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Preview: the naked gaze 肉眼

the naked gaze 肉眼



politics, theory, and cultural critique



Published: 2009-11-25T07:57:00-08:00

 



Obama's Shot at the Wall

2009-11-25T07:57:00-08:00

On the final day of President Obama’s trip to Beijing last week, he made the obligatory trek up at the Great Wall, where he signed the official guest book, commented on the Wall’s historical significance, and posed for what White House aides celebrated as a perfect “shot.” A photo-op is, by definition, a carefully framed appearance intended for public dissemination. We might ask, however, what lies at—or just beyond—the margins of these public images of Obama’s trip to the Wall? The White House shot captures Obama walking along the Badaling section of the Wall just outside Beijing. The thousands of...



Our Embrace of Vampires

2009-11-18T08:44:50-08:00

From the Twilight series to works like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, we find ourselves surrounded by a new generation of vampires who in many respects are more or less just like us. Except that they are vampires. In Our Vampires, Ourselves, Nina Auerbach observes that, “every age embraces the vampire it needs.” What, then, are our age’s current needs, and how does the latest vampire craze help satisfy them?



mystic writing pad

2008-02-26T19:57:00-08:00

If memory serves, there is a character in one of Robert Graves’ “Claudius” novels who is imprisoned with only a single wax tablet. Day in and day out, he fills the tablet with writing, then wipes it clean and begins anew. Written text, for him, exists only in the virtual instant of inscription itself, with inscription becoming not an act of preservation, but rather an anticipation of imminent erasure. I was reminded of Graves’ wax tablet recently when my hard drive died on the last day of a month-long interview trip, and a data recovery company last week pronounced the...



Bitchin'

2007-01-04T14:14:08-08:00

Massachusetts voted a couple of day ago to allow a proposed (state) constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage to proceed, thereby setting in motion a legal process which might eventually (after several legal hurdles) make it illegal in MA (currently the only state to permit same-sex marriage) for two individuals of the same sex to marry each other. The only way around such amendment, should it succeed, would be the fairly drastic measure of having one of the individuals legally have his or her sex changed. Of course, a proposal two months ago by New York City’s Board of Health would...



Art and Surveillance

2007-01-03T12:25:14-08:00

In Chicago last week a minor ruckus developed around Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain in the city’s Millennium Park. Plensa’s public monument consists of a pair large towers facing each other across a reflecting pool, each of which contains a rotating array of oversized faces of Chicago residents—disembodied heads which always appear to be staring down at the pedestrians below. As part of a Department of Homeland Security initiative, however, this past November the city installed security cameras to the top of each tower. The cameras were noticed several weeks later by bloggers Devyn Caldwell and Mike Doyle, who then tipped...



Children of [Wo]men

2006-12-30T09:58:55-08:00

Alfonso Cuarón’s dystopic thriller Children of Men is set in a world in the near future (2027) in which the entire human race has become sterile. The film begins with a report of the murder of an 18 year old, nicknamed Baby Diego, whose claim to fame is that he was the world’s youngest human—the last human to be born before the infertility pandemic inexplicably brought a halt to all human births. The main plot of the film itself, meanwhile revolves around a young refugee (a “fugee”) named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) who is found to be pregnant, and the efforts...



Of Dolphins and Mermaids

2006-12-24T05:45:25-08:00

On December 13th, a multinational search expedition for a rare freshwater dolphin—small, albino and ...



Cell Phone and Surveillance

2006-12-18T22:23:43-08:00

In one scene in Jia Zhangke’s (贾樟柯) The World (世界) (2004), the jealous Niu (Jiang Zhongwei) consider...



Blind Justice

2006-12-14T20:33:01-08:00

As The House Next Door noted a couple of days ago, Texas Republican State Senator Edmund Kuempel introduced to a bill to allow blind hunters to hunt using “laser sight, or lighted pointing instrument, which is forbidden for sighted hunters.” “This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that’s great,” says Kuempel. One can hardly dispute that it is “great” to expand the opportunities available to the blind and sight-impaired, though hunting seems like a rather odd place to take a stand (particularly in the state in which the fully-sighted vice president shot his friend...



Along the Riverrun (1)

2006-12-13T21:13:44-08:00

In their short 2005 film Amphibious (Login-Logout), Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla follow six turtles sunbathing on a log as it floats down China’s Pearl River. The six minute film features a sequence of overhead shots of the turtles themselves, alternating with a series of point of view shots of the banks of the river. The early, day-time scenes feature mainly fishermen and small boats, but as evening falls and the turtles drift further and further downstream, the river banks become increasingly populated by warehouses, apartment complexes, and huge cargo ships. The film, therefore, creates the impression that the turtles...