Tag Archives: art

The technology that is threatening life as we know it

We are currently witnessing a pervasive and accelerating recording, modelling and processing of data pertaining to human beings as well as other living species (and even inorganic things) on a scale that surpasses what most of us can imagine. This has been made possible by bio-technologies which seem as if they are the incipient actualisation…

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Our troubled world

A number of things have struck me since we arrived in Europe to attend a number of conferences, travelling from Ghent in Belgium through Munich in Germany to beautiful Venice in the Veneto of Italy, and they do not augur well for the future of human society or the planet. These range from observations in…

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Why capitalism cannot afford to support the human sciences

Ever wondered why capitalism does not (in fact, cannot afford to) tolerate and support the human sciences – in other words, the humanities and social sciences? There is a reason for this. The short answer is that they cultivate critical thinking and practice, which capitalism, in its current attempt to consolidate its global power, naturally…

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What ‘decolonisation’ means: E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India

With all the talk about “decolonising” university curricula (see http://thoughtleader.co.za/bertolivier/2016/03/23/decolonisation-the-new-ideology/), which has again cropped up among the demands of the protesting students, I thought it might be productive to remind students and academic staff alike of one of the most eloquent – in fact, together with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, exemplary – critical literary…

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“Names Unvoiced but not Unknown”: Cleone Cull’s surrealist art

Judging by the recently opened exhibition of multimedia drawings by Eastern Cape artist Cleone Cull – who spent years teaching fine art, first at the Port Elizabeth Technikon and later at the School of Music, Art and Design of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University – art is thriving in this corner of South Africa. Cleone…

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If Rhodes must fall, art must burn

By Zinhle Manzini Last week it was reported that the Rhodes Must Fall students had removed paintings from the university’s walls and set them alight. While some people remain unclear about the motive of such an act, some were quick to see it as property damage. Rumours have it that the paintings that were set…

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#ZumaPainting – rape in art is getting old, fast

I love art. Although I cannot say I am the greatest connoisseur in the world, I do love standing in an art gallery, wine in hand mumbling something about this being reminiscent of an early Rembrandt. I enjoy going to a photo exhibition and speaking in a roundabout way about the use of light or…

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Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and American gun culture

A recent article on Yahoo addresses an interview with Miley Cyrus in which she expressed the view that she is often labelled a bad role model while, by contrast, the pop star with the squeaky clean image, Taylor Swift, is seen as the good role model. This divergence, she argued, hides double standards, more particularly…

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Time for a truce between Art and the Public

Is a truce needed between art and the public? Art is often criticised for being elitist, a “luxury” enjoyed by collectors, art aficionados and the bourgeoisie. Art is perceived to have some quality, some distinction that prevents it from pleasing mass palates. There is some truth to this view when one thinks of commercial art…

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Florence, Siena and the ‘space of flows’

We are in Florence for a conference, in what is to my mind the most enchanting part of Italy, namely Tuscany. Because I have always been interested in art and architecture, and in principle we don’t take taxis, but walk everywhere we go, we have already seen the most beautiful buildings and urban landscapes, framed…

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