This week, court room comedy, typography in Blade Runner, Trump’s architectural legacy, China’s deleted buildings, white working class, and more.
Divola’s edgy, discomfiting style dates back to the 70s, when he was a graduate student at UCLA. His type of conceptual, inter-disciplinary practice was totally of the moment, as UCLA and CalArts were famous for encouraging non-traditonal work. Radical performance art was also hot—artists shot themselves, or masturbated under the floorboards of galleries, and in most cases such works became famous after the fact through documentary photographs.
The subtitle reads WORLD WIDE COMPUTER LINKUP PLANNED, in what looks like Optima Bold. While the idea of a World Wide Computer Linkup might seem passé as we approach 2019, it was still very much unusual in 1982 when Blade Runner was released. Indeed, it wasn’t until March 1982 that the US Department of Defense, creators of pre-Internet network ARPANET, declared TCP/IP as the standard for all military computer networking, pretty much kick-starting what we know as the modern-day Internet of 2016.
Of course, if you’re going to set up business on the moon, you’ll need something a bit smarter than the simple terrestrial Internet we know here on Earth. Indeed, you’ll probably want some kind of Interplanetary Internet. By a strange coincidence, this is exactly what Vint Cerf and NASA have been working on, using delay-tolerant networking to forward bundles of data from spacecraft to spacecraft as and when they come into range. If you’d like to know more, here’s Vint explaining why the speed of light is too slow at a TEDx event in 2011. (We’ll excuse the Comic Sans in his slides, because he did after all invent the thing that’s letting you read this article.)
When Nathaniel Peters goes for a walk, he often sings aloud, which may be a genetic trait. His great-grandparents were Maria and Georg von Trapp, who founded the Trapp Family Singers with their children and whose story was the basis for “The Sound of Music.”
Mr. Peters, 30, also appears to have inherited Maria von Trapp’s exuberant climb-every-mountain attitude.
Critics like Muschamp, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Paul Goldberger could hardly depend on Trump for an informed comment on his designs or buildings. He called his own Trump Tower triplex, an Angelo Donghia–designed, marble-and-onyx-covered ode to Versailles, “comfortable modernism.” The New York critics had varying opinions about the tower and its six-story indoor mall, which Trump claimed had been designed by his wife, Ivana. The mall’s interior of polished brass and 240 tons of Breccia Pernice marble in shades of rose, peach, pink, and orange was called a “pleasant surprise” by Goldberger, who saw it as “warm, luxurious, and even exhilarating—in every way more welcoming than the public arcades and atriums that preceded it on 5th Avenue.” Huxtable took a more critical view of the space, which she called a “pink marble maelstrom and pricey super glitz…unredeemed by [its] posh ladies’ powder-room decor.” (There may be hope for future buildings, however; Trump’s current wife, Melania, apparently studied architecture and design in school.)
Browning wonders about the process behind the censorship: “I don’t know who does it, if it’s an algorithm that gets GPS co-ordinates for each place and then somehow wipes it, or if an actual person goes to each one and cleans it with Photoshop.” The lack of consistency makes him suspect a human is responsible. “It would be great to meet these people and see what they think about it. If they wanted to do it, why didn’t they do it properly?”
The project was one of Browning’s last in China: after nine years, he moved back to the UK in May with his Chinese wife. “China’s a great country,” he says. “But it’s two different things. You’ve got the government and what they say and do, and then you’ve got the people. The government is always the mystery.”
The playlist, which contains over 900 pieces and will take you days to listen to, begins in medieval times with the Byzantine abbess, poet, composer, and hymnographer Kassia (shown above) and ends with female composers from around the world not only living but (especially by the standards of those who write orchestral music) still young, like Misato Mochizuki, Helena Tulve, and Lera Auerbach.
The curators even consulted a medium to channel Lefèvre’s spirit, and thus to glean his feedback on the show. A video of the conversation between the curators and the medium played in a cubbyhole above the foyer, which visitors could access via a short wooden ladder. The retrospective’s title derived from Lefèvre’s comments via the medium.
Lefèvre worked chiefly in paint, which he deployed like icing in a child’s fantasy—in wet, goopy, primary-coloured beads and layers. He also used kitty litter, chewing gum, toilet-paper tubes, and other objects and substances. Most of his works are conceptual, invoking the history of art, and often textual, confronting the viewer with witty aphorisms. On the surface, many are pointedly skeptical of art and the art world.
There is nothing you can’t accomplish if you hold power. A deputy chief justice in the Hebei provincial supreme court met a sudden, unfortunate end in a traffic accident. Four women came forward to argue over his corpse. All four were legally married to the late deputy chief justice; he had secured for himself four different marriage licenses, all perfectly legal. This had been going on for many years, but not one of the four women knew of the others’ existence. How had he managed to keep the fact that he had four wives a secret? I write fiction, and I tell you truthfully, I can’t imagine how this could be done. This man was one of the top judicial officers in a provincial supreme court, but he treated the law like a joke.
In her dense and important new book, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg identifies a clarifying precedent for the Webb model of political aggrievement. In 1858, South Carolina’s James Henry Hammond, a leading intellectual of the white supremacist movement, argued before the Senate that, “there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life” in order to allow elites to cultivate “civilization, progress, and refinement.” Hammond argued that the South had done the right thing by enslaving genetically inferior blacks, the natural fit for such a role in the U.S. But Yankees, by forcing poor whites to compete with blacks for menial work, had essentially become traitors to their race. “The North had committed a worse offense,” Isenberg writes, “it had debased its own kind.”
… There is a bitter irony that lower-class white people, once dismissed as the crude and impure race in Britain and the U.S., are now often mocked for incestuous racial purity. Inbreeding was a staple of comedic (and horrific) stereotypes of Appalachia for years before Deliverance. And in 2016, when multiple states have already crossed the majority-minority threshold and the national population is expected to do so within the next 30 years, a “White Pride” T-shirt is basically a white trash ID badge. You can be nearly certain that the wearer’s ancestors were more likely to have settled the Great Dismal swamp than to have presided over a plantation.
I started applying for jobs in private prisons because I wanted to see the inner workings of an industry that holds 131,000 of the nation’s 1.6 million prisoners. As a journalist, it’s nearly impossible to get an unconstrained look inside our penal system. When prisons do let reporters in, it’s usually for carefully managed tours and monitored interviews with inmates. Private prisons are especially secretive. Their records often aren’t subject to public access laws; CCA has fought to defeat legislation that would make private prisons subject to the same disclosure rules as their public counterparts. And even if I could get uncensored information from private prison inmates, how would I verify their claims? I keep coming back to this question: Is there any other way to see what really happens inside a private prison?
Ugh, the new Matthew Barney movie looks fucking terrible. pic.twitter.com/ln8265ZWuj
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) June 24, 2016
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