Current Issue

No. 64 | The Nose
including
Elaine Ayers
D. Graham Burnett
Brian Dillon
William Germano
Courtney Stephens
Pacho Velez

and more

<<January 2018>>
MTWTFSS
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031

Out of Site

Quotation Marks Gone Wild The proliferation of the use of quotation marks (for everything except citations, that is) is now well documented. "Enjoy". ­Knitting Hyperbolic Spaces How to knit mathematics' most convoluted topologies ­ The Chicago 7 Trial Bios, trial transcripts, and more! "We demand the Politics of Ecstasy! We are the delicate spores of the new fierceness that will change America." ­When Only Screaming at a Human Being Will Do A cheat sheet for how to talk to humans at various companies ­

RSS ­ | Facebook­

­

Cinematic Airs

Christopher Turner

In Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel, Brave New World (1932), the Bureau of Propaganda has invented the “feelies,” which bring tactile effects to popular entertainment. By holding special knobs on their chairs, audience members could enjoy titillating experiences such as “a love scene on a bearskin rug” between “a gigantic negro and a golden-haired young brachycephalic Beta-Plus female,” almost as if they were there. In 1929, Huxley had seen his first talkie, The Jazz Singer (1927), which he described as “the latest and most frightful creation-saving device for the production of standardized amusement.” He was dismissive of the movies, believing cinemas were great factories of political distraction, where crowds soaked in “the tepid bath of nonsense. No mental effort is demanded of them, no participation; they need only sit and keep their eyes open.”

MORE

Orphan Utopia

Reed McConnell

When the angels appeared to John Ballou Newbrough early one morning in 1881, he was nothing if not well prepared. A dentist and Spiritualist, he had spent the last ten years purifying himself for supernatural contact by abstaining from meat, bathing twice a day, and rising before dawn. The visit was expected.


MORE

Ingestion / What’s for Dinner?

Leonard Barkan

Suppose that you were a lonely analphabetic with no religious education—the year could be 2017 or 1617, it doesn’t matter—and at the same time zealous for initiation into the narratives that the New Testament offers by way of instituting the Christian faith. You are fortunate enough to have access, whether by magic carpet or internet, to the world’s treasury of sacred paintings. And from this rich sampling you set yourself to deduce the leading features of a creed that, from humble beginnings in Galilee, managed to spread its good news throughout the world.


MORE

Artist Project / Reconciliation

S. Billie Mandle

Saint Christopher, the enigmatic martyr and patron saint of travelers and children who bore the increasingly heavy Christ child across a deadly river before his own decapitation, bears brown water stains across his acoustical tiles. Light falls in displaced blades through his half-shut opening, across his little ledge, glaring the green cover of a volume lying there, angling down brown half-wall panels into the shadow realm. Saint Elizabeth—who vanishes from the Bible eight days after giving birth, when the men who are to circumcise her son arrive and try to name him Zechariah, whereupon she cries out, “No, he is to be called John!” for this is John the Baptist—is transformed, as in a Greek myth, into the black constellations of perforations in her soundproof paneling, then mantled with a jointed beam of light. And Saint Thomas More, intently principled, severe and merciless, who would not bow to kings, is a single, narrow ray plunging down a wooden wall, illuminating the grain in patterns reminiscent of a seizure patient’s EKG.

MORE

Welcome to Armageddon!

Julian Lucas

The beauty of sand, in other words, belonged to death.
— Kobo Abe, The Woman in the Dunes

When we say, “It’s just a game,” what we mean is that there are no consequences. Everything can be erased and done over, the pieces swept off the board and reset. Repetition invites impunity, and so players murder bystanders in Grand Theft Auto, crash airplanes in Flight Simulator, or make suicidal charges on the beaches of Normandy in Call of Duty. “We who are about to die reboot you,” is the battle cry of the armchair gladiator. There is no reason to act with character in a world of experiment.

MORE

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. The shortest texts—if they can even be called that—consist of barely more than a single sign. One took the form of a tattoo on a man’s back. Another was carved onto a human skull.

MORE

The Desert Is a State of Mind Cast over the Earth

Michael Marder

The desert is an invention, a creation of emptiness in the plentitude of existence, an introduction of barrenness into the fecundity of being. However dry this biome, it is never entirely vacant. Besides containing rocks or sand, the actual desert from Atacama to the Sahara and from the Gobi to Mojave is propitious to certain animals (coyotes and scorpions, chipmunks and rattlesnakes) and plants (barrel cacti and Joshua trees, tumbleweeds and ironwood) that find themselves at home there. It would be the height of arrogance to deem these and countless others of its inhabitants so insignificant that they are sidelined or forgotten, leaving only the vast vacuum, the expanding nothingness, that the ecosystem in question has come to denote. An automatic association of the desert with lifelessness betrays precisely such forgetting and neglect, which are, in my view, the side effects of a devastating project—refashioning the earth in the image of abstract thought. “The” desert is abstraction realized, cast over the world at the expense of biological, ecological, and ontological diversity.


MORE

I Feel It Is My Duty to Speak Out

Sally O'Reilly

Dear WhiteWave Foods,

I am writing to complain about one of your products: namely, Silk Cashewmilk (with a touch of almond). I imagine that you receive many complaints about your use of the word “milk,” and frequent challenges to specify where exactly on the cashew nut the teats are located. This, however, is not a problem for me, since I simply mop up what I take to be a sloppy euphemism with a pair of quotation marks. No, what I wish to complain about is the recent redesign of your half-gallon “milk” cartons.

MORE