Author: Rhys Tranter

Rhys Tranter is a writer and photographer based in Cardiff, Wales. His writing has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement and a number of books and periodicals.

Women in Trousers: A Visual Archive 1850-1960

Free public exhibition at Cardiff University on 20 November 2017, 5.30pm

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Women in Trousers: A Visual Archive, offers a gallery of images from 1850-1960 that together tells part of the story of women in trousers as a history of women’s social, political and cultural protest and change. From Joan of Arc to George Sand, Mary Edwards Walker to Marlene Dietrich and Colette to Coco Chanel, trouser-wearing women have been associated with transgressive acts of protest and play. Linked with periods of social and political upheaval, women’s liberation, radical thought, aesthetic innovation and erotic freedom, trouser-wearing women have historically represented an illegitimate assumption of male authority and power – of ‘wearing the trousers’ – that destabilises fixed notions of sexual difference and threatens the very fabric of the social order.”

Visit the Eventbrite page to book your free ticket.

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Lauren Elkin on William Forsythe’s Conceptual Art

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William Forsythe

“Reading Julien Offray de la Mettrie’s L’Homme machine (Man a Machine, 1748), in 1978 the philosopher Karl Popper suggested that ‘there may be no clear distinction between living matter and dead matter’; that man ‘is a computer’. William Forsythe’s ‘Choreographic Objects’ puts this thesis to the test in the vaulted space of an aircraft hangar that houses Gagosian Le Bourget. What Forsythe calls ‘choreographic objects’ are the installations, films and sculptures that he’s been creating since 1989, which lie at the intersection of dance and the visual arts. Exploring choreography, technology and space, his work brings us closer to understanding our own bodies.”

— Lauren Elkin, Frieze

J.M. Coetzee’s Childhood Library

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“For a sixteen-year-old, it is an ambitious and serious library, comprising poetry, philosophy and translated classics, mostly affordable Everyman, Oxford and Penguin editions, those early-twentieth-century projects in the democratization of knowledge. The photograph is not well lit, but the large numbers on the spines of the Everyman volumes allow the identification of several of them. The key writings of Plato, St Augustine, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rousseau, Locke, Kant and Descartes are represented, as are Russian classics such as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Tolstoy’s War and Peace. There are no English novels, nor is there any Shakespeare, but there are collected works of poetry by T. S. Eliot, Wordsworth, Tennyson and Keats. Books such as Euclid’s Elements point to Coetzee’s ambition to become a mathematician, though Marx’s Das Kapital may have been less influential. Several of these books would leave their mark on the later fictions, although important future influences such as Pound, Beckett and Kafka are not as yet present.”

— Hermann Wittenberg, Times Literary Supplement

Nicola Barker on Reading Thomas Merton Every Day

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“I stuck with Merton, and my patience has been rewarded a thousandfold. He’s the only writer I read pretty much every day. There’s a small Book of Hours that never fails to inspire me. The main thing that’s so wonderful about him is his love of nature and his ebullience. And his need to constantly interrogate himself. And his extraordinary humility. And his exquisite facility with language.”

— Nicola Barker, The Guardian