Something That Lies in Wait

The concept of "space" seems crucial in forming an understanding of artworks, and by extension, of culture. I want to touch on two related things. One is the way in which image is technically manufactured. The other is about how we see "space" in terms of narrative. I have wondered recently about how imperfect the marketing industry is, how despite all their available tools, and information, they often come up with branding blunders, with TV shows that flop, with brands of anything that don't sell. Let me try to lay out some groundwork for this discussion, however. Flusser says that technical images are produced by apparatuses. The most obvious is the camera. The Latin word apparatus is … [Read more...]

Like a Barking Where There Are No Dogs

People have asked me, on occasion, why I would bother having stupid arguments on sites such as facebook. The answer is that while the context of facebook encourages the superficial, and limits in-depth discussions, it also allows for connections to be made between people who might not otherwise ever meet. That said, the social media platforms are all there to gather data for corporations, and prevent substantive analysis. They are perfect for posting photos of cats with cute copy inserted, and pictures of people's kids, and so forth. Nothing wrong with any of that, of course. But, to answer the question, I think it's important to engage with people, even if it's with someone hopelessly … [Read more...]


At the start of Great Expectations, Pip has an encounter with an escaped convict, Magwitch, a very violent man. Throughout No Country for Old Men, violence appears and reappears as if a ghost, a haunting, and at the end the Sheriff sits with this thoughts for a lengthy reflection on our own complicity in violence and destruction. In Raymond Chandler and in Hammett, violence drives the narrative. Violence and crime. Transgressive acts, lies, betrayls. In Shakespeare, its hard to keep count of the bodies. How many are left on stage in Hamlet? There seems to be an outrage now... of a liberal flavor...about depictions of violence in movies and TV. There is also an outcry about … [Read more...]

Xmas Thoughts

It being Christmas, and the fact of my being further north....with limited internet, this is a sort of abridged posting, or intro to further posting on the topic. That's assuming I actually know what the posting is about. So allow me to approach many disparate ideas by linking them to theories I have about theatre. Photography has always seemed to have a meaningful active relationship with theatre. With the poetics of theatre. With theatre space. Last post I had a photo by Atget at the top. For me, this is a mini play all by itself. You are heading to that darkness. It is a particular kind of darkness; for it possesses depth. It is not a black wall. It is also not an empty void. … [Read more...]

Dark at the End of the Street

The recent school shooting in Newtown Ct is going to elicit a good deal of hand wringing and lip service to reform. The anti NRA liberals will demand action. It is clear that affulent white liberals are the most adamant about gun control. I suppose that makes sense, for they do not fear the police in the way the poor do. The poor know that it's just not a good idea to allow, in principle, the police to be the only group with weapons. I am in the process of trying to imagine an *Anti Institute for Cultural Research*... thats the sort of name I came up with. I am writing grant proposals and trying to see what it would cost to even have a single summer forum where a radical pedagogy took … [Read more...]

Comfort Zone

There seems to be a comfort level that western liberals cling to. This comfort zone keeps the relatively affluent liberals in a position to turn away from unpleasant facts as they exist throughout the world. Culturally, since that is mostly what I write about, this is reflected in an increasingly hallucinatory production of new revisionist historical projects, as well as just blatant jingoism, and an ever more frantic reinforcing of the status quo. The latter can be seen in the constant, but more hysterical, recycling of familiar motifs and narratives. What seems to have changed within this system is a new sense of almost desperation in the propping up of the childish and trivial -- the … [Read more...]

Day to Day

There are days when the sickness of capitalism is put into stark relief. The day to day soul sucking mental torture and emotional starvation of modern life in the West. In particular, however, in the United States. Today, for the working class in the U.S. daily life is simply endless frustration of one kind or another. The grind of low wage slavary, the fatigue that comes from longer hours and less pay, and less job security is linked to spikes in various illnesses, but also it is etched in the faces and bodies of the working poor. Layered over this is a general corporate de-humanizing of existence. It takes many forms. Try to buy an item on-line. Try to fill out forms on-line. Try to … [Read more...]

Among the Scavengers

I have suggested before that as the hegemonic world power, the U.S. influences the way in which narrative is interpreted. The values it expresses are those of the ruling state. With the U.S. that means the military is the always the engine for high moral purpose. Alongside this is the increasing scavanging of the lower classes. The corporate culture industry feeds off the lower classes. It does so in a variety of ways. There seems to be no end to the constant stream of "gritty" crime films, all of which seem to announce their own "edginess". There are cartoon versions such as The Expendables and their are the prestige versions such as the recent Killing Them Softly. One might reasonably … [Read more...]