Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Archive for October 13th, 2008

After The Deluge

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It rains incessantly in London – not a day, not an hour without rain, a deluge that has now lasted for years and changed the way people travel, their clothes, leisure activities, imagination and desires. They dream about infinitely dry deserts.

I went to the opening of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s TH.2058 at Tate Modern tonight. I’ll be honest, the initial attraction was that they always have good booze. And yes, the wine was very good. However, as the early reports of the show did the rounds this morning it soon became clear that the installation was only blooming science fiction! I can’t escape…

You would be hard pressed to identify any link to JG Ballard’s The Drowned World, the novel Gonzalez-Foerster explicitly references. It resembles less a shelter than the garden shed of a giant artist, filled with cast-off reproductions of other artists. In this context the ranks of bunk beds with their lonely texts seem lost and pointless. (For those keeping score at home The Carhullan Army does not feature but rather surprisingly Vurt does. There is also the unlikely juxtapostion of Jean-Luc Goddard, Andrei Tarkovsky and Brian De Palma.)

The Turbine Hall is so inhumanly large that it is hard to make an impression on it. TH.2058 lacks any of the immediate visceral impact that made Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project so popular. Upstairs at the opening of an exhibition by Cildo Meireles it was a different kettle of fish though. It too takes partial inspiration from Wells and Borges but, in his own words, aspires to simplicity, directness, openness and interaction and achieves this in great measure. It succeeds in connecting in a way that TH.2058 cannot approach. Particularly exciting are Through 1983-9 and Fontes 1992/2008.

Written by Martin

13 October 2008 at 23:28

‘The Specialist’s Hat’ by Kelly Link

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This is that rarest of things: a disappointing Kelly Link story. It is quite slippery though, which puts it up on most of the stories in here.

Quality: **
Slipperiness: ***

Both Links’ short story collection – Stranger Things Happen (which includes this story) and Magic For Beginners – are available to download for free from Small Beer Press. Do so at once.

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

13 October 2008 at 11:47

‘The Healer’ by Aimee Bender

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One girl has a hand of fire, one girl has a hand of ice, everything is as literal as you would think. This is another straight fable, like Sterling’s ‘The Little Magic Shop’ it is essentially a modern fairytale. This would fit very nicely in a collection called, oh, I don’t know, The New Wave Fabulists but this is because it plugs into a much older tradition than slipstream, it doesn’t make you feel very strange in the way living in the late Twentieth Century does because it could have been written any time in the last 500 years.

Quality: **
Slipperiness: **

Part of Feeling Very Strange

Written by Martin

13 October 2008 at 11:40