Dress, Plants, Halal, Expression, Hieroglyphics

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Dress And Decor

Witold Rybczynski | The Clothed Home | June 2021 | PDF

Essay from the catalogue for the Polish pavilion at the 2021 London Design Biennale. It explores how textiles connect interior decoration and fashion, from curtains to the Empire fashion for swagged "tent rooms". Fabrics are excellent at communicating aesthetic: "Starchly formal or comfortably casual, intensely avant-garde or resolutely traditional, cosmopolitan or homely" (1,989 words)

Are Plants Animals Like Any Other?

Enrique Utria | Books And Ideas | 5th April 2021

Is plant life worthy of respect? Surely yes, to some degree: A reasonable person will feel distress at the wanton felling of a great tree. Yet we treat the killing of plants for food as positively virtuous, because it substitutes for the killing and eating of animals. Is that just because animal physiology more closely resembles our own? Would we hear le cri de la carrotte if we knew how to listen for it? (1,800 words)

What Does Europe Have Against Halal?

John R. Bowen | Boston Review | 11th June 2021

The growing tension in European countries such as France and the Netherlands over halal and kosher products is less to do with interfaith friction than it is about conflict between religious and secular worldviews. Without clear structures that integrate faith requirements into general food safety, discontent thrives. "Halal worries provide a politically useful focus for anti-Islam politicians" (2,609 words)

Audio of the Week: Hand Waving

Episode: "Noodle Arms No More" | Podcast: Blind Guy Travels | 16m 32s

Is it possible to learn body language, if you have never seen it in action? Matthew Shifrin, blind from birth, found himself in that situation when preparing to give a TED talk. The talking part was relatively straightforward. But what should he do with his arms as he spoke? What did other people do? It proved surprisingly hard to spell out rules and principles generally acquired by observation (16m 32s)

Book Of The Week: Hieroglyphics

by Maria Carmela Betrò |  Courtesy of Five Books

A serious introduction to the study of hieroglyphics, presented almost like an art book. Every sign is given a full page, signs are grouped by category, and the signs are placed within the context of the culture and religion. If you read the book from cover to cover you'll start to feel the recurring themes: what kinds of tools people use, what kinds of plants and animals they encounter, and what significance all these things held (252 pages)

"We are all curious about what might hurt us"
Federico Garcia Lorca

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