Berfrois

Discovered Country

Discovered Country

Until very recently, I have avoided writing about Hamlet. With the occasional exception, I have also avoided teaching Shakespeare’s most famous play. I might have casually referred to this avoidance as “The Hamlet Effect.”

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“Property” (intended in a pejorative sense)

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…

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

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

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)

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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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

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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Remembrance of Translations Past

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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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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Sebastian Normandin on Steven Pinker

“The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists.” So begins Steven Pinker’s recent controversial essay on scientism and its...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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