Long Distance Call

Giacomo Brogi, photography. (Rome, colisuem, 1910).

"Europe's old regimes were civil and political societies with distinct powers, traditions, customs, and conventions. Precisely because they were such integral and coherent social, economic, and cultural systems, they were exceptionally resilient...The old order's civil society was first and foremost a peasant economy and rural society dominated by hereditary and privileged nobilities. Except for a few bankers, merchants, and shipowners, the large fortunes and incomes were based in land. { } In fact, political society was the linchpin of this agrarian society of orders. Everywhere it took the form of absolutist authority systems of different degrees of enlightenment and headed by hereditary … [Read more...]

Macbethmachine

Toba Khedoori

"Richard III, as he climbs great steps, gets smaller. As if he was seized and absorbed by the Grand Mechanism. Slowly he becomes only one of its wheels. He stopped being a hangman and became a victim." Jan Kott "Lear, as character rather than king, becomes the vehicle for another kind of ‘subjection’, evoking an ideological subjectivity in which the reader/spectator can ‘live’ an imaginary resolution of irreconcilable class projects." James H.Kavanagh "I smash the tools of my captivity, the chair the table the bed. I destroy the battlefield that was my home. I fling open the doors so the wind gets in and the screams of the world. I smash the window. With my bleeding hands I tear … [Read more...]

The Tolerant Fascist

Mircea Suciu

"So who is the Devil? The main characteristic of the Devil in Faust and in Christianity is that he is a seducer. He addresses himself to the wishes and desires of humans, mainly their wish to get rid of undesirable qualities or undesirable states of mind – weakness, ugliness, poverty, old age, loneliness and depression – and acquire instead beauty, power, love, sexual prowess. The price? Selling their souls to the Devil as Christianity would have it, or giving up their real self with all the unwanted qualities and take on the desired qualities in an act of delusion, as psychoanalysis would have it." Christina Wieland "The ambivalent identifications of love and hate occupy the same … [Read more...]

Return of the Great Fear

Gina Beavers

"...one could see the extermination camps as the culmination of a long process of the ‘destruction of reason’ – of the humanist reason inherited from the Enlightenment – to use Georg Lukács’ phrase. But their structure, at the intersection of several modern experiences and institutions (barracks, penitentiary, slaughterhouse, factory and bureaucratically rational administration), and their ideology (racial biology) remained the product of a European historical trajectory spread over several centuries, whose general line had been traditionally interpreted as humanity’s forward march towards Progress. This trajectory now proved to be the antechamber to hell." Enzo Traverso "For … [Read more...]

Answers Without Questions

Rut Blees Luxemburg , photography.

"According to a 19th century theory, the pain of separation could be reduced by having a portrait of the deceased; it served as a way to preserve a mental picture of them. Because of the relative expense of photography most families did not have many such portraits. Death portraits were often the only portraits families would have of infants or elderly people in the 19th century." Heather Cameron "I think my generation shares this ironic position, even after the sincere enthusiasm of the sixties, which, after all, led – ironically – to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and George Bush." Martin Jay "I think a literary translation will capture some of what has been lost in Freud: … [Read more...]

The Never Complete Fascist

Louise Nevelson

"The hunter could have been the first 'to tell a story' because only hunters knew how to read a coherent sequence of events from the silent (though not imperceptible) signs left by their prey." Carlo Ginzburg "It is now necessary to ask ourselves a question: Why, in order to define the Nazi régime, should the argument regarding the one-party dictatorship be more valid than that of racial and eugenic ideology and practice? It is precisely from this sphere that the central categories and key terminology of the Nazi discourse derived. This is the case with Rassenhygiene, which is essentially the German translation of eugenics, the new science invented in England and successfully … [Read more...]

The Cancelled Self

Leonard Missone, photography. 1938.

"Art is permitted to survive only if it renounces the right to be different, and integrates itself into the omnipotent realm of the profane." Theodor Adorno "No matter how artful the photographer, no matter how carefully posed his subject, the beholder feels an irresistible urge to search such a picture for the tiny spark of contingency, of the Here and Now, with which reality has so to speak seared the subject, to find the inconspicuous spot where in the immediacy of that long-forgotten moment the future subsists so eloquently that we looking back may rediscover it." Walter Benjamin "In Benjamin’s view, certain photographs have an aura, whereas even a painting by Rembrandt … [Read more...]

Homeless Memory

Matthew Simmonds

"Everything in this world reeks of crime: the newspaper, the wall, the countenance of man." Charles Baudelaire "Theories that level suffering by proposing that all subjectivity is born from subjection and exclusion, however, cover over the suffering specific to oppression. In so doing, they risk complicity with values and institutions that abject those othered to fortify the privilege of the beneficiaries of oppressive values." Kelly Oliver "If the print revolution heralded the beginning of the end for our memory retrieval capabilities, then the post digital world is arguably deteriorating our abilities to a state of amnesia." Fiona Shipwright It would be hard to imagine … [Read more...]