Posts by: MT

Emil Cioran: Nihilism as affirmation in the face of inevitable Annihilation

My first brush with the relentlessly dark and bleak vision of Romananian writer-philospher Emil Cioran came by way of the pages of the fascinating ‘A Short History of Decay‘(tr.), his first publication written in French, an outcome of the churning of many a long year. Cioran’s philosophical stance (although he probably would have balked at such an assumption) is to be able to embrace all that has been made taboo by occidental civilizations’ zealous championship of the pursuit of happiness as one of the vital life goals. Pessimism and cynicism and other such realist impulses have curiously been shrouded with a range of negative connotations, for, the pursuit of happiness is such a powerfully embedded psycho-socio-cultural construct. In all of this, Cioran is pretty much the elevated insomniac, a traverser between dawn and dusk, good and evil, despair and ecstasy – his remarkably astute, often dark wit laced writing conjures reality without any foundation and mascara, scars are made visible, and in the best of traditions of negation and nihilism, his body of work is a slap of awakening for all conscientious humans struggling to come to terms with the brutality of everyday existence. Read More…

Handmade visual opulence: Truck Art from Pakistan

The vernacular idiom of the visual language I have always had a persistent and abiding admiration for. Familiar enough with the wondrous personification, floral ornamentation, and the acerbic wit of truck art in India, I find the visual dialect of our South Asian counterparts in Pakistan decidedly fascinating. Truck-owners and drivers are certainly not subtle about making their presence felt on the roads, and the pride of ownership and the joy of what becomes home for long months, is made evident by the eye-grabbing image making, structural ‘additives’ and ornamental accessorization. Read More…

University of the Arts London Postgraduate Scholarships, UK, 2017

University of the Arts London (UAL), UK, offers the following range of courses: Communication and graphic design, 3D design and product design, Accessories, footwear and jewellery, Animation, interactive, film and sound, Architecture and spatial design, Business & management, and science, Curation and culture, Fashion design, Fine art, Illustration, Journalism, PR, media and publishing, Photography, Textiles and materials, Theatre, screen and performance design.

Scholarships are offered in all the departments across the University. For 2017, there are 33 scholarships on offer as part of the UAL Vice-Chancellor’s International Postgraduate Scholarships. There are two types of scholarships, each with different eligibility criteria. One offers a £5,000 tuition fee remission (25), and the other a £25,000 award (8) and accommodation generously provided by International Students House (ISH). Read More…

Fumio Sasaki: Goodbye, Things (On Minimalist Living)

How often have you gotten about clearing the clutter in your life? Not very frequently I am sure and whenever you have, you would have probably dug up, re-discovered, discovered Things that you have accumulated over years and maybe decades, giving in to our seemingly endless patterns of consumption – relentless and perpetual. So, we have populated our rooms, homes and houses with Things – Things that are not necessarily of any utility or functionality any more, just more of storing, hoarding, and bringing in more Things to add to what is already there. Read More…

Sylvain Chomet: Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003)

I come back to Sylvain Chomet and Evgeni Tomov‘s ‘Les Triplettes de Belleville‘ every once a while to participate in and relive a cinematic experience that is quite unlike any other. Dark, idiosyncratic, powered by memorable flights of imagination, while reveling in it’s oddly humourous, grotesque and irreverent universe. It is also a lesson in the possibilities of the animation film, that, when technical brilliance weds inventive storytelling, you leave behind a cultural artifact that attains significance on it’s own strengths. A visual style of part graphic novella meets comic strip, and part European caricature brilliance, the cinematic space becomes uniquely ‘mythicaly’ evocative, and the remarkable characters of Madame Souza, Champion, Bruno and the Triplets themselves, linger in memory long past the final credit roll. Read More…

Hannah Höch: Collage and Photomontage as Commentary

The late German artist Hannah Höch, in more ways than one, mothered collage and photomontage techniques to craft evocative, interrogatory, and irreverent responses to the turbulent circumstances and times that she was negotiating with. Emerging as one of the leading (and much under-rated and neglected) representatives of the Berlin Dada movement in the early half of the last century, her work does find resonances in the idea that “the beginnings of Dada, were not the beginnings of art, but of disgust” (Tzara.) Read More…

Julia Kristeva: In Conversation

French-Bulgarian psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva occupies an enviable seat in the rarefied arena of female philosophers in the expansive traditions of western thought and philosophy; although, I do get the sense that she does not quite wear the singular ‘descriptor’ of ‘philosopher’ with ease, for her ‘oeuvre’ is anything but conventional and she continues to bring together insights from fields as far flung as religious scholarship, avant-garde literature, psychoanalytic theory, and philosophy. In one of my quests to comprehend religious belief better, I picked up Kristeva’s ‘This Incredible Need to Believe’ (2011) a couple of years ago, and was much the wiser for it. Kristeva is possibly part of a philosophic tradition that takes the notion of ‘Subjectivity’ as a starting point. Read More…

PhD Scholarships in Cultural Studies, Giessen University, Germany. 2017-18

Giessen University’s International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), co-funded by the German federal government’s Excellence Initiative, offers a three-year, structured PhD-programme in the study of CULTURE. With its excellent research environment, a doctoral programme which is tailored to the needs of PhD students and the intensive personal support it provides, the Graduate Centre offers doctoral researchers optimum conditions for their PhD-projects and custom-made preparation for the time thereafter, both with regard to academic and non-academic careers.

German and international applicants, with a first or upper second class honours M.A. degree, are eligible to apply. The GCSC’s working languages are German and English, and applicants must be fluent in at least ONE of them; knowledge of both is an advantage and should be acquired during the scholarship period. Read More…

Palingenetic myth and the making of Trump Train and Modi Wave

          The 2014 Modi campaign in India and the 2016 Trump campaign in the USA possess essential elements which are identifiably palingenetic – harbouring and propagating ideas of rebirth and regeneration of a nation dispossessed of it’s ‘former pride and glory’, appealing to the ‘true patriots’ (often steeped in ultra-nationalistic fervour) to rise in devoted support of the heroic male figure, a figure anointed as the only hope of a nation beleaguered on multiple fronts. Read More…

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