Writ Large


UNHAPPY
MEDIUMS




Philosophers say that a medium becomes most visible when there’s friction. 

Computers annoy us when they break, language is something we think about most when it fails us. Unhappy Mediums looks at the middle through the lens of  90s television, Disneyland, psychics, diaspora, doppelgängers, Tamil poetry, the Trans-Siberian railroad, conceptual art, house music undergrounds, Plato’s theories of mimesis, lost lockets and found religion. 


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As a body of work, these essays weave together personal narrative with philosophy and cultural criticism, and speak to migration and diaspora, conversion, media (especially film, TV, and visual art), and the politics of representation.








In “Medium and the Message,” draw together my interest in TV psychic John Edwards, who sees life as a bridge between this world and another, and look at minimalist art to ask why mediums of all kinds get such a bad rap, before ending with my encounters with a Russian fortune-teller who says I’m the reincarnation of Indira Gandhi.



In “Imitation: A Study,” previously published in Georgia Review, I look at mimesis and the way diasporic people and second-gen immigrants are thought of as diluted versions of “authentic” originals. I turn to Plato’s theory of mimesis, a 90s Hollywood film called American Desi, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and my time trying to pass for Indian while in Bangalore to ask about why we’re so obsessed with imitations and copies.
Individually, each essay ties personal material together with larger questions about intermediaries.

Other essays are about mediums of all kinds: bodies dancing to NY’s house music, landscapes emotional and physical, and the nature of time itself.