Podcast Archive - Page 2 of 13 - Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 10: It’s Not Easy Being Green (Under Capitalism)

What does culture look like in a "sustainable" world? In episode of 10 of (Pop) Cultural Marxism, Ajay, Isi, and guest Rebecca Ariel Porte examine the problems with "green" technology and consumption—which, it turns out, do little, nothing, or less than nothing to sustain the environment—and talk about the kinds of cultural forms, from literature to architecture to games, that are not only sustainable in terms of ecology and society but also aesthetically compelling and beautiful. How does genuine ecological sustainability depend on social sustainability for artists and engineers and other creative workers, and promote far richer aesthetic expressions? Why is so much "Green"-branded work—in everything from the built world to fine art—anything but? What forms of aesthetic creation not usually thought of as ecological, are actually sustainable in every dimension? How does our current unsustainable social and ecological society constrict imagination and creative effloresce? And how would even a modestly more sustainable world, actually enable and support such creative flourishing? Looking to both current and historical examples, Isi, Rebecca, and Ajay review art installations like Walter De Maria's The New York Earth Room and the MOMA's Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism; architecture from the "PR-architecture" of projects like "Oceanix" to the actual sustainability found in works like Võ Tr?ng Ngh?a's "Farming Kindergarten"; unexhausted forms in music (from Bach to Stravinsky, pop music to the vast world of jazz) and in verse, such as the ghazals of poet Anthony Madrid; film, tv, and even videogames, whether low-powered and low-tech (as with recent critical and commercial successes like Hades (Supergiant) or Stardew Valley (Concerned Ape)) or high-powered and high-tech (and highly popular), like Zelda, Elden Ring, and more. How is production—from emissions to mineral inputs, exploitative assembly and "crunch"—key to understanding aesthetic exhaustions? How does unsustainable ecological design and an ever accelerating model of production stifle creativity and promote ever narrower, more costly, and less interesting work? How does a model like streaming—and other modes of supposedly "dematerialized" distribution—actually obscure ecological damage while simultaneously making aesthetic production more difficult for artists and aesthetic consumption less compelling for everyone? What is the "trickle up misery" of "defensive architecture"? In the face of a capitalist ethos that always insists on creativity as bound to a logic of “bigger, faster, better, more,” the conversation explores the ways in which working, creating, designing, and engineering within limits has produced some of the most exciting aesthetic forms and experiences, and how the necessity of ecological and social limits can act as the "enabling constraints" of a far more compelling aesthetic life than the all-too-real dystopia of today.

The Podcast for Social Research

From Plato to quantum physics, Walter Benjamin to experimental poetry, Frantz Fanon to the history of political radicalism, The Podcast for Social Research is a crucial part of our mission to forge new, organic paths for intellectual work in the twenty-first century: an ongoing, interdisciplinary series featuring members of the Institute, and occasional guests, conversing about a wide variety of intellectual issues, some perennial, some newly pressing. Each episode centers on a different topic and is accompanied by a bibliography of annotations and citations that encourages further curiosity and underscores the conversation’s place in a larger web of cultural conversations.

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Podcast for Social Research, Episode 74: The Exhausted of the Earth — A Conversation

In episode 74 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary sits down with writer and artist Molly Crabapple to discuss his new book, The Exhausted of the Earth: Politics in a Burning World (Repeater). Live-recorded at P&T Knitwear in New York City, the conversation encompasses, among other things: the ubiquity of exhaustion […]

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 73: How to Blow Up a Pipeline – Extractive Capitalism, Political Violence, and Eco-Thriller Cinema

In episode 73 of the Podcast for Social Research, recorded live following a screening of Daniel Goldhaber’s cinematic adaptation of Andreas Malm’s polemic against pacifism How to Blow Up a Pipeline, BISR faculty Isi Litke, RH Lossin, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary explore the aesthetic, historical, and thorny practical terrain of violence as activist strategy and […]

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 72: At Year’s End with the Angel of History — 2023 in Review

In episode 72 of the Podcast for Social Research, Nara Roberta Silva, Rebecca Ariel Porte, Lauren K. Wolfe, Mark DeLucas, and Ajay Singh Chaudhary look back at their 2023 in cultural objects, or their 2023 experiences of objects washed up on present shores from other times, observing as they do how year-end compendia reveal surprising […]

(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 9: Things of the Year 2023

In the final episode for 2023, Isi, Ajay, and Joseph address the vexing nature of End-of-Year lists—and then go through the vexing process of assembling our own! Isi leads us through our year in cinema; Ajay, the year in games; and Joseph, the year in television, culminating in three top picks (and some honorable mentions) […]

Practical Criticism, No. 67: 2023 Algorithmically “Wrapped”

In episode 67 of Practical Criticism, Rebecca and Ajay surprise each other with songs and compositions drawn exclusively from their respective algorithmically-generated Spotify “Wrapped” playlists! Pieces include Erza Furman’s “Can I Sleep in Your Brain”; Linked Horizon’s “Guren No Yumiya” (from theAttack on Titan soundtrack); Lucy Dacus’s “Night Shift”; The Smashing Pumpkins’s “Mayonaise”; Monteverdi’s “Il ritorno d’Ulisse in […]

Podcast for Social Research, Episode 71: Cooking is Thinking — Rebecca May Johnson in Conversation

Is a recipe a text? What happens when it’s translated, via cooking, into food? In episode 71 of the Podcast for Social Research, live-recorded at BISR Central, author Rebecca May Johnson joins BISR faculty Sophie Lewis and Rebecca Ariel Porte and Dilettante Army‘s Sara Clugage to read from her autotheoretical “epic in the kitchen” Small Fires and discuss […]

Practical Criticism/(Pop) Cultural Marxism Crossover: Stop Making Sense

In this very special crossover episode, the compound cast—Isi, Rebecca, and Ajay—are back together after hiatuses of various lengths to discuss the Talking Heads and A24’s recent re-release of Jonathan Demme’s much-celebrated 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense. Kicking off with some reunion talk (to wit: research rabbit holes, early modern gardens, avant-garde architecture, automata, […]

Faculty Spotlight: Sophie Lewis on Second Wave Feminism, Incipient Queerness, Auto-Analysis, and the Life of the Critic (ft. Paige Sweet)

In episode seven of Faculty Spotlight, Mark and Lauren sit down to chat with two BISR faculty whose interests, scholarly and otherwise, dovetail in fascinating ways—Sophie Lewis, writer, critic, and leading scholar of family abolition and the politics of reproduction; and Paige Sweet, writer, practicing psychoanalyst, and founder of the experimental writing project Infinite Text […]

Faculty Spotlight: R.H. Lossin on Sabotage, Luddites, Violence, and the Digital Library Dystopia

In episode six of Faculty Spotlight, Mark and Lauren sit down with R.H. Lossin, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Warren Center of Studies in American History and a leading scholar of the theory and practice of sabotage. The three discuss: what led R.H. to the study of sabotage; why sabotage is more ordinary than you think; […]