CURRENT ISSUE

Issue 65 / Knowledge

featuring Lina Bolzoni, Steven Connor, Amy Hollywood, Marina Warner, Leif Weatherby, Susan Zieger, and more

KIOSK / 12 NOVEMBER 2019

How to Make a Monster

George Prochnik

In 1796, when he was thirty years old, the Spanish artist Francisco Goya began a visual meditation on monsters, reason, and the relationship between these phenomena. After multiple drafts, the final etching proved to be among the most magnetic images in Western culture. It has inspired endless commentary, suggesting that however many words are dedicated to analyzing its power, the secret of this print will never quite be solved. ...

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KIOSK / 5 NOVEMBER 2019

Remedial Art History for the German Far Right

Lily Scherlis

This past April, in advance of elections for the EU Parliament, an 1866 French Orientalist painting appeared around Berlin. The painting, The Slave Market by Jean-Léon Gérôme, depicts a naked, enslaved woman having her teeth examined by a prospective buyer. ... The painting was used to publicize the anti-immigration agenda of the far-right AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) party. ...

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ISSUE 65

Rectangle after Rectangle

Amy Knight Powell

This is about the dominance of the rectangular format in a certain tradition of picture making, a dominance that still holds today and extends well beyond the medium of painting. The book, the photographic print, the screen, and the museum—which has tended to favor this format—all guarantee that we encounter most pictures in rectangular frames. ...

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ISSUE 65

Ingestion / The White Rabbit and His Colorful Tricks

Catherine Keyser

In 2015, General Mills reformulated Trix with “natural” colors. Customers complained that the bright hues of their childhood cereal were now dull yellows and purples. Two years later, the company released Classic Trix to stand on store shelves alongside so-called No, No, No Trix, the natural version. This nickname, promising “no tricks,” sounds abstemious; the virtuous customer says no to technicolor temptation. ...

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KIOSK / 29 OCTOBER 2019

Archaeology and Jihad

Aaron Tugendhaft

When Samuel Beckett visited the Tell Halaf Museum in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district on 21 December 1936, he had the place to himself. Though King Faisal of Iraq had visited the makeshift museum when it opened six years earlier and the Illustrated London News had run a cover story on the quirky institution, the museum was hardly a popular tourist destination. You had to be in the know. ...

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KIOSK / 21 OCTOBER 2019

Breaking Bread

Nicolaia Rips

Traditional German food was scarce, though German bread was plentiful. Language reflects this—the direct translation of Abendbrot (dinner) is “evening bread” and Brotzeit (snack) is “bread time.” A play on Brotzeit, Zeit für Brot is the name of a popular bakery chain. The bread register maintained by the German Institute for Bread ... declares that there are now more than three thousand officially recognized types of bread in the country. ...

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ISSUE 65

The Power of Naming

Cecilia Sjöholm

In Genesis, Adam is given the task of naming the animals. God sends them to parade before him, and he gives them names. This ur-scene of naming is at the heart of the European grand debates over the origins of knowledge. Adam’s task cannot just have been performed randomly. The names would have had to mean something, and would have had to come from somewhere. ...

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ISSUE 64

Language at the End of the World

Jacob Mikanowski

Of all the literatures in the world, the smallest and most enigmatic belongs without question to the people of Easter Island. It is written in a script—rongorongo—that no one can decipher. Experts cannot even agree whether it is an alphabet, a syllabary, a mnemonic, or a rebus. Its entire corpus consists of two dozen texts. The longest, consisting of a few thousand signs, winds its way around a magnificent ceremonial staff. …

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KIOSK / 28 AUGUST 2019

Dynamicland and the Whimsical Digital Object

Olivia Kan-Sperling

Six hours’ drive north of Disneyland, a building in downtown Oakland houses a kind of computer scientist’s version of the storied children’s amusement park. Its digital magic is of a less spectacular flavor, though; while Hollywood dreams of technofuturia in the style of vapory holograms, and Elon Musk promises to launch us skyward in machines of the old-school brushed-steel-and-silver variety, “Dynamicland” is composed of more modest materials. It’s neither VR, nor AR—just R. ...

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