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Fiction

“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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Maria Filomena Molder

So many egoists call themselves artists…

“So many egoists call themselves artists,” Rimbaud wrote to Paul Demeny on May 15, 1871. Even though that is not always obvious, ‘I’, the first person, is the most unknown person, a mystery that is constantly moving towards the other two, the second and third persons, a series of unfoldings and smatterings that eventually gelled as ‘Je est un autre’. That is why ‘apocryphal’ is a literarily irrelevant concept and ‘pseudo’ a symptom, the very proof that life, writing, is made up of echoes, which means that intrusions and thefts (Borges also discusses them) will always be the daily bread of those who write.

Words from others, words taken out of place and mutilated: here are the alms of time, that squanderer’s sole kindness. And so many others, mostly others who wrote, and many other pages, all of them apocryphal, all of them echoes, reflections. All this flows together into—two centuries...

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Humanity is a metahuman concept.

Rolf Bossart, Milo Rau

Humanity is a metahuman concept.

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  • postmodernism
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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...

 

Empty Diagonal
Empty Diagonal

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Antoine d’Agata

Diagonale du vide

“If there is an artist capable of making these vacuums speak, it is d’Agata. To show what is not visible, to make present what can not be represented. There is a visual 'spectralism' about Antoine. It is about recording the spasms of humanity that is committing suicide, which has access to all the information needed to know what it is doing, and yet does nothing to revert the trend. We documented this suicide during a week of shared driving, of...
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Ann Cotten

The last philosopher. The zen-queen.

– In what way are you a communist – since we need to define this: someone who is convinced that a totally different form of organization of communal life would be good for the human race, –

 

– Isn’t that equally true of monarchists and leaders of sects?

 

– ...with a focus on justice.

 

– but the people should behave differently, right?

 

– They should be totally different.

 

– Are you not simply a misanthropist?

 

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– No, because there are people that I like, very much even. And I understand all the less why most people feel compelled to be so nasty.

 

– Most people don’t seem to be quite as bothered by this as you are.

 

– Oh really? In my perception, most people are pretty bothered by anything that is different than themselves. That is why we need rules that define how to behave toward people we can’t stand.

 

– You have just been suffering in a...

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Dietmar Dath

Do you want to believe in language?

Asleep, Patrick sees what he doesn’t believe while he’s awake.

The index calculates everything. Announcements of awards, mostly false, light up then die. His dopamine balance feeds the list. Limbic structures support it. Brain means house, should have windows. But they’re slow shutter pictures of the past.

 

Five minutes past four, Patrick is woken up by a noise. He’s lying in the small room. Renate is sleeping in the big one.

“Maybe I’ll get an idea during the night,” he had justified his move to the couch, “Then I’ll have to send it to them. We’re sending the thing off tomorrow.” He was afraid of saying what he knew about Kerstin in his sleep, while lying next to Renate. In the darkness he feels the room buzzing at him. His brain answers the hum, singing sugar and protein, talking perineural network that controls the form and function of the synapses which guide all...

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