Rebecca Comay’s Mourning Sickness

Time and history remain two of the most fundamental problems for philosophy. The coalescence in the last two centuries of philosophy and history into a philosophy of history remains a fundamental force in European thought. Some of the most important work in this field in recent decades has been the attempt to periodise the present, with thinkers like Peter Osborne and Frederic Jameson trying to unpick the complex and contradictory temporal mappings of the contemporary. …


On Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’

This, admittedly, is a very silly title for an article but then Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s newest ‘high concept’ thriller, is a very silly film. This is not how it has been presented of course: in fact Tenet has traded on its complexity (always a questionable criterion of artistic merit: as though bloatedness were somehow concomitant with intelligence). Indeed, the film takes itself very seriously. …


All that money, the money is the motiveThe Weeknd

More is said about the contemporary experience of capitalism in the first five minutes of Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems than in most of the films about the 2008 Wall Street crash combined. After an opening scene at an Ethiopian opal mine during which two workers, thanks to a distraction created by the gruesome wounding of one of their fellow miners, manage to steal a rock embedded with black opals (the commodity which will be at the heart of the narrative), the film dissolves into a hallucinatory credits…


Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich von Kleist, New Directions, 2020
Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann

Let us begin at the end. The horse-dealer Michael Kohlhaas is about to be put to death following a stubborn and unending crusade for justice stemming from the illegal confiscation and mistreatment of two of his horses by Junker Wenzel von Tronka. This crusade, which has seen Kohlhaas become leader of a band of revolutionary peasants, instigated the death of his dear beloved, and forced the intervention of none other than Martin Luther, ends with restitution being granted. The horses are returned to their original condition and brought back from the Junker’s control, and so Kohlhaas submits willingly to his…


250 of my favourite films, put together just because. I have attempted to limit the list to one film per director, except in the cases where that proved impossible. This then is not ‘my top 250 films’ or anything but just 250 brilliant films, in no real order, and (hopefully) a way to highlight as many great directors as possible.

No real commentary, which would consist only of fawning and superlatives, just a few things about the list. There are no doubt some questionable personal choices (I’m still not sure how I chose Summer with Monika and left out Cries…


The works of Hiromi Kawakami exude a strange and delicate light. This lightness, beyond any stylistic simplicity or lexical economy, stems partially from the presence of a kind of liquescent narrative terrain, as though each of her novels were unfolding at a soft point on the horizon where the distinctions between one world and another were beginning to blur. The events of books like Strange Weather in Tokyo and The Nakano Thrift Shop occur in a literary space where the ordinary quotidian events of life in contemporary Japan overlap with a surreal field, an otherworldly force that intermittently surfaces in…


‘we say he is, then suddenly he was, this terrible was’ — The Loser

I first read Thomas Bernhard sometime in 2011 when M., a colleague of mine who I did not know very well at the time but is now one of my very closest friends, gave me a copy of Old Masters, a duplicate he had bought in error. His library had been packed away in storage and he had forgotten what was there until he unpacked the boxes at his new house. Old Masters felt like nothing I had ever read before: the impossible rhythmic circularity, the…


Striving for Gentleness. — When a vigorous nature has not an inclination towards cruelty, and is not always preoccupied with itself, it involuntarily strives after gentleness — this is its distinctive characteristic. — Nietzsche, Daybreak [238]

In many ways the notion of advocating for the radical nature of gentleness, of its potential as a force of refusal, is an easy enough one to comprehend. Faced with the ever-expanding subsumption of all forms of social being and socio-cultural activity into the accumulatory logic of capital — one whose neoliberal mode of governance is predicated on endless precarity, flux, intensification and opportunism…


I find it difficult to articulate what it is which I find so captivating in Agnes Martin’s paintings. One of the difficulties in approaching her work, at least initially, comes from the “vulgar biographical” reading which imposes itself in Martin’s case more forcefully than with many other painters: that is the perceived quietude, order, exactitude of her compositions and the presumed chaos, violence, dislocation associated with the artist’s acute mental illness. This is, if not entirely facile, evidently inadequate for explaining the attention which the works demand. There is, undoubtedly, a placidity to Martin’s pictures, a calmative quality to the…


Mike Nelson’s The Asset Strippers

from Mike Nelson’s ‘The Asset Strippers’, Tate Britain

Earlier this week I spent some time walking through Mike Nelson’s extraordinary installation at Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries: The Asset Strippers. Nelson has filled the adjoining rooms of this space with large pieces of industrial salvage, factory machines for sewing, spraying pain, moving earth, sawing and other purposes unknown. In addition, the artist has installed used wooden doors and timber walls to divide up the space into rooms that accentuate the sensation of entering an industrial workshop.

What struck me most about the exhibition, something which was stronger than almost any other installation I have…

Daniel Fraser

Yorkshire person. Editor @readysteadybook. Writer @thequietus, @3ammagaine, @gorse_journal, @LAReviewofBooks + more. Communism, literature, philosophy.

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