Jimmy Chen: Mirrors

selfie1

In Eduard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882) a woman bartender stands directly in front of us behind a bar, her hands confidently propped up — less obsequious than merely resigned, almost bored by the present narrative — ready to serve the customer, who is not only always right, but in this case on the right. I invoke the collective first "us" because, though we experience this painting alone, locked behind different POVs and angles, we do so collectively.

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“Property” (intended in a pejorative sense)

12 Years a Slave, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2013 From The New York Review of Books: The film is unflinching in its portrayal of brutality. Noosed, strung up, and choking with just his toes touching the dirt in punishment for attacking the overseer Tibeats, Northup seems to hang forever, as...

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For Neon

by Eleanor Courtemanche The Bling Ring, dir. Sofia Coppola, U.S.A, 90 minutes It’s hard to watch Sofia Coppola’s 2013 The Bling Ring, which came out on DVD about a month ago, without feeling like you’re at the end of a chain (no, I didn’t say human chain) of recycled...

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Nicholas Rombes on Lou Reed

This is not another obituary, another retrospective, another "Lou Reed's songs were the soundtrack to my life" essay. It is instead an attempt to find, in the small, quiet pockets of air in Lou Reed's 1975 album Metal Machine Music trace elements of the less obvious ingredients that made...

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Elias Tezapsidis on DMX

The rapper DMX is famous for his infamy. Fame came to him through his trademark rapping style and emotionally staggering songwriting, letting him become the powerhouse that has had five consecutive No. 1 albums. Infamy came to him through his continuous trouble in abiding several legal frameworks and law-enforcing...

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Two Visual Tropes = Love 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...

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Bridget Alsdorf on Henri Fantin-Latour

The term avant-garde simultaneously conjures images of renegade individuals and cooperative groups. As an adjective, it usually designates something experimental and ground-breaking, often describing the work of a singular, exceptional mind; while as a noun it refers to a zealous association, formed around a set of innovative ideas and...

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Bodymoving

From Dreamaphage, Jason Nelson, 2004 by Maria Angel and Anna Gibbs riting is indeed an act in league with the past and the future, but it also requires that a body move through the space of the now. The gestures of writing can make the body present as well...

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Jesse Miksic: Fear and Pity and Horror

Don’t Look Now, Casey Productions, 1973 by Jesse Miksic Look at me, my native citizens, as I go on my final journey, as I gaze upon the sunlight one last time, which I’ll never see again—for Hades, who brings all people to their final sleep, leads me on, while...

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A young girl’s strange, erotic journey…

Young and Beautiful (its English title is far more ungainly than the original) treats in a similar way nascent sexuality and literary awakening, which, once again, go hand in hand. 16-year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth), takes to prostitution soon after losing her virginity through a holiday fling, but the film...

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How the Avant-Garde Still Lives in China by Rossella Ferrari

Obituaries for the avant-garde proliferate. Critics, academics and cultural observers in the so-called Western world have told us for decades that the avant-garde has declined, fallen, imploded, capitulated and blunt its edge; that it has become creatively exhausted, ideologically reified, historically irrelevant. The avant-garde is past, gone, dead. But...

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David Joselit: Art and Plastic Info

We live in a world of Wikileaks and cyber-terrorism where information is wielded as both a weapon and a currency. Most recently, Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the American National Security Agency, leaked documents revealing that the United States tracks its citizens’ phone calls by compiling metadata records...

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Everybody (Bosch’s Back)

“By a factor of three or four, over any remotely cost-similar approaches. The workers are so many, and they are tireless, and there is no portion of the structure they cannot reach. Plus their mandibles are so sharp and so precise, that there is almost no risk of damage...

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Joshua Oppenheimer’s Movie

by Oliver Farry The Act of Killing, dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway/UK, 115 minutes Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing has made ripples in the West not so much because it’s a good film (though there is much about it that is very good) but because the impunity it portrays...

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Jenny Diski’s Flame War

Mad Men, AMC by Jenny Diski In 1959, by pure accident, Roger O. Thornhill was mistaken for another man. Actually, he was taken for a man who did not and had never existed. Thornhill’s initials spell ROT, which is printed on his monogrammed matchbooks, and when asked what the...

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fp

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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Ernst_Ludwig_Kirchner

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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ramirez1fullsize

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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MashaTheDevilProbably

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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Bobbi Lurie
Duchamp-smoking-through-the-cracked-glass

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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ron-sky-rat-cover

“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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chinua

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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Masha Tupitsyn
sickert

No one can love anymore because of an overabundance of reaction formation. No one wants to owe anything to their desire(s); to other people’s...

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Hearn1

How could a man born on a Greek island in 1850 be a household name in Japan today? The answer lies in the story...

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kentridge1

Jean Améry titled his renowned book on voluntary death, Hand an Sich Legen – To lay Hands on Oneself. Beyond the argument of Amery...

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letters

Several months ago, I wrote a long letter by hand to a young woman I barely knew. That sounds pretty dubious, if not to...

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Kemmler

In a move that might strike readers as odd, Derrida spends most of these lectures not on the case made by death penalty proponents,...

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proust

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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carpo

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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