Kasterlee Posts


Sitting down in Kasterlee to write an essay.

During the course of writing the essay IDEE: Words without Pictures there were 32 relevant posts tagged as An Essay in Kasterlee.  For ease of reading they are listed here as one page in the order they were posted.  Images and links have been taken out but can still be found in the blog archive.

27th August 2015


Darum ist das innerste Formgesetz des Essays die Ketzerei.

[T.W. Adorno. 1958. Der Essay als Form.]

28th August 2015

The Wildness of those Compositions

The Wildness of those Compositions, which go by the Name of Essays.

[J. Addison. 1712. Spectator No. 476. ¶1]

29th August 2015

Que sais-je?

Montaigne’s 1576 medal tells us to be sceptical when writing an essay.

30th August 2015

The need for Mrs. Fulhame’s becoming fortitude

But happen what may, I hope I shall never experience such desertion of mind, as not to hold the helm with becoming fortitude against the storm raised by ignorance, petulant arrogance, and privileged dullness.

[Mrs. Fulhame. 1794. An essay on combustion, with a view to a new art of dying and painting. Wherein the phlogistic and antiphlogistic hypotheses are proven erroneous.]

31st August 2015

An essay on nothing

The introduction to Lecture on Nothing says this should not be done in an artificial manner. The afternote says there are no more answers.

[John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing (full text at john-cage-lecture-on-nothing)]

1st September 2015

Show and tell

So haben wir ihn an die Wand gestellt
Mensch unsresgleichen, einer Mutter Sohn
Ihn umzubringen. Und damit die Welt
Es wisse, machten wir ein Bild davon.

[Bertolt Brecht. 1937. Kriegsfibel]

2nd September 2015

The essay writer’s foibles

The essay writer may have old French foible talents, or an English foible – a quirky word or weakness of the sword in combat.

Un essai est un livre pour faire des livres; il ne peut passer pour bon qu’en raison du nombre de fétus d’ouvrages qu’il renferme. D’ailleurs, le sujet que je traite s’étend si loin, et mes talents sont si foibles, que je tâche de me circonscrire ; d’une autre part, le temps se précipite, et je me fatigue.

[François-René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand. 1797. Essai sur les révolutions. Études historiques]

3rd September 2015

Communication of any description

“Statement” covers a communication of any description, including a communication without words, consisting of sounds or image, or both. Similarly, a “publication” can be in any form, and may include visual images without any accompanying text.

[Index on Censorship. 2015. Art and the Law: Counter Terrorism]

4th September 2015

Not a real nude person

When Ustream stopped the online broadcast of Amber Hawk Swanson’s performance piece in December 20011, they explained.

Unfortunately, it does not matter that the doll is not a real nude person. We do not allow nudity of any kind to be broadcast on our site. This includes artistic works, medical streams, sex toys and silicone dolls. The fact that this doll is anatomically correct places it in the category of nudity and is a violation of our terms of service.


5th September 2015

Particulièrement crétin de brûler un livre

Il est particulièrement crétin de brûler un livre, mais il n’est pas très sain de sacraliser des symboles, qu’ils soient républicains, religieux ou autres.

[Charb. 2015. Lettre aux escrocs de l’islamophobie qui font le jeu des racistes]

6th September 2015

The press in 1920

Treason – Hatred – Blood – Lies

7th September 2015

Post no bills

It’s August 1914 and the German Governor General in Belgium can ban posters. Walls and Litfaßsäulen must be controlled like other media.

8th September 2015

Freedom to have your funding cut

Although New York Mayor Giuliani was not able to get the picture removed from Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999, Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary had to be viewed at some distance from behind a guarded rail.  In Ofili’s painting Mary is surrounded not by putti but by butterfly-like designs made from female buttocks and genitals.  The first amendment came to the rescue and the work remained on show, but the museum’s funding was cut.

9th September 2015

Fat cats or pillars of society

Art can show fat cats and functionaries profiting from poverty and war, but it’s becoming more and more problematic to show royal or religious figures. Art that oversteps the mark can soon be labeled as degenerate or disloyal – even blasphemous.

I would venture to warn against too great intimacy with artists as it is very seductive and a little dangerous.

[Queen Victoria’s advice to her daughter Vicky, Crown Princess of Prussia]

10th September 2015

Nails and knitting needles overcome braille ban

In early days many teachers of the blind did not want students to communicate independently, but they did anyway – with nails and knitting needles.

11th September 2015

Images of the twin towers

On the 14th anniversary of the attacks that destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, it is interesting that a simple internet search produces limited images and little information to tell of the period from their completion in 1973 to their destruction in 2001, a period when the buildings were such an integral part of the life and spirit of the city.  It is as if that period of the twin towers’ existence has been written out of history. World Trade Center is a name now used by totally different buildings, and no image of the twin towers recaptures the optimism they once represented.

Worth noting too that In the Shadow of No Towers produced by comic book artist Art Spiegelman is one of the books that future historians will rely on to interpret American reactions to the events of 9/11 in the days and weeks that followed.

12th September 2015

Often harrowing images

Each year Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan shows often harrowing and sometimes hopeful photographs from around the world.  2015 is no exception and the collections of Lynsey Addario and Giulio Piscitelli are particularly relevant to the news of refugees from Syria.  Is it right that the intimate lives of the world’s poor and dispossessed are exhibited in such a place? Do they help us understand, and act in solidarity?  Are images more powerful than the endless words?

The event is closing this weekend but many images can be seen on the website of Visa pour l’Image.  You decide.

13th September 2015

Gay fluttering Fellows

At the playing card museum in Turnhout there are numerous fascinating examples of playing cards and the printing presses that produced them. The production of such cards has often been controlled by states and sometimes used to raise revenue. In 1699, according to the OED, a Court-card was a ‘gay fluttering Fellow’.

14th September 2015

97 named (and 3 unnamed) in Kasterlee

In some traditions graveyards contain images of the dead.  Statues are erected in memorial to the rich and to the celebrated. A war grave is often just a name, rank and regiment, sometimes with a short epitaph.  Other ranks are further designated by their number.

Such is the case with the graves in Kasterlee: Scottish soldiers (mostly from The Royal Scots, The King’s Own Scottish Borderers and The Royal Scots Fusiliers including three Canadians) who died between 14th to 20th September 1944 in fierce fighting associated with the crossing of the Meuse-Escaut Canal.  There are three graves of unidentified remains.  Somewhere there may be pictures of these men, but not here.

15th September 2015

50 nuances de graisse

The hype around the book and film versions of Fifty Shades of Grey has created much hoo-ha and great financial gain, but the French cartoon version by Jul, available as an animated episode of Silex and the City produced by Jean-Paul Guigue, may be less familiar.

While commentators have been divided about the BDSM themes, the franchise never encountered serious calls for censorship, perhaps indicating that sexuality portrayed as violence is a mainstream mass media message in many societies. Censorship is reserved for more disruptive messages.

16th September 2015

All censorship leads in this direction

Femen’s combinations of words and images sometimes create powerful messages, but not always about the cause that sparks an action. The written and the shouted messages are often presented to unsympathetic audiences and difficult to see and hear, but the banality of the nakedness attracts the media for a few seconds of tabloid titillation. More instructive is the violence that so often results. The media show the manhandling, kicking and intimidation, but not, one imagines, more brutal behaviour out of camera shot. These actions demonstrate most effectively that when something cannot be politely restricted or concealed it is quickly subjected to violent suppression. All censorship leads in this direction.

17th September 2015

Banning and Mother Goose

In 1927 Kendall Banning published the Censored Mother Goose Rhymes dedicated to the “Censors who have taught us how to read naughty meanings into harmless words”. He was trying to change the US tariff legislation that allowed US Customs to ban books. Copies were sent to all Members of Congress as part of the campaign.

18th September 2015

Self-censorship may be deep in the human mind.

Dream-formation takes place under the sway of a censorship which compels distortion of the dream-thoughts.

[Sigmund Freud Freud’s Collected Papers IV. iii. 54]

19th September 2015

Beware of artists

In 2012 this poster started to appear on the Internet, accompanied by the story that described it as ‘an actual poster’ from the McCarthy era.  Actually it’s what’s called a meme that has spread from person to person on the Internet.  It would be impossible to censor, but it proved very easy to make large numbers of people believe the story of its origins, showing that while it’s more and more difficult to censor images, it’s also more and more difficult to know what to believe.

20th September 2015

L’Humour à mort

L’Humour à mort (Je suis Charlie), a new film by Daniel and Emmanuel Leconte is showing in Toronto and getting written about in the press.  The coverage is measured and restrained.  The information sheet released for the Toronto International Film Festival contains an interview with the directors in which Emmanuel Leconte recognises that freedom of expression means very different things in different countries.

What are you hopes for the film being internationally shown at the Toronto Film Festival?

EL : Terrorists tried to exterminate the newsroom of a weekly newspaper. This horrible act constitutes a new level of modern terrorism and has affected the entire world. That said, it is important that we speak with our sensitivity on the international level to evoke our French specificity: a newspaper as free and as irreverent as Charlie Hebdo could not, unfortunately, exist in many countries in the world.

21st September 2015

Block those ads

So Apple put some ad-blocking technology into Safari, and it worked so you could stop so many intrusive ads getting on your device and collecting data on you.  One software developer has pulled its ad-blocking Peace app.

This raises an interesting issue about how we all feel when it is someone else that pre-determines what we see on our screen, but it misses the point that all of this consumption is pre-determined by one or other tech company.  All the content comes pre-packaged and pre-approved or it doesn’t come because it’s pre-censored.

Marco Arment’s blog says more about his reluctance to play the role of censor.

I still believe that ad blockers are necessary today, and I still think Ghostery is the best one, but I’ve learned over the last few crazy days that I don’t feel good making one and being the arbiter of what’s blocked.


22nd September 2015

Zappa is fantastic in this

Rock lyrics have always been under attack from censors, and this is an example from 1985.  Watching Frank Zappa at the Senate committee hearings on the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) tells us something about how all Americans can appeal to the US Constitution, and it might encourage more to do so in these troubled times. The testimony by Dee Snider and John Denver is also well worth watching. Fantastic!

23rd September 2015

ACRCIT may be an incitement

There’s a big exhibition of Guy de Coincet’s art at the M Museum in Leuven, and they have reprinted his ACRCIT newspaper and are giving it away – as he did. The work ‘presents an overview of the different systems underpinning his drawings and books, such as crossword puzzles, mirror writing, number series, Morse code, Braille and decorative motifs.’

Could a work of this sort ever be banned or censored, or, even more intriguingly, what might happen if it were redacted by a suspicious officialdom? After all, it could be a code, a secret message, an incitement of some sort.

24th September 2015

No longer a subject for painters

It’s obvious what’s happening, or about to happen, in this picture called De enthoofding van de heilige Catharina van Alexandrië. It is part of a triptych from the first half of the sixteenth century and is from the Brabant School of Painting. It is unlikely that this would be thought acceptable as the subject for a painting today.

25th September 2015

Dead bodies in your living room

Dark Fields of the Republic is an exhibition of Alexander Gardner’s photographs of the US Civil War now showing in Washington.  The old issue of authenticity has once again been raised, but equally interesting are attempts to explain the impact of photography to twenty-first century visitors.

“It’s not like they would hang them on the wall and say look at these beautiful images of death. They had collections of these images, but it was more like surfing the internet and looking at newspapers.”

[The Guardian quoting Bibiana Obler from George Washington University]

26th September 2015

Loading…Please Wait

The political cartoon is still full of energy, but where will it go from here? The Cartoon Movement is one place to keep in touch with political cartoons from around the world.

This one is from Fadi Abou Hassan in Norway.

27th September 2015

Such material is sometimes open to misinterpretation by the authorities

A Universities UK document about Prevent can be found here and the summary makes interesting reading.

Universities play a vital role in carrying out research on issues where security-sensitive material is relevant. This guidance document concerns the storage and circulation of security-sensitive research material. 

If circulated carelessly, such material is sometimes open to misinterpretation by the authorities, and can put authors in danger of arrest and prosecution under, for example, counter-terrorism legislation. Certain procedures for independently registering and storing this material – through research ethics processes – are recommended in this guidance.

Academic study, like art and literature, is now subject to special scrutiny: researchers, writers and artists are warned to be wary of misinterpretation.

This is the last post under the category An Essay in Kasterlee. The essay itself is available here.