- From the Editors: Outside the Confines
The disruption of the patterns of migratory birds is an inauspicious sign of our changing climate. Birders, nevertheless, delight in spotting a vagrant. The condition of vagrancy in humans, on the other hand, is less celebrated. In contrast to the hummingbird, people sleeping rough are more commonly regarded as nuisances whose life-sustaining activities conflict with an ever-increasing number of ordinances intended to drive them from sight.
- Surviving Tiananmen, Envisioning Democracy:
The desire for freedom and dignity is intrinsic. Sooner or later, people will do something to demand these freedoms. The problem right now is that China’s government has created fear among the general public to deter them from taking collective action. The fear factor still works today. Whenever its effect is reduced, the government does something to bring it back—by making more arrests, for example. As far as I can understand, many members of the elite in China, although they act as apologists for the political status quo, know that democracy is good for China.
in conversation with Yang Jianli
- On Pageviews and the Work That Culture Does
New cultural mechanics simultaneously promise to reward our participation and threaten us if we opt out. In the end, consumers are enjoined to do more work to create less substantial works that profit concentrations of capital in which they have no stake.
by Michael Pepi, William O'Hara, and Dan Monaco
- On Silence, the Sacred, and a Lot of Bones Rattling:
If culture is one thing, it’s not entertainment. It’s glue. It’s the thing that puts all the broken pieces together and makes a society. If you just decide to no longer have the connecting tissue, all you’ve got is a lot of bones rattling—and a lot of aggression and a lot of violence.
in conversation with Peter Sellars
- Poetry by Colin Dodds and Nels Hanson
- On Vulnerability to Climate Change:
This is not just an infrastructural discussion. It’s not just about your physical environment. Fundamentally, it’s about people. It’s about how sensitive people’s livelihoods are to changes in the climate, and also how able people are to move ahead of events. That’s where the discussion about climate vulnerability is primarily a discussion about the social aspects of development. It’s about similar kinds of things that make people vulnerable to economic shocks, or conflicts, or other kinds of disturbances.
in conversation with Daniel Schensul
- Digital Records of Incarceration: An Annotated Bibliography
by Jim McGrath
The collection of detailed metadata on prisoners by the US prison system represents a grand-scale archival effort. Meticulously gathered and filed by state and national government agencies, as well as by judges, wardens, and guards, these records, like their subjects, remain largely concealed from public view. It is on the basis of records that fail to provide a full and detailed picture of incarceration that critical judgments are formed by our culture.
- “Long Island Richard”: A Straddler Film