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society

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...

In the period leading up to the 2020 elections in the United States, Teju Cole began to photograph his kitchen counter in Massachusetts. He photographed it every day over the course of five weeks. ⁠The photographed microcosm is in constant change. However, its compactness and manageability has a calming effect in a time in which nothing seems calming and manageable.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Alongside the photographs is a long written essay, as wide-ranging in its concerns—hunger, fasting, mourning, slavery, intimacy, painting, poetry and the history of photography—as the photographs are delimited in theirs. ⁠⠀ ⁠   Buy...

Once the cutting-edge technology of their time - video, floppy disk, CD and Super8 film are now virtually useless. Often, we even still have collections of these media somewhere in the basement, but we have no way to play them anymore - they have become obsolete.⁠ But there are some enthusiasts and artists who still appreciate these audio and visual carriers - mainly because of their specific aesthetics, which take you back to their era like a time capsule. And yes, there is often nostalgia involved, or a certain cultural pessimistic reflex that claims that "everything was better in the old days," but the love of obsolete media is also rebellious in nature. When recorders and cable outlets are scarce, it takes a certain amount of stubbornness to keep the technology alive.⁠ ⁠ ⁠H.o.Me. - Home for Obsolete Media introduces different analog media in a technological and culture historical context and demonstrates the potential inherent in working analog in the digital age.⁠ ⁠   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...

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...