:: Essays

Foucault Now published 11/09/2017

More than thirty years since his death, the self-proclaimed “historian of the present” falls ever farther from our present and farther from the latest work in the eras he studied. What, then, explains Foucault’s continuing influence, not just on academics nursing some intellectual hangover from drinking the koolaid of too much high theory during the disco era, but on some of our most important social critics, such as Judith Butler?

Peter Gratton looks at the enduring appeal of Michel Foucault.

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Hurricane Bob: Part 2 published 01/09/2017

hurricane bob part 2

Twin Peaks Week | Day 5

It becomes more and more clear that Lynch himself, not Cooper, is the real protagonist of The Return, and we are his accomplices – straddling the invisible, perhaps non-existent line between the creator of this mystery and the one trying to solve it, investing in it with every fiber of his being. Lucid, full-of heart, and corrupted. Not immune to the carnal mayhem, but fully swamped by it, witness, and ecstatic with the medicine that heals as it poisons and poisons as it heals.

By Jeff Wood.

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Bad Coop Eleatics published 31/08/2017

Twin Peaks Week | Day 4

Twin Peaks acknowledges a certain heroism and nobility in being average. Lynch populates his strangeness with the strangeness of characters who we best resemble, our average mystic neighbour. We place in them our own beliefs and desires so that what comes out are the beliefs, desires and hypothetical actions that follow from this simulation. The closer we assume they were to us in the first place, the greater the degree of predictability, dependability and precision that follows from this isomorphism. The victims and heroes of Twin Peaks’ horror have been predictable and dependable because we recognise them as being, all in all, like us. The weird terrors of the plot are beyond understanding and exist as uncanny manifestations of our own endless, inescapable dread.

By Richard Marshall.

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Keywords published

Twin Peaks - Keywords by Nicholas Rombes

Twin Peaks Week | Day 4

Twin Peaks is infused with a deep empathy, small but significant moments of grace and connection between characters. The three and a half minute, nearly dialogue-free, brightly-lit-by-the-morning-sun breakfast scene from part four featuring Dougie attempting breakfast as Sonny Jim guides him, a smile on his face, is both absurdly comical and deeply felt.

By Nicholas Rombes.

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The man behind the glass: The trouble with David Lynch’s brand of weird published 30/08/2017

The man behind the glass: The trouble with David Lynch's brand of weird

Twin Peaks Week | Day 3

Twin Peaks: The Return (2017), Lynch’s first outing since 2006’s inscrutable Inland Empire, is far more oblique and challenging than the original series. While generally praised by critics—Laura Miler writing for Slate called it “gloriously trippy”—it returns to Lynch’s tatty grab-bag of freak show tropes, employing difference and disability to achieve its dissociative aesthetic.

By James Rushing Daniel.

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Algorithmic Weather: Mediacy in Twin Peaks: The Return published 29/08/2017

Twin Peaks Week | Day 2

The primary concern for The Return are the electrical and vague energy flows that determine the situation of the denizens of Twin Peaks (and their associates). A world of variable doubles and not-quite perfect reproductions of one and another. Bodies are not at stake in the new Twin Peaks insofar as “body” and “self” are assumed to be inextricable. Remember that Bob needs a body, but which body matters less than it is a body. A vehicle in order to commute through the world.

By Ryan Chang.

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Hurricane Bob: Part 1 published 28/08/2017

Hurricane Bob - Part 1

Twin Peaks Week | Day 1

Twin Peaks: The Return is vibrating live like one of Lynch’s own countless doublings itself, a doppelganger of epic, hyperobjective proportions. The series is unfolding as an entity which evades all determination but for its own unruly presence and influence. As 2017 plows forward, defying all attempts to second guess or project its urgently public plot-line, Twin Peaks: The Return is likewise defying all categorization.

By Jeff Wood.

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Reactionary Sentimentalism Part 2: Berlin published 27/08/2017

There is more reality in Berlin than any other city” – precisely because Berlin is the paradigm of the divided city, that primally conflicted zone in which the conscience of the race (to paraphrase Joyce) uneasily dwells: “the sun shines on the divided city, / today, as it did on the ruins in 1945 / & the ‘Front City’ of the fifties, / as it did before there was any city here, / & as it will when there is no longer / any city.” As Heiner Müller once said, “Berlin is the ultimate. Everything else is prehistory. If history occurs, it will begin in Berlin.”

Louis Armand on underground Berlin.

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Modern Art: A Game of Three published 22/08/2017

Lives, deaths. The variables. Some come and some go. Then they all go. To the main question. So what if Mishima and Kawabata hadn’t succeeded in killing themselves? What if Kurosawa had been more serious about the razor in his hand? The director dies, the writers live. Which is to say, what if literature had lived but films hadn’t?

By Kyle Coma-Thompson.

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Two Views of a Prose Poem published 15/08/2017

The collage was prompted by a desire to see at a glance the mirrored symmetry I found in Simic’s prose poem, and I arranged some of Simic’s text atop a page from a discarded auction catalogue on which were pictured a pair of mirrors. I thought, afterward, of the sculptor Christopher Wilmarth’s statement “If [art’s] not magic, it’s merchandise.” Unblemished by its brush with stuff so blatantly for sale to the highest bidder, the magic of Simic’s prose poem prevails, and the dead auction lot gets a new life to boot. 

Carrie Cooperider pays close attention to Charles Simic.

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