The ritualized procreation in the novel--effectively, state-sanctioned rape--is extrapolated from the Bible. " 'Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her,' " Atwood recited. "Obviously, they stuck the two together and out came the baby, and it was given to Rachel.
"Why don't you click on the tennis court?" Golan Levin, an associate professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested. I was looking at a satellite image of the school's campus in Pittsburgh, embedded in the home page of Levin's latest online project, Terrapattern. "What you should immediately see are all the most tennis-court-ish patches of Allegheny County," he said. With gratifying speed, the right-hand side of my screen filled with dozens and dozens of tennis courts--solo or in pairs or in clusters of six, white on green, purple on green, green on red.
On a very warm afternoon in April, the image of a bald young white man's head floated on a gray screen at the Kitchen, in Chelsea. The man spoke in a tone that shifted worryingly between aggressive and confessional, punctuating his lines with two disembodied hands. "And I could have been your haruspex, sexy," he said at one point, snarling. "I could have read omens in your extricated liver." There were pale red marks beneath his eyes, a five-o'clock shadow on his jaw.