All Features

Reflections on the Point of the Booker Prize

by Joe Kennedy

At the heart of the Booker Prize, there lies a contradiction. The Prize is, with very few exceptions, awarded, and intended to be awarded, to a novel which undersigns the premises of a humanism by which we are all unique individuals possessed not only of depth but of multiple dimensionalities. Its recipients should give an image of the individual, bearing the full weight of its Shakespearean contrariness, in time. Yet the victors, along with most shortlisted works, are also commended on the grounds of the recognisability of the personal worlds they portray: it is not just that these fictions communicate unique experience, they make of a unique experience a generalisation about the human condition whose truth is commonly attestable. [read full essay]

Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age

by Olivia Arigho Stiles

A new exhibition at the Barbican explores the relationship between photography and architecture in the epoch of modernity. It is testament to the enduring power of the city in the artistic imagination, exposing the aching desolation of the urban landscape, inhuman and austere – but also, conversely, its site as a crucible of resistance. [read full essay]

Concept and Form: An Interview With Sophie Collins

by Charles Whalley

Sophie Collins, along with Rachael Allen, is co-founder and editor of tender, ‘an online quarterly promoting work by female-identified writers and artists,’ which, since its appearance last year, has published work by Emily Berry, Carina Finn, Lavinia Greenlaw and Emily Toder, among others. She is currently carrying out research on poetry and translation at Queen’s University Belfast, and her poems, translations and other writings have been published in Poetry, Poetry Review, Poetry London, The White Review and elsewhere. [read full interview]

Learning to Love the Bomb: On Aviation, Futurism and Fascism

by Julian Cosma

The potential for humans to take to the skies, before it became a stable and accepted means of travel, had connotations of blasphemy. There are reasons the sky is above: it is a reminder to humans that they should keep their humility tethered close by, if nothing else than to retain their place as man in God’s Kingdom. Lest we forget that God, in Genesis, after all, gave Man dominion over the earth and all its multitudes (not the heavens) and in any case, Daedalus’ loss… a punishment that could be wished upon no-one. [read full essay]

Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision

by Nadia Connor

'Virginia Woolf: Life, Art, Vision' at the National Portrait Gallery is a assemblage of portraits, each one a moment captured, defined; but together, they form a diverse arena of images, collectively communicating the partiality of any single attempt to represent their subject. The exhibition as a whole forms a portrait, but an anti-authoritative one, built out of fragments and glimpses which represent their subject as multiple, fractured, mutable. [read full essay]

You Are The #IndyRef

by David Renton

Scotland is not going to be an independent nation; neither, in its economics or its society is it very different from the rest of Britain, and the depressing thought is that those of us who live far from Scotland are going to face the same problems – in 2015, and repeatedly, until the majority of people who lack a financial reason to identify with the status quo have enough confidence in their own shared ability to replace it that the begin to see themselves as a class, that is, an alternative set of rulers in waiting. [read full essay]

Ponzi Scheme Capitalism: An Interview with David Harvey

by Steffen Böhm

David Harvey’s work on political economy, urbanism and the legacy and ongoing theoretical interpretation of Karl Marx has been at the forefront of critical debate across the humanities and social sciences since the 1970s. In Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, recently published by Profile Books, the pre-eminent economist and thinker provides an incisive guide to the world around us, and a manifesto for change. In this interview, Harvey discusses the significance and centrality of the theory of political economy to understanding the post-2008 landscape; he also considers the transformation of the meaning of labour, digital technologies, rentier capitalism and emergent spaces of hope and promise. [read full interview]

The Essay and the Internet

by Orit Gat

As our relationship with the internet and the enormous amounts of information we read on it changes, so do our publishing strategies. There is a lot at stake in conversations about economies of attention online. The future of the online essay — maybe the future of the essay — depends on the publishing platforms we come up with. It would be too easy, too optimistic, too complacent to say that the internet liberates us from the mundane considerations of print, especially when thinking about the increasingly corporate structure of the web. [read full essay]

One’s Twenties Aren’t Easy: An Interview with Rosa Rankin-Gee

by Michael Duffy

In her exciting debut novel, The Last Kings of Sark, Rosa Rankin-Gee successfully evokes the image of life on a small island as a constant negotiation with the past. The narrator, Jude, wants her summer narrative to begin with leaves, light and sun-kissed beaches; instead, it opens in the cockpit of a private plane hired by her father, merchant banker Eddy Defoe, to supply his family with frozen meat and expensive French mineral water. The novel follows the characters through a tense summer on the titular channel island, and into their later lives of labour and love in France. [read full interview]

The Wonder of Living: An Interview with Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi

by Andrew Marzoni

In August 2013, Wim Wenders and Mary Zournazi published Inventing Peace: A Dialogue on Perception, a collaborative book which documents years of correspondence and conversation about peace — an attempt at what Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, to whom the book is dedicated, refers to as a ‘genuine dialogue.’ Wenders and Zournazi draw on works of philosophy, literature, visual art, and cinema to consider how peace may be achieved through a change in human perception, and how new media technologies – the agents of perception – can be used to heal a world overcome by violence and war, ego and illusion. [read full interview]