as well as public employee benefits, and the rise of what one friend refers to as the “gig economy” would define a new social structure of insecurity.
by Jesse Miksic
Creon makes Death into theater, rather than allowing it to run its course. He invites the scavengers and the curses of his kin, rather than making a space for the silence left by the loss of a loved one. There is a sense in which we, the inheritors of the classical tradition, have still not learned the lesson that Creon learned about Death’s rightful place in the world of the living. Nowhere is this more evident than in pop culture’s fetishistic denial of death, which takes its purest form in horror cinema.
by Andrea Brady
Her birth was the first and hardest lesson in making myself a soak. In labour I needed to learn to accept my own passivity for the person in transit. Then she was there, the torrent of pain slammed shut by a blizzard of miraculous newness. The midwives gave me a new name, her eyes stretched open in incumbent shock, and everything was different, including space and time: the yellow hospital corridor in the night suddenly intimate, the communal space between breaths, their commemorative prosodies.
by Rossella Ferrari
Focusing on experimental theatre practices in the China since the start of the so-called post-Mao period (after 1976), one can trace the evolutions and transmutations of avant-garde aesthetics, discourse and criticism from the seminal stages of “pure” avant-gardism in the 1980s to manifestations of “pop avant-garde” praxis since the mid- to late 1990s, in consequence of the growing commoditisation and internationalisation of the cultural scene triggered by the economic reforms launched in the previous decade.
by Barbara Newman
If, as C. S. Lewis claimed, the old gods die to faith but rise as allegory, then old myths die to religion but rise as fantasy. Thanks to The Golden Bough and its sibling, Jessie Weston’s From Ritual to Romance, twentieth-century scholars had a field day with medieval romance, combing its enigmatic plots for remnants of pagan lore. These prove to be legion: along with the fairy challenge scenario, they include magic fountains, spinning castles, shape-shifting hags that turn into beautiful maidens, and beheading games that pit a mortal against a supernatural being.
by David Joselit
Contemporary artists theorize the plasticity of information, and develop aesthetic responses appropriate to the Age of Google — a moment when inventing new content has become less significant than searching for and aggregating existing information. This situation — what I call “the epistemology of search” — has a history dating back to at least the mid-twentieth century.
by Monica Popescu
Literature should generate lively public debates — all scholars worth their salt will proclaim. We believe in the importance of culture and think that intellectual tussles over significant books, and not celebrity gossip, should grace the front page of newspapers. Yet half a year ago, South African and international magazines as well as the online media exploded. The subject is J. M. Coetzee, his work, his legacy and the status of South African literature at home and abroad.
by Audra J. Wolfe
Last November I sat in a hotel ballroom surrounded by fellow historians of science as a baffling (to me, anyway) exchange unfolded over the legitimacy of the term “Cold War Social Science.”
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The other day I saw a wedding … but no, I had better tell you about the Christmas tree. The wedding was nice, I liked it very much; but the other incident was better. I don’t know how it was that, looking at that wedding, I thought of that Christmas tree. This was what happened. Just five years ago, on New Year’s Eve, I was invited to a children’s party.