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In 62 Episodes until Death
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MERRY XENOTISM!
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Current Texts

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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Art in a False Present
Art in a False Present

Anselm Franke (ed.), Tom Holert (ed.)

Neolithic Childhood

The impression that “Neolithic Childhood” is a monographic project, dedicated to a single personality from history, is deceptive. Einstein himself was deeply wary of the monograph genre. In the early 1930s, he wrote that it served the “normalization” of art, because it ensured that “a person and their work are too sharply separated and that both are removed from significative relations.” 1 He emphatically shifted those “significative relations”—the social, political, economic, religious, epistemological, anthropological, and psychological contexts that determine a...
  • ethnology
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  • avant-garde
  • 1930s
Arts

Eric Baudelaire

A for Anomie

A for Anomie

The idea that terrorism and other forms of political violence are directly related to strains caused by strongly held grievances has been one of the most common explanations to date and can be traced to a diverse set of theoretical concepts including relative deprivation, social disorganization, breakdown, tension, and anomie. Merton (1938) identifies anomie as a cultural condition of frustration, in which values regarding goals and how to achieve them conflict with limitations on the means of achievement.

Gary LaFree and Laura Dugan, “Research on Terrorism and Countering Terrorism”, Crime and Justice, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2009.

 

B for Block or Blocked

If terrorism in each of its expressions can be considered an indicator of the existence of a political block (of an impossibility of reacting if one wishes to react differently), this influences its real ability to modify the situation. Terrorism has been historically more successful when it was not...

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Born too late to see the war, too soon to forget it.
Born too late to see the war, too soon to forget it.

Reiner Schürmann

Origins

"This is a book about the power that a past War holds over a German growing up in the 1950s and 1960s: born too late to see that war and too early to forget it. The narrative shows how painfully public events — the shadows, rather, of events gone by — intrude upon a life and shape it. The English translation appears at a moment when most of the key issues have radically changed. Germany has signed what amounts to a...
  • memory
  • emigration
  • autobiography
  • homosexuality
  • 1968
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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Fiction

Jochen Thermann

I really should not have hired him…

I really should not have hired him, but he seemed like he could fill in for my regular cook. Schneider had called in sick it seemed like it could drag on, so I took him on without too much fuss. He was a stocky, small man who could speak only broken German. At the end of the day, business had to go on, and the guests were hungry.

The complex relationships that you maintain often are unclear, even to yourself. So too the code that goes along with them. It is hard to decipher. It is only when things go off the rails that you recognize how well the self-regulation mechanisms were working: how Schneider would organize his purchases, how he would talk to the staff, how he put together the ingredients, and how truly he was interested in keeping business humming.

On the surface, the assistant chef worked in the same...

An immodest proposal
An immodest proposal

Stephen Barber

A War of Fragments: World Versus America

J.G. Ballard’s self-declared ‘Immodest Proposal’ for a global war-­alliance to exact the destruction of America demonstrates the provocatory zeal of his last fiction plans, as well as their enduring prescience. As Ballard emphasises several times in the World Versus America notebooks, he is utterly serious in his concerns and visions. Although the Ballard ­estate declined permission for any images of pages from the World Versus America archival notebooks to accompany this essay, any member of the general public interested to do...
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Discourse
From xenolinguistics to cephalo­pods

From xenolinguistics to cephalo­pods

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  • communication
  • science fiction
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  • semiotics and semiology
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Digital disrupture
Digital disrupture

Dieter Mersch

Digital Criticism

We really need an analysis of algorithmic conditions and their paradoxes and ambiguities that gives them an adequate framework and horizon. But instead we currently seem to be finding an algorithmic solution of the algorithmic, much as digital solutions are being offered for the problems of the digital public sphere, in the way that IT corporations, for example, use exclusively mathematical procedures to evaluate and delete “fake news,” inappropriate portrayals, or the violation of personal rights. This tends to result...
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Humanities

Marcus Quent

Belief in the world is what we most lack.

It was Gilles Deleuze who in various contexts underlined that what we most lacked was “belief in the world.” The odd remark appears, for example, in a conversation in 1990 with the Italian Marxist Antonio Negri about revolutionary emergence and the political force of minorities. In this dialogue Negri examines his interlocutor’s thought in the light of the “problem of the political,” which connects the various stages of the philosopher’s intellectual biography. Deleuze’s remark here is the reprise of a motif that would be familiar to readers of his second book on cinema, which appeared in 1985, in which Deleuze contends that the “power of modern cinema” is based on its ability to “give us back” our lost “belief in the world.”

At the end of the conversation Negri asks his dialogue partner about the possibility of present-day processes of subjectivization. After initially emphasizing the “rebellious spontaneity” of such processes, Deleuze...

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Humanities

Judith Butler

Ethical Ambivalence

I do not have much to say about why there is a return to ethics, if there is one, in recent years, except to say that I have for the most part resisted this return, and that what I have to offer is something like a map of this resistance and its partial overcoming which I hope will be useful for more than biographical purposes. I’ve worried that the return to ethics has constituted an escape from politics, and I’ve also worried that it has meant a certain heightening of moralism and this has made me cry out, as Nietzsche cried out about Hegel, “Bad air! Bad air!” I suppose that looking for a space in which to breathe is not the highest ethical aspiration, but it is there, etymologically embedded in aspiration itself, and does seem to constitute something of a precondition for any viable, that is, livable, ethical...

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