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Fragility is the only thing I really know about me
Fragility is the only thing I really know about me

Claire Denis

“Fragility is the only thing I really know about me”

I am not a very balanced person. I am fragile and sad – almost as described in Triste Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I feel both those adjectives, I grew up with them. I was aware of my fragility even when I was very young – a baby, learning to walk, living somewhere in Africa and already feeling that the number of white persons was very small compared to the number of black persons and also noticing that most of the...
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  • film d'auteur
  • identity
  • autofiction
  • subjectivity

 

Current Texts

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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Photographs tend to suggest infinity
Photographs tend to suggest infinity

Siegfried Kracauer

The Photographic Approach (1951)

The photographic approach – that is, the effort to utilize the inherent abilities of the camera – is responsible for the particular nature of photographs. In the days of Zola and the Impressionists, the properties of photographs were commonly held to be the hallmarks of art in general; but no sooner did painting and literature break away from realism than these properties assumed an exclusive character. Since they depend upon techniques peculiar to the medium, they have remained stable throughout its evolution....
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  • media theory
  • photography
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • film
  • History of photography
Current Texts

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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  • economization
  • ethnology
  • money
  • anthropology