The New Social Environment#29

David Levi Strauss with Emmanuel Iduma


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Writers David Levi Strauss and Emmanual Iduma discuss Levi Strauss’s new book, Co-Illusion: Dispatches from the End of Communication (MIT Press, 2020).⁠

This is a pencil drawn portrait of Writer David Levi Strauss with a shaded black background, drawn by the Rail’s publisher Phong Bui.
Portrait by Phong H. Bui

David Levi Strauss is one of the most urgent and critical art writers working today. “The historical record shows clearly that if you try to suppress images, they will come back to haunt you,” Strauss writes in our July 2014 issue, “This is the history of iconoclasm—it really doesn’t work. There are things that people will not accept and will not believe unless they see an image of it. That is so deeply embedded in the human response to the visible world and the world of appearances and the world inside our heads that this is not going to change. The trouble is that these responses are often unconscious, way below the surface, and beyond what is easily accessed, which is what makes images so powerful and so able to control us.” ⁠ David Levi Strauss’s work focuses on the intersection between image and text, and the third space that is created through that interaction. He has published a book of poetry, titled Manoeuvres: Poems 1977-1979, four collections of essays, titled Between Dog & Wolf: Essays on Art & Politics, Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics, From Head to Hand: Art and the Manual, Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow: Essays on the Present and Future of Photography, and founded and co-edited ACTS: A Journal of New Writing. His latest work is Co-illusion: Dispatches from the End of Communication, published March 6, exposing a new “iconopolitics,” in which words and images lose their connection to reality.⁠

This is a photo of Writer Emmanuel Iduma sitting on a beige sofa with a black and beige abstract painting in the background.

Emmanuel Iduma is the author of A Stranger’s Pose, a book of travel stories, which was long-listed for the 2019 Ondaatje Prize, and The Sound of Things to Come, a novel. His stories and essays have been published inThe Millions, LitHub, Aperture, British Journal of Photography, Art in America, Guernica, and The New York Review of Books Daily. In 2017, he was awarded an arts writing grant from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation, for his essays on Nigerian artists. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he received an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing, and divides his time between Lagos and New York.

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