COLUMNS

  • Film

    Current Affairs

    UNDETERRED BY THE PRESENT HEALTH CRISIS, the Fifty-Eighth New York Film Festival will premiere its annual selections of world cinema virtually and, in Brooklyn and Queens, in drive-in screenings—the latter a resourceful reprise of the way many families saw movies in the 1950s. It may not be pure coincidence, in light of the circumstances, that the festival also offers a new slate this year, appropriately called Currents. Comprised of the same mix that characterized the Projections sidebar, which it has displaced, Currents offers more than a dozen feature-length movies and forty-six shorter works

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  • Slant

    THE BOOK OF LIFE

    No actually the first word emerged

    Deep in the bowels of the human throat

    & forged in loathing & envy, has now attained majority

    & like a Christ is rising, gagging, pointing to its second wound

    The better to distract me

    All my life you’ve taught me to mourn the son

    Nevermind that this isn’t even my religion

    Then after stealing my children you hacked

    Away my reproductive organs

    You never believed me capable of grief

    On behalf of my own immensity

    And caused to orbit all about my head the mouths

    Of those white women rich enough to fatten

    Their lips with silicone.  And bade them shape

    Woken syllables on the

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  • Diary

    Rave New World

    “THE DANCE FLOOR is so much smaller than I remember.” This is the main feedback you’ll hear from visitors to the recently opened Boros x Berghain exhibition that fills Berlin’s old-power-plant-cum-legendary-nightclub until it’s safe for techno-heads and leather-gays to return to their natural habitat. It used to take hours to get from one end to the other, or so it seemed. Now a small, wonderful Andro Wekua painting lends the space an almost domestic atmosphere. One of Anna Uddenberg’s mannequin sculptures humps the counter in the upstairs Panorama Bar; Sandra Mujinga’s tall hooded figures lurk

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  • Interviews

    Ephraim Asili

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    In The Inheritance, director Ephraim Asili presents a dramatic narrative based on his years in a West Philadelphia Black radical collective. The New York–based filmmaker’s first feature following a run of celebrated short films focused on the African diaspora, The Inheritance centers Black artists and activists in its fictionalized portrait of a young man who turns his late grandmother’s house into a shared space for socialist thought and creativity. Alternating comedic vignettes of collective living with scripted interviews, poetry readings, and archival footage—including images of the 1985

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  • Interviews

    Stéphanie Saadé

    Stéphanie Saadé often traces her nomadic upbringing in her installations—spare and evocative meditations on memory, movement, and space. Like that of her “home” city of Beirut, Saadé’s past year in the Lebanese capital has been turbulent: The birth of her first child was closely followed by the explosion last month at the city’s waterfront that left 181 people dead and an estimated 300,000 homeless. Around the time of the blast, Saadé was developing a project for “A Few In Many Places,” a collaboration between artists and local shop owners from Montréal, Philadelphia, Berlin, Istanbul, and the

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  • Film

    Gross Autonomy

    JACK LONDON has always been better understood abroad than at home. At different times in his life a gold prospector, an oyster pirate, a hobo, and a millionaire, London was also a committed internationalist whose political speeches in his twenties led the press to crown him the “Boy Socialist of Oakland.” (He later ran for mayor on Eugene V. Debs’s Social Democratic ticket.) London’s vivid depictions of working-class life and communal struggle garnered him a devoted following in Communist countries like the People’s Republic of China and postrevolutionary Russia, where, in 1918, the poet Vladimir

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  • Interviews

    Jesse Chun

    A New York­­–based artist who has previously lived in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Canada, Jesse Chun studies the way language—especially English—shapes cultural experience. From the tedium of bureaucratic boilerplate to the social attitudes embedded in the ESL curriculum, Chun manipulates the tools of English-language pedagogy and officialdom to expose the linguistic imperialism of this so-called common tongue. In the past, she has used children’s alphabet toys as molds for silicone and graphite sculptures, creating abstract, illegible forms. Other bodies of work build a visual lexicon from the

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  • Film

    Stranger Things

    I REMEMBER READING, probably on an IMDb trivia page, a quote about the smash-hit romantic comedy Meet the Parents (2000) from its director, Jay Roach: “I saw [the film] as an anxiety dream.” This is probably not how Ben Stiller’s feud with grouchy paterfamilias Robert De Niro is recalled in the popular imagination, any jitters smothered by fond memories of jokes about Puff the Magic Dragon, the name Gaylord, and the immortal eeriness of Owen Wilson in a wooly sweater. But revisit the movie with anxiety on the brain and it unfolds as a Kafkaesque hellscape of doomed interactions and metastatic

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  • Diary

    Reservoir Dogs

    AFTER FOUR HOURS OF HUFFING MY OWN BREATH under a mask in the bus from Vilnius, stepping out in Latvia’s capital for the second Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art felt like entering a pre-Covid wonderland: Masks were not seen anywhere, bars were full, and foreign languages spilled out onto the streets. The surrealism intensified the next morning, when guests from around the world (!), their brains buzzing from the mimosas on offer, were greeted by Riboca’s founder, director, and finally by curator Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel under Ugo Rondinone’s rainbow-painted plywood poem life time.

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  • Passages

    LOTTY ROSENFELD

    ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT and respected Chilean artists of her generation, Lotty Rosenfeld is best known as a founding member of CADA (Colectivo Acciones de Arte) and for an incisive solo practice that interrogated power and the occupation of public space during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Her work Una Milla de cruces sobre el pavimento (A Mile of Crosses on the Pavement), in which the artist turned traffic lines into crosses, or plus signs, or X’s, was first enacted on Avenida Manquehue in Santiago in 1979. This insurgent gesture, which she performed and documented throughout

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  • Interviews

    CARCERAL AESTHETICS

    WE CAN ALL AGREE NOW that American prisons are a malignant feature of contemporary life, broadening inequalities, destroying families, worsening racial disparities, and facilitating widespread state-sanctioned premature death, to name just a few of the most obvious iniquities. But inside these prisons, people do find imaginative ways to survive. The institutional culture of incarceration has spawned individual and communal acts of inspired genius—acts credited entirely to people, and not to the prisons where they are forced to live—modalities of making and ways of surviving that involve types

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