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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Joshua Oppenheimer’s Movie

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

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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Imperial Fantasy VII

Imperial Fantasy VII

From FINAL FANTASY VII, Square, 1997 by Simon Ferrari and Ian Bogost Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games, by Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 320pp. In Games of Empire, Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter expand an earlier study of “the...

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Grrrls, Grrrls, Grrrls

Grrrls, Grrrls, Grrrls

Juliana Hatfield. Photograph by Christian Kock From The New Inquiry: In the fall of 1991, a 24-year-old Juliana Hatfield had just broken up her college band, Blake Babies, a mainstay of Boston’s fertile indie rock scene, and finished recording her solo debut, Hey Babe, now many years out of...

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Bobbi Lurie: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men

Bobbi Lurie: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men

by Bobbi Lurie Dear Russell Bennetts, editor of Berfrois. After seeing the god-awful Season Six finale of Mad Men, I have decided to throw away my television set. Here is a tweet I posted immediately after watching it: Bobbi Lurie ‏@BobbiLurie n-n-n-nnooooooooo …. not the “redemption” thing ~ ~...

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W for Welles

W for Welles

Poster for F is For Fake, Specialty Films, 1975 From The New Yorker: When Welles came to Hollywood, in 1939, at the age of twenty-four, he was already famous for his radio work—not least for the great “War of the Worlds” hoax—and heralded as the next big thing without...

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Light First

Light First

“I am dealing with no object,” Turrell said in a lecture a few years after producing First Light. “I am dealing with no image, because I want to avoid associative, symbolic thought... I am dealing with no focus or particular place to look. With no object, no image and...

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DRMWorld

DRMWorld

From SimCity, Electronic Arts, 2013 From The New Inquiry: SimCity, Electronic Arts’ online multiplayer reboot of the long-­running SimCity franchise, was supposed to be available for download and play on March 5, 2013. The download part mostly worked. The play part did not. The problems were wonderfully and excitingly...

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Daniel Bosch on William Pope.L

Daniel Bosch on William Pope.L

William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does...

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A Punk Controversy

A Punk Controversy

From music video “Big City Nights” for Da Funk, by Daft Punk, 1995. Directed by Spike Jonze by Enrique Lima It is nearly impossible for popular music to represent history. The historiographic imagination is beyond it, I think. Linearity, plot, and telos are too important to the telling of...

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Whatever Fitz

Whatever Fitz

Baz Luhrmann adapts Fitzgerald and the result is pretty much as you might expect. There are no surprises here. You have a continual sense that you have seen this film before. That is largely because you have – if, that is, you happened to chance upon any of Luhrmann’s...

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Press the Pedal Again

Press the Pedal Again

Piper, Eduard Bersudsky, 2013 From Aeon: You press the pedal at the base of Eduard Bersudsky’s sculpture Piper (2013). The shadow on the wall moves, the cogs begin to hum, the little bell rings, and the pair of gendered fauns flex their legs to activate the dog typist at...

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Jesse Miksic in Columbia

Jesse Miksic in Columbia

One of the strengths of BioShock Infinite, acknowledged less often than its expansive and detailed historical-revisionist steampunk setting, is the way its narrative is punctuated. The extended forays down cobblestone streets – and the intermittent murderous rampages – are connective tissue, linking a series of scenes that are genuinely,...

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Robyn Ferrell: Open to the Sacred

Robyn Ferrell: Open to the Sacred

Mackerel sky over Balgo in the remote north west of Western Australia by Robyn Ferrell I go with a friend Jennifer to the exhibition ‘Genius of Place’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Kathleen Petyarre’s canvasses are ravishing, and enormous. Their rhythmic repetition is arresting, and we...

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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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