Bert Olivier

Crime, capital and economic apartheid

In the book Blank: Architecture, Apartheid and After (edited by H Judin and I Vladislavic; David Philip Publishers, Cape Town 1998), Lindsay Bremner’s contribution, “Crime and the emerging landscape of post-apartheid Johannesburg” (pp. 48-63) uncovered the roots of racial segregation in the origins of Johannesburg as a gold mining camp in 1886. During the apartheid…

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Florence, Siena and the ‘space of flows’

We are in Florence for a conference, in what is to my mind the most enchanting part of Italy, namely Tuscany. Because I have always been interested in art and architecture, and in principle we don’t take taxis, but walk everywhere we go, we have already seen the most beautiful buildings and urban landscapes, framed…

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What is a ‘rhizome’ in Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking?

People who do a lot of gardening probably know what a “rhizome” is in botanical terms. It is a kind of plant (including the prolific “wandering Jew”) that pops out of the ground over an expanding area, giving the impression that many separate plants are emerging in close proximity to one another, but in fact…

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What is ideology?

Those of us who were studying at the time of the great “cold war” tussle between the superpowers would remember that, at that time, one thought of ideology as a more or less coherent system of ideas that demanded a way of living, or certain actions in accordance with those ideas. So, for example, communism…

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Anticipating reality – Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon

Although the title of Peter F Hamilton’s Fallen Dragon (Pan Books, 2001) creates the impression that it belongs to the fantasy genre (not really my cup of tea), one soon learns that you are dealing with science fiction. And you know that you are dealing with a master of science fiction when many of the…

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What is the ‘logic of sufficiency’ in economics?

Imagine a world in which people, wisely, remind themselves that there is a tomorrow – if not for themselves, indefinitely, then for their children – and that the manner in which they enter into a relationship with their physical environment WILL unavoidably make a difference to the kind of tomorrow their children, and their children’s…

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A ‘cyborg’ future?

When Donna Haraway published her famous (or notorious, some would say) “Cyborg Manifesto” in 1985, later included her book Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991), not to mention its many inclusions in various anthologies, she probably could not foresee its incredible history of influence. (For a condensed version of this, see David Bell’s Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel…

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How to write a film review (Part 2)

(Continued) In your review, you should also refer to the narrative, but DON’T give away any secrets that would spoil the fun for audiences (as some reviewers did for The Crying Game!), and DON’T “tell the whole story”, or even try. That is not your task as reviewer. Usually one would combine one’s discussion of…

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How to write a film review (Part 1)

There are good and bad film reviews. This could either pertain to “bad” as opposed to “good” writing (that is, an ungrammatical, sloppy, vocabulary-poor way of writing in contrast to a grammatical, fluent, clear, richly worded mode of expression), or to the structure of the reviews in question, or to both. Every person who wants…

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The charm of Vienna cannot obliterate the abjection of SA

The conference that my partner and I are attending was supposed to be a welcome opportunity to visit the city of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss, to mention only some of the greatest composers in the western musical canon. And then I haven’t even scratched the surface of Viennese artists and architects of various…

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