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Books

Vanishing Center: Virulent Zones x A Time of Lost Gods

When I began reading Lyle Fearnley’s Virulent Zones: Animal Disease and Global Health at China’s Pandemic Epicenter (2020), I was struck by an isomorphism of our projects in spite of their apparent distance of themes—pandemic prevention and spirit mediumship, which are often rendered, respectively, global and local in scale. But as Fearnley put it in his book: “the pandemic epicenter …

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Lectures

Stepping into the hospital side room: a place for death in England

I hovered in the doorway as the palliative care nurse who I was shadowing that day indicated I should. She entered the darkened side room to check on a male patient. I could barely make out his shape on the bed; it looked like he was slightly propped up and in a pale green hospital gown. Besides him in the …

Categories
Lectures

The metropolis and mental life in the age of COVID-19: Delaying descent into the blasé attitude

This article is part of the following series:

The COVID city: Class, physical isolation, and virtual connection

At the time of writing this we are all experiencing what the classical sociologist Émile Durkheim would call a “social fact” — something that cuts across all individuals and exerts social control on each of us. Today this solidarity-in-separation encompasses almost the whole world (Davies 2019). We are also enduring a …

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Features

Dust

The building pictured below sat near Mack Avenue on Detroit’s far east side and, according to the municipal government, was an environmental hazard. Following years of complaints from area residents that the structure smelled of rotting garbage and attracted criminal activity, the building is slated for demolition. In mid-2017, a fifty-five-ton excavator piloted by a human operator knocked down the …

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Features

The Boundary That Holds Its Own Narrative

This article is part of the following series:

We built a sculpture to physically and visually discuss boundary and immunity. As a conscious act of investigation for two days we instigated a physical boundary. The sculpture was built on a stairway, it is a complex place, it is our main route through the building.

We covered the stair in a fine white talcum powder. At first it was …

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Features

The Great Wall as Space-craft

This article is part of the following series:

The Great Wall of China is not the barrier to barbarians it is sometimes thought to be. These days, it does not seem to bound anything [1], in and of itself. Did it ever? The wall is not an iron curtain of the impenetrable sort, heavily policed (though its flows have been managed, at times and in places). …

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