Category Archives: the sublime

Machineries of Joy: Wrestling with the technological sublime

This one is for my friends Rachel Shabi and Waleed Hazbun, who might recognise something of the pathos of our common paternal utopias in it… 11 February 2015 “Hyperbole is the main stock in trade of publicists, boosters and even … Continue reading

Posted in 2015 Trip, Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, empire, imperialism & colonialism, infrastructure, logistics, Middle East, political economy, readings, the sublime, transport, Travels | Leave a comment

nothing was what they said: not safety, not the sea.

Children, the Sandbar, That Summer By Muriel Rukeyser Sunlight the tall women may never have seen. Men, perhaps, going headfirst into the breakers, but certainly the children at the sandbar. Shallow glints in the wave suspended we knew at the … Continue reading

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“a city of many rivers”

It is extraordinarily rare to read someone whose work haunts you and then becomes part of your personal canon.  That you wake in the middle of the night wanting to look at the map of his imaginary geography.  The last … Continue reading

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“Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges…”

From Melville’s Billy Budd: …war contractors, whose gains, honest or otherwise, are in every land an anticipated portion of the harvest of death…. And he is the inventor of “fog of war” too: Forty years after a battle it is … Continue reading

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The prose and poetry of toiling in/on the seas

I am ashamed to admit that I was a latecomer to the magic of Allan Sekula. Far too much of a latecomer.  I discovered his stunning work on shipping and transport, last year; he died in August last year. His amazing … Continue reading

Posted in Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, labour, ports, readings, ships, the arts, the sea, the sublime, transport | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Terror is stronger in us than delight”

When I started my maritime-and-ports novel-reading adventure, three people suggested Hans Henny Jahnn’s The Ship to me.  One of the three is an author I hold in awe, so I ordered the book (printed on demand by Amazon) – surprised that … Continue reading

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My sleep last night was bookended by two sublime mysteries – the shipping forecast with its peculiar poetry which maps a kind of mysterious geography with gale warnings and low visibility Viking Forties Cromarty Forth Tyne Dogger Fisher German Bight … Continue reading

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“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Before starting any project, I like to self-saturate with novels about a subject.   It is one of the greatest pleasures of learning something entirely new, and it is a way to get a sense of the texture and richness … Continue reading

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