shoes, animals, demons and music: mysteries of medieval graffiti

In recent years (the last six years or so), the phenomena of medieval graffiti has become a prominent area of discourse for medievalists. Specifically, what graffiti can reveal to us of the largely mysterious epoch and how it can perhaps debunk some of our modernly prescribed myths ('medievalisms') surrounding the period as a whole. Historian…

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looking on at robert frank’s ‘the americans’

Ed Ruscha writes "[Frank's] achievement could not be imitated in any way, because he had already done it, sewn it up and gone home. What [he] was left with was the vapors of his talent. I had to make my own kind of art. But wow! The Americans!" Robert Frank's 'The Americans', published in 1958, was…

john berger and susan sontag on story-telling

In their 1983 Talk to Me (which can be seen here), artist and art critic John Berger and writer, philosopher, essayist and filmmaker Susan Sontag deliberate each other's, and articulate their own, versions and definitions of the art of story-telling. Sontag claims that at the 'very centre of the whole enterprise of story-telling there is the…

paris, texas (1984) and edward hopper: a visual love affair

Fluorescent lights and rooms with a view. Brutalist and commercial landscapes of American modernity. Edward Hopper and cinematographer Robby Müller both produce a kind of romance in their isolated portraits of individual subjects. Both alike in their treatment of distance, the viewer's position becomes as striking as the composition of the bodies in view. Public…

a guide to mourning the end of summer

Cher recently tweeted 'Was Wondering If We Should HANG ON 2 SUMMER & KEEP DANCING ...OR ....SOB OUR WAY INTO FALL'. Below is an unranked list of novels and films that feel inspired by warmth and melancholy to mediate the transition from summer into autumn.     1. What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) 'I want…

almost a year on: celebrating the release of call me by your name (2017) with its cinematic parallels to the graduate (1967)

Swimming pools, wide shots and extreme close-ups. Emphasis on facial expressions and what is left unsaid. Exactly 50 years apart in creation, here are just a few examples of the artistic parallels between the two critically acclaimed dramas.