We’ve long been set to publish the closest volume yet to a catalogue raisonné for the visionary artist Paul Laffoley (1940–2015) in Spring 2016, and thus, were all the more saddened to hear of Laff0ley’s death last week. If you’re unfamiliar, even the tone and pitch of his NY Times obituary should offer a lens into his work—it’s titled, “Paul Laffoley, Painter Inspired by Time Travel and Aliens, Dies at 80.” Although working in what practically redefines the nature of “liminal space”—engaging in visual and textual inquiries positioned someplace between New Age theology, mathematical abstraction, mystical systems, and all senses of the term extraterrestrial (he claimed to have seen the film The Day the Earth Stood Still 873 times)—Laffoley’s work was also uncannily prescient, as you can note from the NYT obit below: “It is kind of like taking money out of a bank machine, when you’re looking at a screen and you’re called upon to touch the screen,” he said of “Thanaton III,” a painting from 1989, in a 1999 interview shown on “Disinformation,” a television series on Channel 4 in Britain. “You know that you can’t go through the screen, but you do also know that there’s something behind the screen that’s organizing the experience that . . .
An excerpt from W. J. T. Mitchell’s Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present One further thought on the unspeakable and unimaginable: as tropes, they are turns in the stream of discourse, swerves in the temporal unfolding of speech and spectacle. The unspeakable and unimaginable are, to put it bluntly, always temporary. Which means they exist in historical time as well as the discursive time of the unfolding utterance, or the temporality of personal experience. What was once unspeakable and unimaginable is always a matter of becoming, of a speech and an image to come—often rather quickly. If I tell you not to think of the face or name of your mother, you will not be able to prevent yourself from conjuring up her image and name. Declare that God is unrepresentable, and you also declare yourself a representative of the truth about him; you make a representation, an authoritative declaration, of his unrepresentability. Declare that something is invisible, accessible to visual imaging, and someone (usually an artist or scientist) will find a way to depict it. Prohibit something from being shown, hide it away from view, and its power as a concealed image outstrips anything it could have achieved . . .
As we near the end of the 2015 University Press Week blog tour, here’s a shorthand of what our fellow esteemed presses have in the works today under the umbrella, “Conversations with Authors,” in addition to all of the great posts other presses have contributed so far: Gary Kramer, publicist at Temple University Press, interviews Eric Tang, author of Unsettled, about his scholarly publishing experiences Columbia University Press editor Christine Dunbar discusses the new Columbia UP Russian Library series of literature in translation in conversation with translators and scholars from the series board the University of Virginia Press profiles one of their authors via an intimate Q & A at the Beacon Press blog, executive editor Gayatri Patnaik speaks with author Jeanne Theoharis about The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks and the Rosa Parks papers Acquisitions editor Dawn Durante interviews Carol Stabile, editor of the Feminist Media Studies series, for the University of Illinois Press the University of Southern Illinois Press blog features questions and answers with Guy R. Hasegawa, author of Villainous Compounds: Chemical Weapons and the Civil War the University of Kansas Press hosts a discussion with Friended at the Front author Lisa Silvestri Marketing manager Marty Brown, of Oregon State . . .
How did we get from here to there? How do we go from here to there? How was it that we went from here to there? Where are we going? How? These kinds of questions are excellent pontifications on/interrogations of the nature of time and space, those blaring abstractions, as we perform them through acts of mechanical reproduction and technological change. Maybe a better question is, then, What carries us where? When the University of Chicago Press was founded in 1890, it wasn’t printing knowledge. It was a press in the literal sense of the term, a printer: The University of Chicago Press was one of three original divisions of the University when it was founded in 1890. Although for a year or two it functioned only as a printer, in 1892 the Press began publishing scholarly books and journals, making it one of the oldest continuously operating university presses in the United States. This isn’t a critical history of UCP, but one wonders about the relationships between scholarship, technology, and the academic institution that engendered that turn from printing materials to printing ideas. Fast forward a century. In 1991, building off a wave of enthusiasm for the fax machine, John . . .
In a piece for FiveThirtyEight, “How Democrats Suppress the Vote,” Eitan Hersh connects the dots between low voter turnout, off-year elections, and the pursuit of (often municipal) policy goals. Arguing that off-cycle elections inherently yield a decreased number of voters disinterested in having to vote multiple times or engaging in local-level politics, Hersh turns to Sarah F. Anzia’s Timing and Turnout: How Off-Cycle Elections Favor Organized Groups to explain why: Political scientist Sarah Anzia, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, gives a compelling explanation in an outstanding book published last year. The first point that Anzia makes is that the off-cycle election calendar is not a response to voter preferences; voters do not like taking multiple trips to the voting booth. Anzia asked a nationally representative sample of Americans if they prefer elections held at different times for different offices “because it allows voters to focus on a shorter list of candidates and issues during each election” or all at the same time “because combining the elections boosts voter turnout for local elections.” Voters of all political stripes prefer consolidated elections, and by wide margins. But that’s especially true for people who identify as Democrats, who prefer consolidated elections 73 percent to 27 . . .