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»Self-censorship is the worst.«
»Self-censorship is the worst.«

Lars von Trier in Conversation with Mehdi Belhaj Kacem & Raphaëlle Milone

We land in Copenhagen after only an hour’s sleep the previous night. We travel a long way by subway to a residential area on the edge of the city: large houses with gardens and woodland, almost no one around. We finally find the address we’ve been given. We approach the house through the garden, and we’re immediately in a film by Lars von Trier: a black limousine, a small shack that might be an office with a computer and piles...
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Arts

Eric Baudelaire

A for Anomie

A for Anomie

The idea that terrorism and other forms of political violence are directly related to strains caused by strongly held grievances has been one of the most common explanations to date and can be traced to a diverse set of theoretical concepts including relative deprivation, social disorganization, breakdown, tension, and anomie. Merton (1938) identifies anomie as a cultural condition of frustration, in which values regarding goals and how to achieve them conflict with limitations on the means of achievement.

Gary LaFree and Laura Dugan, “Research on Terrorism and Countering Terrorism”, Crime and Justice, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2009.

 

B for Block or Blocked

If terrorism in each of its expressions can be considered an indicator of the existence of a political block (of an impossibility of reacting if one wishes to react differently), this influences its real ability to modify the situation. Terrorism has been historically more successful when it was not...

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“Obsessed with buffering”
“Obsessed with buffering”

Tom McCarthy

Recessional—Or, the Time of the Hammer

Towards the end of Thomas Pynchon’s mammoth 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow, the stumbling ingénue of a hero Tyrone Slothrop sets off on a commando raid. The territory he and his cohorts move through is a giant ­metropolis, a “factory-state” in which capital, technology and power, perfectly co-calibrated, send airships drifting through urban canyons, past chrome caryatids and roof-gardens on skyscrapers that themselves shoot up and down on ­elevator-cables: a conurbation ­Pynchon calls the “City of the Future” or “Raketen-Stadt.” The...
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Fiction

Maël Renouard

On Memory Atrophy

Externalized memory had always proceeded by contractions, summaries, reductions, selections, breaks in flow, as well as by organization, classification, boiling down. Card catalogues reduced thousands of works to a few key notions; tables of contents contracted the hundreds of pages in a given book. The sign itself was the first abbreviation of experience. An epic stitched of words was an abbreviation of the war, the long years of which were reduced to a few nights of recitation; the written text that recorded the epic was a contraction of the oral narration which pushed aside its sensory richness, melody, life in a thousand details. In accumulating, every level of abbreviation reconstituted an infinite flow, a new dilation that would be contracted in its turn. From the plurality of pages to the index and the table of contents; from the plurality of books to card catalogues.

The abbreviated elements were further arranged, situated...

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Fiction

Jochen Thermann

I really should not have hired him…

I really should not have hired him, but he seemed like he could fill in for my regular cook. Schneider had called in sick it seemed like it could drag on, so I took him on without too much fuss. He was a stocky, small man who could speak only broken German. At the end of the day, business had to go on, and the guests were hungry.

The complex relationships that you maintain often are unclear, even to yourself. So too the code that goes along with them. It is hard to decipher. It is only when things go off the rails that you recognize how well the self-regulation mechanisms were working: how Schneider would organize his purchases, how he would talk to the staff, how he put together the ingredients, and how truly he was interested in keeping business humming.

On the surface, the assistant chef worked in the same...

Be Jack!
Be Jack!

Michael Heitz, Hendrik Rohlf

Uma’s Face—Thurman’s Voice

When the only just 18-year-old Uma Thurman arose from a shell as a flawlessly beautiful film Venus in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in 1989, it wasn’t necessarily foreseeable how persistently she would hold out her face for a system that is inadequately described by Hollywood, Miramax, Weinstein, and co. The fact that Uma’s face—her father sees her as a “reincarnated goddess”, and her name means “splendor” and “light” in Sanskrit, and is the epithet of the Hindu...
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Discourse

Ute Holl

Dream, Clouds, Off, Exile

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  • Karl Marx
  • communism
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Digital disrupture
Digital disrupture

Dieter Mersch

Digital Criticism

We really need an analysis of algorithmic conditions and their paradoxes and ambiguities that gives them an adequate framework and horizon. But instead we currently seem to be finding an algorithmic solution of the algorithmic, much as digital solutions are being offered for the problems of the digital public sphere, in the way that IT corporations, for example, use exclusively mathematical procedures to evaluate and delete “fake news,” inappropriate portrayals, or the violation of personal rights. This tends to result...
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