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September 11 2012

The Missing Links | 3ammagazine - 2012-09-08

How to say nothing. * A performance of 4’33″ by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. * More tributes to John Cage. * Charles Ball R.I.P. * Great piece by Brian Dillon on John Stezaker. * The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure. * Nicholas Rombes on his Blue Velvet Project. * Tom McCarthy interviewed on France Culture. * Male anxiety and the female reader. * Scott Esposito responds to Lars Iyer‘s death-of-the-novel anti-manifesto. * “Writing isn’t a career choice in this visual age. We’re a dying breed.” Lee Rourke. * On an early interview with Malcolm McLaren, 1975 [see picture of Jordan above]. * Joe Stevens‘s photography (including an iconic shot of McLaren). * Jon Savage on Dennis Browne‘s 1978 fanzine, Dat Sun. * Bret Easton Ellis dismisses David Foster Wallace as “a fraud”. * “David [Foster Wallace] was special & the purity of his commitment to his readers & his interest in their well-being was seductive.” D.T. Max interviewed. More here. * Gabriel Josipovici on why Kafka isn’t understood. * The King’s Road music and fashion trail. * The speech Obama won’t give by Steve Almond. * How artists fell in love with chess. * Chris Killen‘s spanking new website. * Matthew Newton on the end of the suburban dream. * Jean Cocteau reads six poems (via UbuWeb). * Why Faulkner, Fitzgerald & other literary luminaries hated Hollywood. * Aleksandar Hemon on the Wachowskis. * “Spaces for contemplation & deliberation have been greatly reduced. Most people don’t spend two or three hours thinking or reading. Books seem to be artefacts from a slower time.” Junot Díaz. * The enduring saga of The Smiths. * Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s passion for looking, not thinking. * Adam Kotsko deconstructs the theories of popular philosopher Slavoj Žižek. * Internet connectivity error, Johannes Lichtman on Joshua Cohen’s Four New Messages. * Marcel Aymé, where have you been all my life? * See something say something, Ben Graves on Alfredo Jaar, bin lids & Mo Tucker. * Jarvis Cocker narrates a documentary on Ziggy Stardust. * Simon Reynolds on Roxy Music‘s debut. * Who was Humbert Humbert? * The New York Dolls in Paris, 1973. * Jayne Joso interviewed. * Midnight tourism with Badaude. * How Google & Apple’s digital mapping is mapping us. * Photoblending the 1906 San Francisco earthquake with today. * “I’m not interested in clubbing together behind some flag of the avant-garde.” Zadie Smith. * And Zadie Smith on the Subaltern podcast. * Geoff Dyer explores representations of reality through the lens of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

September 06 2012

The Missing Links | 3ammagazine 2012-09-02

Christopher Hitchens is a hard act to follow. * Slavoj Žižek on the politics of Batman. * Žižek in conversation with Jonathan Derbyshire. * Full Stop continue their ‘Thinking the Present’ series with an interview with Albert Toscano. * Judith Butler responds to the Jerusalem Post‘s claims of anti-semitism. * What Pussy Riot taught the world. * Hanging out vs. being hanged, HTMLGIANT interview Jarett Kobek. * Niven Govinden interviewed. * You could spend your whole life making films & not invent a character as complex or endearing as Werner Herzog. * From Beatrix Potter to Sebald, Patrick Keiller chooses 10 books whose images are intrinsic to the work. * The accidental history of the @ symbol. * Steven Pinker explains the neuroscience of swearing. * Some 3 million books & countless artifacts were destroyed when Sarajevo’s National Library was burned to the ground 20 years ago. It was a clear attack on the cultural identity of a people. * How time is measured by memory. * Sven Birkerts‘ essay on Sebald’s Vertigo. * Teju Cole on Rubens as a compendium. * And Teju Cole in A Room for London. * Harry Mathews on finding Marie Chaix. * A critic’s manifesto. * 10 things Martin Amis loves to hate. * Against acknowledgments (& Helen DeWitt‘s defence). * This Space on the new Paul Auster. * George Saunders interviewed. * On promiscuous reading. * “The reader is taking these splotches of ink & making them real…a good reader is an artist.” Ron Rash. * The melancholy worlds of Béla Tarr. * Brian Dillon on Barthes (via @TheWhiteReview). * “I seek out subjects that plug into my own weaknesses & my own past.” John Jeremiah Sullivan.

Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

November 25 2010

Ernest Cole captures apartheid

Exhibition celebrates the work a long-neglected pioneer who captured the beauty and the ugliness of segregated South Africa

It was standing-room only at the Goodman gallery, on Johannesburg's suburban "art strip", so I dropped to the floor and squatted. All eyes were on the author Ivan Vladislavic and photographer David Goldblatt.

Behind them was the latter's ironic shot of the ruins of Shareworld, a failed amusement park for Sowetans in the shadow of Soccer City, the World Cup stadium.

Days earlier, I slipped into a seat in an auditorium deep in the belly of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, in the rather less fashionable area of Hillbrow. There were only three other spectators, barely a quorum. But we had gathered to watch a documentary about another South African photographer, Ernest Cole, whose work was on display upstairs.

Goldblatt, 80, exhibited around the world, and Cole, who died in penury at the age of 49, began on a similar path that was to dramatically diverge. It seemed that one would enjoy lasting reverence while the other was lost to obscurity. But one of life's elegant conjunctions has seen an act of homage deliver a posthumous redemption.

Goldblatt and Vladislavic were discussing their unusual diptych: the photographer's work under the title TJ, from the long gone car licence plates for Transvaal, Johannesburg, and the novelist's Double Negative. Around the walls were some of Goldblatt's pictures from 1948 to the present, holding a mirror up to racial apartheid and its persistent manifestations.

Some stayed on my mind's retina long after the pictures were taken down. Hold-up in Hillbrow: in 1963 a white boy in checked dungarees jabs a toy pistol in the backside of a black man in suit, hat and shiny shoes. A city view from 1964: pedestrians, all black, heading south for trains to Soweto; motorists, all white, heading in the opposite direction for the northern suburbs. In the same year, a black woman practises her golf swing on a desolate, dusty scrap of urban land.

Fast forward to the present and an aerial view of Diepsloot, a biblical vision of shacks and informal housing stretching into a seemingly infinite horizon. At Johannesburg's Central Methodist church, dozens of Zimbabwean refugees try to sleep while crammed into the pews and on the floor. Then a powerful series taking offenders to the scenes of their crimes. As Goldblatt admitted, such images need captions to tell their stories.

He recalled how, as a young photographer seeking work, he put an advert in a local paper offering: "One portrait, one print". A typo meant it appeared as: "One portrait, one pint", which raised unrealistic expectations.

He pursued images of people in their homes, particularly their bedrooms, which he found the most intimate and moving. He told the audience: "My understanding of what excites me: the existence of things, the fact that something is. The 'is-ness': not the idea of things but the existence of things."

Goldblatt is white. Ernest Cole was black. Jurgen Schadeberg's documentary told how Cole left school at 16 and landed a job at Drum magazine as a darkroom assistant. He then saved enough money to buy cameras and studied the art.

Inspired by the candid style of Henri Cartier-Bresson, he became South Africa's first black freelance photographer.

In the teeth of racial segregation, this took cunning, courage and ingenuity. Cole hid his camera in a paper lunch bag so he could smuggle it into tightly policed mining compounds and expose the mistreatment of labourers.

He successfully applied to have himself racially reclassified as coloured, or mixed race, so he could travel beyond the Bantu enclaves. He pulled this off by changing his name from Kole to Cole and because of his ability to speak Afrikaans, often the language of coloured people.

His work was published in the 1967 book House of Bondage, which was banned in South Africa but gave many in the west their first glimpse of the daily dehumanisation in townships, mines and hostels. As an eyewitness body of work it is South Africa's first world war poetry.

There are hellish images of packed commuter trains, all heads and elbows, and overcrowded stations that would silence any London Underground whinger. Twin tracks of sweat trickle down the cheeks of a schoolboy as he crouches, chalkboard on bare knee, and stares upward with startling intensity.

In Mine Recruition, a dozen naked men are lined up against a wall, arms raised high above their heads, awaiting a degrading examination beside the banal detail of a wash basin. Another shot simply shows, in close up, two hands cuffed together, at once both unfree yet newly comraded.

Like Goldblatt, Cole chose his captions carefully. Images of young black artful dodgers preying on white men are furnished with: "Whites are angered if touched by anyone black, but a black hand under the chin is enraging. This man, distracted by his fury, does not realise his pocket is being rifled."

Cole's racial reclassification enabled him to travel and go into exile in America. A friend there had his faith in the land of the free shaken when he accompanied Cole to a restaurant in New York only to find they had not escaped racial prejudice.

Slowly Cole's life fell apart. His family says he may have been exploited and underpaid for his work, which included a sublime gallery of New York's poor. Cole was destitute when he died from cancer in 1990, a week after the release of Nelson Mandela. He seemed unlikely ever to enjoy the same acclamation in his homeland as anti-apartheid artists such as Athol Fugard or Hugh Masekela.

Goldblatt's work, meanwhile, is in the collections of the South African National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

His prizes included the Hasselblad award in 2006, which entailed travelling to Sweden. Goldblatt had heard a rumour that a suitcase of Cole's photographs had found its way to the Hasselblad Foundation. The rumour was true and, like an archaeologist blowing off the dust, he beheld a long lost treasure.

He realised that many of the photographs in House of Bondage had been clumsily cropped, apparently to enhance their political impact but at the expense of artistic integrity. The discovery meant the pictures could be displayed as Cole intended for the first time.

The retrospective Cole exhibition, surrounded by the urban decay of downtown, did not attract crowds like Goldblatt's book tour, but became something of a sleeper hit, attracting coverage in the past week from the Sunday Times of South Africa, The Independent in the UK and the New York Times. Tours of South Africa, Europe and America are planned.

Hopefully many more people will see how this long-neglected pioneer caught the beauty and the ugliness of that peculiar world. With thanks to a respectful fellow traveller who goes on framing it for both of them. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


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November 14 2010



[Schimpansen, erg. oanth] Ganz im Gegensatz zu Menschen, die überaus früh, nämlich schon mit Erreichen des ersten Lebensjahres, eindrucksvolle Zeugnisse ihrer Kooperationsfähigkeiten geben. Versuche mit Kleinkindern zeigen, dass sie einem Erwachsenen unaufgefordert beim Bewältigen bestimmter Tätigkeiten helfen, sei es, indem sie Hand anlegen oder ihm Informationen zukommen lassen, etwa über den Ort, an dem sich ein von ihm gesuchtes Ding befindet. Und auch das Teilen macht, selbst wenn egoistisches Verhalten manchmal die Oberhand gewinnen kann, keine besonderen Schwierigkeiten.

Diese tief angelegte kooperative Sozialität, wie sie die zwischen Primaten und Menschenkindern verschiedener Herkunft vergleichenden Experimente von Tomasellos Arbeitsgruppe vor Augen führen, ist offensichtlich ein entscheidender Faktor für die spezifisch menschliche kulturelle Evolution. Denn alle für die kulturell beschleunigte Entwicklung notwendigen Übereinkünfte, von geteilten einfachen Verhaltensnormen über symbolischen Austausch bis zu höherstufigen sozialen Institutionen, liefen ins Leere, würden sie nicht an diese primäre Kooperationsfähigkeit andocken können.


Olympic dream takes shape

The debate about the cost and 'legacy' of construction will outlast the 2012 Olympic Games, but no one can deny the new venues are a bold addition to London's landscape

The seduction of construction is a powerful thing. It is the way that the sheer fact of building, the churning of mud and materials into frames and buildings, and the choreography of workers and machines, convinces us that something is being dealt with or transformed. Before the purposefulness of building, doubts recede about the purpose of what is being built.

There is no better place in Britain to experience this effect than at the east London site of the 2012 Olympics. Here, 10,000 people are working over nearly 250 acres to turn billions of pounds into an array of large, singular buildings. Yet more are working on the adjoining site of the Westfield Stratford City shopping mall. Platoons of cherry pickers extend their long mechanical necks towards the sloping wall of the velodrome, so that its impeccably sourced timber cladding can be installed. Hills of spoil rise and fall, as mud is removed from one place to another. A forest of scaffolding fills the void beneath the aquatics centre's big, wavy roof. The miracle of completion is beginning to occur, in which pristine finishes emerge from the seeming chaos, looking as predicted in architects' drawings made some years ago.

Modern buildings are built in packages – concrete, steelwork, glazing and so on. This is a landscape made in packages, a series of huge dollops of construction, each with its own intentions and aesthetics, and with no great connection with its neighbours. What they do have in common is their Olympic purpose and a project-managed smoothness; most buildings have a certain stylishness, without being provocative or awkward. They will also be held together by the accommodating greenery of the Olympic Park at the centre.

Thus there is the shiny, white, shrink-wrapped basketball arena, a temporary structure that will come down after the Games. There are the two waves of the velodrome and the aquatics centre roofs, one a trough and the other a peak. There are the glitzy wrappings over the brute forms of the shopping mall and its car parks, and the ranks of un-villagey blocks of the "athletes' village", more dominating and assertive than most new housing has, in recent decades, dared to be. There is the black brick box of the critically acclaimed electrical substation by the architects Nord.

Most conspicuous is the stadium, now looking almost as it will be when the Games open. It has a simplicity rarely seen in modern arenas, which are usually engulfed in corporate facilities and conference suites. On the outside, it is a triangulated structure of big, black, steel struts, through which the underside of the concrete terraces can be seen. Inside, it is a simple bowl, albeit jazzed up by patterns of black-and-white seats based on the Olympic logo's "shattered" look. One reason for its directness is that it is designed so that the steel superstructure can be dismantled and put up somewhere else, leaving a smaller stadium just for athletics. This plan is now unlikely to go ahead: the most likely option seems to be to convert it to a football ground, with occasional athletic use.

Most convincing is the 6,000-seat velodrome, whose architects Hopkins and Partners say that they wanted the "tautness and energy" of race cycling to be realised in their building. Its roof, made of a net of cables and plywood panels, is crafted to keep materials and scaffolding to the minimum, allowing more of the budget to be spent on the detail. It also admits copious daylight and connects easily with the surrounding park. At its centre is the timber track, a marvellous sloping and curving thing, which inspired in me a (previously undetected) desire to watch cycle races.

It's plain that the architecture of the London Olympics will be less spectacular than that of Beijing – there will be nothing like the Bird's Nest stadium – but the spaces in between will be less bleak. There will be a park, rather than a vast apron of paving. 2012's values are delivery, efficiency and quality, uplifted by a public art programme and the architects who thrive best are those, like Hopkins, who make something positive out of the constraints. True, Anish Kapoor's big red Orbit sculpture, now under construction, strives to inject a steroidal boost of excitement, but it remains to be seen how successfully.

The Games site is well run – it has a good safety record, in contrast to the Beijing Olympics where the number of deaths were almost certainly more than the official figure of six. Many of its venues are ahead of schedule. It is also on budget, once you accept the audacious hike to £9.3bn from the original £2.4bn. Usually, clouds of bad press swirl around the Olympics, about escalating costs and time overruns. Similarly with British public construction projects like the Scottish Parliament. London 2012 might therefore have been doubly cursed, but it is proceeding with extraordinary serenity, a triumph of both project management and PR.

For the sake of posterity and future bidders for the Olympics, certain things can't be said too often: that it is insanely wasteful to spend this much money on a fortnight's fun, or that the Games usually depress rather than boost tourism in the host city. That supposed regeneration benefits only come about with the help of yet further funding. That things of value, like the gentle wilderness of allotments that once stood on this site, get destroyed.

But, barring unforeseen disasters, there is every reason to suppose London 2012 will be a success. Crowds will come and there will be the usual dramas and hyperbole. Such events generate their own momentum, and even the calamity-hit Delhi Commonwealth Games managed to leave behind a vague feelgood factor. I'll hazard a guess that most people in Britain will feel moderately pleased that the Games happened here. Whether it will be £9.3bn-worth of moderate pleasure is debatable, but by then few will mind any more. It will be a question for another city. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

September 15 2010

March 22 2010


» ausgelöschte zeit

Mit »Der Omega-Punkt« hat Don DeLillo einen kurzen und rätselhaften Roman geschrieben.
Reposted frommidnightradio midnightradio

» revolutionär im nachthemd

Die Erfindung des zerstreuten Blicks: Jens Balzer und Lambert Wiesing ergründen in einem akademischen Essayband die Ursprünge des Comics und erklären den besonderen Zauber der Kunstform.
Reposted frommidnightradio midnightradio

February 17 2010

Axolotl Roadkill – Plagiat oder nicht

Die kulturinteressierten unter unseren Lesern haben sicherlich vergangene Woche die „Plagiat oder Remix“-Debatte um Helene Hegemanns Roman „Axolotl Roadkill“ verfolgt. Sie flaut (zum Glück) grade etwas ab, da sie teilweise etwas hysterische Züge angenommen hatte.

Eine der wichtigen Fragen dabei ist, was ist eigentlich ein Plagiat? iRights-Autor Matthias Spielkamp hat sich schon vor einiger Zeit der Sache angekommen. Sein Text beginnt mit der Feststellung: „Die größte Schwierigkeit liegt darin zu bestimmen, was genau ein Plagiat ist.“

Die einen brandmarken die Übernahme von Formulierungen (wörtlich oder in überarbeiteteter, aber durchaus wiedererkennbarer Form) als jedenfalls ethisch verwerfliches Plagiat, vor allem weil der eigentliche Autor – der Blogger Airen – nicht genannt wurde (erst in der zweiten Auflage des Buches taucht er in der Danksagung auf).

Die anderen, die tendenziell literaturwissenschaftlich geschult sind, verteidigten das Hegemannsche Vorgehen als ein völlig legitimes literarisches Verfahren, das schon  Goethe, Büchner, Thomas Mann und unzählige andere Schriftsteller angewendet haben. Der Artikel von Hellmuth Karasek ist von 1990. Daran merkt man, dass die Plagiatsdebatte periodisch wieder auftaucht – nicht Neues unter der Sonne also!

Interessanterweise vertritt in diesem Falle das normalerweise so internetkritische deutsche Feuilleton die permissivere Position (jedenfalls mein Eindruck beim Durchgehen der Beiträge – aber ich habe nicht nachgezählt) als die netzaffine Blog-Gemeinde, die sich um einen der Ihren scharrt.

Viele stört auch einfach, dass auf der einen Seite das Feuilleton das Internet (also ob es so etwas wie “das” Internet gäbe) als Hort der Räuber und Piraten darstellt, aber wenn eine, die in den Feuilletons  wegen ihrer Papierpublikation (ob zu Recht oder zu Unrecht sei einmal dahin gestellt – ich habe das Buch noch nicht fertig gelesen) gefeiert wird, „Stellen“ aus einem Blog übernimmt, plötzlich von Intertextualität redet.

Das heißt nun nicht, dass das mit der Intertextualität eine Ausrede ist – es ist tatsächlich so, „dass ein Schriftsteller auch Texte fremder Autoren in sein Werk aufnehmen darf, soweit sie ‘Gegenstand und Gestaltungsmittel seiner eigenen künstlerischen Aussage bleiben.“ Das Zitat bezieht sich auf eine Klage der Brecht-Erben, die meinten, dass Heiner Müllers Übernahmen in seinem Stück „Germania 3 Gespenst am toten Mann“ zu weitgehend waren. 2000 urteilte das Bundesverfassungsgericht, dass unter bestimmten Umständen legitim wäre (Ich werde mal versuchen, dieses Urteil aufzutreiben – es ist ja interessant, dass es kaum erwähnt wurde). Der Blog-Autor Uwe Wittstock kommentiert dies folgendermaßen: „Ein Urteil, das gerade mit Blick auf die ausgeprägten Neigung postmoderner Autoren zum Zitat und ihres deshalb programmatisch laxen Umgangs mit dem geistigen Eigentum anderer, von herausragender Bedeutung ist.“ (Sein Text hat nichts mit Hegemann und dem mexikanischen Lurch zu tun – nur damit keine falschen Erwartungen geweckt werden.

Dass „Axolotl Roadkill“ ein eigenes Werk ist, stellen auch Airen und sein Verlag Sukultur nicht in Frage. Airen sagt in einem Interview mit der FAZ: „Ich habe ihren Roman gelesen, es ist genau die Art von Buch, die ich gern lese, aber es wäre auch ohne meine Stellen cool gewesen“ und auch dem Verleger gefällt es „schon ganz gut“.

Eines steht jedenfalls fest – das war nicht das letzte Mal, dass uns das Thema Plagiat beschäftigen wird. Und auch das nächste Mal wird es keine einfachen Antworten geben.

Edited to add: Frank Böhmert plaudert aus dem Nähkästchen des Schriftstellers.

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