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esther leslie in sydney


Cat Moir & Rory Dufficy with Esther Leslie

Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London, Esther Leslie was in Sydney last weekend as a guest of the 2016 Historical Materialism conference. She is the author of Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant Garde (2000), Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (2005), Derelicts : Thought Worms from the Wreckage (2013) and the editor and translator of On Photography by Walter Benjamin (2015). She spoke on panels, gave a keynote address - Animating Marx - and, introduced by casual academic, poet and researcher on various avant garde-isms Dr Rory Dufficy, and in conversation with socialist activist and lecturer in Germanic Studies at the University of Sydney Dr Cat Moir, she launched a new book on liquid crystals and their effect on how we live.

Liquid crystal is a curious phase of matter. It has the ability at once to flow, like water, and to refract, like ice. It was closely observed, if not yet named, by experts in 1888 but they found no practical use for it. Probed and imaged for decades, its polar properties were eventually harnessed for an age of screen-based media. Now liquid crystal is ubiquitous, communicating, selling and delighting, in flat-screen LCDs, computers and mobile devices. We also now know that it exists inside our bodies.

For the very first time, Liquid Crystals tells the history of this anomalous and little understood phase of matter in relation to a ‘liquid crystal’ epoch, spanning from 1820 to today, detailing the key interminglings of the liquid and crystalline located in politics, philosophy and art during this time. There are insightful and remarkable readings of cultural forms from Romantic landscape painting to snow globes, from mountain films to Hollywood eco-disaster movies, from touchscreen devices to DNA, cold wars and political thaws, media meltdowns and ice in the desert. Expertly written in an accessible style, Liquid Crystals recounts the unheralded but hugely significant emergence and applications of this unique matter.

Sean Cubitt, Professor of Film and Television, Goldsmiths, University of London says -
"There is every chance that you will be reading Liquid Crystals on a liquid crystal display screen, if not in the year of its release, then somewhere in the future. The ubiquity of LCDs makes them invisible, unthought. Leslie drags us back to the screen, to the discovery of this uncomfortably contradictory state of matter, and to the vast range of implications it has for the way we imagine the materiality and abstraction of our world, from financial liquidity to Superman’s icy Fortress of Solitude. She raises the tantalising prospect that liquid crystals are key not only to images but to perception and to our worldview: the governing metaphor through which we comprehend the rival claims of dialectics and flow. Erudite, lucid, enthralling, Esther Leslie's eclectically logical investigations transform our understanding of the historical generation of ideas and ways of thinking."


Esther Leslie, Saturday 26.11.16

To order the Liquid Crystals -
In Australia - New South Books
In the UK - Reaktion Books





summer's coming ...



Issue forty-three, the southern spring 2016 issue of Otoliths
is now live & available for your reading & viewing pleasure.
Just visit this link.


cover image -'psyche' by mark young

This is a very big issue with work in a variety of styles & a variety of media from Jesse Glass, El Habib Louai, Scott MacLeod, Maria Damon & Alan Sondheim, Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo, Cecelia Chapman, Pete Spence, Kyle Hemmings, Heath Brougher, Volodymyr Bilyk, George McKim, Nicole Pottier, John J. Trause, Sanjeev Sethi, Ian Ganassi, Jim Leftwich, Willie Smith, Philip Byron Oakes, Mary Claire Garcia, Douglas Barbour & Sheila E. Murphy, AG Davis, Peter Ganick, differx (Marco Giovenale), Jim Meirose, Mark Roberts, Olivier Schopfer, William Repass, Texas Fontanella, Michael Gottlieb, John W. Sexton, Edward A. Dougherty, Eric Hoffman, hiromi suzuki, Simon Perchik, John M. Bennett, Ivan Argüelles, Scott Helmes, John Xero, Pat Nolan, Andrew Topel, Daniel John Pilkington, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Raymond Farr, Lakey Comess, Bill Dunlap, Christopher Barnes, Robert Okaji, Jeff Bagato, Nico Vassilakis, Mitchell Garrard, Keith Higginbotham, Fabrice Poussin, Richard Kostelanetz, Sabine Miller, Meeah Williams, sean burn, Louise Landes Levi, Brendan Slater, Oscar Towe, Tom Beckett, Mark McKain, Jürgen O. Olbrich, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Jorge Lucio de Campos, Eileen R. Tabios, Andrea Mason, Joe Balaz, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Jacqueline M. Pérez, Owen Bullock, Roger Mitchell, Steve Dalachinsky, Jeff Harrison, Aurélien Leif, Holly Day, Stephen Vincent, Carol Stetser, nick nelson, Seth Howard, Taylor Leigh Ciambra, Poornima Laxmeshwar, Hamish Spark, Márton Koppány, Alicia Cole, Cara Murray, bruno neiva, Jack Kelly, Mark Cunningham, Massimo Stirneri, Matt Dennison, Olchar E. Lindsann, Karen Greenbaum-Maya, Darren Marsh, Nika & Jim McKinniss, Natsuko Hirata, Tony Beyer, Edward Kulemin, John Pursch, Irene Koronas, Darren C. Demaree, nick-e melville, Josette Torres, Shloka Shankar, Piotr Kalisz, Ella Skilbeck-Porter, Bob Heman, Garima Behal, Paul T. Lambert, J. D. Nelson, Michael Brandonisio, Eddie Donoghue, Katrinka Moore, Indigo Perry, & Marilyn Stablein.

Also, the print parts of Issue forty-two are now available from The Otoliths Storefront.
The editor, Mark Young says : I apologize for the price of Part 2, but, unfortunately, 288 pages of full color doesn't come cheap. Issue forty-three will be available by the middle of November.