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politics

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...

In October 2014, Lele Saveri was invited to spend a month teaching in China. On his way to take up the post, he made a stop in Hong Kong, where just a few days earlier, one of the first in a series of civil movements had erupted - movements that rocked the status quo in Hong Kong and brought relations between Hong Kong and Beijing into international focus. Saveri spent the whole of his time in Hong Kong documenting this pivotal moment, now known as the Umbrella Revolution. He walked the streets day and night, talking to protestors and taking picture after picture. Collected here are his photographs: of protestors - in masks and helmets, superhero costumes or t-shirts emblazoned with ‚God Save The Queen‘ - of the weird misshapen barricades that began to take over the city’s infrastructure, of tourists and citizens just going about their daily business. Presented alongside a short essay by Hong Kong activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Joshua Wong, this slim volume of striking photographs provides an essential, sometimes disturbing, sometimes alienating document of the beginnings of one of the most important protest movements in modern history - a document made only more powerful in hindsight, as the Hong Kong protests have continued, in the face of ever more brutal retaliation, to demand essential reform of their democratic and human rights. ⁠ Buy...

'Colour has indeed always been a question of taste, not a question of judgement! [...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wallowing in the past. But when this imaginary state of mind is instrumentalized for political purposes, nostalgia turns into an ambiguous, dangerous weapon. Safar, the bi-lingual Libanese magazine for graphic design and visual culture, does not make a fuss of illuminating the abysses of nostalgia. Far from fetishizing willingly selected histographies - which not seldom turn into superficial trends while promoting reductive interpretations - the latest issue brings a radical honest and critical perspective into play when it comes to the new hype of brutalism, symbolic practices which are primarily used to manipulate cultural identities or, how Beirut-based drag queen RuPaul finally found cultural belonging thanks to the affects of nostalgia. Thinking back, we really missed something on our shelves before Safar #4 dropped in! Buy...

Most likely diagrams and maps radiate a certain matter-of-factness, a narrative that in itself seems to be unquestionable. Not this time! The critical artworks and performances selected by curator Patricio Dávila turn the visualized assemblies of data, often used as an subtle instrument of power, inside out. The showcased projects, accompanied by pictures, diagrams and interviews in the book Diagrams of Power: Visualizing, Mapping, and Performing Resistance convince particularly through the simplicity of the ideas behind them: unmasking diagrams' underlying supposed truth and re-structuring it in one way or another (and there are plenty ways of resistance from within shown here!). Not only this publication by Onomatopee will make Deleuzian hearts beat faster but showing the immense power of grassroots practices for social change. Buy...

Duty Free Art composes 15 essays of the media critic Hito Steyerl, recently named the most influential person in the art world by the international art magazine ArtReview. She begins her reflections with a truly absurd institution of the art market: Freeports. The depots for luxury goods at the airports of Geneva, Singapore and Luxembourg, store works of art free of custom duties and at the same time withdrawn from the public. Rumor has it that the Freeport in Geneva is home to thousands of Picassos but due to intransparent documentation the actual number is unknown. However, there is no doubt that the inventory can compete with any large museum. Therefore this luxurious no-man’s-land is assumably one of the most important art locations right now. Technically, the goods are in transit, but in fact this legal vacuum is increasingly becoming a permanent residence for accumulated wealth. The freeport is thus a permanent transit zone and in some way a secret museum. But Hito Steyerl does not stop there. She sees our time as a global hell of indefinite civil wars - through social media delusional populations, capitalism floating on seas of debt, algorithmically guided missiles killing thousands of civilians. And somewhere in all of this is the art world: broken, corrupt, complicit, idiotic, with perhaps just a hint of value to rescue itself out of the wreckage. Maybe. Buy...

As the promises of liberalism in its Western shape have taken their toll on the Eastern front, the need for new narratives about reality has never been more pressing. This second issue of Kajet is based on the supposition that people in Eastern Europe have been “tricked into distrusting the existence of an alternative modernity”, hence the question of whether there’s still room for utopia after the utopia of the communist era. Idealism in mind, Kajet writers resurface the spirit of revolt, focusing on rebels, insurgency and visionaries in order to reintroduce a new face of utopianism. They explore the topic through the prism of time, architecture, imagination and futurism. Buy...