Chapter one surveys examples from news articles, books, and exhibitions that
take the destruction of art as their starting point, and attempts to gather
these approaches and accounts as a framework for the book. Solvent form
looks to recent examples such as critic Jonathan Jones’s concept of a Museum
of Lost Art—a place where all the destroyed and lost artworks might
hang—poet Henri Lefebvre’s book The Missing Pieces, the Tate Modern’s recent
virtual exhibition Gallery of Lost Art, as well as literary parallels taken
from Tom McCarthy’s Remainder and Georges Perec’s character Bartlebooth in
Life A User’s Manual. From here, it considers Georges Bataille’s concept of
the negative miracle from The Accursed Share in relation to thoughts from
Giorgio Agamben and Paul Virilio, while providing examples such as Rachel
Whiteread’s House, Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing, and Jean
Tinguely’s Homage to New York.
In this chapter, the author, through a family history, speaks of how forced exile persists through generations. He narrates the series of events that took place after he left England and moved to United States, including the catastrophic failures of nuclear reactors. The discussion largely focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations. The author also showcases the differences between English and American cultures.
In this chapter, the author discusses the cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s. The city of the 1920s is often referred to as 'Mr Eastman's town'. Economically, the first three decades of the twentieth century had been described as Rochester's golden age, and the centrality of Eastman-Kodak to the city's prosperity had important cultural consequences. The establishment by George Eastman of the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre in 1922 was the single most important event marking the 'end of provincialism'. The 'Rochester Renaissance' owed a lot to Eastman's wealth and philanthropy .
In this chapter, the author explains the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War. The 'internment of aliens' is a peculiar and rather hysterical measure taken by the British government after Dunkirk. The author describes his father as an alien. He is alien to Britain and to English culture. He came to Britain from Germany in February 1938, was a class C 'enemy alien' (recognised as a genuine refugee, and officially designated a 'friendly' enemy alien). The classifications were made by wartime tribunals set up in Britain in 1939.