Berfrois

February 2013

Sparkly Compost

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),...

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All the Magic Alcohol

All the Magic Alcohol

C. P. Cavafy by Gregory Jusdanis If asked to select a writer to dine with tonight, I would name C. P. Cavafy (1863-1933), the Greek poet of Alexandria. I would do this for many reasons but mainly to see his reaction when I tell him that he is one...

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Magicians, Unite!

Magicians, Unite!

by Dave Mesing “Together, we might be able to do dangerous subversive things, mischievous things.”1 Such is Andy Merrifield’s opening promise in his recent book Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination. Merrifield situates the work between two poles of people: those who are more or less orthodox Marxists...

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Joanna Walsh reviews the latest translation of Georges Perec

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...

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Mina Loy’s Personality

Mina Loy’s Personality

Mina Loy by Christina Walter Mina Loy’s “Feminist Manifesto” is a polemic against women’s subordinate position in modern Western culture, penned in 1914 by Anglo-American writer and painter Mina Loy, who was then living in an expatriate community in Florence, Italy. This polemic, unpublished in Loy’s lifetime, is one...

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Daniel Bosch: LTYP

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

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...

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‘Everything is the proper stuff of fiction’

‘Everything is the proper stuff of fiction’

“The Siege of Namur by Captain Shandy and Corporal Trim”. Engraving by Henry Bunbury in The Life & Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne, 1773. by Virginia Woolf In making any survey, even the freest and loosest, of modern fiction, it is difficult not to take it...

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Her Own Anti-Modern World

Her Own Anti-Modern World

by Irakli Zurab Kakabadze Nino Chubinishvili has created her own Alter-Modern world in Tbilisi. She is not a self-described adherent of Deleuzian Multiplicities or Hardt and Negri’s Multitude. She has just created her own world. Sometimes this happens at her own studio in Arts Academy, in some cases in...

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Christopher Beckwith: Disputed Questions

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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At the heart of M5S remains television, the mother of all Italian populisms…

At the heart of M5S remains television, the mother of all Italian populisms…

Beppe Grillo addresses a crowd in Trieste, February 2013. Photograph by Triesteprima.it by Jamie Mackay Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement has often been called a shake-up for Italian politics. But what if ‘M5S’ really obeyed an established paradigm that is far from the revolutionary ideas it claims to convey?...

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Pynchon on Campus

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,...

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Follow @inthefade for the banter

Follow @inthefade for the banter

Photograph by Nick Dimmock A million followers is nothing. Voice is everything. by Michele Catalano It was April of 2009 when everything changed. I had been on twitter almost two years at that point, as @abigvictory, using it mainly as a platform for crude jokes and observations about sports....

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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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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