For the first time ever, architectural photography takes centre stage at a London exhibition in Barbican’s Constructing Worlds. Max Vickers takes this as an opportunity to explore the continually intertwining histories of photography and architecture, from the invention of the medium through to its Instagramisation.
Bitcoin proponents argue that it is a force for empowerment, privacy, financial inclusion and cheap financial transfers. These claims are subject to various lines of critique: there is unequal access to the technology, that it can be abused by those who use it, and that it will fail to deliver collective benefits. In this piece, Brett Scott claims that despite this, Bitcoin remains one of the few systems that could act as a partial future counterpower to our existing electronic bank payments system.
What is ‘wellbeing’ and how can we reach it? What are strategies and ways that people employ to increase their happiness? Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Public Health Excellence Centre at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in Cambridge gives us some answers on the International Day of Happiness.
Although its long-term impact is most likely to be seen in various applications of blockchain technology, Bitcoin raises some important and challenging questions about the future of money. Nigel Dodd argues that it is important that we do not pass up the opportunity that Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency more generally, give us to think more deeply about the nature of money, particularly its social nature.
In 2009, following the global economic crisis, suicide was the tenth-highest cause of death in the United States. In a series of posts from that year, entitled ‘Do You Intend to Die,’ Berlant moves between the fidiciary suicides, the ‘Campaign against Living Miserably’ programme, and encounters with suicide or self-undermining behaviour amongst personal acquaintances. She investigates the stakes of intimacy in the face of suicidal intent: asking how we might create or curate a politics of mattering from within an overwhelming or precarious state of living.
One of the greatest hurdles to global sustainability is inequality in life opportunities. Kai Whiting examines Colombia’s capital city Bogotá, and looks at how the quality of life offered by the city contributes to the mass exodus of educated Colombians from their rural home towns. Whiting proposes two political strategies to get educated youth to stay and play a role in sustainable development.
Katrina Zaat and Ina Linge met with Jacqueline Rose to discuss her most recent book, Women in Dark Times. She describes it as ‘a series of love letters’ to exceptional women of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is also a clear-eyed critique of the sadistic perfectionism to which women are held in imperfect societies. Katrina’s and Ina’s reflections on the interview follow in the form of letters.
Old age is not really necessarily a time of coldness and unhappiness as The Who proclaimed in the 1960s. Eric Larson gives an overview of how knowing oneself and one’s expectations, helping others and being active in fact can make aging a time of the greatest wellbeing.
What in 2011 was described as Egypt’s peaceful revolution (which it never really was), two years later resulted in a counter-revolution that has left behind a trail of violence, death, polarisation and hatred. Trying to understand how it could happen, Samuli Schielke looks at the moral dimension of political violence, grounded as it is in the desire to fight evil by all means necessary and to establish purity and clarity – and purity is a very dirty business.
Arundhati Roy recounts the political legacy of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, a leader of India’s national movement, and Gandhi’s greatest political adversary. Roy argues that Gandhi was in fact a “great defender” of the caste system, “a system that can only be maintained through the egregious application of violence”, and which is “the engine that runs India”.
Following the abduction of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico in September, Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik sketches a short history of the practice of enforced disappearance, inquiring into why governments vanish their citizens.
One reason why Turing’s life is so convenient for biographical fiction is that with very little effort, it is possible to find a theme, a red thread, and not one but a number of major resolutions. There is no need to change things around, or to exclude large parts of his life in order to get a good story out of it. Reality outshines fiction at every turn.
Tech companies and their predominately-male-geek employees have joined the ranks of the most powerful global shapers of our future. Does a breed of feminism that equates a corporate career with emancipation really stand to curb or critique this trend? Would the world be a better place if it were run by Sheryl Sandbergs rather than Mark Zuckerbergs?
Reflecting on years of experience as a psychotherapist, Jane Haynes draws on a wide range of sources from film and literature to reflect on mothers and mother-figures. She also gives voice to some of her own patients, offering unique glimpses of the psychological significance of mothers.
A long history of coups d’état dating back to the respective Independence days, have not delivered political or economic stability in sub-Saharan African. Mary Serumaga argues that the pattern is for an elite class of politicians and their collaborators capturing the organs of state for their own benefit and to the detriment of what are variously called the urban and rural poor living on a dollar a day.Nov 27
Let’s talk about ethnic conflict and national politics. Take the example of one country, where an ethnic group makes up 80% of the population, yet the remaining four ethnic groups exert considerable political influence. These minority ethnic groups together have …Nov 19
Eric Lybeck sympathizes with the thousands of students who are going to be on the streets of London today protesting for ‘Free Education’. While declining public funding for universities and student debt are serious problems, Lybeck argues that the root of the injustice is not that wealth defines who can go to university or that working class students suffer over proportionately from paying back the debt. For him, the problem is that future generations will have to pay for what we think is a collective good.Oct 27
Clément Mouhot and Lorna Finlayson reflect on the enduring crisis in Palestine and respond to critics who say that singling out Israel is “misguided”, “myopic”, or “immoral”.Sep 24
Kara Walker’s installation at the Domino Sugar Refinery has received a lot of attention, much of it problematic. It is Walker’s ironic enlistment of racist stereotypes that gives her work its power, but this can also lead to inappropriate laughter and racist reactions. Kyle Stoneman explores how we tackle race and female bodies in a museum setting, looking at the installation and its impact.Sep 19
The Indian state has made significant headway in both welfare policies and neo-liberal economic development. They are well on the way to creating citizens out of the masses of people. In the column ‘Terra Nullius’, Nikita Simpson questions the narrative government officials spin particularly with regards to women and how in everyday life women are often not the empowered ‘nexus of rights’ the officials imagine.Sep 16
In the Flummox-column, Johannes Lenhard narrates Michael’s story begging, scoring and shooting heroin on the streets of London. Michael is an addict who cares for his drug, but he has reasons for this: on the stainless steel plane of the spoon, the drug cares back – something that he was denied all his life.Sep 13
The Last Night of the Proms rests in prime position in the British cultural calendar, but in many ways it is a betrayal of everything The Promenade Concerts stand for, argues Anita Data in the Sound World column.Aug 24
A subset of radical feminists argue that trans people’s claims about their gender are invalid, but these radical feminists need to take a harder look at the epistemological basis of their worldview.Aug 22
William Morris is celebrated as a British hero, a craftsman who fought for equality. Jeremy Deller’s ‘We Sit Starving Amidst Our Gold’ celebrates and queries this legacy, summoning Morris to throw Roman Abramovich’s yacht into the Venetian lagoon. Kim Clayton-Greene looks at Morris’s biography and popular image, and the ways in which his intent and impact have at times conflicted.