Berfrois

September 2013

SUPERabundance

SUPERabundance

, From Moonstrips Empire News, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, 1967 by Siegfried Zielinski Introduction The first decade of the twenty-first century was basically nothing more than an extension of what had gone before. When I began writing this book in the autumn of 2010, I had the...

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Jyl Oghuha

Jyl Oghuha

Lena Pillars. Photograph by Maarten Takens by Greg Downey The Bull of Winter weakens In 2003, after decades of working with the Viliui Sakha, indigenous horse and cattle breeders in the Vilyuy River region of northeastern Siberia, anthropologist Susan Crate began to hear the local people complain about climate...

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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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Wyjks

Wyjks

by Justin E. H. Smith The far-right National-Democratic Party of Germany has put up campaign signs in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with the slogan ‘Ausländer raus’. In case you don’t believe me, I’ve provided photographic proof. On closer inspection, the signs in fact read ‘Kriminelle Ausländer raus’, but this is more a...

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Freeze!

Freeze!

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Batman & Robin, Warner Bros., 1997 From 3:AM: Conservatives favor the free market as the best solution to economic problems. Conservatives also insist that people have the right to what they have earned. Together the market and the right to keep what one has...

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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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On Jean Bethke Elshtain

On Jean Bethke Elshtain

Jean Bethke Elshtain by Katherine B. Jones Political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain died on August 11, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 72. A controversial public intellectual and prolific scholar whose works covered the gamut from defending the role of religion in politics to providing justifications for...

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A San Juan Connection

A San Juan Connection

Jacinta lives with her husband and six children in San Juan, a tiny and remote hamlet in the mountains of northern Argentina. My sons, Adrian, and Alexander, our guide, Facundo, and I had just arrived, after a long day of hiking. Because San Juan is off the grid, Facundo...

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‘Something’ Happened

‘Something’ Happened

Battle of Borodino, Louis-François, Baron Lejeune, 1812 by Jenny Diski It’s beginning to feel as if the beat of our lives is marked by acts of human violence and stupidity. Our lives mostly consist in routines of work and play, and intermittent moments of spring, summer, art, literature, comedy,...

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Barbara Newman: Romance

Barbara Newman: Romance

Near the end of Susanna Clarke’s magical history, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, comes a peculiarly chilling scene. A magician named Childermass, riding through a wood festooned with corpses, arrives at the Castle of the Plucked Eye and Heart. Before the castle stands a champion who defends its lady...

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University leaders are wandering into fogs of duplicity…

University leaders are wandering into fogs of duplicity…

Atrium of Nazarbayev University. Photograph by Liz Jones by Jim Sleeper U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake performed the diplomatic equivalent of gold-medal figure skating last April in a meeting at the authoritarian central Asian nation of Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University when a student asked him about warnings...

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Ten Foot Alice

Ten Foot Alice

From Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney Productions, 1951 From Poetry: In a Jefferson Airplane song that was something of a psychedelic anthem, Gracie Slick’s exhortatory, I’m-verging-on-ecstatic, sandpaper growl spoke to the feeling of transformative power that drugs held for a certain kind of user: One pill makes you larger,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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