07 Dez Der Greif
Surprise Subscription #24
As humble booksellers who watch the holiday season unfold from behind a cash register, we here at do you read me?! would be among the first to agree that the holidays have become less about celebrating religious or social events and more about the arrival of a certain rotund figure in a pretty far out red suit. Indeed, each passing December seems to reaffirm the free market’s unfettered socio-cultural ascent–which is good news for fans of money, stuff, and the pursuit of money to buy stuff; and bad news for fans of, say, the planet or human rights. After all, society can’t be too social if we are all collectively staring into the void of Black Friday sales on our non-fair trade iPhones.
The most recent issue of Der Greif–our Surprise Subscription pick for the month–is a bold statement against this seemingly unavoidable collective slide into the cult of the individual. A photography journal that promotes contemporary photography and features the work of up-and-coming photographers and authors from around the world, Der Greif generally has one single guest editor per issue who puts together a collection of thematically linked spreads from a large array of submitting artists. This time, for its Collectivity Issue, there are 50 guest editors whose selections go uncredited and whose methods and intentions are unexplained. The results are stunning.
Social imagery that ranges from pure abstraction to raw pathos fills these pages. A baby’s head transforms into the cosmos through simple juxtaposition; a snake becomes the line a finger draws on the interior of a window during a rainstorm. Is that a boulder resting on a chair? Or is it an old man’s head on a pillow? A woman’s hair is the line on the palm, is the grain in the photograph, is the ink blotch on the polaroid. As the pages turn, the magazine slowly mutates from a bound object into a nexus of connectivity where ideas ricochet off each other in a collaborative hum.
This theme of inclusive social collaboration is one that is also foremost on our minds at the end of yet another strange year. And so we are thrilled that Der Greif’s editor Leon Kirchlechner–as a response to our asking how he would like to promote the magazine, and in an almost repeat performance of this particular issue–invited the 50 guest editors to submit one song to a playlist which we are sharing below. Because is there any better way to mark another journey around the sun than dancing with one’s friends? We think not!