Latest: For Hyperallergic “Marina Abramović, Mobs, and the Cult of the Hero”
Alex // A.V. Marraccini // Dr. Marraccini
Essays, Criticism, Parafictions & Other Writing
Agent: Jessica Craig at Craig Literary.
I am a critic, essayist, and historian of art. Currently, I’m a postdoctoral research associate with the Bilderfahrzeuge Project at the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, where I am broadly writing on criticism and affect, biological forms and the English baroque, with implications for art historiography and comparative study of postwar Japanese architecture, and in contemporary theory of emerging technology, including blockchains, NFTs, and cryptoart. Broadly, I’ve always been interested in the intersections between art and science in my academic as well as public writing, as well as criticism as form and the ways in which it can produce new approaches to knowledge-making. I work regularly as a critic, reviewer and essayist, for Firmament, Hyperallergic, the Times Literary Supplement, the LA Review of Books, Artforum, and a variety of other publications. In addition to writing about art, I also write about and for independent presses, experimental and speculative fiction, cities and the imaginary, critical theory of digital media, queer theory, and aesthetics.
Currently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow of the Bilderfahrzeuge Project in art history based at the Warburg Institute in London. In the past year, I was selected as a 2021-22 National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Emerging Critics Fellow. I have also been an Associate Lecturer in Critical Studies at Central St. Martins, University of the Arts, London, advising BA Fine Art Dissertations, and this current year, I am guest lecturing at the Royal College of Art MA Writing course. I received my PhD from the University of Chicago (2018) in the History of Art, and previously earned my BA from Yale University in History. In the 2016-17 academic year I was the RSA-Kress-Bodleian Fellow at the Bodleian Centre for the Study of the Book, and finished my doctoral work as a visiting member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
My work generally ranges across the spectrum of creative nonfiction using hybrid forms. I’m currently working on my second book, new theoretical essays on crypto-art and the technologies, methods, and cultures emerging from web3 and its entanglement with capital.
My first book, We The Parasites, is forthcoming from Sublunary Editions in the US in February 2023. Intertwining fig wasps, Updike, Genet, Twombly, Rilke, jewel heists, and a vividly rendered panoply of histories and myths from classical antiquity, it both tells a strange love story and makes a slantwise argument about reading with the body. We The Parasites reconfigures how longing changes and informs our relationship with art and literature, and asks what it means to want. It’s an essay-memoir in five lyrical acts.
For editorial access to paywalled stories, or for .pdf pieces of work in print only, please contact me directly. Brixton Review Of Books and Firmament pieces are not currently available online.
Grid-Pharos-Blockchain: Technologies of Inscription, lecture at the Warburg Institute
Introductory essay for Gen2GAN by Dmitri Cherniak and Helena Sarin
On Prokofiev and generative art for Outland
Selected Recent Work:
13 September 2022 — For Hyperallergic “Marina Abramović, Mobs, and the Cult of the Hero” – on Marat/Sade, The Hero 25 FPS, internet mobs, and reading useful impurity in Abramović’s body of work
July 2022 — For Firmament, Vol.3 Issue 2 — “Crusader Kings”– experimental short fiction on the non-player character (NPC) in computer games as phenomenological experience for Firmament
7 July 2022 — for Arebyte Gallery, L’ Inconnue/L’avatar — commissioned exhibition essay on La Turbo Avedon’s ‘Club Zero’— about Rilke, avatars, Seine drownings, faces, and the Bildungsroman of the digital self– starting on page ten of the linked exhibition booklet
16 June 2022 — for Artforum, Ethereal Presence: NFTs and the Theater Of Risk — on Fried’s Art & Objecthood, theatricality, capital, and grace, using John Donne, Shl0ms’ $CAR and Folia’s Kudzu.
10 February 2022– for Right Click Save, On The New Evolution Of Generative Art, about the digital work of Michaël Zancan and Matt DesLauriers,
31 January 2021 — for Hyperallegic, Waiting for the ‘Drop’: Crypto-Art and Speed, a theoretical-historical piece defining crypto-art as catatachtics
13 December 2021– for Softpunk Magagine, The Built Environment Makes Me Horny— On Bachelard, The Internet Space, And Ruin
5 October 2021– For Dirt, Only Knitters Left Alive On virtual architecture, the aesthetics of “Cottagecore”, and accidental vampirism. October 2021.
8 September 2021– For the LARB’s Avidly, Twenty-Five Thoughts On The Method Wars, a bloodbath of the current state of criticism as parafictional numbered essay
Summer 2021 (July). For Sublunary Editions‘ new quarterly magazine Firmament, a regular column on ‘Object Crushes’ — material cultural crushes in the literary mode– No. 2 ‘Murex’ on deep classical pasts, Procopian histories, and strange futures.
July 2021– Give Me Difficulty-– a review/critique of the British Museum’s Nero exhibition with a focus on historiography and the ‘new classics’ of postcolonial theory and praxis for Review31.
Late June 2021. For BOMB Magazine: ‘Duvet Theories‘; an experimental piece on softness, bedding, certainty, Fra Angelico, and Caravaggio. Issue 156 (in print late June, online later).
3 June 2021– Dirt: I’m a Sims interior decorator– a humorous take on the Late Capitalist suburban Mid-Mod smash-up aesthetics of The Sims 4 architecture and design, and the inexplicable fun/torment of the new game pack, Dream Interior Decorator.
2 June 2021– Old Cages, New Bodies, New Scrutiny— a review of Paul B. Preciado’s Can The Monster Speak? and attendant issues in queer theory, for Review31.
1 April 2021– For Sublunary Editions‘ quarterly magazine Firmament, a regular column on ‘Object Crushes’ — material cultural crushes in the literary mode– No.1 ‘Sword’ on Mishima, Iaido, doubt, and hesitation.
19 March 2021– A Personal Anthology-– my thoughts on collected short fiction and things that are definitely not collected short fiction, in a literary-critical list as part of a curated series run by Jonathan Gill
February 2021 My interview for the Royal College of Art MA Writing Programme Podcast— Scrawl
26 November 2020. Plop, plop, plop, plop. For Review 31, on Laura Waddell for Object Lessons: ‘EXIT’.
17 November 2020. Lend Me Your Geometries for Dilettante Army: On Christopher Wren, Restoration London, city planning, fires, Riemann curvatures, the persistence of history, Japanese Metabolist architecture, Agnes Martin, grids, and other things that are or are not a torus.
19 October 2020 “Consider The Pigeon” on London city churches, animal studies, and pigeons as a baroque on the Bilderfahrzeuge research project blog
8 October 2020 Guest seminar on criticism, aesthetics, and erotics in the MA Writing Course at the Royal College of Art.
19 September 2020 for the LA Review of Books (LARB): Mordew and The New Leftist Imaginary (on Alex Pheby’s Mordew and the political implications of British spec fic and fantasy in America)
28 July 2020: Avian Histories for Review 31 (on Richard Smyth’s An Indifference Of Birds and the pandemic anthropocene).
Coronavirus special online seminars on Twitch– summaries and more here.
Coronavirus shortform work, Spring 2020, and reprise in Spring 2021:
for the Indoor Voices blog:
+ Coffeecore: The Goodbye (a reprise piece written in 2021 to commemorate one year from first lockdown on the Indoor Voices blog, should be read last in the series)
+ Coffeecore: The Winter Garden(#coffeecore, clavichord, foliage, ice skating, longing, ornament, winter gardens
+ Coffeecore: Exercises In Style (#coffeecore, aesthetic, alternate universe Oulipo, cafes, Exercices de Style, probabilities, Queneau, tulips)
+ Coffeecore: On The City (#coffeecore, aesthetic, bonsai, cities, gachapon machines, little worlds, nested realities, pixel flâneur, swimming pools)
+ Coffeecore: The Rainy Day (#coffeecore, aesthetics, Chopin, metropolitan fictions, rainy day, Satie, the nights they pass slowly here– another GIF essay in the ‘Coffeecore’ world)
+ Rilke In Neon (a labyrinth, GIF essay, on Rilke, on the aesthetic of feeling, on plague thinkpieces, on permutations of uncertainty)
+ Consider The Arcologies (fictional histories, pixel flâneur, SimCity 2000, structures as lives, Tlön Uqbar Orbis Tertius)
+ The Coffeecore Extended Universe (90’s nostalgia, aesthetic, coffee, coffeecore, cosseting, office life, soft world, turned into a surreal weird story by accident, but also an essay in GIFS)
+ on soothing 90’s anime-style “Coffeecore” .gifs
+ Illness As Simile (on Coronavirus, Homeric simile, time, Jerome Robbins’ ballet ‘Glass Pieces’, and Félix González-Torres’ AIDS installations)
27 April 2020: a para-academic review of Wellnow.wtf online exhibition for the Bilderfahrzeuge research blog, considering netart evolving as the “New New Media” in the age of lockdown
17 February 2020 at UAL: Central Saint Martins, a guest lecture on critical practise for the Art Programme entitled “On Criticism, Parasitism, and Desire”.
14 February 2020, cover piece in the TLS: “Jack In Black: Reading Our New John Donnes”
For the Bilderfahrzeuge Project’s research blog, a para-academic essay on Rosalind Krauss, Derrida, and Twombly’s Commodus series as queer.
For Review31, on Paul B. Preciado’s An Apartment On Uranus: ‘How To Fuck With Your Desires”
For the LARB blog, on reading and tweeting Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport: ‘Ducks, Summer’
For the TLS, longform review-essay on the possibilities of new speculative fiction: ‘Tenderly Entangled’
For the TLS, on Ursula K. LeGuin: ‘Language of the Making
Essays For The Brixton Review Of Books:
- On Small Press Poets, and the nature of poetic riskiness. Fall 2019.
- On James Brookes’ Spoils (the pastoral, the baroque in modern poetry). Fall 2018.