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politics

"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. He lived in the GDR for a year and 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 soon fell into oblivion. In 2019, Jan Wenzel came across it while researching for his book "Uncovering 1990" 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, but not through political steps, but through the impact it had on people's daily lives. Buy...

Do you know the work of Forensic Architecture? If not, then be prepared to get your mind blown! Connecting real cases of human rights and environmental violations with the tools used in architecture and design, this studio creates a Wolpertinger of art and real evidence which is then used in some of the biggest court cases and tribunals of recent years. ⁠ ⁠ From makeshift satellites constructed with a simple kite, a plastic bottle, some rubber band and a camera, documenting evidence of Bedouin inhabitation in the Negev desert where Bedouin ownership is contested; to reading the "fingerprints" of smoke clouds left behind by missile strikes; to training AI to identify teargas canisters in Hong Kong; to rebuilding whole rooms in 3D to verify the testimony of witnesses - Forensic Architecture is often challenged by voices declaring in an exhibition "This is evidence, not art!" or in a trial "This is art, not evidence!". Truth is, that exhibiting their work in art exhibitions draws international attention to cases that States or big corporations would only too gladly keep unnoticed. It helps victims be heard and get access to a public stage. It also sheds light on injustices, corruption and failures of our political systems. Which is the basis for change. But the fragments of truth are so meticulously and creatively collected, investigated and displayed that they all too often are also the missing proof in a trial. So what is it now? Art or Evidence? One of our all-time-favorite magazines mono.kultur set out to shed light on the manyfold works through an in depth interview with founder Eyal Weizman. And while you should absolutely read this heart stopping issue of mono.kultur we can already say that Forensic Architecture is the answer to the question what happens when art has real-world consequences.⁠   Buy...

Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat published a children's book to overcome fear and make life seem less frightening. The powerful collaboration of a poem by Dr. Maya Angelou and the accompanying art by Basquiat screams fearlessly "Life doesn't frighten me at all" in the face of conjured demons and intimidating everyday situations. This book celebrates the courage within each of us and empowers our inner child to not be intimidated by the world and its workings, whatever age we have. And although it was originally published in 1993, it couldn't be more necessary than it is now: a book - by a black American poet and civil rights activist and a black American artist who uses his paintings as a social commentary to make visible the experiences of the black community - that tells us to stand brave and fierce.⁠ Buy...

Over the last few month everything we ought to know about how to live our lives changed abruptly when the pandemic took over. While every (inter-)action was concentrated within our four walls a familiar player went onto stage. Only this time playing the role of it's life. As the only safe and reliable constant to stay connected technology passed his first serious test run for a post-spatial future. The undeterred raise of Big Tech and its promises of a smart future are central to Offscreen's issue #23 and, as we know and love this tech interview magazine not without critical twists. Buy...

When he was 14, Joshua Wong made history. While the adults stayed silent, Joshua staged the first ever student protest in Hong Kong to oppose National Education – and won. Since then, Joshua has led the Umbrella Movement, founded a political party, and rallied the international community around the anti-Extradition Bill protests, which have seen 2 million people – more than a quarter of the population – take to Hong Kong’s streets. His actions have sparked worldwide attention, earned him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, and landed him in jail twice. Composed in three parts, Unfree Speech chronicles Joshua’s path to activism, collects the letters he wrote as a political prisoner, and closes with a powerful and urgent call for all of us globally to defend our democratic values.⁠ But this is not only a story about Hong Kong. It is the story of fighting against oppression, of rising up against tyranny, and of the demand for democracy and human rights. So looking at the world right now - the rise of authoritarian regimes, the use of police and military forces against their own people, the undermining of democratic systems - all this shows that this book is important for all of us.⁠ Buy...

Die BRD existiert nicht. Angela Merkel ist Hitlers Tochter. Und Chemtrails sollen uns vergiften. Es ist leicht in der ganzen post-truth Debatte auf die USA zu zeigen und belächelnd den Kopf zu schütteln, wenn mal wieder eine abstruse Verschwörungstheorie auftaucht. Das wir aber gar nicht bis über den Ozean schauen müssen um das Gruseln zu bekommen, zeigen Christian Alt und Christian Schiffer.⁠ Auf ihrer Reise durch ein paranoides Land (es ist tatsächlich Deutschland) treffen sie Verschwörungstheoretiker, Aussteiger und Opfer. Sie decken die psychologischen Mechanismen auf, die zu Verschwörungstheorien führen, erklären, warum das Internet nur zum Teil Schuld hat und tragen 23 goldene Regeln zusammen, mit denen wir den Wahnsinn endlich aufhalten können. Ein aufklärerisches Manifest und ein furioser Road Trip – auf dem sie dann aber einen großen Fehler machen: Sie erfinden eine eigene Verschwörungstheorie. Buy ...

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...

In Morocco, the only acceptable sexual activity is between a woman and her husband. Where all forms of extra-marital sex, homosexuality and prostitution are not only socially frowned upon but also punishable by law, women appear to have two options: be a virgin or be a wife.⁠ The first work of non-fiction in English from the prize-winning and internationally bestselling author Leila Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women who are grappling with a conservative Arab culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. By telling their intimate stories, by breaking taboos, by letting us into their thoughts and struggles, these women do not just break the silence, they also show that their lives and their lust matters. Which makes this book political and a vibrant appeal for the universal freedom to be, to love and to desire. ⁠ Buy...

Where on Earth do you begin a story about the Earth? Earth defined by nature? Earth defined by a higher power? Earth defined by humankind? ⁠After a "Call for Globes" by the ETH Zurich, the responses were wide-ranging, coming from various disciplines. Whether from sciences addressing the subject of climate change, from architecture raising questions about global urbanisation, or from the arts reflecting on planetary transformation - the material gathered does not only open a discourse on how we see the world, but also how our world is constructed of competing narratives. And what better way to show this, than the opening picture of "Terrestrial Tales" showing God as a supreme craftsman bowed over the globe to administer the final touches of his creation, next to a picture of a migrant worker assembling a mass-produced globe between boxes and boxes of big blue plastic spheres in a factory somewhere on planet earth.⁠ Buy...

Yes, we also got some 'How to' books for all the little Tyrants among us – and those who considering to become one...