:: Essays

Tigers in the DMZ published 28/09/2017

‘There is one thing about the Earth, not often noticed’, Butts writes in Warning to Hikers, ‘how quickly, in the friendliest country, the most loved, described, harvested or defiled, the land will become again a no-man’s-land.’ Quarantined sites like Porton Down attract intrigue for this very reason: they help us imagine what the land might look like without us. The flora and fauna are an afterthought for the technicians in Porton Down’s laboratories and, as a result, they thrive in a way they wouldn’t under our direct care and commercialisation. Speaking generally, military conflict is terrible for the environment (human or otherwise), scarring landscapes and contributing to the extinction of numerous species. But outside of the battlefield, the defence sector’s indifference towards nature is often seen to benefit the local wildlife, preserving ecologies that might otherwise have been bleached out by ‘human interference’.

By Jack Browne.

»

The Secret Life of Airports published 21/09/2017

Next time you find yourself trudging down a dank tunnel that seems to lead to nowhere, in the nether regions of an airport, suddenly alone and perhaps feeling a bit of existential dread, or maybe just exhaustion and boredom—remember that you are taking part in the secret life of airports. These non-simple spaces are indices for our broader culture, sites to interact with and interpret—sites that can make us feel exhilarated or stranded, by turns. This is what I call airportness, and it spreads out into all sorts of surprising things, and seeps into unexpected places.

By Christopher Schaberg.

»

The Narrowing Spectrum of Control published 17/09/2017

This is a well-pool of pea-soup oud, a full-on miasma to try and fight through. I flashback to the Anonymous guy telling me: “You cannot speak to your neighbours”. You cannot trust anyone. The drivers grass – the cleaners – the CEOs. So what do you do? Go with the majority? The fifty percent majority? You keep your head down, hope it’s better by the time your kids have grown up? Shelter yourself between the sheets of being a VPN rebel, writing nothing down, or it will be held against you.

By Kirsty Allison.

»

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.

»

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.

»

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.

»

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.

»

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.

»

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.

»

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.

»