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The Work of Art in the Age of Infinite Reproduction

With thanks to Amadeus Code co-founder Taishi Fukuyama, for his thoughts on AI, art, and value. This originally appeared on Music Tectonics. The digital revolution has been an explosion in the transmission and reproduction of ideas, words, images, videos, processes, and (coming soon) experiences. It is the latest moment in a longer arc, one that reaches back to the first…

Empty Houses

It’s hard to write about where you are, right now. The stories in our small town have tugged at me for months, especially as the national conversations about rural life have been so monotone. I decided to tell the story of our town by looking at the people who’ve left it–and the empty houses they…

Empty Houses VIII (The Circle)

Our house was empty for three years. Empty houses have a rhythm. There are the things that come at night: The addicts that steal the wiring from the cellar, making repairs twice as hard. In our house’s case, the neighbors tried to deter them, wouldn’t lend them their wire cutters. But the guy went ahead…

Empty Houses VII (Renewal)

One night, a bare bulb shone in the window across the way. It glimmered out of the battered colonial, its clapboards shedding long strips of old white paint. The house had been empty for quite some time. I heard from one of the county tax assessors who lives nearby that everything inside was untouched: the…

Empty Houses, VI (Death)

The blond girl would rip merrily around town on her bike. She was pretty and svelte and deeply good natured. She loved to play with my kids. She acted much younger than her preteen years.  She was what my grandmother would have called simple.  I prayed for her, every time I said goodbye to her at the…

Empty Houses V (Divorce)

The only thing I know is that the guy apparently raised rabbits and there was a divorce. And what the neighbors say: He let it go to wrack and ruin purely out of spite. But that doesn’t explain why the trophies still glitter on the mantelpiece, even as the ceiling tiles and insulation droop over…

Empty Houses, Part IV (Foreclosure)

The craftsman bungalow seems to have fallen behind some bank’s filing cabinet somewhere. It’s stuck in limbo. It’s a cute house: Dark hardwood floors and original woodwork, old-school windows, big two-story garage. A wicker love seat lists to one side next to a pile of decaying phone books. Inside, if you look past the WINTERIZED…

Empty Houses, Part III (Meth)

Some people are stupid. Really stupid. The house sits next to the little park at the center of our town. Right on the corner, across from the basketball court. The morons were cooking meth in the garage. Meth smells nasty. All ether and burning and chemicals that should not be put together and heated. It’s…

Empty Houses II (Poverty)

The vines have crawled up through the windows, over the pile of belongings moldering in the weeds. The couch that stood on the porch, the piles of princess clothes, the dirty diapers, the cardboard boxes, the giant TV set. They never came to pick up their stuff. I hope that’s not a burn pile. The…

Empty Houses, Part I (Opioids)

  The little pink house with the limestone wraparound porch has a wreath of fake flowers that’s been lolling around by the front door for months. There’s also a wooden cutout of a Canada goose with the words, “Welcome to our Home” scrawled on its belly, and a metal star made in China leaning against the…

The Half-Life of a Revolt

The uprising that inspired Hyperadamantine, though only a passing note in many Western histories of Russia, has had a remarkably long half-life for a so-called “failure.” The uprising led to something of a lost generation among Russian nobility: Some of the boldest and most liberal-minded aristocrats were exiled. They weren’t silenced, though: When the wave of…