Berfrois

Maps are expressions not only of power, but of desire…

Maps are expressions not only of power, but of desire…

A critical cartography is the idea that maps – like other texts such as the written word, images or film – are not (and cannot be) value-free or neutral.

Read More

¿Super Mario Pres. 2?

¿Super Mario Pres. 2?

Mario Monti by James Walston The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, has recently hinted that he might stay for a second term at the head of his mostly technocratic and nonpartisan government, on the condition of not having to face the voters in the upcoming election. But for how...

Read More

Denver

Denver

by Elvin Lim President Obama had a bad night. The key to succeeding in a presidential debate is recognizing that it is not a parliamentary debate. The rules, the moderator, and even the immediate audience (since they are not permitted to applaud) do not matter. Instead, candidates should bare their...

Read More

‘Even independent voters don’t want to hire a doomsayer for president’

‘Even independent voters don’t want to hire a doomsayer for president’

A Barack Obama bobblehead is launched into space by Elvin Lim The Obama campaign, by fortune or by wit, has peaked at the right moment. Early voting has already started in Virginia, and starts in Iowa and Ohio next week. This means that the polls telling a uniform story of...

Read More

Kenneth Weisbrode: Tactical Representation

Kenneth Weisbrode: Tactical Representation

A few blocks from Lafayette Park, diagonal to the statue of Jackson triumphant on horseback, is a strange building, tall but thin, just about one office thick, and sandwiched between two standard Washington rectangular, concrete blocks. The windows of the building jut out at right angles, giving the impression...

Read More

Ship Europe

Ship Europe

Film Socialisme, Wild Bunch, 2012 by Srećko Horvat Costa Concordia, the famous cruise ship that hit a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea in January 2012 might furnish another aptly-named example for symbolizing the harmony and unity between European nations. Recently in Bucharest, I came across an apparently innocent map...

Read More

Conventional

Conventional

by Elvin Lim The Democrats are enjoying a little bump from their convention last week, but it had little to do with Barack Obama, and a lot to do with Bill Clinton. The reason why Clinton’s speech worked was because he was specifically charged to address the substance of...

Read More

Eli Evans: Wisconsin

Eli Evans: Wisconsin

Scott Walker crying during Paul Ryan’s speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention by Eli S. Evans Not long after Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan was announced as the Republican nominee for Vice President, a text message came in from a friend, a native New Yorker recently transplanted to somewhere...

Read More

Curiouser and Curiouser!

Curiouser and Curiouser!

“Alice sitting between Gryphon and Mock turtle”, John Tenniel, 1865. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, 1865. by Albena Azmanova The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear....

Read More

A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

The accounts, symbols and feelings that we have about national identity were largely imagined, created and popularized in the nineteenth century. The word ‘nationalism’ itself dates from the early nineteenth century and marked the increasing use of national identity in order to make political claims. So to argue that...

Read More

Afraid to Speak Once Again

Afraid to Speak Once Again

I remember growing up in the Soviet Empire and my father always warning me not to talk too much against the authorities on the phone. “They are constantly listening to us and we may be arrested” – he used to tell me and we would cover our phones with...

Read More

Time to Disarm Elite Power

Time to Disarm Elite Power

The County Election, George Caleb Bingham, 1851 by Ash Amin If democracy means rule by the people for the people, it has broken down. At pivotal moments in the past, altering the rules of the political has been a defining trait of the organised left, able to project a...

Read More

Deborah Cameron: Grammar Alchemy

Deborah Cameron: Grammar Alchemy

The national curriculum for England and Wales, introduced at the end of the 1980s, made it mandatory for schools to teach English grammar. Yet the myth still persists that grammar has not been taught since the permissive 1960s. For politicians in need of a populist gesture, that belief has...

Read More

Jeremy Fernando: DJ Obama

Jeremy Fernando: DJ Obama

A little more than four years ago, the phrase heard throughout the world was the catchy “Yes, we can.” A rallying cry of the best sort—devoid of any referentiality—“Yes we can” could refer to both anything and nothing at the same time. Not as if catachrestic metaphors ever got...

Read More

Glittering Game Boards

Glittering Game Boards

The formula of the "99 percent" seems at once incredibly rhetorical and real. We are used to hyperbole; we are less used to an absurdly lopsided figure that is actually matched by a reality. Poetic figuration meets statistical validity.

Read More

A. Staley Groves on Andrew Breitbart

A. Staley Groves on Andrew Breitbart

Illustration by DonkeyHotey by A. Staley Groves I admit a smile crossed my face when I read Breitbart was rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and pronounced dead. Not because his children would lose a father, nor his wife a husband.  Rather that the iconoclastic boy-warrior was...

Read More
En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

Read More
Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

Read More
Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

Read More
Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

Read More
Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

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

Read More
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...

Read More