Underneath the ‘Orientalist’ kimono

But the reac­tion to the exhi­bi­tion from Japan — where the decline in pop­u­lar­ity of the kimono as a form of dress is a national con­cern — was one of puz­zle­ment and sad­ness. Many Japan­ese com­men­ta­tors expressed regret that fewer peo­ple would get to expe­ri­ence wear­ing a kimono.

Why We Need Poetry Technology

By decou­pling human agency from the imme­di­acy of expres­sion and instead rein­tro­duc­ing it at the stage of cre­ative com­po­si­tion we are prepar­ing the stage for a new type of writ­ing. Nev­er­the­less, when we do so we are still inhab­it­ing the world that the Oulipo­ets from the 1960s would recog­nise. It is a phase in a lit­er­ary evo­lu­tion that has not been taken to its lim­its, that hasn’t trans­formed into a rad­i­cally new lit­er­ary being just yet. We could say that the ontol­ogy of lit­er­a­ture is still authored, ana­log, and un-automated.

We Buy Broken Gold

Why would a wealthy dia­mond mer­chant in a three-thousand-dollar suit want to cheat me out of a hun­dred bucks’ worth of gold?

The Library of Babel as Seen from Within

The library makes this hid­den power explicit: any­thing that can be ref­er­enced in lan­guage or acces­si­ble to expe­ri­ence must be sep­a­ra­ble from itself—a thought, a per­cep­tion, a word can be made of it. This may under­mine our sense of the sim­ple pres­ence of things, but it allows for every­thing inter­est­ing in the world: fan­tasy, lies, illu­sions, imag­i­na­tion, and fic­tion. If it weren’t pos­si­ble for us to say “Here is a human” when noth­ing of the sort is present, fic­tion would be impos­si­ble, and we would never have embarked on the strange pur­suit that, for some time now, we have called literature.

Designers, Morality and the AK-47

[A] house cat’s front claws are won­der­fully designed: sharp, com­pact, strong, light­weight and retractable. But by Monteiro’s def­i­n­i­tion if you’re a mouse or a bird, the claws are a bad design, since they are made to kill you. It might be unfor­tu­nate, or even evil (from the bird’s per­spec­tive), that such a design exists, but for the pur­pose it was designed for it’s an excel­lent design.

Jung hearts run free

The story of the mak­ing of 70s cult clas­sic Step­pen­wolf is as weird and deca­dent as the film. Jenny Fabian was there.