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“Obsessed with buffering”
“Obsessed with buffering”

Tom McCarthy

Recessional—Or, the Time of the Hammer

Towards the end of Thomas Pynchon’s mammoth 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow, the stumbling ingénue of a hero Tyrone Slothrop sets off on a commando raid. The territory he and his cohorts move through is a giant ­metropolis, a “factory-state” in which capital, technology and power, perfectly co-calibrated, send airships drifting through urban canyons, past chrome caryatids and roof-gardens on skyscrapers that themselves shoot up and down on ­elevator-cables: a conurbation ­Pynchon calls the “City of the Future” or “Raketen-Stadt.” The...
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Dieter Mersch

Digital disrupture

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 in a circularity that leaves the drawing of boundaries and raising of barriers solely to programming, instead of restoring them to our ethical conscience and understanding of what the social could mean today. The machine, by contrast, remains alien to any mechanical limitation—just as its inability to decide lies in the impossibility of self-calculation. The nucleus of digital culture should instead be sought where the cultural of culture is located:...

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About ‘how we treat the others’

Artur Zmijewski

About ‘how we treat the others’

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Hurrah!
Hurrah!

Jurij Pavlovich Annenkov

A Diary of my Encounters

Evreinov was occupied with the spectacle’s theatrical, dramaturgical side. Due to its immense size, the production was directed collectively: Evreinov was the director-in-chief, followed by Kugel, Petrov, Derzhavin, and myself. I also designed the scenery and the costumes. My stage sets spanned the entire width of Palace Square and reached up to the third floor of the General Staff. They consisted of two huge platforms (a White and a Red one), connected by a steep bridge. There were around 8,000...
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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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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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