COLUMNS

  • Books

    Technique Anglaise

    THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS:

    Renton: Technique Anglaise alludes to the French phrase for certain kinds of sexual games. The French perceive English technique as a repressive public school activity.

    Gillick: I hate the title. Everyone in the book hates the title.

    Renton: But you thought of it.

    Gillick: Yes, but I didn’t expect you to take it seriously.

    Self-deprecation, sex, aggression within, submission-to-the-system/playing-the-system, willful perversity, passion, commitment (collective and individual), acceptance, (mock) outrage, silliness, humor, spanking, but no cynicism. As with the rubric, so with

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  • Books

    Writing Space

    Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing, by Jay David Bolter. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1991, 258 pp.

    IN THE ACT OF WRITING, the writer externalizes his or her thoughts. The writer enters into a reflective and reflexive relationship with the written page, a relationship in which thoughts are bodied forth. It becomes difficult to say where thinking ends and writing begins, where the mind ends and the writing space begins. With any technique of writing—on stone or clay, papyrus or paper, and particularly on the computer screen—the writer comes to regard the mind

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  • Books

    Nuclear Landscapes

    Nuclear Landscapes, by Peter Goin. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991, 151 pp., 92 illustrations, $59.95, $29.95 paper.

    WHEN I WAS A CHILD growing up in the Bronx, I used to spread out a map of the five boroughs, place the needle leg of a compass at ground zero (Times Square), adjust the pencil leg for one mile, then swivel the pencil leg around, describing the circle that would define the range of blast destruction. In this way I could see if my home would still be standing after, say, a one-megaton nuclear bomb leveled everything within the radius of 40 square blocks.

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  • Top Ten

    Greil Marcus' Real Life Rock

    Greil Marcus is a contributing editor of Artforum.

    Bob Dylan’s the bootleg series, volumes 1–3 [rare & unreleased] 1961–1991 (Columbia) contains a shadow version of his entire career, embedded within 58 performances. They range from a tune taped in a Minnesota hotel room in 1961 to an outtake from the 1989 album Oh Mercy; along the way, three CDs collect concert recordings, alternate takes, rehearsals, and publishing demos, programmed roughly year by year. A lot of it is dross, a history of unfinished ideas or untranscended clichés, a book of footnotes. Other parts work as a series of interruptions—of

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  • Slant

    Moral Right

    CAN IT BE that the government of the United States, despite the likes of Jesse Helms, truly believes in the inherent value of art? The signals are mixed. Although, after very public debate, NEA funding was cut back, in late November 1990, without public ceremony, Congress enacted the “Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990” (known as “VARA”), which incorporated into existing federal copyright law a provision that deals with the moral rights of visual artists. (California, New York, and nine other states already had their own moral-rights acts. To what extent these state laws will remain vital or be

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