In a charged essay recently published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Daniel Allington, Sarah Brouillette, and David Golumbia offer a sharp corrective to the utopian claims that have so often been used to describe the digital humanities. Noting the overlap with Silicon Valley’s rhetoric about “disruption,” they contend that digital humanities is about “the promotion of project-based learning and lab-based research over reading and writing, the rebranding of insecure campus employment as an empowering “alt-ac” career choice, and the redefinition of technical expertise as a form (indeed, the superior form) of humanist knowledge.” This new field, they conclude, aligns too neatly with a neoliberal view of a higher education that uses the digital to hollow out the core critical, intellectual, social, and even professional practices of the humanities.
Cushioned in an archival box in the Museum of Applied Arts, Belgrade, Serbia, lies a remarkable surrealist photograph: Nikola Vučo’s The Arrested Flight of Surreality (Zadržano bekstvo nadstvarnosti, 1929, fig. 1). Posing as a visual riddle, the photograph shows the figure of a woman with her back to the viewer, as if intent on moving on, or fleeing, and the semitransparent hands arresting her flight or gently pulling her in the opposite direction. The surreal effects of the photograph result from double exposure, considered an innovative technique at the time, wherein superimposition is obtained by apparatic means rather than interventions on the negative. Dual exposure photographs have to be premeditated and carefully staged performances, thus presenting great examples of what Pavle Levi has called “cinema by other means.”
“Well this exhibition feels a little too timely,” my colleague Clare Davies posted to Facebook during a November 21, 2016 visit to Art et liberté: Rupture, guerre et surréalisme en Egypte (1938-1948) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The exhibit—a major contribution to contemporary
In her article on Japan’s interwar visual culture, Gennifer Weisenfeld has documented and critically discussed a wealth of interwar images, many of them photographic, that involve gas masks. Among them stands out Masao Horino’s 1936 Gas Mask Parade, a photograph showing a formation of girls marching in school uniforms, with gas masks on their faces.