Berfrois

Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to genius.

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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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128X

128X

The chance entrance to the city before it disappeared. Thoughts hanging like bodies from ropes. The image seems to have been taken from inside a moving car, but this is staged. The windshield wipers are props. The highway is front-projection.

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Elias Tezapsidis gives the new The Knife album 889/1000

Elias Tezapsidis gives the new The Knife album 889/1000

The Knife definitely employs the shock-value of an incestuous theme to further strengthen their mission in creating powerful work. The music duo is comprised of Swedish siblings Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson. They produce and release their music through their own label, Rabid Records, and therefore are in...

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‘This is about joy’

‘This is about joy’

From Guernica: The Lost & Found project at CUNY’s Center for the Humanities, essential to the revival of the lost novel, has brought thoughtful attention to resurrecting lost prose, journals, and correspondence from a range of twentieth-century writers. Since 2010, its annual series of chapbooks has spotlighted the pamphlet-length...

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What’s a dwarf fortress then?

What’s a dwarf fortress then?

SimCity, Maxis, 1989 From The New Yorker: The great lesson of SimCity, the fact the game was built to display, is the delight of city life, of urbanity in general. Even failing cities are beautiful in SimCity. Their streets are straight and well kempt, their deserted building zones are...

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Dylan J. Montanari on Michael Fried

Dylan J. Montanari on Michael Fried

Readers of contemporary art criticism may have come across the following story about Michael Fried. Fellow critic Rosalind Krauss was with Fried at a show in the early 1960s when someone confronted him about a Frank Stella painting. “What’s so good about that?” the challenger asked. According to Krauss,...

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Often, standing in front of paintings Jenny Diski wonders what it is she is supposed to be feeling…

Often, standing in front of paintings Jenny Diski wonders what it is she is supposed to be feeling…

From Midnight in Paris, Sony Pictures Classics, 2011 by Jenny Diski There is a picture in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where I live, called The Annunciation. I keep a postcard of it in my writing room, and visit the actual painting from time to time. A winged and...

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Climbing Up to the Moon

Climbing Up to the Moon

Isn’t it strange how complex and overwhelming our feelings about fictional people can become? There is a conflict of impulses: the sympathetic and the dramatic. We want characters to be happy for the same reason we want our friends and family to be happy – hell, I’m such a...

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Eugenia Herbert on Julia Margaret Cameron

The Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is currently undergoing a revival with a recent exhibition of her work at the Metropolitan Museum in New...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly...

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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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Jesse Miksic on Dark Souls II

Is Dark Souls II the crowning rebirth of Gothic Romance for the digital age? I'm being dramatic, I realize. The spirit of Gothic has...

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Michael Munro
A Quotation and Provocation by Michael Munro

The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty. That is the opening line of the text, its first thesis. It’s...

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Menachem Feuer
Menachem Feuer: Schlemiels

As human beings we have to “court” failure. This term suggests two things: on the one hand, it suggests dating and becoming intimate with...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie with James Franco

Every day after that, I stood outside The Italian Restaurant on Fourteenth Street until it closed. I didn’t even smoke. The guy from The...

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Henry Giardina
Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen...

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Ashley James
Ashley James: Personhood

It seemed that by the close of January this year, the entire country could recognize the face of Sergeant Cory Remsburg: Near the tail-end...

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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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