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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...

Instead of declaring death a taboo, we should find ways to integrate it into our lives, as is already done in many cultures. Because even worse than grieving for a loved one is not knowing how to grieve and thus not having an outlet. And if one thing is certain in life, it is that it is finite.⁠ ⁠ Dramaturg Guy Cools shows us how important it is to be able to mourn the dead properly - from lament songs to mourning rituals. He is particularly interested in how the emotions of loss need to be externalised. Lamentations are a formal device used in many cultures to express the emotions of grief. In a poetic, meandering and personal way, Cools explores cultural customs, traditions, rituals and artistic performances.   Buy...

60 years ago, world leaders agreed to leave Antarctica free of war, weapons and nuclear waste. They declared that the uninhabited continent with no indigenous population, twice the size of Australia and 98% ice, should not belong to any country and instead be dedicated to community science. Additional rules to prevent companies from mining minerals and drilling for oil made Antarctica the largest protected area in the world. Now climate change is eroding that success story. ⁠ But higher temperatures aren't the only threat to the pristine natural environment; in recent years, the continent has become a contested territory, concealing resources that could prove irresistible in a world with an ever-growing population.⁠ ⁠ On the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica, Antarctic Resolution offers a high-resolution image of this hyper-surveilled yet neglected continent. In contrast to the fragmented view offered by Big Data companies, the book is a holistic study of the continent’s unique geography, unparalleled scientific potential, contemporary geopolitical significance, experimental governance system, and extreme inhabitation model. A transnational network of multidisciplinary polar experts – represented in the form of authored texts, photographic essays, and data-based visual portfolios – reveals the intricate web of growing economic and strategic interests, tensions, and international rivalries, which are normally enveloped in darkness, as is the continent for six months of the year.   Buy...

"Das letzte Jahr", German for "the last year" does not refer to our last year 2020, which is fortunate because we already have had enough of that. The year meant is 1990, a rather important year in Germany because it was the year in which the reunification of West and East Germany was hastily accomplished. And yet it fell into a collective oblivion. Everyone remembers 1989, when we danced on the Wall. But 1990 seems too scattered to grasp. ⁠ ⁠ The author Martin Gross tried at the time. He had an intuition of the significance of the year that marked the downfall and reshaping of the country. Living in the GDR for a year, he described how people made the transition from the old to the new system. He portrayed people as diverse as the guard of a former Stasi prison, the store manager of one of the new supermarkets, the stokers of a power station, the bodyguards of a minister and the cleaners of a government building.⁠ ⁠ The book was first published in 1992, but was soon forgotten. In 2019, Jan Wenzel came across it while researching for his book "1990 Freilegen" and took many of its notes. With a distance of 30 years, these notes were now perceived by critics as "clear-sighted", "precise", "stylistically brilliant" observations of the turning year. But the author himself could not be found. Fortunately, contact was finally made in June 2020 and a new edition of the title was planned.⁠ ⁠ And so here it is again, a book that describes a historical event, not through political steps, but through the impact it had on people's daily lives. Buy...

Humans and horses share an inseparable history. First as a means of transport and labour, they became popular pets with moral status, used for recreation, competition and medical therapy. A less documented part of this history is the horse serving as food. Heleen Peeters explores horse culture around the world, navigating from breeders, competitions and rescue centres to slaughterhouses, factories and butchers. In a visually stunning way, she touches on questions about our relationship with animals and meat consumption.⁠ Buy...

Wild, rocky cliffs along deserted coasts, empty streets between abandoned houses captured in the break of dawn...

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.⁠ ⁠...

In the spring of 1945, at the close of the Second World War, refugees from the Nazi concentration camps arrived with “White Buses” operated by the Swedish Red Cross in Malmö. With public facilities quickly reaching capacity, Malmö Konstmuseum's director Ernst Fischer decided overnight to transform the museum into a refugee shelter, providing hundreds of beds. The event is memorialised in a monumental painting from the same year by the artist Sven Xet Erixson. But it is also recorded in the many drawings left behind by those who found accommodation in the museum, which have remained in the collection ever since. Among them are small works on paper that depict life in the concentration camps, or portraits of other prisoners.⁠ The own history and the recent events let to the exhibition "Migration: Traces in an Art Collection". How have artists related to exile and migration over the past 150 years? From the artworks left behind by the concentration camp survivors to works of exiled Latvian artist in Sweden to works by artists who have firsthand experience of migration but do not explicitly depict it in their art, the publication accompanying the exhibition engages a range of artistic expressions of the migrant experience. It also presents a number of contemporary works that comment on the perception of migration and displacement in a globalised world while examining the museum itself as a site of knowledge production.⁠ Buy...

Since the introduction of portable consumer electronics nearly a half century ago, artists throughout the world have adapted their latest technologies to art-making. In this book, curator Barbara London, founder of MoMA's video program, traces the history of video art as it transformed into the broader field of media art - from analog to digital, small TV monitors to wall-scale projections, and clunky hardware to user-friendly software. By looking at the medium's first 50 years she reveals how video evolved from fringe status to be seen as one of the foremost art forms of today.⁠ Buy...