Celeste Olalquiaga

  • Saint Basil hand relic, ca. 379, Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. George, Venice.


    WHILE WESTERN CULTURE celebrates sight, sound, taste, and smell in the visual arts, music, gastronomy, fragrance, and more, touch is the sole sense that has been largely relegated to the realm of the physical. The digital revolution reinforced the long-standing valorization of the intellectual over the material; fingers (the original digits) connect our bodies to the virtual machine, where zeroes and ones (the abstract digits composing the binary system) are thought to do all the work. It has taken a pandemic to reveal the extent to which humans thrive on touch and how imperative our social and


    PAUL VIRILIO WAS BORED on the beach one summer afternoon in 1958. Leaning against a concrete block, the young man made a 360-degree scan of his surroundings—sand, rocky cliffs, ocean. This panoramic appraisal took him all the way back to the block behind him, a “worthless object” from World War II. His vacation in Brittany was over and his career as an “archaeologist of the future” (to quote his early collaborator, the architect Claude Parent) was about to begin. For the next seven years, Virilio would travel France’s northwestern coast, photographing the abandoned bunkers of the defunct Nazi


    ONE OF THE OLDEST #MeToo episodes dates back more than two thousand years, and would have entered the canon of great Greek tragedy had the forefathers of Western patriarchy deigned to give it the appropriate status. But they did not—instead, they rewrote the main character’s story. For Medusa, she of the serpent mane and petrifying fame, is an interpretation of the Gorgoneion, or “Gorgon head” (gorgós being Greek for “dreadful”), an archaic protective emblem that was plastered on pottery, architectural and carriage ornaments, coins, and protective armor throughout Asia Minor and the Mediterranean