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culture

In Ukrainian trains, it is a tradition that after boarding, passengers put on more comfortable clothes, change their shoes into slippers or lie barefoot, have dinner and a drink - and all this in cramped compartments. ⁠From that moment on everything seems possible. The notions of privacy and personal boundaries are dim in the train light...

Is this city being built up or torn down? Is it even the same city? The same streets? ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Transformation processes are the focus of Georg Aerni’s new photographs. The Swiss photographer and artist shows plastic greenhouses that have annexed whole swathes of land for agricultural mass production, residential houses that have been built overnight on the city outskirts without construction machines and literally noiselessly. He points his lens at olive trees that have grown over centuries into figures full of character, at creepers that conquer leftover spaces between high-rises and motorways, and at mighty rock faces that are being gnawed by erosion.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ With the merging of art and documentation that is typical of Aerni’s work, Georg Aerni—Silent Transition makes the signs of change the object of a contemplative observation and at the same time asks challenging questions: about our handling of natural resources, about the social backgrounds to cities growing out of control, about the regenerative force of nature. ⁠⁠ Buy...

In architecture, the ground is usually used only as a passive foundation. This book explores the possibilities of buildings that merge with the ground, the earth and the landscape.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The evolution of architecture is also an evolution away from nature. The 1960s was the key moment when buildings were at their most clinical. Since then, more and more architects are trying to reconnect with nature. They work with the landscape and the special features of the site. But of course, this is not an invention of the modern age, it is what architecture has been for millennia. And so this book embarks on a journey around the world and through the history of architecture in search of examples of buildings and building methods that are not only in harmony with the landscape, but also make use of its special characteristics. In this way, these buildings are almost an extension of the earth's crust. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ One of the many fantastic examples are the churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia (seen in the first picture), which are not built upwards but downwards, literally carved out of the ground. You could call them a kind of negative architecture. ⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Many of these historical examples were previously undocumented, so this book also serves as a kind of archive with first architectural drawings of these buildings, categorising them and making connections between methods and aesthetics.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Buy...

In recent political debates, the concept of expert has undergone a shift in values from exaltation to disdain. In contexts as diverse as Brexit, climate change or vaccination, one encounters a palpable distrust of experts and an increasing tendency to throw their advice to the wind. Are we really witnessing the "death of the expert", or are the complaints about the "assault on science" just a hysterical reaction by elites who see their status threatened?⁠ Buy...

[vc_row][vc_column width='1/5'][/vc_column][vc_column width='3/5'] In this month’s instalment of our Surprise Subscription, we are super excited to present the new issue of one of our all-time favourites - the fantastic Record Culture Magazine! Karl Henkell, editor-in-chief of Record, thought of something special for us: a curated playlist to go along with this issue. Take a listen while you read our review!     Record, published twice a year, takes a deceptively simple format - long-form interviews accompanied by photos - and elevates it by the quality and integrity of its contributors. The magazine’s mission is to shine a light on the people intrinsic to niche music communities around the world, and it delivers every time.

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Pier Paolo Pasolini, sadly long dead, remains inspiring and provocative not only because of his many talents as a linguist, man of letters, journalist and filmmaker, but also because of his themes. Pasolini never merely transfigured the archaism of remote regions or merely condemned progress, but in his appropriation of both poles he outlined a comprehensive poetics of experimental thought. In today's Europe of levelling and regulation, his voice is sorely missed. Buy...

The Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992) coined the term "sentimental geography" to describe a unique artistic approach in which the ordinary is worthy of closer scrutiny. Puglia, an - at the time - off-the-beaten-track region at the very tip of the heel of Italy, with its whitewashed houses and streets, attracted the attention of this extraordinary photographer. Neglected by the rest of Italy, which looked only to the rich and profitable north of the country, he turned his camera to the everyday life of this sun-drenched land and its inhabitants. The minimalist yet sensitive photographs, with their elegant colour palette, evoke a sense of place known for its ancient architecture, crystal clear waters and arid olive groves.⁠⁠   Buy...

For an Exhibition at Aloft at Hermès in Singapore, French artist Xavier Antin created a machine that validates Bitcoin transaction. A fraction of the processed transaction rewards this "work". The cryptocurrency accumulated through the machine is then used to finance automatic delivery of bouquets of flowers to the Aloft Space. This book shows these bouquets, which are beautifully Riso-printed using only orange, green, medium blue, flat gold, yellow and purple. Below each image is a reference to the validated transaction used to pay for the flowers.⁠⁠   Buy...

Obsessed with flea-markets, car boot sales and the the leftovers of lives lived in recent urban history that they hold, Nadia Lee Cohen collected the name badges of 33 unknown individuals. She created personas for these name badges, visualised their imagined lives through an arrangement of objects and ultimately transformed herself into them.⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ The photographic portraits and resulting book are the product of many hours spent in wardrobe, make up and prosthetics - and the endless creativity of one of the greatest contemporary artists!⁠⁠ ⁠⁠ Nadia Lee Cohen’s “HELLO My Name Is” sold out at the publisher before it even reached us!⁠⁠ Clothbound hardcover, 160 pages. First edition of 1000.⁠ ⁠⁠   Buy...

As We Rise presents an exciting compilation of photographs from African diasporic culture. With over one hundred works by Black artists from Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, the United States, South America, as well as throughout the African continent, this volume provides a timely exploration of Black identity on both sides of the Atlantic.⁠ ⁠ As Teju Cole describes in his preface, “Too often in the larger culture, we see images of Black people in attitudes of despair, pain, or brutal isolation. As We Rise gently refuses that. It is not that people are always in an attitude of celebration—no, that would be a reverse but corresponding falsehood—but rather that they are present as human beings, credible, fully engaged in their world.” Drawn from Dr. Kenneth Montague’s Wedge Collection in Toronto—a Black-owned collection dedicated to artists of African descent—As We Rise looks at the multifaceted ideas of Black life through the lenses of community, identity, and power.   Buy...