Archived posts from category ‘Molly Brenan’

Of Robots and Art

War ‘bots and robotic art are two ever-growing fields of technology, but they often breeze past each other. The purpose of robotics in warfare seems to be to make conflict more efficient, safer and smarter. Robotics in art, much like the purpose of a lot of simpler art, is more interested in exploring the limits of awareness — and perhaps using robots to reflect back on our own nature. If the future of war ‘bots is looking to incorporate empathy and greater self-awareness in its technology, perhaps artists and military ‘bot designers should work more closely together.

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The First Annual War Is Boring Holiday Gift Guide

by MOLLY BRENAN No art or barbarians today. Instead, this the closest thing this blog has ever had to a holiday special. I’m very grateful that you guys abide my hanging out here. I would get you all fighter jets if I could, because that’s what everyone really wants, right?. Would it were that I [...]


The Starving Art Historian: A Different Sort of Goth

The Dark Ages get the shaft of history and art history pretty often. Of course, it’s not a rare specialty, but over the centuries it has been derided. One of the first major art historians, Giorgio Vasari, had almost nothing good to say about them. But you know who has it even worse? The mercenaries and barbarians in the interlude after the fall of Rome and before the darkness settled. Written off as by man as uncultured and war hungry, the barbarian tribes that gained considerable power in the fifth century were both cunning military strategists and artists worth studying.

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The Starving Art Historian: How We War Now

At a talk at my university last month, a fellow student opined that the media, and in fact we as a society, don’t focus on peace enough. This sentiment begs the question of whether there’s such thing as peace without war. Certainly neither is as black and white as it used to be. Wars are smaller and more dispersed. And probably longer. The only thing for sure about them these days is their ambiguity. If “war is the continuation of politics by other means,” then war and peace seem to exist not as opposites, but in a cycle. What’s more, our current conflicts are completely obscuring any boundaries in that cycle. Sociologist Martin Shaw wrote of 21st century warfare.

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The Starving Art Historian: Happy(?) Veterans Day, Have Some Historical Analysis

“Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime/Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.”

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The Starving Art Historian: When Art Surveys the Damage

The sun may have set on the British Empire, but recently artists have lit it back up. It’s not the most flattering light, either. Previously I wrote about how time cannot only heal the wounds of war on society, but with the help of art morph them into, if not causes to celebrate, the kind of battle scars one wear’s with an amount of pride. But we’re past the age of Romanticism. More and more, artists are choosing to pick at the scars of their nation’s dark past and highlight the horror rather than the valor.

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