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"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...

The female body has not been owned by women for a long time. The way it is portrayed is dictated by advertising, the way it is viewed is dictated by the male gaze, what and how much of it should be seen is dictated by society and our nipples belong to Instagram and are locked behind little gif stickers. That's why this book is so refreshing. Body shows photographs of 46 women in their most natural form. Lotte van Raalte explores the female body with her camera without sexualising, without judging, without shaming, but with a loving eye for all shapes, ages and colours. The result is incredibly intimate and breathtaking. Time to reclaim our bodies and love them as they are! Buy...

Many cities in Europe are once again restricting social life, but this time it feels different. The first lockdown in spring had a collective feeling. We were separated, but we were closer together in heart than on any other "normal" day. We were supportive and said that we would get through this together. That spirit is not there this time. The excitement about the novelty of this situation has disappeared, and so somehow the limitations feel more exhausting. Probably because we have to deal with them alone this time. ⁠ So while our cities are operating in low-power mode, it may be the right time to record what we are really missing. What is it that makes a city? Living the City - Of Cities, People, and Stories is an architecture book that focuses on the non-physical elements that make up our cities. After a first look at urbanites it expands into emotionally and poetically charged stories that consider very basic activities such as loving, living, moving, working, learning, playing, dreaming, and participating. This publication focuses on the human side of cities, on what happens after houses are built, traffic is strategically controlled and parks are created.⁠   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...

Until mid January the exhibition Masculinities - Liberation through Photography is shown at the Gropius Bau in Berlin. Having previously been presented at the Barbican in London, Berlin is the second city to have the pleasure of this celebrated exhibition, that explores how masculinity is experienced, performed, and codified in photography and film from the 1960s to the present. Given the plurality of subversive masculinities that have emerged since the 1960s and the resilience of certain forms of traditional ultra-male power this is an ambitious undertaking. The accompanying comprehensive publication is no less committed. From disrupting the archetype with found photographs of Taliban fighters holding softly hands surrounded by arrangements of flowers; to fatherhood with an incredible, unsettling piece by Anna Fox. Photographs of her mothers tidy cupboards filled with pink china and rose tinted glasses are juxtaposed with violent quotes from her father like “I’m going to tear your mother to shreds with an oyster knife”, Masculinities draws wide circles to prove its point, that what makes a man a man is more complex than even Aznavour could imagine in his groundbreaking song from 1972. This exhibition and book will make you think again about the meanings of maleness in a increasingly unsettling world where we experiencing the rise of more and more alt-right groups looking for a so called "strong man" as a leader. So let us take the word "liberation" in the title literally and free ourselves from the clichés and always the same images and realise that masculinity is a social construct!⁠   Buy...

You know what they say: if you remember the 90s, you weren’t there. Cult German novelist Rainald Goetz was, though, and he revisits the rave scene of the Nineties in dazzling style. Fragments of sensation, impressions, scattered moments build up to conjure the dizzying highs and the thumping lows of techno culture’s legendary era. Buy...

Eighteen international writers respond to the open-ended period of social distancing, closures, and illness caused by Covid-19. Meditating on notions of distance and closeness, sameness and alterity, extinguishing and kindling, Tools for Extinction considers how a common pause might give rise to new modes of domesticity and shift experiences of time. What gestures and actions are we willing to perform to make ourselves, and each other, feel at ease – or at work? What tools and objects are useful, or unprecedentedly useless, to us in the process? And as our species’ trademark proclivity for projecting ourselves into the future is disrupted, might we come to see the buildings, animals, and plants around us in a new light? The anthology takes its name from Steven Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, a 1960s counterculture compendium of product reviews, essays, and articles on the themes of self-sufficiency, ecology, and alternative education. By giving “access to tools”, a new social order and a more sustainable Earth was imagined. Buy...

Society disables sick people by not considering their needs in structures or the build environment. So having sick people in creative teams would be a huge asset and is grossly underestimated. But a common barrier for chronically ill people who want to work in the creative industries is the one-size-fits-all structure of office work and the frequent subconscious assumption that all employees are able-bodied. ⁠Sick is a magazine to elevate the much needed voices of sick and disabled people. It is entirely created by sick and disabled writers, poets, designers, and artists. An illustration by Hayley Wall adorns the cover of the second issue.⁠ 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...