Trying to concentrate
‘Varlık’ concentrates on the attention economy: whether the corona crisis will wake us from the sleep of social media; the novella as literary form for our distracted times; and why the pandemic did not take place (homage to Baudrillard).
Eurozine review 8/2020
Kultūros barai 4/2020
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Varlık tries to concentrate on the attention economy but finds the coronavirus crisis intruding at every stage. New strategies are constantly being developed to capture the attention of ‘the customer’ and ensure it does not wander, writes issue editor Nilgün Tutal. It is the duty of a journal like Varlık ‘not only to draw our attention, but also to ask whether we are directing it to the right place’.
Wake-up call: Although the bombardment of social media messages and alerts means that ‘we cannot muster the awareness, scrutiny, creative thought and willpower needed to wake up’, there is a chance that the shock of the coronavirus may provide the necessary stimulus, according to Fidan Terzioğlu. ‘This sleep is not our fate. Minds startled by the effects of the virus named corona may awaken from this sleep and recognise the real virus. This virus of consumerist self-centeredness.’
Literature: Fırat Bersun argues that the ‘deep attention’ demanded by reading and the ‘hyper attention’ of the digital meet in cinema. Pelin Kıvrak traces the surge in popularity of the novella in the US, arguing that the attention economy has forced publishers to ask how much time readers are prepared to devote to a single work. And Mehmet Özkan Şüküran examines theoretical aspects of technology’s impact on literary production.
Virtual reality: İncilay Cangöz appeals to Baudrillard to examine how the coronavirus crisis is diverting attention from an agenda of ‘refugees, conflict and crises, sinking ships, bombardments’. Now, on television, ‘actors who play doctors in soaps are given roles in public information films, meaning that even that most positivist of sciences, medicine, has been put to the service of the virtual reality’.
In memoriam: Yaşar Öztürk and Gületekin Emre write in memory of Muzafer İlhan Erdost, the poet and publisher who died in February after a ‘life spent fighting imperialism and fascism’.
Published 11 May 2020
Original in English
On aesthetics, power and conflict: how war makes art seem useless while kindling one’s longing to escape; on a natural disaster made worse by despotism; reflections on the hidden state; mercenaries.
For millions of children in Ukraine, many of whom have been displaced, war has brought trauma that will shape the rest of their lives. Yet children also surprise and encourage adults with imaginative ways of coping. For this father, they are the central heroes of a story of life in wartime.