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From xenolinguistics to cephalo­pods

From xenolinguistics to cephalo­pods

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  • communication
  • utopia
  • communication media
  • science fiction
  • semiotics and semiology
  • linguistics
Ecstasy of inauthenticity
Ecstasy of inauthenticity

Tom McCarthy

Toke My Asymptote – or, The Ecstatic Agony of Appearance

The question of authenticity and I go back some way; we’re old sparring partners – frenemies. It’s been a fraught relationship, shot through with paradox and misconstruing. My first novel, Remainder, does turn around its protagonist’s obsession with becoming ‘real’, inhabiting his era or his city, building, skin, movements and gestures in a ‘first-hand’ or ‘authentic’ way, an obsession which he carries to the point of murder. Yet the pleasure of seeing this book receiving glowing press reviews that praised...
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  • Jacques Lacan
  • contemporary literature
  • psychoanalysis
  • identity
Arts
Mama Say Make I Dey Go, She Dey My Back

Jelili Atiku, Damian Christinger

Mama Say Make I Dey Go, She Dey My Back

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  • Africa
  • feminism
  • colonialism
  • spiritism
  • performance
  • ritual
  • ceremony
  • body
Let’s find the stage of human affairs
Let’s find the stage of human affairs

Marion Muller-Colard, Clémence Pollet

Hannah Arendt's Little Theater

While about to finish her last book, the philosopher Hannah Arendt is disturbed by her stubborn alter ego, 9-year-old Little Hannah. Reluctantly, the old woman lets herself drag out onto the streets of New York and into constant conversation by the inquisitive little girl. They enter a little theatre, and together they watch mankind, society, politics, power evolve – and they also experience the role of Evil (in the person of a wolf and of numerous wooden puppets) and its...
  • Evil
  • ethics
  • thinking
  • young readers
  • acting
Fiction

Maël Renouard

On Memory Atrophy

Externalized memory had always proceeded by contractions, summaries, reductions, selections, breaks in flow, as well as by organization, classification, boiling down. Card catalogues reduced thousands of works to a few key notions; tables of contents contracted the hundreds of pages in a given book. The sign itself was the first abbreviation of experience. An epic stitched of words was an abbreviation of the war, the long years of which were reduced to a few nights of recitation; the written text that recorded the epic was a contraction of the oral narration which pushed aside its sensory richness, melody, life in a thousand details. In accumulating, every level of abbreviation reconstituted an infinite flow, a new dilation that would be contracted in its turn. From the plurality of pages to the index and the table of contents; from the plurality of books to card catalogues.

The abbreviated elements were further arranged, situated...

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Fiction

Diane Williams

How about some string?

I said “Would you like a rope? You know that haul you have is not secured properly.”
“No,” he said, “but I see you have string!”
“If this comes into motion—” I said, “you should use a rope.”
“Any poison ivy on that? ” he asked me, and I told him my rope had been in the barn peacefully for years.
He took a length of it to the bedside table. He had no concept for what wood could endure.
“Table must have broken when I lashed it onto the truck,” he said.
And, when he was moving the sewing machine, he let the cast iron wheels—bang, bang on the stair.
I had settled down to pack up the flamingo cookie jar, the cutlery, and the cookware, but stopped briefly, for how many times do you catch sudden sight of something heartfelt?
I saw our milk cows in their slow...

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Claire Fontaine

Towards a Theory of Magic Materialism

We call this method “materialist” in reference to the wonder, thaumazein, experienced by the early Greek philosophers, who observed nature with an emotionally scientific approach, looking for resemblances and connection between every form of life but keeping close to the phenomena they studied. We call it “magic” because we believe that this term will help us fight the intellectual and perceptive ravages of a capitalist vision of the world, helping us rediscover the power of the living and the cultural...
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  • political aesthetics
  • nature
  • contemporary art
  • materiality
The sexual asylum story
The sexual asylum story

Mengia Tschalaer

Queer Spaces

Successful asylum claims generally require generating a racialist, colonialist discourse that impugns the nation-state from which the asylum seeker comes. While to impugn the asylum seeker’s place of origin may well be a necessity for the purpose of asylum, it is problematic if it serves to confirm the moral and political superiority of the West through the myth of the ideal victim. In order to avoid the cookie-cutter victimhood framework that refers to idealizations around “Us” and “Them,” Europe must...
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  • performativity
  • gender
  • queer theory
  • migration
  • identity
Humanities

Maria Filomena Molder

So many egoists call themselves artists…

“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.

Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...

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