Drouth Weekly

Room

Issue 65: September-October 2020
 
Room. A space, an aspiration, a void, a container. How do we find our place in the world? Do we accommodate, or carve it out - and at what cost? Simple questions with answers that are anything but binary.
 
20th September 2020

THERE/NOT THERE
Batman, and other Unilateral Americans
by Mitch Miller

As conservative interests look set to capture its Supreme Court, cities convulse in class and racial conflict and the skies burn along the west coast, the American horizon has never looked darker. Should we Seek an American hero to save US? According to Tom King’s recent take on the the ever-popular Batman, probably best if we didn’t.

Hollow

Issue 64: July-September 2020
 
As successive crises shake every political, social and economic structure, how can a species mired in mutually hostile echo chambers unite, collaborate and act? As common ground crumbles and our foundations built with the effluent of rancid systems and buried sins implode we ask - is the Hollow that is waiting for us a desolation... or an opportunity?
 
28th August 2020

PLAGUE
Albert Camus’ La Peste (1947)
by Owen Dudley Edwards

Clarity on the plague -on all plagues upon us! Owen Dudley Edwards reads the words of 'La Peste', looks at the history, and judges this as medical fiction, which might help our honesty with medical facts.
21st August 2020

A Monumental Servitude: reflections on the objects of the capitalist city
by Hussein Mitha

Abolish restaurants, statues, bars, mirrors and painting -the lot? The bourgeois desire to be served is inescapable in our urban contexts which consolidated in the 19th century city - the ideological hothouse of capitalist modernity. Hussein Mitha reflects on the glut of materials crowding the urban consumer.
14th August 2020

The Hollow Victory over Losers
by Johnny Rodger

Walter Benjamin's work is said to have much influence over contemporary thought. What has been the quality of that influence? And what could he possibly have to say about current winners and losers? Johnny Rodger looks at Benjamin in the context of some more recent work by Ahmed, Butler, Preciado and others.
7th August 2020

The map is not to blame
by Marlies Vermeulen and Remy Kroese (Dear Hunter)

Dear Hunter are designers, map makers and ‘cartopologists’ who engage with the supposedly empty spaces of borderlands, ex industrial landscapes and wherever their blend of art, architecture and anthropology is most needed. Reaching into both past and future, their distinctive practice shows how the map is never more powerful or effective than when treated as a verb.
24th July 2020

Agatha Christie’s ‘The Hollow’
by Owen Dudley Edwards

Agatha Christie wrote The Hollow at the height of her powers, writes Owen Dudley Edwards. Some rich digging through this novel and across all her writing reveals a Christie continually working through the disappointment, heartbreak and suffering of her personal life via the cute and beguiling morals of the whodunnit.
16th July 2020

Metaphor as Parasite:
on ecologies of love, language and disease
by Daisy Lafarge

Too complex to be just romance, too full of personal feeling to be only philosophy, Daisy Lafarge’s Metaphor is a peerlessly accomplished take on love in literary and biological history, gripped with a social scientist’s certainty and the passion of a votary. As an extract from a longer work-in-progress, Lovebug, due to be published in the near future, it was written prior to the global pandemic, so was not intended as a comment or an analysis on current events and all resonance therewith, happy or otherwise, is entirely fortuitous.

Bond

Issue 63: Mar – June. 2020
 
Bonds are being shaken up, loosened, broken off – but not just in the way the Marxists and the Noble Savages imagine… Bonds between individuals and their fellows, between populations and their territory, between human beings and institutions, between folk and their habits, between sensibilities and bodies, between government and citizens… The virus is not by any means the sole cause or instigator of these great changes, the form of our bonds is changing necessarily, and it’s not clear in whose, or what grip we remain.
 
7th June 2020

On Peoples’ Palaces
by Hailey Maxwell

Having quietly endured almost twenty years of managed decline, writes Hailey Maxwell, it is crucial that we consider the possibility that the Peoples’ Palace on Glasgow Green – a valuable civic asset and monument to Scottish history and working-class life may presently be at real risk of being neutralised, misappropriated and entirely co-opted into a neoliberal agenda. Spaces and places which were once public are being repurposed and reimagined not for the benefit of the citizen but for the property developer, the multi-national corporation and the tourist.
29th May 2020

Recovering Reality: Fact-Checking the Traveller… (tether your scapegoat here…)
by Candace G. Thomas

In part two of her extended essay on the prejudices and stigma still faced by contemporary Travellers, Candace Thomas challenges the callousness both casual - and causal - of media and policy makers in a way very recently, proven to rattle those in power: checking the facts and recovering reality.
15th May 2020

Objective Events: Ian Hamilton Finlay, the Arts Councils, and the Battle as art and work.
by Greg Thomas

Artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) was a man of many contradictions: a writer of words and a conceiver of objects, a collaborator and a fighter. Acutely conscious of the presence of history, he was witty and urbane, yet lived in rural isolation, making a barren Scots hillside into a garden and invoking his revolutionary heroes there. Greg Thomas examines his performative relations with the functionaries of the art world, and assesses the ethical worth and creative achievements Finlay worked into those bureaucratic processes apparently so devoid of artistic potential.
9th May 2020

Traveller crime – or a crime to Travellers?
by Candace G. Thomas

It's a story very familiar to anyone from a Traveller culture; with depressing familiarity sections of the British media dust off every shopsoiled prejudice and trope to demonise a culture already far off on the margins. But as researcher and activist Candace Thomas explains, Travellers are no longer inclined to suffer in silence.
1st May 2020

NO ALTERNATIVE or NEVER THE SAME AGAIN?
by Johnny Rodger

Some apparent tendencies and possibilities in political thinking have already emerged in the pandemic situation –as seen by current commentators in blogs, opinion columns etc – can they be viewed a broader political and historical context yet?
24th April 2020

BOND: JSFMBOE, FOHMBOE and TDPUMBOE
by Owen Dudley Edwards

Perpetrating an aura of unreality may be useful, writes Owen Dudley Edwards, in conceiving of the bonds that have connected and codified these island nations... Jsfmboe, Fohmboe and Tdpumboe...
18th April 2020

A Pandemic, Conflict and Options for Justice for Victims of the Syrian Conflict
by Shannon Maree Torrens

In the teeth of the Coronavirus pandemic, politicians and pundits insist that ‘we’re all in it together’. Yet as deaths climb, it is all too clear that equality in infection does not translate to equality in recovery. In this clear-eyed report by Human Rights researcher and advocate Shannon Torrens, we look to Syria, where this dynamic is set to play out on a truly awful scale.
26th March 2020

Undertow by Frances Scott

If photography is the temporal art of the gaze, what is its condition at the edge, or the limit of space? What bonds, what risk of naming can secure it from being drawn off in the 'undertow'? Frances Scott walks the native territory.

Will

Issue 62: Jan. – Mar. 2020
 
Should we be worried about ‘Will’ and its manipulations? – ‘the settled will of the people’? The notion of will is inextricably connected to the operations of power, control, intention, desire, instigation and determination… In the age of Modi, Trump, Salvini and Brexit with their influence throughout the media, with all their manipulations into our personal and social lives, it must be time to examine what is ‘will’ and how does it work?
 
21st March 2020

The Future of Notre Dame in Paris
by Clarisse Godard Desmarest

The tragic slowness of our reaction to the coronavirus and the putting of systematic safety measures in place has contrasted with the relatively swift and mature reaction of the French (and other nations) to this emergency. But is it a sign of a wider conservative and sclerotic inability to act that has taken hold of our society? How could we measure these things? Clarisse Godard Desmarest sets the ball rolling with a description of the terrible fires at both Notre Dame in Paris and Glasgow School of Art, and the reaction of the authorities in each case.
2nd March 2020

A Contest of Will : Who wrote Shakespeare? Queen Victoria, Aurelia’s Aunt, Mr Welbecker or Malvolio?
by Owen Dudley Edwards

Taking inspiration from James Shapiro’s Contested Will Owen Dudley Edwards takes a wry look at the absurdist snobbery and the sheer daftness of the ‘who really wrote Shakespeare?’ tradition.
20th February 2020

Aesthetics, Technological Politics and the Video Age
by Ravi Sundaram

In an age of surveillance capitalism is it no longer viable to put hope in the creative possibilities Walter Benjamin believed were opened to humanity through technological advances in media? –Or can a new poetics of infrastructure disrupt the sinister operations of corporate power? Ravi Sundaram surveys the will in the media.
13th February 2020

Confessions of a Thug: Pakiveli

The hybridiser needs history as a pantry of costumes, wrote Nietzsche, that hymnographer of the Will. What is artist Hardeep Pandhal cooking up for us at The Tramway?
6th February 2020

Beethoven 250
by Iain Matheson

It’s a quarter millennium this year since the birth of THE Romantic hero, the Thunderer himself, Beethoven, who claimed to have taken ‘fate by the throat’ and would never ‘let it bend me completely to its will’. Iain Matheson picks his way through Beethoven’s will and his work.
31st January 2020

Does the estate have its own will? Dwelling upon the last will.
by Agnieszka Kilian

In a world proliferating in riches and injustice there seems, for the moment anyhow, little relief in the notion of generations. For Nietzsche the contract was a ‘memory of the will’, but there are other modes of control of future distribution of goods. The question here, for Agnieszka Kilian, with the last will, is who or what bequeaths, and what actually is the bequest?

Federation

Issue 61: Nov. 2019 – Jan. 2020
 
On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we launched our new The Drouth online platform with the first ten-week theme ‘Federation’. In a world where a majority in England wanted to leave the European Union, where there are questions concerning federations, unions and subsidiarity in Scotland, Catalonia, Kashmir, where the US President wants to build a wall between his country and Mexico and where the Israelis already built one to contain the Palestinians, our artists, activists and writers, including those on Los Angeles, India, Scotland, ex-Soviet Union/Russia/Lithuania, Colombia and Brazil, Ireland and UK, take a long look at union, federation, separation, distinction and segregation.
 
19th December 2019

Back to the Individual Experience: Rethinking Chinese Art, Overturning EuroCentrism by Carol Yinghua Lu

A pivotal figure in the intellectual and critical examination of Chinese Art, Carol Yinghua Lu writes about her research which reveals the complex sources, influences traditions and narratives which look […]
13th December 2019

Federalism – A Drouth Enquiry by Owen Dudley Edwards

It seems appropriate to publish a long meditation on the nature and history of federalism on the day of a British election where Brexit is the pressing issue and the […]
4th December 2019

Take the High Road: Scott Hames’ Literary Politics of Scottish Devolution by Colin Kidd

Colin Kidd muses on relations (if any) between the near unanimity of the literary world and the actually existing historical world in his review of Scott Hames’s new book The Literary Politics […]
27th November 2019

The Pro-test Lab – by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas

When Marc Augé wrote in The Future that ‘Every protest is a form of research’ he could have been describing the artwork(s) / protest / civil disobedience / celebration / sit-in that was […]
21st November 2019

Humanitarian Crisis, Dignity and Hope on the Río Atrato – Allan Gillies

On the impact of illegal gold mining in Colombia and how communities in Chocó are preserving hope and dignity in the face of a humanitarian crisis.
11th November 2019

‘Dangerously open’ – Los Angeles and the (Grass)roots of segregation – Andrea Gibbons

The principle of self-government of provinces is at the heart of the concept of 'Federation', and ‘The grassroots’ is for many, an inherently leftist, liberal construct. Yet as Andrea Gibbons shows, the white supremacists who shaped the growth of Los Angeles force us to reassess out assumptions over the innate virtues of ‘participation’ .