Required Reading

This week, an underground restaurant, political lives of medieval manuscripts, the need to claim (physical) QTBIPoC spaces, Harold Pinter’s catty side, and more.

Snøhetta has revealed designs for a new underwater restaurant called Under that will be at the southernmost tip of Norway. It looks like a sinking ship, no? More impressive renderings here. (via Archpaper)

Lomuto went online and found a forum, on the white-nationalist Web site Stormfront, where someone had asked for counsel concerning tattoos. A respondent suggested that the poster seek out the work of the tattoo artist who had spoken at the conference, and also pointed out “that Celtic crosses work better for tattoos because they are not as obvious as a swastika.” Lomuto, in her blog post, notes that the role of Celtic iconography role in white-nationalist organizations “was never explicitly referenced” during the speaker’s talk. (She also mentions that the conference took place the same weekend as “Become Who We Are,” a conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Policy Institute, a white-supremacist “think tank” led by Richard Spencer.)

Claiming QTBIPoC spaces means thinking of us not as romanticized extreme subaltern subjects, but rather as imperfect subjects-in-process (Alarcon), both alienated and in revolt, as both internalizing our oppression and as agents who enact, create, construct other and more critically subalternative ways of life than would exist in the world were we not here

The Picasso Administration, which oversees the painter’s legacy, has also criticized the decision to remove the murals from Y-Block. In 2013, the organization’s head of legal affairs, Claudia Andrieu, told Norwegian radio that the art should not be moved, but after a meeting with Norwegian authorities in 2014, the organization took a more conciliatory tone, saying in a statement that it would monitor the process step by step.

  • Male writers still dominate book reviews and critic jobs:

Once again, the London Review of Books “has the worst gender disparity”, with women representing only 18% of reviewers and 26% of authors reviewed. The LRB’s figures have remained more or less consistent since the first Vida count in 2010, despite the publication telling the author Kathryn Heyman in 2013: “… there’s no question that despite the distress it causes us that the proportion of women in the paper remains so stubbornly low, the efforts we’ve made to change the situation have been hopelessly unsuccessful. We’ll continue to try – the issue is on our minds constantly.”

I met a priest in northern Japan who exorcised the spirits of people who had drowned in the tsunami. The ghosts did not appear in large numbers until autumn of that year, but Reverend Kaneta’s first case of possession came to him after less than a fortnight. He was the chief priest at a Zen temple in the inland town of Kurihara. The earthquake on March 11 was the most violent that he or anyone he knew had ever experienced. The great wooden beams of the temple’s halls had flexed and groaned with the strain. Power, water, and telephone lines were fractured for days; deprived of electricity, people in Kurihara, thirty miles from the coast, had a dimmer idea of what was going on there than television viewers on the other side of the world. But it became clear enough when first a handful of families, and then a mass of them, began arriving at Reverend Kaneta’s temple with corpses to bury.

The Mineral Hall in 1976 (via Gothamist, image courtesy AMNH)

Turns out that 20th Television — the studio distributor behind Mother — has been selling promotional spots in syndicated episodes to wring even more money out of the sitcom’s already rich syndication deals. Specifically, the feat is accomplished by a partnership with a company, SeamBI, which stands for Seamless Brand Integration and is responsible for digitally altering old episodes with new products and brands.

The company’s CEO Roy Baharav calls SeamBI an “advertising technology innovator” and says that what they do — in essence, monetizing aging television shows by adding new brands and product placement into old episodes — is the future. “What we do is we insert, very efficiently, brands into content in a natural way and in a way that is valuable to advertisers,” Baharav says. “So we find the balance between not compromising the integrity of the content and, on the other end, bring a lot of value to the advertiser.”

  • A beautifully reflective piece by Chloe Bass which is subtitled “Couples Counseling for Artists and Institutions”:

I was sitting on the floor of Powell’s, reading Roxane Gay’s Hunger and beating myself up for not choosing a more interesting book while surrounded by so many rare things, when I was struck by a sudden sneezing attack. Once, then twice, and on and on. No one near me said anything. My eyes began to swell. The sneezes continued. I believed I was cursed: to keep up these exhausting explosions until someone acknowledged me with bless you.

It should not be entirely surprising that Washington would tolerate the deaths of so many civilians to further its Cold War goals. In Vietnam, the U.S. military may have killed up to 2 million civilians. But Indonesia was different: the PKI was a legal, unarmed party, operating openly in Indonesia’s political system. It had gained influence through elections and community outreach, but was nevertheless treated like an insurgency.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning ET, and is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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