EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Benjamin in Jerusalem

The Middle East as crisis and critique

This month, two conferences and one exhibition dedicated to Walter Benjamin’s legacy are descending on Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Because of an unhealthy mix of political considerations, security measures, and academic snobbery, I will partake in none of them, despite my deep roots in this troubled land and my recent book on Benjamin. …

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Arts & DesignMedia/PublicsReviews

Art, Homicide, and the Anonymous Dead in Latin America

On the Teresa Margolles exhibit at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY

From July through October, the Nueberger Museum of Art featured these pieces, conceived by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles and executed by six groups of curators and embroiderers. Entitled “We Have a Common Thread,” these fabrics present a complex statement about violence in the Americas. Latin America is the region of the world with the highest murder …

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EssaysMedia/Publics

The Nude in the Library

A tale of two anachronisms

October 2015 was a big month for obsolescence. First we heard reports that the OCLC’s classic library card catalog was finally being retired. Then we heard news that Playboy magazine had decided to no longer feature fully nude models between its pages. As someone who grew up taking for granted the existence of both …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Will There be Real Change in Argentina?

On the Macri election

Argentina has a new president, but the same traditional presidentialist system remains. After more than a decade of the Kirchners in power (2003-2015), the new president Mauricio Macri was elected because he convinced Argentine voters that he was the candidate of “change.” …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The Specter of Fear

Europe after the Paris attacks

A specter is haunting Europe after the Paris attacks of Friday, the 13th of November. We feel this specter of fear as we hypnotically click onto news sites for updates, analysis and pictures of the latest terror attacks. There is an awful sense that we have been here before — the patterns are all too familiar. The declaration by President …

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Arts & DesignCapitalismEventsReviews

The Spectacle of Art’s Reproduction

On the Venice Biennale 2015

When entering the bookstore of the 56th Venice Biennale of Art, you may think that having Marx’s Capital, Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History, and the official catalog of the Milan Expo 2015 displayed next to each other is just a fortuitous — and not particularly happy — coincidence. Expo 2015 cost 14 billion euros, utilized thousands of people who worked for free or low wages and in precarious conditions, caused major environmental damage …

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