Issues
Issue #91
With: Oxana Timofeeva, Andrei Platonov, Georg Lukács, Robert Bird, iLiana Fokianaki, Michael Baers, Eva Díaz, Lev Ozerov
A riddle: One night, an arresting officer enters a holding cell full of people. He asks the group what they were doing congregating on the public thoroughfare that morning. Why bring their bodies out from home to stand together on the sidewalk, walk together on the street? The officer seeks connection. Somewhere in the cell’s radius a commercial window had been smashed. Somewhere in the cell’s radius was a changing of the guards. Thinking for a moment that they can see each other, one of the...
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9 Essays May 2018
Now Is Night
Oxana Timofeeva
Undead Soldiers The medical commission said A little prayer to their maker, Which done, they dug with a holy spade The soldier from god’s little acre, When the doctor examined the soldier gay Or what of him was left, He softly said: This man’s 1-A, He’s simply evading the draft. —Bertolt Brecht, “Legend of the Dead Soldier,” 1918 I found out that there was a war on between Russia and Ukraine at a small gas station, where I met some Ukrainians who, like...
Immortality
Andrei Platonov
After midnight, on the approach to Red Peregon station, the FD locomotive began to shout and weep. 1 It sang in the winter darkness with the deep strength of its hot belly and then began to change to a gentle, weeping human breathing, addressing someone who was not replying. After falling briefly silent, the FD again complained into the air: human words could already be discerned in this signal, and whoever now heard them must have felt pressure on his own conscience because of the engine’s...
Emmanuil Levin
Georg Lukács
In their critiques, Western humanist writers frequently fault Soviet literature for expressing the face of the new socialist person with insufficient clarity. To a certain degree this criticism is correct and should be taken into consideration. In many works [of Soviet literature] (even some that stand on a quite high level), amidst a realistic picture of the socialist land’s life environment and human interrelations, certain people are depicted as socialist heroes though in their psyche...
Two puzzles dominate recent discussions of Soviet literature and Marxist aesthetics in the 1930s. The first is how the official Soviet system tolerated and even at times celebrated such an idiosyncratic writer as Andrei Platonov, who in the last twenty-five years has emerged as the central literary artist of the time. The second puzzle is how socialist realism, a literature wholly focused on the future, came to model itself on nineteenth-century realism, with the result that the bulk of...
It has now been almost three years since the June 2015 referendum in Greece, and these three years have demonstrated an alarming acceleration of the multiple crises that Europe faces. Nationalism and the far right have rediscovered their power in the streets and parliaments of Europe, in both North and South. Even in the contemporary art world, we see the emergence of the alt-right, which audaciously presents itself as revolutionary and progressive, shouting at the top of its lungs about its...
Preface Late in March of this year I attended a lecture by Professor Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, where she presented a collaborative project, the Feral Atlas, an online repository of stories about the Anthropocene and how humans and nonhumans together make worlds at scale. In her introductory remarks, she spoke of the demand often put forward by humanist colleagues to tell hopeful stories about the Anthropocene rather than view it as an undifferentiated...
You’re on the Spaceship Earth […] You’d better pay your fare now You’ll be left behind You’ll be left hangin’ In the empty air You won’t be here and you won’t be there. —Sun Ra, 1968 1 For some, contemporary art has become a kind of alt-science platform for research and development projects that offer alternatives to the corporate control and surveillance of outer space. Artists working on issues about access to space are at the front line of a critical...
Platonov is reading aloud, 1 reading “Fro” in the spacious apartment of Kornely Lyutsianovich Zelinsky, 2 just by the Moscow Arts Theatre. “A grand little hut!” he said afterwards, without a trace of envy. Platonov reads with animation. I had not heard of Platonov. I know nothing of his ways, of his way in life. “That’s splendid!” I blurt out, unable to contain myself, when he reads the last page. Piercing eyes, and...
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