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Essays on Photography by Siegfried Kracauer
  • film
  • photography
  • media theory
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • History of photography
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About ‘how we treat the others’

Artur Żmijewski

About ‘how we treat the others’

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  • documenta
  • migration
  • contemporary art
  • political aesthetics
  • ethics
  • concentration camp
  • gift
  • Poland
  • propaganda
  • National Socialism
Ornamentation is the body of our thought
Ornamentation is the body of our thought

Elena Vogman

Dynamography, or Andrei Bely’s Rhythmic Gesture

The experience of the Russian Revolution transformed both the perception and the epistemic notion of time. It challenged artistic and scientific modes of production with the invention of new models of temporality. Nonlinear, morphological, and materialist models of time seemed to correspond more precisely to the irruptive event of the revolution. These echoed more the new political constellation than a historicist or purely philosophical notion of a homogeneous time as a condition a priori to any experience. New theories in...
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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
  • 1968
  • autobiography
  • homosexuality
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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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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Discourse

Stephen Barber

An immodest proposal

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 so can readily visit the British Library and view the notebooks in their entirety in the freely-­accessible manuscripts collection there.

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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...
  • ethics
  • thinking
  • acting
  • young readers
  • Evil
Humanities

Andreas L. Hofbauer

The yoke of being, noteworthy dis-position

It wasn’t nature and its dangers that forced domestication and enabled the economic shrine. Temple and funerary cult, sacrifice and distribution of the meat—for Homer all sacrificial animals were still hieria, holy creatures—and the containment of wildness led to symbolic and socio-cultural change, which became the vector and motor of sedentary, food-producing communities. It wasn’t sheep, goats, or cattle that were domesticated first; it was the zoon logon echon itself that bowed to the self-created yoke of the cult. Why, we don’t know. Beyond this it’s important that unlike plants only very few species of animal can be domesticated, and that this shouldn’t be confused with taming. Economic significance develops as an epiphenomenon. It transforms from possible human sacrifice to animal sacrifice to the distribution of meat in early “Greek” antiquity, then to the obeloi (skewers with varying amounts of meat, as tokens for the priests’ or judges’ portion; even...

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  • money
  • economization
  • ethnology
  • anthropology
Humanities

Zoran Terzić

Everything new is a pose in the alcoves of capital

In the late nineteenth century Alfred Jarry created a prototype of the modern wannabe in his pot-bellied Père Ubu, a figure that raises entitlement to a high art. Ubu doesn’t want to be king; others urge him to it. But he is also the others. And when he does become king, CEO, or US president, he doesn’t know what it means, or if it means anything at all. He just states his claim. And so he shimmies from statement to power. And having obtained power, Ubu decerebrates the world, exposing the grounds for groundlessness, to paraphrase Ortega y Gasset. Ubu is a tautomaniac, that is, he can be explained in his own terms and is thus always in the right (being in the right is all he is). He needs no proof, but on the contrary wants “to turn the absurd into the highest power of thought” (Deleuze & Guattari)....

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