Cabinet

Cabinet This is the home of Cabinet, a quarterly non-profit cultural magazine based in Brooklyn. The magazine also operates event spaces in Brooklyn and Berlin.
Cabinet is a quarterly non-profit magazine of art and culture based in Brooklyn. The non-profit also publishes books and organizes exhibitions, screenings, events, symposia, and conferences. Cabinet operates an event space in the Gowanus Canal area of Brooklyn and a second space in the Schöneberg area of Berlin.

Antarctica’s “ventifacts” are things of beauty—ornate stone structures hewn by the wind. From Issue 22, Jackie D...
04/22/2019
CABINET // Gale Forces

Antarctica’s “ventifacts” are things of beauty—ornate stone structures hewn by the wind. From Issue 22, Jackie Dee Grom’s photographs of the McMurdo Dry Valleys.

Ern Malley was an enormously successful Australian poet—and a hoax cooked up by two frustrated soldiers. From Issue 33...
04/21/2019
CABINET // The Fall and Rise of Ernest Lalor Malley

Ern Malley was an enormously successful Australian poet—and a hoax cooked up by two frustrated soldiers. From Issue 33, Christine Wertheim on the thin line between experimentalism and comic impersonation.

Hydrotherapy, which originated in Austria, was believed capable of curing just about anything. From Issue 29, Brian Dill...
04/19/2019
CABINET / Hydropolis

Hydrotherapy, which originated in Austria, was believed capable of curing just about anything. From Issue 29, Brian Dillon on the rigors of the Victorian water cure.

“I am cash and oxidation. I am iris and vein... Who am I? What am I? Won’t you hold me in your hand? Won’t you let...
04/16/2019
CABINET // Colors / Turquoise

“I am cash and oxidation. I am iris and vein... Who am I? What am I? Won’t you hold me in your hand? Won’t you let me drown your eye?” From Issue 60, Namwali Serpell’s syllabus for turquoise.

This course will immerse us deeply in the coolest, calmest, and most creative of colors: Blue. We will explore the history of Blue, from the idea that the ancient Greeks did not see the color Blue at all to Persian architecture’s mimicry of the very sky to Blue’s prominence in contemporary brand...

Schizophrenics have long described—and occasionally illustrated—eye-screwing, sight-stopping, roof-stringing, vital-...
04/01/2019
CABINET // The Influencing Machine

Schizophrenics have long described—and occasionally illustrated—eye-screwing, sight-stopping, roof-stringing, vital-tearing, fibre-ripping, or otherwise terrifying devices that persecute them from afar. From Issue 14, Christopher Turner on “influencing machines.”

“It almost seems a republican gesture to chop the ruling clan into a thousand pieces and jumble them up.” From Issue...
03/18/2019
CABINET / Jigsaws: A User’s Manual

“It almost seems a republican gesture to chop the ruling clan into a thousand pieces and jumble them up.” From Issue 16, Christopher Turner on the jigsaw puzzle and his grandfather, puzzler to the queen.

Colt, Pershing, Gatling, Shrapnel. From Issue 27, An imaginary class reunion of the men—and Bertha Krupp—for whom hi...
02/21/2019
CABINET / Men of War

Colt, Pershing, Gatling, Shrapnel. From Issue 27, An imaginary class reunion of the men—and Bertha Krupp—for whom historic weapons are named.

It began with shrapnel, or rather Shrapnel. Lieutenant Henry Shrapnel, that is, whose personal experiments with a new kind of brutal explosive projectile led to the invention that now bears his name. Adopted by the British Army in 1803, shrapnel made Shrapnel into a much-admired man, earning him pro...

“Hands Across the Sea” helped senders and recipients to come to terms with a radically changing world. From Issue 36...
02/18/2019
CABINET / A Link to Bind Where Circumstances Part

“Hands Across the Sea” helped senders and recipients to come to terms with a radically changing world. From Issue 36, Gabriel Coxhead on the Golden Age of postcards’ best-known motif.

Why should the hippopotamus be bigger than the sparrow, the worm smaller than the giraffe? From Issue 28, J. B. S. Halda...
02/16/2019
CABINET // On Being the Right Size

Why should the hippopotamus be bigger than the sparrow, the worm smaller than the giraffe? From Issue 28, J. B. S. Haldane on how evolutionary biology determines the “optimum size.”

The most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size, but for some reason the zoologists have paid singularly little attention to them. In a large textbook of zoology before me I find no indication that the eagle is larger than the sparrow, or the hippopotamus bigger than t...

Nearly a century before Ray Kroc and McDonalds, there was Fred Harvey and the “Harvey House”—a restaurant chain th...
02/15/2019
CABINET // Ingestion / Don’t Slice Ham Too Thin

Nearly a century before Ray Kroc and McDonalds, there was Fred Harvey and the “Harvey House”—a restaurant chain that began in partnership with the Santa Fe & Topeka Railroad. From Issue 17, Jeffrey Kastner on the prehistory of American fast food.

The story of fast food is a classic American one, evoking all the charms, and contradictions, of the country’s cheerfully unapologetic brand of gung-ho capitalism: efficient but routinized, dependable but homogenous, seductive but probably unhealthy in the long run. Its hall of fame includes maver...

“No matter where I was, that pigeon would find me... I had only to wish and call her.” From Issue 55, Dominic Pettma...
02/15/2019
CABINET // Wings of Desire

“No matter where I was, that pigeon would find me... I had only to wish and call her.” From Issue 55, Dominic Pettman on Tesla’s avian paramour.

Over the past twenty years or so, Nikola Tesla has become a folk-hero for the millennial tech-generation, who consider him the godfather of all visionary scientific mavericks, and thus a key precursor to their own “disruptive” aspirations. But during the twilight years of his life, Tesla was a m...

The first Readymade artwork was a pebble found in South Africa, preserved some three million years ago because it happen...
02/13/2019
CABINET // Stumbling Over/Upon Art

The first Readymade artwork was a pebble found in South Africa, preserved some three million years ago because it happened to look like a face. From Issue 19, Dario Gamboni on chance in art.

“Khaki makes the most invisible outfit for the future, a covert skin for battling atop the dead, colorless planet.” ...
02/12/2019
CABINET // Colors / Khaki

“Khaki makes the most invisible outfit for the future, a covert skin for battling atop the dead, colorless planet.” From Issue 13, Ben Marcus on the future’s camouflage.

If any clothing color is meant to corroborate the spasms of a fantasy that we are not really living in cities or towns where all danger from animals has been removed; that instead some forested adventure awaits us for which we must be properly outfitted; that in fact we are secretly rugged safari pe...

Card marking is a venerable and sophisticated art. From Issue 33, Jonathan Allen on juiced cards, luminous readers, sunn...
02/11/2019
CABINET // Mark of Integrity

Card marking is a venerable and sophisticated art. From Issue 33, Jonathan Allen on juiced cards, luminous readers, sunning the deck, and other sharpers’ tricks.

Stock agencies anticipated the postmodern understanding that images constitute “floating signs.” From Issue 22, Jenn...
02/10/2019
CABINET / Re-Use Value

Stock agencies anticipated the postmodern understanding that images constitute “floating signs.” From Issue 22, Jenny Tobias on the pervasive but uncredited influence of stock photography.

Consider this image. It’s clearly a turn-of-the-century studio portrait, but what else is it? To a stock photography agency, it could be an umbrella ad, a calendar illustration, or a costume designer’s reference. To one agency, it’s identified as: 


“Cinderellas” are fantasy stamps from imaginary places. From Issue 18, Bonnie & Roger Riga on the stepchildren of ph...
02/09/2019
CABINET // Return to Sender

“Cinderellas” are fantasy stamps from imaginary places. From Issue 18, Bonnie & Roger Riga on the stepchildren of philately.

Mapmakers use “trap streets” to catch plagiarists. Sometimes, they develop lives of their own. From Issue 47, James ...
02/08/2019
CABINET // Trap Streets

Mapmakers use “trap streets” to catch plagiarists. Sometimes, they develop lives of their own. From Issue 47, James Bridle on the cartographer’s game of cat and mouse.

The last aurochs died out in the seventeenth century. But in 1920, two German zoologists tried to breed them back to lif...
02/07/2019
CABINET // Heavy Breeding

The last aurochs died out in the seventeenth century. But in 1920, two German zoologists tried to breed them back to life. From Issue 45, Michael Wang on “reverse domestication.”

In 1920, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck, directors of the Berlin and Munich zoos, respectively, began a two-decade breeding experiment. Working with domestic cattle sought out for their “primitive” characteristics, they attempted to recreate “in appearance and behavior” the living likeness...

Geometric perspective was, to medieval and Renaissance audiences, nothing less than a form of virtual reality. From Issu...
02/06/2019
CABINET // The Illusionistic Magic of Geometric Figuring

Geometric perspective was, to medieval and Renaissance audiences, nothing less than a form of virtual reality. From Issue 26, Margaret Wertheim on perspectival illusion as a method for “propelling the self out of the body toward the divine.”

The failure of the Seventh Crusade in 1254 is not an event commonly noted in histories of the special effects industry, but the expensive blunderings of Louis IX in the deserts of the Levant precipitated a response that laid out the rationale for a program of visual illusionism not equaled until the...

“Rich curtains, loosely waving to and fro ... [like] the play of the streamers of an aurora borealis.” From Issue 28...
02/05/2019
CABINET // Cyanea Arctica

“Rich curtains, loosely waving to and fro ... [like] the play of the streamers of an aurora borealis.” From Issue 28, Louis Agassiz describes a jellyfish.

The following description of a jellyfish by the Swiss-born Harvard University naturalist Louis Agassiz appeared in his 1862 book Contributions to the Natural History of the United States. Agassiz’s descriptive prose was admired by contemporaries such as David Thoreau and Waldo Emerson, but also la...

02/04/2019
CABINET / Inventory / Artist’s Impact

Mercury’s craters include Tolstoy, Schoenberg, Basho, and Balzac. From Issue 27, an interview with the International Astronomical Union’s Mercury Task Group on picking the planet’s muses.

In November 1973, Mariner 10, an unmanned robotic interplanetary probe, was launched from NASA’s space center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. One of its missions was to capture images of Mercury, a planet whose proximity to the sun had made it one of the most difficult to observe. In fact, Mercury’s...

“When Cary Grant was on Mount Rushmore, I would have liked to put him inside Lincoln’s nostril and let him have a sn...
02/02/2019
CABINET // The Cinematic Spasm

“When Cary Grant was on Mount Rushmore, I would have liked to put him inside Lincoln’s nostril and let him have a sneezing fit.” From Issue 40, Aaron Schuster on cinema and the sneeze.

On snowy days, the world beyond the house is diminished—a double retreat to the interior is staged. From Issue 59, Cha...
02/01/2019
CABINET / A Mind of Winter

On snowy days, the world beyond the house is diminished—a double retreat to the interior is staged. From Issue 59, Charlie Fox on snow and the psyche’s meteorology.

Ever wondered about the “bell” in dumbbell? Eighteenth-century enthusiasts used church bells for athletics and mathe...
01/17/2019
CABINET // Campanologomania

Ever wondered about the “bell” in dumbbell? Eighteenth-century enthusiasts used church bells for athletics and mathematics. From Issue 53, Katherine Hunt on campanology.

In an article in the Spectator in July 1711, the eponymous character Mr. Spectator—as written by Joseph Addison, one of the magazine’s founders—described his exercise routine. When in town, and therefore not able to go out riding, “I exercise myself an Hour every Morning upon a dumb Bell tha...

Gustav Zander is the godfather of modern gym equipment. But his vision of “exercise” largely involved letting the ma...
01/04/2019
CABINET // The Origins of Cybex Space

Gustav Zander is the godfather of modern gym equipment. But his vision of “exercise” largely involved letting the machines work on you. From Issue 29, Carolyn de la Peña on the prehistory of Cybex.

The Swedish physician Gustav Zander’s institute in Stockholm, founded in the late nineteenth century and stocked with twenty-seven of his custom-built machines, was the first “gym” in the sense that we know the word today. His mechanical horse was an early version of the Stairmaster, a contrap...

Drugs were important to Walter Benjamin, confirming his approach to reality and revolution, art and politics. From Issue...
12/17/2018
CABINET // Getting High with Benjamin and Burroughs

Drugs were important to Walter Benjamin, confirming his approach to reality and revolution, art and politics. From Issue 30, Michael Taussig on hashish, yagé, and the muse.

In the spring of 1932, Walter Benjamin bumped into his old friend Felix Noeggerath in Berlin. Noeggerath was packing to go to Ibiza to join his only son, Hans Jakob, who was studying the language and stories of the island, and invited Benjamin to join him. Ibiza was not only beautiful, unknown, and....

12/07/2018

The Wholly Unprecedented Cabinet Book Sale
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins St, Brooklyn, NY
Time: Wednesday, 12 December, 5-8 pm

We've run out of shelf space; you're running out of time! Come pick up a Christmas present or two at the Wholly Unprecedented Cabinet Book Sale next Wednesday evening. Our own books and publications will be heavily discounted (up to two-thirds off) and we have also loads of other publishers' offerings, many of which were lightly used for research. Art, theory, history, poetry, forestry, dentistry ... we have it all.

Hogarth called it the line of beauty. Sterne made it the symbol of a bachelor’s freedom. And Balzac twisted it into th...
12/04/2018
CABINET // Bachelors, Snakes, and Squiggles

Hogarth called it the line of beauty. Sterne made it the symbol of a bachelor’s freedom. And Balzac twisted it into the “serpentine trace” of early modern capitalism. From Issue 36, Aaron Schuster on the etymology of a literary doodle.

In 1753, the renowned English painter, printmaker, satirist, and cartoonist William Hogarth published his treatise The Analysis of Beauty, one of the major works of pre-Kantian aesthetics. In it, he presents what quickly became an influential defense of the wavy line, the “line of grace” or “l...

Nearly a century before  McDonalds, there was the “Harvey House.” From Issue 17, Jeffrey Kastner on a railroad resta...
12/03/2018
CABINET // Ingestion / Don’t Slice Ham Too Thin

Nearly a century before McDonalds, there was the “Harvey House.” From Issue 17, Jeffrey Kastner on a railroad restaurant chain and the prehistory of American fast food.

The story of fast food is a classic American one, evoking all the charms, and contradictions, of the country’s cheerfully unapologetic brand of gung-ho capitalism: efficient but routinized, dependable but homogenous, seductive but probably unhealthy in the long run. Its hall of fame includes maver...

“Sodaconstructor” models are like digital organisms—a vast evolutionary experiment authored by a global community....
12/02/2018
CABINET // Evolving out of the Virtual Mud: An Interview with Ed Burton

“Sodaconstructor” models are like digital organisms—a vast evolutionary experiment authored by a global community. From Issue 19, Margaret Wertheim interviews the program’s designer.

They crawl, they hop, they slink, and they undulate. Some roll, some fly, and others unfold from a simple triangle. These “creatures” are the products of an imaginative evolutionary experiment that now involves more than 100,000 people worldwide. Each of these forms has been created through a pr...

Galen believed that without nutrition, human bodies would pop like balloons. From Issue 37, Jonathan Allen on the Holy S...
11/23/2018
CABINET // Pop Art

Galen believed that without nutrition, human bodies would pop like balloons. From Issue 37, Jonathan Allen on the Holy Spirit, rubber balloons, and the bubble-like nature of human life.

The God of Genesis “gave his adorers the supreme example of ideal laziness; after six days of work, he rested for eter...
11/22/2018
CABINET / Fatigued

The God of Genesis “gave his adorers the supreme example of ideal laziness; after six days of work, he rested for eternity.” From Issue 29, Marina van Zuylen on Paul Lafargue and the right to be idle.

In the frenetic lives we lead, while it is not unusual for us to brag about our late nights at work, to recount feats of heroic exhaustion at the gym, we would rather be caught dead than admit to a most excellent bout of napping or a particularly enjoyable daydream. We use our precious days off catc...

Haggling can seem “a shameless contest in deception” but it is actually “an honorable ritual.” From Issue 33, He...
11/21/2018
CABINET // Let’s Make a Deal

Haggling can seem “a shameless contest in deception” but it is actually “an honorable ritual.” From Issue 33, Herant Katchadourian on making a deal.

“There is no point haggling with the Hong Kong Chinese,” advised my friend, “You might just as well pay what they want and not waste your time.”

Before it meant laziness, “sloth” could refer to busy distraction, purposeless hyperactivity, or spiritual malaise. ...
11/19/2018
CABINET // The Young and the Restless

Before it meant laziness, “sloth” could refer to busy distraction, purposeless hyperactivity, or spiritual malaise. From Issue 29, Daniel Rosenberg on the changing idioms of idleness.

11/18/2018
CABINET // Cherry, Cherry, Cherry

How did the slot machine get its cherries? From Issue 19, Marshall Fey on the many disguises of gambling machines.

The history of the slot machine—the familiar three-reel version of which was invented by San Francisco auto mechanic Charles Fey in the late 1880s—is marked by the device’s constant struggle for survival, during which many ploys were used to circumvent the gambling laws of the day. Perhaps the...

Rudolf van Laban aspired to create a universal notation for dance, a “kinetography” of more than 1,421 symbols. From...
11/17/2018
CABINET // The Art of Movement

Rudolf van Laban aspired to create a universal notation for dance, a “kinetography” of more than 1,421 symbols. From Issue 36, Christopher Turner on a dionysian ecstatic and his “labanotations.”

For the American food industry, color means gaiety—an association with a long racial history. From our latest issue, C...
11/16/2018
Float

For the American food industry, color means gaiety—an association with a long racial history. From our latest issue, Catherine Keyser on the white rabbit and his colorful tricks.

How did the rectangle become Western art’s anatomical limit? From our latest issue, Amy Knight Powell on triptychs, cu...
11/15/2018
Rectangle after Rectangle

How did the rectangle become Western art’s anatomical limit? From our latest issue, Amy Knight Powell on triptychs, cubism, and codices.

Cabinet issue no. 65 is here to drop some “Knowledge.”Including thirteen essays originally commissioned by Cabinet f...
11/07/2018
Cabinet

Cabinet issue no. 65 is here to drop some “Knowledge.”

Including thirteen essays originally commissioned by Cabinet for the 2013 Venice Biennale, our latest volume features a long list of excellent contributors, including Lina Bolzoni, Steven Connor, Amy Hollywood, Marina Warner, Leif Weatherby, Susan Zieger, and more.

You can get your hands on a copy here: https://secure.cabinetmagazine.org/store/product/119

Catherine Keyser’s “The White Rabbit and His Colorful Tricks,” Amy Knight Powell’s “Rectangle after Rectangle” and Cecilia Sjöholm’s “The Power of Naming“ have been made available online.

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