LEGACY - Issue 68. May - June 2021
We’re in an age of great changes -some have happened already and we’re feeling the shift, and we’re on the cusp of some others. What will be the legacy to the future, what have we brought with us from the past and what must we leave behind now?
9th May 2021
Photographer Nicky Bird's engagement with memory, community, place and legacy is put in artistic and intellectual context by Eszter Biró in a review of Bird's new show at Streetlevel Gallery (until 6th June).
FRONTIER - Issue 67. February - April 2021
Frontier is the edgiest of terms -apt for our days. It is indeed a terminus, but also a new beginning again. A line, a mark - ‘the marches’ - a liminal place. Like ‘border’ it calls a halt and keeps out - its consistency, the how and the why of its exclusionary practice probably account for its proliferation of names. But isn’t frontier also specifically a pushing forward of the limits, an advance to embrace the other… isn’t it?
24th April 2021
What would the introduction of control on the border between Scotland and England mean for those two jurisdictions? What would a politically independent Scotland's controlled borders mean for its relations with the rest of Europe? Giovanna Guidicini looks at the history of the frontier which set Scotland apart and marked out its national territorial integrity. How and why did it come about, and what were the Scots' and outsiders' reaction to it.
17th April 2021
The fever is high, but public engagement seems, as yet to lag... Scottish politics is running a factionalist temperature from the 'Manky Jaiket' so-called greens to the Alba blues. New parties have appeared suddenly in the fray and schisms, nastiness, invective, small hatreds and big ugly prejudices seem the order of the day. Owen Dudley Edwards attempts a dispassionate round-up, and counsels an end to self-harm.
9th April 2021
Lorna Miller’s incisive work for The Drouth here brilliantly demonstrates how the lightning-fast flare of phantasmagorical developments in Scottish politics at the minute can only be truly grasped and conceived of in its bizarre momentum through a visual medium.
26th March 2021
THIS IS NOT AN ALLEGORY -A charismatic male political leader who gathers his support around his powerful personality, is revealed as a dodgy bully, who uses his power to prey sexually on women, is taken to court -nay takes the whole nation to court himself -twice!- is publicly disgraced, but sets himself up in a show at the Edinburgh Fringe, and in Russian media, sets up his own new political party, full of sycophantic followers ... and ... WE MAKE NO EXCUSES FOR REPUBLISHING THIS REVIEW FROM SEVERAL YEARS AGO (from New Left Project 2012) - will we never learn ? It's enough to make us recommend never voting for a man to lead your country ...
12th March 2021
Expansive and exclusive is the paradoxical mentality of the frontier from Trump's Wall to Offa's Dyke. Can anybody live on a non-existent border, and how have they done it? Owen Dudley Edwards looks deep into a line of no breadth
CIVIC - Issue 66. December - February 20/21
How fares the civic spirit in the bellicose brayings of Brexit? Beyond that ‘local’ difficulty however, we might wonder how meaningful remains the notion of the civic realm in the age of globalisation and the mega-city? Has it been rendered obsolete by new demographic and technological realities? It seems somewhat ironic that action against the global pandemic has arguably been mobilized more effectively at a civic level, but will that have enduring political and moral effects?
26th January 2021
What happens when a cataclysm brings about the loss of a city's populations and of its historic buildings and neighbourhoods? Can they be rebuilt in reality, or refound in fragments of memory, in art, in history, in literature in documentation? There is something strangely unsettling about reproductions of historical realities, and the relationship of disappeared history to current day realities. Pippa Goldschmidt examines the case with the help of Freud's notion of the Uncanny.
14th January 2021
January 6th, Epiphany in the Christian calendar, is most commonly marked here by the taking down of the pagan midwinter decorations. This year, on the day that gifts were brought from the east for the baby Jesus, some strange kings and magicians visited the home of the American Republic. Owen Dudley Edwards tells us all we need to know, and more, about that 2020 election, and then, the Epiphany at the Capitol.
8th January 2021
Walls are being built, straits policed, high seas patrolled: in the frantic seeking after sovereignty the stranger is become a foreigner and foreigners are recast as aliens ... Storm the ramparts of the Capitol then, and ask not what we have done to them, but what they could possibly do for us? The Huddled MacMasses attempts to make an intervention...
2nd January 2021
An epistolary transliteration of a performative dialogue on the possibility of building a non-fiction cinema for the memory of women (as political subjects) – and the role of male academics in that process. Originally presented at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Catalunya by Núria Araüna Baro and David Archibald.
16th December 2020
The Brereton Report, commonly named so after the leader of investigations, NSW Supreme Court Judge Paul Brereton, was published in November 2020, seventy-five years after the Nuremberg Trials began. The Report found evidence of war crimes committed by the Australian Defence Force troops in Afghanistan between 2009-13. Shannon Maree Torrens discusses the situation in Australia. In an age where 'sovereignty' is much discussed (and much superficially in Brexit) this piece shows us something of where the life and death issues of the question really lie.
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.
9th November 2020
Can the kingdom still be united if there’s no unionism in the union? And was ‘Unionism’ simply the most charming and esoteric of checks and balances on the ‘union’? It may all seem abstruse now, but Scott Hames sees us hurtling through an absurdly persistent pragmaticism towards a constitutional car crash.
27th October 2020
Historically the marginal realm of the feminine, the home for women artists was not always the mere prison of patriarchy. Tor Scott introduces the surrealist women who rendered the domestic sphere as visionary spaces for alchemy and transformation.
6th October 2020
John Latham's 'Niddrie Woman' : former shale bings, a massive piece of land art, a nature reserve, a monument to the achievements and sufferings of the people and the territory of the industrial revolution. A documentation by Murdo Macdonald.
20th September 2020
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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.
9th May 2020
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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.
20th February 2020
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
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
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
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?
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.
27th November 2019
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
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
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’ .