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reality

<i>Honeyland</i>. Directed by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska. Apolo Media/Trice Films, 2019. 85 minutes.

The Real Real [private]

Are there still documentaries? A glance at this year’s Oscar nominees, a thriving festival circuit, and my own Netflix history makes the answer plain. And yet the question persists. It squats at the end of long days spent consuming “real” images and “true” stories, navigating the apps and feeds animated by user content, the video-driven news homepages, the platforms that upload hundreds of vlogs and tutorials each minute. It confronts those who spend the same long days being captured, consensually and otherwise, by the cameras surrounding us, embedded in the screens we use to watch other people eat, unbox, talk into their bathroom mirrors, and react to other people in other videos. A world in which reality is screened by definition would seem to pose a threat to a genre rooted in its claim on real life. What now distinguishes documentary from the air we breathe? 

Evil [private]

I used to believe there was so much evil in the world,
and though I’m the gentlest of all my friends, I never saw a rose in a vase

The Hafgufa

The Hafgufa is a giant fish or whale said in Old Norse writings to roam the seas.

In the Konungs Skuggsjá, a book of tactics and morality written by King Håkon Håkonsson for his young son, the king is loath to describe the creature—for no one, he says, will believe him without seeing it first with his own two eyes. As for him, he fears it, “for it is a massive fish, that looks more like an island than a living thing.”

Illustration by Kelsey Dake

The Curse of Cool

In the fall of 2005, at the shuttle terminal of New York’s LaGuardia airport, I entered the security line and noticed, in front of me, a slight and slightly stooped older woman. After a couple of blinks, I recognized Joan Didion.

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

[Untitled]

There is no title. There is no title. The body is content. The body is window.
The body is container, curtain, chair, grid. Do you see? Bones & shoulders, a spine

The Thoroughbred

There is, in a nearby field, a retired show horse living out
whatever days it can win, a white horse speckled with brown
flecks. Its limp mane welcomes your hand. On its face,