Saturday, April 19, 2014
  • Monthly Archives: February 2013

  • Sparkly Compost

    Located in Kleinbasel close to the Rhine, the Kaskadenkondensator is a place of mediation and experimental, research­- and process­-based art production with a focus on performance and performative expression. The gallery, founded in 1994, and located on the third floor of the former Sudhaus Warteck Brewery (hence cascade condenser), seeks to develop interactions between artists, theorists and audiences.

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    Joanna Walsh reviews the latest translation of Georges Perec

    In Oulipo’s running debate over whether to make the constraints it employs explicit, Perec usually came down on the side of letting the cat out of the bag – but La Boutique (remains) Obscure. Perec’s dreams are the same kind of crazy as most people’s. He discovers hitherto unnoticed doors in his apartment, appears naked in public, has (or fails to have) sex with famous people.

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    Daniel Bosch: LTYP

    But it could very well be that Harvard University Press is smart enough to recognize a Harvard edition of LTYP will have an imprimatur. Whatever its relative virtues, the Harman translation out of Cambridge, as Banville points out, is “likely to become the standard one.”

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    Elias Tezapsidis’s Top 10

    From its very first issue in 1986, Spy Magazine was a radical project. It was not the product of celebrities and their PR teams, nor did it aim to please those in the public sphere. Voicing the frustrations of intelligent journalists in a sardonic way, it acquired a thinking following that hungered for the esoteric references that abounded in its pages.

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    Christopher Beckwith: Disputed Questions

    The lone survivor of traditional Western European ‘scientific’ culture is science. It has survived because it is now the handmaid of technology, without which contemporary civilization would collapse utterly. Anyone who doubts this should try to get a research grant for genuinely “pure” research.

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    Pynchon on Campus

    In the essay “Hallowe’en? Over Already?” (1999), Thomas Pynchon writes about some of the fall 1998 goings on at the Cathedral School in New York City, where his son, Jackson, was enrolled in the second grade. They included a picnic, though not for Hallowe’en; the Blessing of the Animals, which the Pynchons missed that year as they had the year before, at the church associated with the school, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.

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    Clara Rockmore’s Theremin by Shane Jesse Christmass

    Take one look at Clara Rockmore, what do you see? Massive piled-upon Beehive, frail hands, but it is the eyes, and the eyes are fixed upon one predetermined point in the universe, a single ligature, like a somnambulist cheating in someone’s dressing room.

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    Maryann Corbett on Alan Sullivan

    It was jarring to realize it, but there it was: I nearly wished evil on someone. Alan Sullivan’s cancer was starting to close in on him, and I should have been sobered. But what I felt was startlingly close to Schadenfreude. Admittedly, I was lurking on the outskirts of this situation.

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    Flicks

    A friend of mine in his mid-twenties is a Film Studies graduate, and like a typical old person – both somewhat right and very annoying – I’m always mentioning old movies to him, being surprised he hasn’t seen them, and pointing out earlier connections to films he has seen, as if he can’t really know a film properly without knowing what came before.

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    Wander and the Colossi by Jesse Miksic

    We are drowning in myths. Of course, I don’t mean myths like primitive folk stories transcribed in anthropology textbooks, transmitted in a way that no shaman could have foreseen. Those myths are under glass, specimens preserved for our edification and amusement. Some commentators – like the great Claude Levi-Strauss – didn’t bother acknowledging any other definition of the term.

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by Kristen Zipperer
There are very few Urdu writers who have written about these despondent days in Pakistan’s history, with perhaps one notable exception. Intizar Husain is a novelist and short story writer whose work takes an unrelenting look at man’s attempt and ultimate failure to keep his humanity during the post-Partition period.
by Daniel Bosch
Even before the camera slowly swings upward from her mouth to her eyes, even before we realize that those are not opaque black pits but irises, the first frames of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo have made us conscious of how a camera and a screen limit and fix visual perception — even with all their jump cuts, films concentrate better than we do. And so it is strangely a relief to fall as we do into the pupil of the eye that Hitchcock’s camera enters.
by Stephen T. Asma
In his 1790 Critique of Judgment, Kant famously predicted that there would never be a “Newton for a blade of grass.” Biology, he thought, would never be unified and reduced down to a handful of mechanical laws, as in the case of physics. This, he argued, is because we cannot expunge teleology (goal-directedness) from living systems. The question “what is it for?” applies to living structures in a way that has no corollary in physics.
by Eric Schneider
Were Philadelphia police different? In some ways, yes; in other ways, no. City police may not have exchanged their badges for the white hoods of vigilante groups, but a nearly completely white police force held the same racial prejudices of the Philadelphia neighborhoods from which they were recruited.
by Russell Bennetts
Wittgenstein certainly regarded himself as a philosopher, and certainly believed in the fundamental truth of what he was saying. So it would be a misleading oversimplification to maintain that he was “against philosophy” or against “the possibility of philosophical truth”. More accurately, what he criticized was a certain kind of philosophy – perhaps the dominant kind in the West.
by Michael B. Katz
The biological definition of poverty reinforces the idea of the undeserving poor, which is the oldest theme in post-Enlightenment poverty discourse. Its history stretches from the late eighteenth century through to the present. Poverty, in this view, results from personal failure and inferiority. Moral weaknesses – drunkenness, laziness, sexual promiscuity – constitute the most consistent markers of the undeserving poor.
by Volker M. Welter
Following a map for a driving tour along Palm Spring’s mid-twentieth century Modernist homes and buildings, I had just peeked at Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House, the rebellious sibling from 1947 of Frank Lloyds Wright’s Fallingwater House in Pennsylvania, which was begun for the same client in 1935. Figuring out on the map where to drive to next, a house whose owner was identified as Dr. Franz Alexander caught my attention.
by Albert Rolls
Consider, for example, the Pynchon anecdotes told by the television producer Deane Rink — who attended Cornell a few years after Pynchon and studied creative writing under Walter Slatoff, with whom Pynchon had also studied. Rink tells his stories as part of an early Web exercise in which he sent emails for publication to the B&R Samizdat Express at the end of 1996, when he was in McMurdo, Antarctica, to work on Live from Antarctica (1997) for PBS productions.
by Cain Todd
In an effort to be interdisciplinary, and to keep up with the current trend for all things neuroscience, I recently attended a conference in Berlin on neuroaesthetics. One of only two philosophers in the room, I found myself on the receiving end of an incredibly hostile attack after asking a question of the founding guru of the discipline, the neuroscientist Professor Semir Zeki of University College London.
by Patricia Emison
I came to John Berger’s Ways of Seeing through the back door. About a decade after the four-part series on the BBC (1972) had excited attention as a scrappy response to Kenneth Clark’s staid Civilisation (1969), I read the book because the title was so often cited. I confess that I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. It was a little, murkily grey book that seemed to make rather obvious points about how the Old Masters had reinforced orthodoxies to which we no longer subscribe.
by Frank R. Stockton
In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large, florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done.
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