:: Essays archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

All the way from Gare du Nord to the Beverly Laurel Cafe published 31/10/2015

It is hard to live in a universe ruled by contingency and accident. It is soothing to speak of fate and destiny. Affective ambivalence, indecision, turmoil, emotional tumult, all take on a more bearable aspect if they are seen as subject to forces external to us, subject to external resolution–inevitably, inescapably. “What will be will be….” So too with misfortune. If an event which we would so much the more have wanted to forgo could just as well not have been, its occurrence, its having-been, cuts into us all the deeper, all the more terribly. So we speak of fate, of destiny.

By Steve Light.

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Projections on a Wall: A Hauntology published 29/10/2015


The Berlin Wall was always plural. These walls from the past become all the more complicated and even more multiplied once we begin to memorialise and commemorate them. Perhaps the pronouncement by East German leader Walter Ulbricht in the middle of June 1961—just two months before Operation Rose, otherwise known as Barbed-Wire Sunday—should have been read more like those from the Delphic Oracle. Ulbricht insisted, “No one intends to build a wall.” That was because one wall would have never been enough.

By Frank Garrett.

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dreamscape, nightmare, city: the weirded urbanisms of German expressionist film published 28/10/2015


German Expressionism had an ambivalent relationship with the city and the built environment. Expressionism rejected naturalistic representation in favour of the expressive, almost dream-like imagination of the subconscious, the repressed. Expressionist cinema’s ambivalent relationship with the city produced some of the most enduring film art ever made.

Owen Vince on Expressionist cinematic urbanism.

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Sexual Stealing published 14/10/2015


Sexual Stealing is poetic in that its form reflects its subject; it searches for a way to write the voices that are buried in full view, and subverts available genres to talk about something widely felt and intuited but not discussed. This writing assumes that writing is a form of listening, rather than expression.

Wendy Walker on the Gothic, textuality, gender, sexuality, and poetics.

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Rapture, Religion and Madness Part One: Lou Andreas-Salomé on Nietzsche published 12/10/2015

On 25th October 1912, Salomé met Sigmund Freud. She became a personal student of his, a psychologist in her own right, and she continued to correspond with him until her death in 1937. Salomé’s short autobiography Looking Back has a scant five pages on Nietzsche and far more on Freud. Perhaps she had written enough on Nietzsche. Her biography of him provoked passionate praise and equally passionate criticism. No matter how calumnious the public attacks on her, particularly from Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche during the Nazi period in Germany, Salomé did not respond to them.

In the first of a two part series examining Nietzsche’s philosophical project, writer D.A. Barry examines Lou Andreas-Salomé’s treatment of the writer.

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Dasein, Objects, and Myth: Heidegger’s Unconscious Accelerationism published 10/10/2015


Here, at an angle oblique to his own position, we want to argue that Heidegger slipped his tongue by inadvertently defending a vision of history devoid of the illusions of the past (not without a counterweighing acknowledgement of the improbability of this ever occurring in the near future; the ‘fail safe’ argument of any philosophy risking a claim to the not-yet). This vision of history is typical of the ideal of Enlightenment of which Heidegger nonetheless is openly critical. By some indications with regard to the disenchantment of the past, Heidegger could become, oddly enough, an ally of today’s left accelerationism in its attempt to revive the project of Enlightenment via a curious distortion of the past.

Virgilio A. Rivas on Heidegger and Accelerationism.

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In Search of the Pakistani Author published 09/10/2015

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The Orient, like other parts of the world with a colonial past, is still discovering its voice. Having been translated for so long by the powerful discourse of the settlers, it is still trying to find a way back to its vernacular, to the experience of the native. The writer of today cannot simply overlook its most immediate surroundings for transcendental experiences, for doing so would be an act of treason.

Momina Masood goes after the “Pakistani Author”.

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Cuba in Fragments: 2001 published 02/10/2015


This is not Los Angeles but feels equally staged. Everything’s a reinterpretation of Hollywood. The young boys harassing J., assuming she didn’t know Spanish well enough to know our violence may have been the answer. Brutality like patriarchy knows no politics under the systems that permit its rage more than counterparts masking / employing it in silence. Capitalism even permeates prohibited spaces in nearly unavoidable residual forms. There is a stratification to all things and Cuba is no different.

José Vadi on Cuba (in fragments).

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You tell yourself you are Hannah Arendt published 01/10/2015

I was not raised by a father. Don’t forget that. Karl Jaspers was a father to me. You may not believe me, because of the nature of our relationship, but Heidegger was a father to me too. Heidegger never forgave me for becoming famous. I did my best to be solicitous. Unrequited love is my addiction. Heidegger is my real father. He was Mein Vater.

Bobbi Lurie’s short, creative response to Hannah Arendt’s The Last Interview and Rahel Varnhagen: Lebensgeschichte einer deutschen Jüdin aus der Romantik, as well as Margarethe Von Trotta’s 2013 film, Hannah Arendt.

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Children of the Moon, Dancing to Death published 28/09/2015

André Breton claimed, in the Surrealist Manifesto, that madness is a self-evidently American trait: only a ship of fools would have agreed to sail off with Columbus in 1492 into a seemingly endless ocean. In Book VI of Republic, Plato introduced the “ship of fools” parable in order to argue against Athenian democracy. If everyone claims the right to steer the ship, regardless of skill or aptitude in navigation, the ship will surely flounder and fail.

Amanda Wasielewski on Western historical representations of apocalypse and madness.

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