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culture

From min-min, the sound of air screaming, to jin-jin, the sound of being touched for the very first time, from hi’sori, the sound of harbouring masochist tendencies, to mote-mote, the sound of becoming a small-town movie star, Fifty Sounds is a personal dictionary of the Japanese language. Polly Barton recounting her obsession with the country she moved to at the age of 21 - Japan. Irreverent, humane, witty and wise, Fifty Sounds is an exceptional debut about the quietly revolutionary act of learning, speaking, and living in another language.⁠   Buy...

Chris Kontos, editor-in-chief of Kennedy, has never been to New York, and yet the latest issue of Kennedy is dedicated to the city that never sleeps. "Even though I know more than a few things about New York, I resemble someone who has an unhealthy obsession over a person they have never met whereby everything they think about them is inevitably romanticised." And that's exactly how he got us. New York has always captured our imagination, and one of us has even had flights that, for other reasons, were never taken. So much is said and written about New York, it is the backdrop or the main character in so many films, that it has become its own myth. And since this projection is as much a part of New York as reality, you will find both in this issue of Kennedy. So you can travel in mind and feed your own imagination of the Big Apple, as Chris Kontos always does: "I was reluctant to visit NY for many years in case the myth of the city I had created crumbled like a sandcastle."⁠   Buy...

No society in human history has demanded so many people to be such active participants in producing the contemporary. No contemporary has ever been so aggressively monetised. Everything is for sale. There is more merchandise than love, more sponsored content than truth. As a coping mechanism, many amongst us have decided to check out from reality altogether; preferring to inhabit tailor-made fantasies and simulations. But only children believe that closing their eyes renders them invisible to monsters. When the monsters are real, closing our eyes rather increases the danger.⁠ ⁠ The latest issue of Real Review asks "What To Believe" and delves into the realms of all sorts of belief systems like conspiracy theories, the stock market, and technology, as well as the ways we create a representative image of ourselves through styling, the perfect lawn, and wearing work clothes when we don't have to.⁠   Buy...

The current issue of Foam Magazine focuses on the archive as a subject. Looking at contemporary forms of engagement with archival images and their reprocessing, a critical analysis of the histories told through photography is undertaken.⁠ The relationship between photography and the archive is symbiotic, but also an inherently problematic one. Foam places the construction of history and decolonial approaches at the center of its latest issue, revisiting photography's role in what we remember, what we forget, and how we tell the past.⁠   Buy...

Once the cutting-edge technology of their time - video, floppy disk, CD and Super8 film are now virtually useless. Often, we even still have collections of these media somewhere in the basement, but we have no way to play them anymore - they have become obsolete.⁠ But there are some enthusiasts and artists who still appreciate these audio and visual carriers - mainly because of their specific aesthetics, which take you back to their era like a time capsule. And yes, there is often nostalgia involved, or a certain cultural pessimistic reflex that claims that "everything was better in the old days," but the love of obsolete media is also rebellious in nature. When recorders and cable outlets are scarce, it takes a certain amount of stubbornness to keep the technology alive.⁠ ⁠ ⁠H.o.Me. - Home for Obsolete Media introduces different analog media in a technological and culture historical context and demonstrates the potential inherent in working analog in the digital age.⁠ ⁠   Buy...

Our hands carry an incredible symbolic power. They stand for creation, but also for conversation, hospitality, strength and protection. They invite and they defend, they show affection and they hurt, they pray and they shape. According to Aristotle, the hand is the "tool of tools". No wonder they are a recurring motif in art.⁠ Jeux de Mains brings together a hundred works of art centred on the hand - from Pablo Picasso to Helena Almeida, from Louise Bourgeois to Alberto Giacometti, from John Baldessari to Francesca Woodman, and a multitude of treasures from the ancient ages. It confronts and mixes famous, emerging and anonymous artists from a wide range of backgrounds, thus foregrounding the symbolic meaning and visual power of the hand.⁠ Buy...

In the age of Trump and Brexit, every crisis is immediately replaced by the next one. The turbulent political weather of the twenty-first century creates anxiety and makes it difficult to look into an uncertain future. How should we react? Olivia Laing provides a brilliant, inspiring argument for why art is more important than ever as a force for resistance and repair. Art, she argues, is changing the way we see the world. It reveals inequalities, exposes, criticises and offers alternative paths.⁠ ⁠ Funny Weather brings together a career’s worth of Laing’s writing about art and culture, and their role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keeffe, interviews Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, writes love letters to David Bowie and Wolfgang Tillmans, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body. With characteristic originality and compassion, Funny Weather celebrates art as an antidote to a frightening political time. The collection of short essays, articles, and columns that immerse you in an analysis, a stream of thought, or an emotional interpretation makes this book feel like spending an afternoon with one of your brainiest friends.⁠   Buy...

2020 - the year we read about clubbing instead of actually going clubbing.⁠ Club cultures have a rich local history and are at the same time much more differentiated geographically speaking than the story of the North Atlantic axis of Detroit–Chicago–Manchester–Berlin would have us believe. This book expands the focus. It looks at ten club capitals in Africa and Europe, reporting on different scenes from the big name to the supposedly peripheral. The local music stories, the scenes, the subcultures and their global networks are reconstructed in twenty-one essays and photo sequences. The tale they tell is one of clubs as laboratories of otherness, in which people can experiment with new ways of being and assert their claim to the city. Ten Cities is a nocturnal, sound-driven journey through ten social and urban stories from 1960 through to the present.⁠   Buy...

Nest Magazine revolutionised the way we look at interior space and decoration. The brainchild of artist and designer Joe Holtzman, Nest magazine, published from 1997 to 2004, shunned the conventionally beautiful luxury interiors of other magazines and instead featured non-traditional, exceptional, and unusual environments. With their unique style they inspired some of our most favourite nowadays magazines like apartamento.⁠⠀ The Best of Nest includes selections from all 26 issues in a series of portfolios featuring the work of writers and photographers such as Michael Cunningham, Patti Smith, Nan Goldin, and Derry Moore. Holtzman also contributes an essay offering a look behind the scenes of each issue.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Signed copies available.   Buy...

So Harry says, "You don't like me anymore. Why not?" And he says, "Because you've got so terribly pretentious." And Harry says, "Pretentious, moi?" - Fawlty Towers⁠ ⁠ What is pretentiousness? Why do we despise it? And more controversially: why is it vital to a thriving culture? In this brilliant, passionate essay, Dan Fox argues that it has always been an essential mechanism of the arts, from the most wildly successful pop music and fashion through to the most recondite avenues of literature and the visual arts. Pretentiousness: Why it Matters unpacks the uses and abuses of the term, tracing its connections to theatre, politics and class. From method acting to vogueing balls in Harlem, from Brian Eno to normcore, Fox draws on a wide range of references in advocating critical imagination and open-mindedness over knee-jerk accusations of elitism or simple fear of the new and the different. Drawing on his own experiences growing up and working at the more radical edges of the arts, this book is a timely defence of pretentiousness as a necessity for innovation and diversity in our culture.⁠ ⁠...