House of Tards

Ivan Albright

"The same summer I was on Lewis, a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published. A sharp-eyed reader noticed that there had been a culling of words concerning nature. Under pressure, Oxford University Press revealed a list of the entries it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. The deletions included acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow. The words taking their places in the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player … [Read more...]

Someone To Watch Over Me

Narelle Autio, photography.

"A generalized sense of paranoia pervades modern culture. The loss of human solidarity, the split within the self and the split between the self and others, has led to a private and public suspiciousness on a greater scale than ever before." Rob Weatherill "Any survey of imperialism and its adversaries must note the pathetic role of most of the US and European left in recent years. Even in the most repressive moments of the Cold War, large anti-war movements challenged militarism, aggression, and war. But those movements have shriveled before indifference and ideological confusion. In the post-Soviet era, imperialism cynically appropriated the language of human rights and manipulated or … [Read more...]

The Melancholy Society

Gary Fabien Miller

"It’s one of my favorite Darwin quotes—"He who understands baboon would do more toward metaphysics than Locke"—scribbled furtively in a notebook between visits to the London Zoo in the summer of 1838. Twenty-one years would pass before On the Origin of Species would shock the world, but Darwin already knew: If man wanted to comprehend his own mind, he’d need to train an unflustered gaze into the deep caverns of his animal past." Oren Harman "Make no mistake, abstract art is a form of mysticism." Robert Motherwell "Thus in doubting and liquidating the object, the modern artist shows his self-doubt and feeling of being liquidated by the world. He projects his own dissolution into the … [Read more...]

The Dangerous Uncanny

Dike Blair

"In Freud’s famous essay “Mourning and Melancholia”, unresolved grief over a lost object that can be neither incorporated nor released manifests in a pathological condition known as melancholia. The latter recalls a more archaic, even mythic register, in which communication between the psyche and the world, between the living and the dead, is more fluid and revelatory than in the disenchanted world of modernity." Robert Sinnerbrink "Piaget’s experience was to point to the shadow as the representation of otherness but without going a step further and saying, “The otherness is charged with negative psychological value.” For Piaget, the relationship of the child with the shadow hasn’t … [Read more...]

The Sweet Smell of Nothing

Daido Moriyama, photography.

"The ICTY’s endgame, as illustrated by the strategy designed to prevent Slobodan Milosevic – and other defendants, elsewhere, in future trials – from further exposing the institution’s political nat- ure, provides a valuable lesson: there is nothing to be gained by establishing ad hoc political courts, be they in Europe, Africa, or anywhere else. When justice is used as an instrument to justify the crime of aggression, and when ad hoc bodies do not even consider aggression within their jurisdiction, when these bodies devise tools to silence defendants who would have the audacity to raise that supreme international crime, then, surely, there is no point in calling what emerges from … [Read more...]

The Bitter Night

Sam Laughlin, photography.

"Our understanding of ourselves is a narrative understanding, that is, we cannot grasp ourselves outside of time and hence outside of some narrative. There is an equivalence therefore between what I am and the story of my life." Paul Ricoeur "I confess that I am much more concerned about the current growth of the "desire not to know," as Julia Kristeva puts it, and the seemingly triumphant success of the pharmaceutical cocktail over the spoken word. There once was a brilliant, if chilling, ad for a certain tranquilizer: "Not a pseudo-solution for problems, but a solution for pseudo-problems." Ernst Falzeder "One of the effects of this shift in the focus of production is the speeding … [Read more...]

Where Dreams Die

Joachim Bandau

"Well, Cassady was a benign version of that figure. Gary Gilmore may be closer to what I mean, a vicious drifter of the kind America seems to produce in greater quantity than does any other country, probably because there is no moral center to our middle class. This society is so fractured. It never really had that period of high bourgeois cultural development that most European countries had. The American underclass has never had the tradition and stability of a European peasantry so it could never develop feudal loyalties. Instead we get these institutionalized personalities whose arrested emotions oblige them to mimic mood, feeling, love. This is the origin of their violence." Robert … [Read more...]

The Occupied Mind

Taizokai Mandala painting, late 9th century, Heian (Kyoto) .

"The capability to overkill and to overburn, and the mental behavior that goes with it are by-products of the development of the productive forces within a system of exploitation and repression; they seem to become more productive the more comfortable the system becomes to its privileged subjects." Herbert Marcuse "It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not." Thich Nhat Hanh "It is precisely this fear of education as a building block for both critically engaged youth and a broader public and for a radical politics that inspires a great deal of fear in the billionaire, anti-public (un)reformers." Henry … [Read more...]