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Teju Cole, "Luigi Ghirri’s Brilliant Photographic Puzzles," The New York Times
"Ghirri’s pictures are calm and mysterious — just a bit out of reach, like his books. His constellation of favored themes is distinct: maps, landscapes, windows, still lifes, interiors, fog, the seaside, the objects in artists’ studios, people obscured in some way and many images that test the divide between the world and an image of the world (murals, miniatures, postcards), often bearing an ironic gleam. You feel that in each picture there’s more than meets the eye, but the feeling remains unresolved."
TejuCole  Photography  LuigiGhirri  ColorPhotography  LandscapePhotography 
january 2019 by briansholis
Teju Cole, "Dispatches From a Ruined Paradise," The New York Times
Adams, who turned 81 this year, has for decades taken the landscape of the American West as his main subject. His photographs depict highways, forests, mountain ranges, streets and homes in black and white; well, not really “in black and white” but rather in an alluring range of grays, from the brightest to the deepest. His stylistic voice is understated, just above audible.
TejuCole  RobertAdams  photography  landscape  AmericanWest  2018Faves 
january 2019 by briansholis
Teju Cole en Instagram: “⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Brushing my teeth last night, on the cusp of the hour-stutter, I asked myself how evil came into the world. Pandora, the one who…”
"Brushing my teeth last night, on the cusp of the hour-stutter, I asked myself how evil came into the world. Pandora, the one who bears all gifts, is first named in Hesiod’s “Works and Days.” A century or so later, in the 6th century BCE, unknown Hebrew authors write “Genesis,” probably while in Babylonian exile, likely influenced by the Greek story.
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Pandora opens the jar. Eve eats the fruit. The misogyny in the narratives is one parallel; another is that evil enters the world through too much knowledge. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, no less than Pandora’s Jar, is a device. The lid that is sprung, the knowledge that comes streaming out like arterial blood, the one-way torrent of pain that cannot be reversed or undone. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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The one who bears all gifts... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Too much knowledge...
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And no going back..."
tejucole  pandora  evil  knowledge  2018  ancientgreece  greekmyths  myths  religion  bible  babylonia  misogyny 
november 2018 by robertogreco
not a contrarian | sara hendren
"From this series of questions to Zadie Smith [https://losarciniegas.blogspot.com/2018/01/zadie-smith-i-have-very-messy-and.html ] comes Teju Cole’s question:

Cole: You must be under some pressure to be agreeable, to agree with the right opinions. But I notice that you think through things, rather than just agreeing to them. How do you defend that space of independent thought?

Smith: I don’t think of myself as a contrarian. I’m useless at confrontation. But I also can’t stand dogma, lazy ideas, catchphrases, group-think, illogic, pathos disguised as logos, shoutiness, ad hominem attacks, bombast, liberal piety, conservative pomposity, ideologues, essentialists, technocrats, preachers, fanatics, cheerleaders or bullies. Like everybody, I am often guilty of some version of all of the above, but I do think the job of writing is to at least try and minimise that sort of thing as much as you can."
zadiesmith  tejucole  sarahendren  2018  confrontation  opinions  pressure  contrarians  contrarianism  thinking  dogma  laziness  catchphrases  groupthink  logic  pathos  logos  adhominenattacks  pomposity  ideology  essntialism  technocrats  preachers  preaching  fanaticism  cheerleading  bullying  writing  howwewrote  howwwethink 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Teju Cole en Instagram: “⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s not hard to see why someone might be a Republican. We arrive at our affiliations through complex skeins of family…”
"It’s not hard to see why someone might be a Republican. We arrive at our affiliations through complex skeins of family connections, religious obligations, and social networks.
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But it’s hard to see how any morally serious person would remain a Republican. I can’t respect it. I can’t praise it in any form. No way. I can’t respect it, and dismiss out of hand any request to be polite about it or observe decorum around it. If right now, if today, in this year in this country, you’re still a Republican, you’re...wrong. You’re morally unserious. You’re not just enabling it. You’re it.
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Sure, you might still be “a good person” in some private way, but, frankly, who gives a shit about that right now? The house is on fire. You’re a Republican. In 2018. That’s reckless endangerment. This is not “difference of opinion.” The house is on fire. Politically, you’re wrong as wrong can be, wrong in a way that is consequential for all your fellow citizens and catastrophic for many of them.
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One more thing, the opposite of Republican is not Democrat. But that’s a different conversation.
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One more thing, “controversial” is a weasel word. A thing’s either true or it isn’t. It’s true or it’s not true or its truth value is hard to determine; but “controversial” is an emotive but fundamentally meaningless non-contribution to the conversation."
tejucole  2018  politics  controversy  republicans  democrats  us  truth 
august 2018 by robertogreco
There’s Less to Portraits Than Meets the Eye, and More - The New York Times
"A photographic portrait records a human encounter. The photographer’s intent and the sitter’s agreement, and vice versa, are made visible. The portrait also contains the tacit hope that a third party, the viewer, will be able to register the traces of that previous encounter. Better if it’s printed out and held in the hand, vibrant to the touch."
photography  TejuCole  NYT  portraiture 
august 2018 by briansholis
Teju Cole en Instagram: “⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Among the most revealing material, in aggregate, from the past two years, is what left and liberal white Americans find funny…”
"Among the most revealing material, in aggregate, from the past two years, is what left and liberal white Americans find funny (not only them, but primarily them): what they find funny, what they find fascinating, what they think counts as a clever riposte to horror. They amplify the horror with their jokes, or with a performance of disgust at it all, but a disgust that is possible only because it is episodic, impersonal and, finally, generative of more mirth. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Everyone hopes for a viral tweet. The skill of letting foolishness pass without comment is in short supply. And how much of the commentary is clever, how much of it is mere clever chatter.
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"I have of late, (but wherefore I know not) lost all my mirth..."
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We need a poetics of humorlessness. We need to extricate the refusal to laugh from automatic moral condemnation (“Don’t be so humorless!”) and re-recognize it as a valid and apt strategy of refusal. To opt out of the general laughter is not to be anti-social. Sometimes it's just not funny. Or what’s funny about it is darker, costlier, less obvious, more secret.
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In another section of the prison camp, where the prisoners are treated more harshly, there are fewer jokes. There is less likelihood, in this part of the prison—where from time to time prisoners are taken away and killed— of confusing “coping through humor” with “garnering momentary prestige through a public performance of wit.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

In this harsher section of the prison camp, the prisoners nevertheless are forced to hear at all hours, through the prison walls, the incessant laughter from the other side."
tejucole  2018  internet  online  twitter  attention  behavior  liberalism  horror  performance  humor  humorlessness  morality  jokes  laughter  condemnation 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Take a Photo Here - The New York Times
A site ought in theory to make possible a large number of vantage points. In reality, only a few points of view account for the majority of photographs made. The visitor to a place like the Roman Forum does not only take a photograph of the Forum; he also takes a photograph for the Forum. His photograph partly serves the narrative chosen by the Forum’s custodians. The visitor is inadvertently mesmerized not only by the site but also by the municipal or museological organization of the experience of the site.

...
Why have so many people looked straight down a stairwell at the New Museum and taken a photograph there? Each person who does it feels a frisson of originality but unknowingly reveals something that was latent in the stairwell all along.

The resultant images are rarely individually “great.” What they offer, as a sequence or as a grid, is a fleeting form of poetry: the poignant commonality of our eyes. The world individually mesmerizes us toward reiteration. Our coincident gazes overlay the same sites over and over and over again, as though we were caught up in a slow-motion religious fervor. Through the affordances of terrain, we are alleviated of the burden of originality without always being aware that we are being unoriginal. Take a photo here, the site whispers. It’s yours, but not yours alone.
photography  tejucole  instagram 
july 2018 by madamim
Teju Cole en Instagram: “⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Starbucks thing hit me harder than I expected. I've been brooding for days. On the face of it, it's inconsequential. It is…”
"The Starbucks thing hit me harder than I expected. I've been brooding for days. On the face of it, it's inconsequential. It is certainly inconsequential in direct comparison to the "newsworthy" horrors we are used to. No one was shot. Nobody died.
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It happened on an ordinary day in an ordinary place. But that's also the reason it stings: precisely because of that ordinariness. Show of hands: who's ever been to a Starbucks? It happened in Starbucks, with their overpriced faux-Italian drinks, to people like us, doing the things we do, waiting for a friend to arrive before ordering.
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Keen-eared Professor Iyer notes that playing overhead during the arrest was Dizzy Gillespie's Salt Peanuts. A compact contemporary history of public space could be written with the title "Black Music, Yes! Black People, No!"
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We are not safe even in the most banal place. We are not equal even in the most common circumstances. We are always five minutes away from having our lives upended. Racism is not about actively doing stuff to you all the time—it's also about passively keeping you on tenterhooks. We are always one sour white away from having the cops arrive. And the cops! The cops are like a machine that can’t stop once set in motion, what Fela called "zombie." When the cops arrive, the human aspect of the encounter is over.
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This is why I always say you can't be a black flaneur. Flanerie is for whites. For blacks in white terrain, all spaces are charged. Cafes, restaurants, museums, shops. Your own front door. This is why we are compelled, instead, to practice psychogeography. We wander alert, and pay a heavy psychic toll for that vigilance. Can't relax, black."
tejucole  2018  starbucks  flaneur  psychogeography  race  racism  blackness  us 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Teju Cole (@_tejucole) • Fotos y vídeos de Instagram
"—[shine in the upper register]
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Ancient hospitality arises out of a sense of human duty, not human rights. You are to be hospitable to strangers (in your home) and at the same time visit war, brutality, and genocide on them (in theirs).
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—[unsuppressed artifact of gallery lights]
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The conjunction is “and.” The two are a continuity. They are not in contradiction
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—[embodiment/ subjectivity]"
2018  tejucole  hospitality 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Teju Cole (@_tejucole) • Fotos y vídeos de Instagram
"Do the photos in this series have a name?
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Well since I began in January I’ve been saving them in a folder called “Hospitality.” So I suppose that’s it.
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What is hospitality?
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Many things. But today I’m thinking of a definition in the negative: torture is a radical form of inhospitality.
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Why so?
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Because of the way it reads the conjunction of power and the body. The face of the other is the face of God, the care of the body of the other is sacred. At the extreme other end of the scale to that is torture, which has everything to do with humiliation and almost nothing to do with collecting information. But I’ve been to the sea today, and I’m also thinking of the sea, the blueness of the afternoon sea. Robert Rauschenberg and the blueness of the sea."
tejucole  hospitality  inhospitality  2008 
march 2018 by robertogreco
On the Blackness of the Panther – Member Feature Stories – Medium
"At least once a day, I think: “another world is possible.” There’s life yet in our dreams. The pan-African political project is still alive. The memory of whatever was good in the Bandung Conference or the Organization of African Unity still makes the heart race. Flashes of common cause among the Darker Nations can be illuminating and sustaining. But “Africa” as trope and trap, backdrop and background, interests me ever less.

I am more fascinated by Nairobi than by Africa, just as I am more intrigued by Milan than by Europe. The general is where solidarity begins, but the specific is where our lives come into proper view. I don’t want to hear “Africa” unless it’s a context in which someone would also say “Asia” or “Europe.” Ever notice how real Paris is? That’s how real I need Lagos to be. Folks can talk about Paris all day without once generalizing about Europe. I want to talk about Lagos, I don’t want to talk about Africa. I want to hear someone speaking Yoruba, Ewe, Tiv, or Lingala. “African” is not a language. I want to know if a plane is going to the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport. You can’t go to “Africa,” fam. Africa is almost twelve million square miles. I want to be particular about being particular about what we are talking about when we talk about Africa.

* * *

I grew up with black presidents, black generals, black kings, black heroes, both invented and real, black thieves too, black fools. It was Nigeria, biggest black nation on earth. I shared a city with Fela Kuti for seventeen years. Everyone was black! I’ve seen so many black people my retina’s black.

But, against the high gloss white of anti-black America, blackness visible is a relief and a riot. That is something you learn when you learn black. Marvel? Disney? Please. I won’t belabor the obvious. But black visibility, black enthusiasm (in a time of death), black spectatorship, and black skepticism: where we meet is where we meet.

Going on twenty six years now. I learned African and am mostly over it. But what is that obdurate and versatile substance formed by tremendous pressure? What is “vibranium”? Too simple to think of it as a metal, and tie it to resource curses. Could it be something less palpable, could it be a stand-in for blackness itself, blackness as an embodied riposte to anti-blackness, a quintessence of mystery, resilience, self-containedness, and irreducibility?

Escape! I would rather be in the wild. I would rather be in a civilization of my own making, bizarre, contrary, as vain as the whites, exterior to their logic. I’m always scoping the exits. Drapetomania, they called it, in Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race (1851), the irrepressible desire in certain slaves to run away.

* * *

Ten years pass and I still dream about that cat. The eyes slide open, an image enters. Where are you now, Mirabai? Euthanized years ago by the animal shelter? Or successfully adopted and now gracefully aging in some home in Brooklyn? With people, young or old, merciful and just? Dream cat, leaping up to meet me."
tejucole  2018  blackpanther  africa  culture  race  film  blackness  identity  cats  animals  knowledge  racism  zoos  capitalism  monarchism  rainermariarilke  switzerland  colonialism  tonimorrison  lagos  nigeria  immigration  edwardsnow  eusébiodasilvaferreira 
march 2018 by robertogreco
Teju Cole (@_tejucole) • Fotos y vídeos de Instagram
"ξενία (Xenia)
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"guest-friendship"
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The offer of shelter. The ritual washing of the guest. The offer of a meal. The care of the guest without demanding the name of the guest."
hospitality  tejucole  guests  2018  howweteach  howwelearn  deschooling  unschooling  service  learning  being  presence 
march 2018 by robertogreco

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