Have you ever come across one of those fantastical news stories of somebody who randomly wakes up with the ability to play piano? You know, a person whose fingers suddenly and magically master classical sonatas, having never so much as stumbled through Chopsticks previously? I’ve always been suspicious of those accounts, but this 2021 Genesis GV80 is making me reconsider. Why? Because with exactly zero experience building true luxury SUVs, this Korean upstart seems to have nailed the brief right out of the box. This is a harmonious, fully realized midsize crossover with its own appeal — one ready to rub shoulders with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz at the front of the pack.Admittedly, the Genesis isn’t an overnight sensation, let alone some sort of unknown startup. The brand is built on Hyundai’s considerable shoulders, and Hyundai has been fielding convincing Genesis sedans for years, as well as some awfully good mass-market sport utilities. But this GV80 isn’t just Genesis’ first SUV, it’s the parent company’s first unibody crossover built on rear-wheel-drive architecture, too. But just because Genesis is belatedly arriving to the ball doesn’t mean it’s content to be a wallflower.
2021 Genesis GV80: Posh tour de force performance in…
On the contrary, all you need to do is take one look at the GV80’s massive, Superman-shield-shaped grille or its distinctive double-hashmark lighting to know that this SUV isn’t looking to slip in the side door and mingle unnoticed. The top-shelf Prestige trim seen here rides on massive 22-inch Michelin Primacy Tour all-season rubber, and the rest of the vehicle’s details and proportions really suit being fitted with oversized wheels. Even lesser trims start out on still-large 19 inchers. For better or for worse, the 2021 Genesis GV80 is a seriously unsubtle piece of design, and even if it’s not your thing, there’s little doubt that it looks expensive and that it has serious curb presence.
Whether you use the traditional fob or the available digital, sharable phone key to open the door, you’ll find that the GV80’s gravitas carries over to its cabin. The cockpit is swathed in all manner of upscale materials and finishes, including substantial planks of matte-finish wood and knurled switchgear that looks and feels premium. Prestige trims like this one ladle on lots of extra niceties, including a suede-like headliner and very trick 3D-effect all-digital gauge cluster (the latter is an industry first).Then there’s the 14.5-inch widescreen infotainment system with its high resolution and sparkling graphics. It’s perched atop the dash like a billboard, but thanks to its ultra-long span and the gentle curvature of the gauge binnacle, this display doesn’t look like a tacked-on afterthought. Manipulated via touchscreen or a large jog wheel with integrated directional click ring (not unlike iPods of yore) and a center handwriting recognition pad, the GV80’s infotainment system is new and powerful, yet it’s surprisingly easy to get accustomed to its tile-based layout.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of room inside, too. The 194.7-inch-long GV80 rides atop a 116.3-inch wheelbase, which affords ample head-, shoulder- and legroom in both the first and (slidable and reclinable) second row. Yes, a power-folding third row is available, but only on a single upper-midrange trim with the larger engine. With the way this plus-two setup eats into cargo space while only offering tight seating accommodations, I’d recommend sticking with a two-row model.
For those keeping track, cargo space behind the optional third row is a modest 11.6 cubic feet. Space behind the second row is a more substantial 33.9 cubes, and if you fold all the seats behind the front row, you’re looking at 84 cubic feet, a figure that edges out the Mercedes GLE-Class and trounces the BMW X5.The cabin is a special place with its own sense of style and lo tech. That two-spoke rugby-ball wheel is controversial, though.
If you’re looking for another good reason to skip the third row, try this: You can’t get my pick of the GV80’s range, the Prestige model. I seldom recommend splurging on a top trim, but it’s worth doing here for the added creature comforts, including Genesis’ novel Ergo Motion massaging front seats that can measure occupants to make posture recommendations. The latter are clad in higher-quality, quilted Nappa leather and are comfy enough that you might decide to lounge in your driveway, just to get the chance to listen to the high-fidelity, 21-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio. What’s more, select highline models are also treated to an adaptive multilink suspension front and rear that includes a road-reading camera to optimize the dampers for any surface in advance — with those heavy 22-inch steamrollers at each corner, you’ll want whatever tech assistance you can get to smooth out the ride.Pro tip: When ordered in more unusual color combinations like Maroon Brown with Smokey Green leather, the GV80’s cabin feels premium and often more luxurious than what’s offered by comparable German and Japanese rivals such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE and Lexus RX. In fact, this Genesis compares well against less-popular class picks like the Lincoln Aviator and Volvo XC90, both of which are perhaps better known for their stunning interiors than they are for anything else.All of this is to say that not only is the GV80 luxurious and precisely assembled, it looks and feels both original and special, as well as appreciably high-tech. If there are any false notes, they’re small crimes of omission — Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t offered wirelessly, and you can’t get a Wi-Fi hotspot or rear-seat entertainment. That two-spoke rugby-ball steering wheel is a bit of an odd throwback, too, but at least it’s distinct.The GV80’s 14.5-inch infotainment system is snappy and feature rich, with both touchscreen and jog-dial interfaces.
If you’re looking for a fire-breathing sport utility with more of an emphasis on the former than the latter, the GV80 is not your ride — at least not right now. At launch, there will be two engines available: a turbocharged, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6, both yoked to an obedient eight-speed automatic transmission. The I4 is available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive formats, and it puts out 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. While my brief drive time in the I4 suggests it’s up to the job, it’s the V6 powertrain I’ve spent the most time with, so it’s the combination I’m going to focus on for this review. That’s just as well, because with a vehicle that’s as bold and brash as this, choosing the burliest powertrain only seems fitting. Plus, the GV80 is no lightweight — a base RWD 2.5T is over 4,500 pounds, and an all-mod-cons 3.5T with mandatory AWD like this one tips the scales at around 5,000 pounds. The V6 has 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, enough to sling this sled to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. That time won’t throw a scare into a BMW X5 sDrive40i owner, let alone an X5 M pilot, but that’s just fine. The GV80 handles sharply and the suspension setup is on the firm side regardless of drive mode setting, but this Genesis isn’t a hot-rod wagon on stilts like a Mercedes-AMG GLE63. The GV80 feels powerful, but it’s still a coddle-me-first, thrill-me-second proposition. From its muted growl at full throttle to its supple, direct steering and easy-to-modulate brakes, the GV80 is a zen cocoon. This is a vehicle that knows and embraces its mission for balanced, total luxury, and it’s unexpectedly excellent for exactly that reason.The GV80 offers a third row, but this SUV is at its best in a five-seat configuration.
None of this is to say that GV80’s big six feels lazy. Yes, it’s super quiet on the inside owing to active road-noise cancellation tech, laminated glass and all kinds of sound-deadening materials. But the V6 sounds better on the outside, and more importantly, it’s got the power to underscore those looks. In fact, it’s worth noting that while both powertrains are rated to tow 6,000 pounds, the twin-turbo setup helps the 3.5-liter’s torque peak kick in earlier and hang around longer (1,300 to 4,500 rpm) than the less-expensive four-cylinder (1,650 to 4,000 rpm), which should help be an even more effective towing partner. For my money, it’d be great if Genesis were eventually to offer an even-more-powerful V8 or hybrid model to match the Germans — the chassis is up to it.That said, if there’s an Achilles heel with the GV80’s performance, it’s fuel economy. Of course, that’s a problem shared by every model in this class — at least those without hybrid assist. An entry-level RWD 2.5T rings up at 25 miles per gallon city, 21 highway and 23 combined. A loaded AWD 3.5T like this Prestige is rated at 23 mpg city, 18 highway and 20 combined. These are unimpressive figures — especially on premium fuel — but they’re wholly competitive for this class.If you’re looking for more pleasing numbers, I’d suggest checking out pricing. The GV80 range starts at under $50,000 delivered for a 2.5T RWD — picking up right where Hyundai’s excellent Palisade Calligraphy SUV leaves off. Yes, the Lexus RX is slightly cheaper for starters, but it’s also smaller, less powerful and less luxurious. The Germans? They’re all more expensive. Just over $60K will get you into a base 3.5T AWD.At around $72,000, the loaded GV80 Prestige isn’t cheap, but this Korean-built SUV is both a strong value and excellent overall.
At the other end of the range, my pick, the loaded-up Prestige with all-wheel drive and the big engine rings up just shy of $72,000 (including $1,025 delivery). To be sure, that’s a lot of money, but it’s far, far cheaper than a comparable European. Besides, I think I even prefer the way the GV80 feels overall.No matter which trim you opt for, there’s a full suite of advanced driver assist systems in the mix. Forward collision with auto-brake, lane-departure warning and blind-spot assist are standard, as is a driver monitor. The Prestige trim comes bundled with with Highway Driving Assist II, which includes lane centering, sign recognition and even automated lane changes, as well as Remote Smart Park Assist, which allows drivers to park in tight spots while standing outside their vehicle. These features are also available as part of two driving assistance packages on lesser models.It’s 100% true that Hyundai miscalculated where the market was going when it chose to launch its new premium Genesis brand with three sedans, just as consumers were jumping the passenger-car ship in favor of SUVs. But at least Genesis was smart enough to realize that if you’re gonna be late to the utility-vehicle party, you’ve got to come hard with swag and substance. The automaker’s first stab at the genre has both, and while it’s far from an overnight sensation, this 2021 Genesis GV80 has the goods to shock luxury buyers — and more than a few car companies — with its all-around excellence.
Drake sides with The Weeknd, says Grammys ‘may no longer matter’
The rapper took to social media to complain about it.”I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones…
The rapper took to social media to complain about it.”I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after,” Drake wrote on his Instagram stories. “It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways.”Despite the commercial and critical success of The Weeknd’s “After Hours” album, and many industry observers considered his single, “Blinding Lights,” a frontrunner for song of the year, he did not receive Grammy nods.Drake wrote that he, too, had thought that The Weeknd “was a lock for either album or song of the year along with countless other reasonable assumptions and it just never goes that way.””This is a great time for somebody to start something new that we can build up over time and pass on to the generations to come,” Drake said.After the nominations were announced on Tuesday, The Weeknd took to Twitter.”The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency,” he wrote.Harvey Mason Jr., the Recording Academy’s chair and interim president/CEO, said in a statement to CNN “We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated.””I was surprised and can empathize with what he’s feeling. His music this year was excellent, and his contributions to the music community and broader world are worthy of everyone’s admiration,” the statement continued. “We were thrilled when we found out he would be performing at the upcoming Super Bowl and we would have loved to have him also perform on the GRAMMY stage the weekend before. Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists.”For years The Recording Academy has been the target of criticism that it is out of step with the preferences of consumers and has failed to recognize women and artists of color equally.Nicki Minaj appeared to echo that latter point when she tweeted after the nominations “Never forget the Grammys didn’t give me my best new artist award when I had 7 songs simultaneously charting on billboard & bigger first week than any female rapper in the last decade- went on to inspire a generation. They gave it to the white man Bon Iver.”Singer Teyana Taylor tweeted that there were no female nominees in the best R&B album category.Justin Bieber, who racked up nominations in both the pop and country categories, complained that he should be vying for R&B awards.”To the Grammys I am flattered to be acknowledged and appreciated for my artistry,” he wrote in a statement posted on his verified Instagram account. “I am very meticulous and intentional about my music. With that being said, I set out to make an R&B album. Changes was, and is, an R&B album. It is not being acknowledged as an R&B album which is very strange to me.”
Letter from Paris: French Universalism Shows its Limitations in the Art World—and Beyond
As the world came to a halt in the spring, I was reading two books simultaneously: How We Became Posthuman, a seminal work from 1999 by N. Katherine Hayles about transformation in the digital age, and Achille Mbembe’s Brutalisme, a philosophical volume on our tumultuous times that had just been published a few weeks prior.…
As the world came to a halt in the spring, I was reading two books simultaneously: How We Became Posthuman, a seminal work from 1999 by N. Katherine Hayles about transformation in the digital age, and Achille Mbembe’s Brutalisme, a philosophical volume on our tumultuous times that had just been published a few weeks prior. I opened both looking for material to back up some points in an essay I was writing. But I quickly realized that, taken together, they pointed to something crucial to an understanding of the workings of French institutions and how, in the art world, those institutions are positioning themselves in terms of exclusion, inclusion, and secession.
As France went into lockdown and resorted to a frenetic consumption of news, specific themes started to surface around questions related to what it means to be human and the long-debated concept of French universalism. Handed down through history as a remnant of the 1789 Revolution, French universalism is based on a belief that to be treated equal and be free, citizens should surrender their personal affiliations and that no group should be given special treatment. In the 1990s, however, universalism’s ideal of an abstract, essentialized citizen with no particularities collided with real bodies as women, queer activists, and immigrants started to organize, with support from multiculturalist politics gaining ground in Europe.
While the dominant political discourse in France remains conditioned by mutations of a universalist heritage, the pandemic shined light on a notable divide. In one camp were idealists hoping that a collective vulnerability to a shared, natural threat would revive the hope of building a world in common. In the other were more pragmatic observers who couldn’t help but notice how contamination rates among stigmatized minorities mirrored the results of years of politics based on an “indifference to difference.” (While statistics based on race, ethnicity, or gender remain forbidden in France, contamination rates in suburbs populated by a majority of residents of foreign origin with higher unemployment rates were soaring.)
In the context of the first camp, Hayles’s study of the posthuman can be read as an attempt to salvage a “critical universalist” position by foregrounding how the human stands in relation to other species and artificial agents. In April, Hayles herself published an essay, “Novel Corona: Posthuman Virus,” stressing “the commonalities that all humans share with one another, notwithstanding all the ethnic, racial, geopolitical, and other differences that exist between us.”
But, as reflected by the second camp, humans are mnemonic beings who reflect past and present living conditions, with vulnerabilities that affect some more than others. As Mbembe prophetically wrote in Brutalisme, humanity’s essence has been transformed and its existence threatened as a result of historically imposed Western dichotomies (nature/culture, subject/object, human/nonhuman) that erased ancestral African cosmogonies rooted in free-flowing and ever-reconfiguring flux.
Achille Mbembe with his award-winning book Critique of Black Reason (2015).
Matthias Balk/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Image.
During lockdown, Brutalisme—a dense and sinuous reconsideration of contemporary theories about technology, identity, and ecology—became one of the most-read books in France. While Mbembe was already a prominent public intellectual there (he graduated from the Sorbonne and the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and has frequently written for national newspapers), the book’s popularity can be pinned to a more specific cause. In April, Mbembe published a piece at the francophone website aoc.media (the acronym for “Analyse Opinion Critique”) that spread quickly as other publications shared extracts and responses translated in several languages.
The highly freighted term “universal” appeared in the article’s title, “The Universal Right to Breathe”—a gesture that was hard not to notice in a political context where the French president was rekindling the old debate over universalism by proclaiming “fighting separatism” as his priority. Before this moment, the Cameroon-born Mbembe had been known mostly for his analysis of contemporary power relations, widening the scope of “biopower” through his pivotal concept of “necropolitics,” or the annihilation of those considered enemies of the state. Sovereignty, he explained, equals the power to decide who lives and who doesn’t, as exemplified by modern states built on slavery, apartheid, and colonization—a power that, in recent times, has been extended on a planetary scale to include supranational entities such as corporations.
In such a context, “separatism” appears above all a vital reaction to the peril of death imposed on those treated, in Mbembe’s words, as “mere waste.” And the pandemic reveals political universalism as the material, structural construction of power that it is, regardless of whether citizens adhere to it or not. It is a kind of power that operates through what Mbembe describes as “fracturing and fissuring” and “expelling organic matter.” When he calls for a “universal right to breathe,” he simultaneously exposes how universalism has normalized its opposite.
In the institutional art world, metaphors of life and death prevail, and while most spaces survived the first phase of lockdown, those that did not offer a striking example of the unevenly shared “right to breathe.”
Above, a literary event organized by the publishing house Présence Africaine at La Colonie, Paris, October 2019.
Photo Alix Hugonnier.
In the middle of March, a multi–disciplinary space founded in 2016 by artist Kader Attia and restaurateur Zico Selloum to host exhibitions, critical debates, book releases, film screenings, concerts, and DJ sets announced that it was closing due to a funding deficit. Located near Gare de l’Est in central Paris, La Colonie (written so as to connote an anti-colony) was financed by income from a bar in the space, a model similar to the one Attia used in the early 2000s, when he financed much of his work through his bar Le Café Chéri(e).
Offering free entrance, La Colonie became a home for unheard ideas and, contrary to state-run institutions, did not impose translation on non-francophone voices. It played a major part in making decolonial thought accessible to a larger public by appealing to antiracist, militant circles as well as scholars and thinkers, threading together the two groups by hosting the likes of writer Françoise Vergès, artist and editor Pascale Obolo, philosopher Seloua Luste Boulbina, and economist Felwine Sarr.
When Attia launched a crowdfunding campaign to reopen the space elsewhere, Olivier Marboeuf, an artist, writer, and editor, wrote him a letter on Facebook stressing how they both create “organisms, collective bodies that grow, live and die” in the act of building “not monuments, but lifeforms.” In 2004, Marboeuf founded Espace Khiasma, a similar space dedicated to producing and exhibiting artists’ films until it was forced to close for financial reasons in 2018.
In an interview he was generous enough to grant me when Espace Khiasma was still running, Marboeuf explained how the “inequality, humiliation, and domination [is] disguised by the neutral figure of the citizen” and how universalist institutions have been preventing the emergence of a racialized intellectual elite. Regarding Khiasma, he emphasized how the space reflected the need for excluded communities to invent their own tools—as he himself had by refusing to become a curator in existing state-run institutions. “We don’t need them to validate what we create,” he said. “The [goal] is not to be against those big institutions, but not to depend on them anymore.”
Since early 2019, Khiasma’s former space has hosted new initiatives led by a collective structure of volunteers and various associations that gather different projects and undertakings. The name given to this experimental “house for all” is A Place to Breathe [Un Lieu pour respirer]. Marboeuf says such spaces mark “a new form of presence through flight.” The act of organizing independent, autonomous, and horizontally interconnected spaces that grow like mangroves puts different forms and practices on the agenda while transcending traditional cultural programs and politics.
Assa Traoré at a demonstration in memory of her brother Adama, July 2020.
Sipa via AP Images.
Even as the former Khiasma space continued to be A Place to Breathe, the “post-Covid-19” period that Mbembe wrote about in early April was tragically followed by what he called another “premature cessation of breathing.” In France, the wave of anger that spanned the world after the killing of George Floyd in America found its voice through Assa Traoré, who since her brother’s death in police custody in 2016 has managed to turn her advocacy group, Justice for Adama, into a widespread social movement and herself into an important political figure.
The protests in support of Black Lives Matter shined new light on questions of equality—something that riots in France in 2005 in response to the fatal electrocution of two teenage boys fleeing the police had not, or at least not to the same degree. In July, the New York Times published an in-depth article under the headline “A Racial Awakening in France, Where Race Is a Taboo Topic.” The author, Norimitsu Onishi, interviewed several key intellectuals and public figures—from Maboula Soumahoro and Binetou Sylla to Rhoda Tchokokam and Rokhaya Diallo—who represent a younger generation bringing debate over race to the fore.
Brick-and-mortar spaces like A Place To Breathe have recently been joined by virtual spaces working toward a shared cause. In March, Seumboy Vrainom :€, an artist and self-described “digital shaman apprentice,” put up on Instagram and YouTube the first video in what he called his Histoires Crépues (“frizzy histories”), a series meant to explore “our shared colonial history” as “complex and frizzy” as his hair. Each video explains a concept or event through cross-reading sources and references accessible free online; collectively, the videos will eventually form a database.
Screengrab of Seumboy Vrainom :€’s Instagram page.
In French schools, Seumboy Vrainom :€ recalled, the only education he had about racism referred to American history, as though French and European colonization had never happened. In Histoires Crépues he analyzes such topics as Africa’s debt, police violence, and racist monuments, showing how French colonial history still shapes society—all while avoiding American and African-American concepts as sole references.
Another example of an alternative digital space is Qalqalah قلقلة, a curatorial platform founded by independent curators Virginie Bobin and Victorine Grataloup in reaction to “a political and intellectual context and media coverage marked by reactionary, authoritarian, and discriminatory speeches and acts.” Dedicated to the production, translation, and circulation of artistic, theoretical, and literary research in French, Arabic, and English, the site’s online editorial space launched in March with the mission, as expressed by writer and theorist Sarah Rifky, to expand beyond “monolingual activists.”
Initiatives of the sort show how a younger generation continues to move beyond universalism by encouraging alternative, collective discourse and by refusing to surrender to total legibility. The pandemic allowed nimble experimentation to take place, as state-run institutions struggled to adapt.
It has also made only more clear the importance of Mbembe’s “universal right to breathe.” The global crisis, he writes, should be an opportunity to “reclaim the lungs of our world.” To do so, the voices of those already suffocating should be those we listen to more and more. For all of us, this is vital if we are to survive.
A version of this article appears in the Winter 2021 issue of ARTnews, under the title “Breathe In, Breathe Out.”
Apple Patent Application Shows It Could Bring Force Touch to MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar
Apple could make a new MacBook Pro model that would come with a Touch Bar supporting pressure sensing Force Touch. This has been suggested by a patent application that was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. Apple introduced its Force Touch technology on the first-generation Apple Watch back in September 2014.…
Apple could make a new MacBook Pro model that would come with a Touch Bar supporting pressure sensing Force Touch. This has been suggested by a patent application that was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. Apple introduced its Force Touch technology on the first-generation Apple Watch back in September 2014. It, however, reached the iPhone lineup as 3D Touch and debuted on the MacBook family through an all-new trackpad in 2015.As spotted by Patently Apple, the US Patent and Trademark Office has featured the patent application on its website that suggests an upgraded Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro with support for Force Touch. There are apparently new circuits to detect different levels of force being applied to the Touch Bar.“The secondary display and force-sensing circuitry may be encapsulated between two glass layers that are bonded to one another by a frit. In some embodiments the force-sensing circuitry is formed from, or constitutes part of, the frit,” reads the abstract of the patent application.Apple has submitted a patent application for bringing Force Touch to MacBook Pro’s Touch BarPhoto Credit: USPTO Apple has revised the original Force Touch technology with some upgrades in the past and even transformed the experience into Haptic Touch for the newer iPhone models. But the purpose of the technology has remained the same — which is to trigger certain features on long pressing on the screen.The newly published patent application was filed by Apple in May 2019. It is unclear whether the update will be available across all new MacBook Pro models or limited to a particular variant.Some recent reports suggested that redesigned MacBook models will be arriving in 2021. However, there is no clarity on whether any of those models would feature the new Touch Bar with Force Touch. It is also not clear that Touch Bar, which is essentially an OLED strip above the keyboard for multitasking, will remain exclusive to MacBook Pro or also debut on MacBook Air in the future.That being said, Force Touch may help Apple bring some new use cases for the Touch Bar that is currently not all that productive for many MacBook Pro users.Will Apple Silicon Lead to Affordable MacBooks in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.