Diane Arbus

‘Boy stepping off the curb, N.Y.C, 1957’ by Diane Arbus/Hayward Gallery

Inspiration came from an unlikely source. It wasn’t another photographer, although she knew and admired many, but sweary Geoffrey Chaucer – the 14th Century Middle English writer. She was particularly taken with The Canterbury Tales, his satirical collection of stories in which a motley bunch of pilgrims travel from London to Canterbury amusing themselves by competing for the title of best storyteller…Arbus not only admired the range and depth of characters…It was a humanity she strove to replicate when photographing the discriminated against, the sort of people from whom most turn away but she looked upon with empathy.

Review of a new exhibition by Will Gompertz



And yet, for the Air Force drone pilots, it is precisely this safe remove from combat that causes distress. Rapidly and repeatedly switching back and forth from war zone to home life, the drone pilot experiences a breakdown in the semantic register of both. Suburbia, a signifier of domesticity, becomes a battlefield. The inoculation proves poisonous…The development of this context, of the city and its suburbs, of securitization as well as drone warfare, constitutes a set of fundamentally related autoimmune processes within the body politic.

PIN-UP 24 published ‘Suburbicide‘ by Nicholas Korody with artwork by Khalid al Gharaballi.

Recently in Places re: Community Plumbing

W. C. Heller & Company, The Shelving with Brains, 1922

Back in July, Shannon Mattern traced the genealogy of the American hardware store to the earlier, general store and explains How the hardware store orders things, neighborhoods, and material worlds.

This is a vision of the hardware store as episteme. It holds (and organizes) the tools, values, and knowledges that bind a community and define a worldview. There’s a material and social sensibility embodied in the store, its stuff, and its service, and reflected in the diverse clientele. That might sound a bit lofty for a commercial establishment that sells sharp objects and toxic chemicals…Here, amidst the nuts and bolts, we cultivate the potential to order things, places, communities, politics, and values — we might even say, to build and repair worlds.