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Terrifying Robot Update: Friday, July 25, 2014

Don’t worry, there’s definitely no reason to be scared about a robot hand with lightning fast reflexes it’s totally chill no one will integrate this into some kind of warrior robot or soldier robot or robot cop no no it will only be used to catch foul balls at the baseball game buy me some peanut and cracker jack I’m definitely not imagining these fingers closing around my neck

Isn’t that nice it kinda has a little happy face with those headlights and definitely it isn’t just an incredibly powerful and accurate robot jackhammer

You gotta be fucking kidding me

When people confidently announce that once robots come for our jobs, we’ll find something else to do like we always did, they are drawing from a very short history. The truth is, there’s only been one-and-a-three-quarters of a machine age—we are close to concluding the second one—we are moving into the third one.

And there is probably no fourth one.

No shit. They’re gonna kill us all.



Un(der)known Writers: Frank B. Wilderson, III


After Alice and I had been together for a while, I convinced myself that the looks we got from people in Santa Cruz when we went out were starting to change. Perhaps I’d just been paranoid. Perhaps she was right, I told myself, when she insists that the looks meant no more than, Aren’t those two so in love. Or: Isn’t that cute, a forty-something man and a sixty-something woman. Or: He’s no ageist. Or: She’s really lucky, a second chance at love (not to mention the sex!), when all is said and done, and love conquers all. Maybe they didn’t see me as King Kong screeching from atop the dome when they saw us together. In fact, it seemed as though they liked me. But more importantly, they seemed to trust me. I was soon called upon to counsel. I was called upon to heal. As at an End the War march, when you hear your name being called. Huffing and puffing, she pushes through the crowd and catches up to you. Can I march with you for a little while? she says. Sure, Dorothy, it’s good to see you. Another hour and your lungs are tired from chanting, Hell no we won’t go, we won’t fight for Texaco! Look, she says, pointing to a park bench across the street. She takes you by the hand and together you minnow through the flow of demonstrators to the other side of the street.

On this march the two of you renew your pledge to keep fighting that Son of a Bush! Arm in arm, hand in hand, Black and White and all the Rainbow colors in between are marching with you down the street. You and Dorothy catch your breath on a park bench. You let the sea of signs, towering puppets, and noisemakers flow past. Mind if I ask you something, Frank? I’m troubled. Deeply troubled. Ask me anything, Dorothy. She tells you: I couldn’t even dream of saying this to you if I didn’t know how you and Alice are. You’re the perfect couple. Well, you say (your signature well), we work at it: that’s the key, Dorothy, hard work and commitment. Then you take her hand and you ask her what’s troubling her. It’s really embarrassing, but I’ve got to get it off my chest, she says. You place your other hand over hers. It’s Erica, she says, my daughter, you remember Erica. Frank, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I feel so empty. Dorothy, you say, just breathe deeply, let it all out. Erica’s pregnant, she exclaims, and…and the father is Black. She won’t have an abortion. What is this fixation of hers, Frank? It’s not that she’s with a Black guy, we all dated Black guys in the sixties, it’s not a racist thing with me. But Erica only dates Black guys. It’s unhealthy. A fetish. And now this. I had to talk with you, Frank–anyone else would’ve called me a racist. I’m not racist. I’m a mother. It’s a mother’s pain, Frank: that’s not Black, or White, or Red or Yellow. That’s human nature. No mother wants to think of her daughter falling in and out of bed with a fetish. Tell me, Frank, lay it on me like folks laid it on each other back in the day: Does Erica need therapy? Is she psychotic? She must be psychotic. Frank? Frank, your palms are sweating.

From Frank B. Wilderson, III’s Incognegro


This Week in Art Crime

Patrick Vialaneix

Art thieves are usually a great disappointment to anyone cherishing romantic fictional ideas of gentleman burglars or fanatical collectors. Most of the best-known art thefts of recent years are connected with gangland. Paintings from Munch’s Scream to Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee were taken not by art-lovers, but career criminals on the look-out for forms of underworld collateral.

Patrick Vialaneix appears to be an exception. This French unemployed technician turned up at a police station earlier this year to confess to the theft of Child with a Soap Bubble, a painting often attributed to Rembrandt, from a museum near Cannes in 1999.

If an interview he gave to Le Monde is to be believed, Vialaneix is that rare being – a thief motivated by the love of art. He says he fell in love with the painting when he saw it at the age of 13 and regularly visited it from then onwards to stand rapt before the genius of Rembrandt. Finally, he worked out how he could use his skills as a security technician to steal it.



• • •


A fraudster who was caught stealing £150,000 from the till of one of the country’s leading galleries suffered a double misfortune when he was sentenced by an art-loving judge.

Daniel Edgely took the money by running a ticket scam while working as a cashier at the Courtauld Gallery between 2010 and 2013.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to fraud at Southwark Crown Court – only for the judge, John Price, to admit he was a big fan of the gallery, based at Somerset House in central London.

“I love going there,” Judge Price said of the Courtauld, a leading centre of art conservation that is home to works by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Matisse, Canaletto and Degas and attracts over 200,000 visitors per year.

Sentencing Edgley to three years in prison, the judge said: “The Courtauld is one of the most wonderful institutions … art, pictures and paintings are things that make life so much better.”



• • •


It is unclear when exactly Pei-Shen Qian became complicit in selling his copies as originals. He would later tell Businessweek that he thought he was making art for people who could not afford originals, not unlike the forger who made my Vermeer in part two of this series.

Was Qian naive or complicit? Probably both. But it seems likely that, for some time, Qian believed he was copying a style, not forging one. He was creating Replicants

How rampant is art forgery?

The question is, of course, unanswerable, by its very nature. But many experts estimate that up to half of all art in circulation is fake. In other words, the copy may have already usurped the original.