Tag: Modernity

Austen’s Bodies

Walking back from seeing Love & Friendship, Whit Stillman’s new film adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished epistolary novella Lady Susan, I passed a bus stop with a Fiat advertisement on it: ...

Tales of the Interwar

Today, the once-provocative suggestion that we live in an age of interminable warfare has become a truism. The claim often takes the form of an observation about the post-9/11 syndrome that drives an ...

Speculative Pulp Fiction

Margaret Atwood’s most recent novel, The Heart Goes Last, began as an unusual digital experiment. Starting in March 2012, the website Byliner played host to the “Positron series,” a sequence of ...

A Muslim Future to Come?

The devastating attacks of November 13 on Paris’s 10th and 11th arrondissements viciously targeted the “progressive” heart of the city. When I am there, that is where I live. Like many other ...

China at World’s End

In a galaxy far away, but close enough, an intelligent alien civilization finally realizes that its planet orbits around three suns instead of one. They face the classic three-body problem of ...

The Trouble with “Modernity”

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that capitalism is the engine behind the environmental crises of the early 21st century. It doesn’t even take a Marxist: as the French environmental journalist ...

What World? Whose Algorithms?

In an arresting chapter in Carolyn L. Kane’s new book, Chromatic Algorithms: Synthetic Color, Computer Art, and Aesthetics after Code, she analyzes the movie Predator, which gives expression to ...

Drone Poems

The protests of Hong Kong’s 2014 “Umbrella Revolution” were marked in early days by the intermittent appearance of a helicopter drone flying high above the crowds, looking rather like a pizza box ...

The Cost of Copying

Two recent books about copying remind us how the digital age has made Bambis of us all: we struggle, as Disney’s fawn did, to find our balance on the ice, confused by the absence of the friction that ...

Justice for “Data Janitors”

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke famously declared that any sufficiently advanced technology becomes indistinguishable from magic. Today, the likes of Google, Amazon, and Facebook appear ...

Rebellious Anti-Rebels

Kyung-sook Shin’s I’ll Be Right There, originally published in South Korea in 2010, features illness, injury, rape, kidnappings, and at least four types of suicide, one of which is possibly murder ...

The Hope and the Horror

In 1953, a young Jean Franco set sail from Europe for Central America. She arrived in Cuba a few days after Fidel Castro’s ill-fated assault on the Moncada Barracks. Continuing to Guatemala, she ...

Is She the Future of Germany?

Olga Grjasnowa’s novel Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt (recently translated by Other Press as All Russians Love Birch Trees) was published to considerable acclaim in Germany in 2012. The book ...

Rancière’s Counter-Modernism

The question “What is art?” belongs in the ranks of the great koans of Western philosophy, as intolerable and unavoidable as “What is being?” and “What is the good life?” Immanuel Kant, perhaps ...

Futurist Cheerfulness

In the domain of games and toys, as in all passéist manifestations, one sees only grotesque imitation, timidity (miniature trains, little cars, dolls that can’t move, cretinous caricatures of ...