My ‘Links for the weekend’ is our blog’s most popular offering. But given the length of this week’s post as it first appeared, it is clear that the idea is in danger of getting out of hand. So I am considering posting ‘Links…’ in two parts on some weekends – one with film, broadcasting and other media links and one with all the rest – including visual arts, literature, politics and other stuff (and I do recognise that some stuff will fall into both strands). To try this out, I’m now splitting this weekend’s grouping – and adding a few more links – to see how it might work. See the original post for the film and media links and this new one for everything else. Also, for no reason other than that the first two episodes were terrific, the picture is of Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund in The Killing III.
• Out of touch: at Slate Andrew Piper contributes an erudite argument about the importance of touch to the act of reading – his thoughts are well worth your time, even if you do have to read them from a screen:
Skimming is the new normal. With my e-book, I no longer pause over the slight caress of the almost turned page—a rapture of anticipation—I just whisk away.
• Why did Isabel go back?: I have enthused elsewhere on this blog about Michael Gorra’s wonderful book-length ‘portrait’ of Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady, and here is another lengthy response to it, from Jean Strouse for The New York Review of Books.
• Luscious, delicate, muscular Bellows: Sanford Schwartz for The New York Review of Books on an exhibition of the early twentieth century American painter George Bellows that arrives at the Royal Academy in March.
• A flowering in Florence is captured at the Getty: how much do we want to see this! Christopher Knight for the LA Times reports on a show that ‘is among the most important in an American museum this year’ – more details plus lots of online resources at the Getty website here.
• Performance enhancement: reviewing Tate Modern’s new show A Bigger Splash for the Financial Times, Jackie Wullschlager questions how painting can survive in an age of spectacle.
• Seeing through the eye of the storm – Olafur Eliasson explores ways of looking and perceiving: Kisa Lala at The Huffington Post offers a neat round-up of the work of the Danish-Icelandic artist, with some terrific pictures.
• How robots saved an artist’s sanity: the remarkable drawing machines of Patrick Tresset discussed by Torie Bosch for Slate – and there’s video too.
• Furby, the interactive toy ®: a rich British Library blog post, this time by information expert Steve van Duiken, about ‘one of the most interesting patent specifications ever written’.
• If Bruce Springsteen had been British he would have been Leo Sayer: to mark the 37th anniversary of the Boss’ first London gig, the Guardian found Simon Frith’s rather wonderful review for Creem:
Springsteen was the kid on the block whose parents didn’t give a shit, who lived on the street, raggedy and surviving. He is not the laid-back hero that rock stars like to pretend to be, but neither is he the fearful observer most rock stars actually are. He was just there. Winning some, losing some and always in the action.
• Punchdrunk and the politics of spectatorship: this is an exceptional piece of analytical criticism by Agnes Silverstre at CultureBot – she considers the immersive theatre experience Sleep No More and discusses ‘a potentially troubling way that this spectator-performer relationship is being reconfigured for our consumption-obsessed time’.
• How Zara grew into the world’s largest fashion retailer: a terrific feature by Suzy Hansen for The New York Times which is an object lesson of how to make a piece interesting to those (like me) not immediately interested in the subject.
• Opinion – Twitter, twit,… writ?: Dominic Crossley at Infform’s Blog on the law of libel as it applies to social media – who knew that the law could be quite as hard on the writer of a Tweet as a mainstream journalist?
• Open university – Joi Ito plans a radical reinvention for MIT’s Media Lab: a fascinating piece by David Rowan for Wired about the ideas of the Media Lab’s new director.
• Stray penises and politicos: creator of The Wire David Simon looks into the heart of darkness that is press coverage of the General Petraeus farrago.
• Cassidy’s count – a victory for the pollsters and the forecasters: oh yes, you need to read John Cassidy atThe New Yorker on Nate Silver and the others who called the election right.
• When the nerds go marching in: this one is pretty essential too – Alexis Madrigal for The Atlantic is excellent on how the Obama team’s data-mining methods won the day.
• Beware the smart campaign: Zeynep Tufecki for The New York Times has some concerns abou the new centrality of data in elections.
• Save Your Shillings and Smile (extract): for no reason other than I like this a lot, here courtesy of BFI’s YouTube channel is a Tommy Trinder song from an Ealing Studios 1943 short designed to promote investment in War Savings – and who says the Brits can’t match Cole Porter for lyrics: “Flora / I’m your adorer / Oh what a lovely stench / It must be French”.