Photo by author
November 24th, 2014 | 6:00am

 

Photo by author

To exist, humanly, is to name the world, to change it.

~ Paulo Freire


When I was 19 my full-time job was bartending a pub called Filthy McNasty’s. McNasty’s sat on Rose Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the roughest streets in the city center at the time. Fights punctuated each hour of the night and later, after I’d moved on up from McNasty’s, a friend was stabbed near there in a skinhead-like attack. Indoors, customers called me Garth” because of my wild, unkempt hair, like Garth in Wayne’s World. I didn’t wear makeup and favored baggy jeans and t-shirts; I guess this made me infuriatingly gender ambiguous.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Howard Smith
November 20th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Howard Smith

Your name: Jane Satterfield

Current city: Baltimore, MD

How long have you lived here? Except for years in Iowa and England, I’ve lived in Maryland most of my life. Though I’ve lived in Charm City for 23 years, I’m a bit of a homebody so my imagination runs backward to the places I lived growing up: the sprawling farmland of Frederick county that runs along the Catoctin Mountain chain; the sprawl of suburban tract land along the D.C. Beltway.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Lorne Covant
November 19th, 2014 | 6:00am

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Lorne Covant

You are that boy. The boy I met in Switzerland while herding my siblings up the long, steep hill to the closest school cafeteria for our free lunch.

It took me exactly two hours. Two hours for most Swiss children to go home to a hot lunch and a motherly kiss. Two hours for non-Swiss me to make my way across town, pick up my brother and sisters at their school and coax them all up that hill, to get them fed, then back down to drop them off and then catch a city bus to my own school, and my breath, if I have money that day.

reviewed by Rebecca Chace
November 17th, 2014 | 6:00am

How to depict human suffering, especially that of children? This question is at the heart of Joseph Kertes’s haunting novel, The Afterlife of Stars, which tells the story of a family fleeing the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary to crush the anti-Communist revolution from the point of view of young Robert Beck, 9.8 years old but “born old,” as his Parisian aunt tells him when she meets him for the first time. Kertes, like Robert, escaped with his family across Europe and eventually settled in Canada, though he was only five at the time.

November 14th, 2014 | 6:00am

"Bayonet Trials" by Erik Hougen

In reference to photography, Roland Barthes wrote that its unique position among art was that it referred directly to something “that has been.” Erik Hougen’s paintings hint at that premise; they offer places both familiar and alien, which forces the part of our brain that codifies and organizes images to guess where and when. This dialogue, or rather confusion, between viewer and image is exactly what the artist is working towards. Hougen invites us to a location and time that may not exist. The mind attempts to classify the exact place, but ends up submitting to a notion of place.