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'Restlessly inventive, brutally graceful, startlingly beautiful . . . a landmark debut' Guardian
'Oh my God, he's just stirring me. Destroying me' Michaela Coel
'A poet of truth and rage, heartbreak and joy' Max Porter
'It's simply stunning. Every image is a revelation' Terrance Hayes
What is it like to grow up in a place where the same police officer who told your primary school class they were special stops and searches you at 13 because 'you fit the description of a man' - and where it is possible to walk two and a half miles through an estate of 1,444 homes without ever touching the ground?In Poor, Caleb Femi combines poetry and original photography to explore the trials, tribulations, dreams and joys of young Black boys in twenty-first century Peckham.
He contemplates the ways in which they are informed by the built environment of concrete walls and gentrifying neighbourhoods that form their stage, writes a coded, near-mythical history of the personalities and sagas of his South London youth, and pays tribute to the rappers and artists who spoke to their lives. Above all, this is a tribute to the world that shaped a poet, and to the people forging difficult lives and finding magic within it. As Femi writes in one of the final poems of this book: 'I have never loved anything the way I love the endz.'
28 October 2020
Playgirl in its first embodiment (launched in the 1970s) printed its last issue over ten years ago now. Today in 2020, firmly grasping those original feminist ideas that defined it its first decades, a brand new manifestation of Playgirl has been launched by a new and largely female team. Although the new Playgirl still publishes nudes (both male and female), a nod to its former self, the new issue covers everything from mental health, patriarchy, parenting and female activists to female friendship and BDSM.
In light of the #MeToo movement and the sentencing of Harvey Weinstein, Alex Wiederin its creative director, makes the point that “It was the right moment to launch a magazine which re-addressed the power of women – I think that’s what this magazine was about, and what we wanted to re-establish again.”
7 October 2020
Craig Gibson: Kentucky Waterfalls
BUSINESS AT THE FRONT, PARTY AT THE BACK
In case you're as ignorant as I am (unlikely...) Kentucky Waterfalls may mean little more than the (unlikely?) occurrence of rapids in this US state. Here though Craig Gibson refers to the much maligned Mullet hairstyle.
Shot at Mulletfest, 2020 - a three day mullet festival held at The Chelmsford Hotel in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, Australia. Kurri Kurri was hit hard by the downfall of the coal mining industry in the early 1960’s and has since struggled to recover. Now with Mulletfest in it’s third year running, the town welcomes people from all over the world to participate and spectate in the celebration of the polarizing haircut. The festival is high energy and loud; fitting the self-identified stereotypes of bogan culture. These images are of some quieter moments.
This zine is a little gem, wittily put together and a pleasure to hold in your hands - probably collectable too.
Darmon Richter Chernobyl: A Stalkers' Guide
Drawing on unprecedented access to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone including insights gained while working as a tour guide and during an illegal “stalker” hike. Darmon Richter creates an entirely new portrait of Chernobyl’s forgotten ghost towns, monuments and more
Since the first atomic bomb was dropped, humankind has been haunted by the idea of nuclear apocalypse. That nightmare almost became reality in 1986, when an accident at the USSR’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant triggered the world’s worst radiological crisis. The events of that night are well documented but history didn’t stop there. Chernobyl, as a place, remains very much alive today. More than a quarter of a million tourists visited the Zone over the last few years, while millions more watched the acclaimed 2019 HBO mini-series Chernobyl.
In Chernobyl: A Stalkers’ Guide, researcher Darmon Richter journeys into the contemporary Exclusion Zone, venturing deeper than any previously published account. While thousands of foreign visitors congregate around a handful of curated sites, beyond the tourist hotspots lies a wild and mysterious land the size of a small country. In the forests of Chernobyl, historic village settlements and Soviet-era utopianism have lain abandoned since the time of the disaster overshadowed by vast, unearthly megastructures designed to win the Cold War.
Richter combines photographs of discoveries made during his numerous visits to the Zone with the voices of those who witnessed history, engineers, scientists, police and evacuees. He explores evacuated regions in both Ukraine and Belarus, finding forgotten ghost towns and Soviet monuments lost deep in irradiated forests, gains exclusive access inside the most secure areas of the power plant itself, and joins the “stalkers” of Chernobyl as he sets out on a high-stakes illegal hike to the heart of the Exclusion Zone.
Jeanne Gerrity: Where Are The Tiny Revolts?
Driven by the central question "What are we learning from artists today?" the first volume of the new series edited by Anthony Huberman and Jeanne Gerrity at the CCA Wattis, A Series of Open Questions, is informed by themes found in the work of Dodie Bellamy, such as contemporary forms of feminism and sexuality, the rebirth of the author, and ways in which vulnerability, perversion, vulgarity, and self-exposure can be forms of empowerment. Where are the tiny revolts? comprises a broad array of contributions, including memoir, theoretical essay, art-historical analysis, poetry, and fiction, as well as diverse visual elements, ranging from photographs by Anne McGuire and Mike Kuchar, among others, collages by Mary Beth Edelson, and drawings by Rosemarie Trockel.
Texts by SARA AHMED, NICOLE ARCHER, GEORGES BATAILLE, DODIE BELLAMY, MICHELE CARLSON, THOMAS CLERC, COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE, BOB FLANAGAN, URSULA K. LE GUIN, JOHANNA HEDVA, GLEN HELFAND, JULIANA HUXTABLE, ALEX KITNICK, JULIA KRISTEVA, AUDRE LORDE, LISA ROBERTSON
Contributions by MARCELA PARDO ARIZA, JUSTIN G. BINEK, KAUCYILA BROOKE, TAMMY RAE CARLAND, MARY BETH EDELSON, MIKE KUCHAR, ANNE MCGUIRE, PATRICK STAFF, FRANCES STARK, ROSEMARIE TROCKEL
No matter where we look, we are surrounded by beautiful images. Yet, with this excess in beauty all around, why should we bother to remember any of it? Aversive Adhesives looks into the other direction and explores the unpleasant, the disturbing, the unsettling, or in some way 'aversive' images that repel upon sight.
However, because of their repulsive nature, even when looking away these images become adhesive to you. Aversive Adhesives shines a light on a number of individuals who approach photography in new and unusual ways, who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty to create images that will stick with you.
Merlin Sheldrake: Entangled Life : How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures
'A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer' Robert Macfarlane, author of UnderlandThe more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.
Neither plant nor animal, they are found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. They can be microscopic, yet also account for the largest organisms ever recorded. They enabled the first life on land, can survive unprotected in space and thrive amidst nuclear radiation.
In fact, nearly all life relies in some way on fungi. These endlessly surprising organisms have no brain but can solve problems and manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses.
Their ability to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the 'Wood Wide Web', is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented. Entangled Life is a mind-altering journey into a spectacular and neglected world, and shows that fungi provide a key to understanding both the planet on which we live, and life itself.
'One of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you. Astounding' Helen MacDonald, author of H Is for Hawk
26 August 2020
Paul Kooiker and Erik Kessels: Highly Uncomfortable Photo Books
Paul Kooiker’s and Erik Kessels’s fascination for pictorial non-fiction books comes from the need to find images that exist on the fringe of regular commercial photo books. It’s only in this area that it’s possible to find images with an uncontrived quality. Books like this are rarely available in regular shops and have to be found, like a treasure, in thrift stores and from antiquaries.
Highly Uncomfortable Photo Books is the third publication in a sequel of Kooiker’s and Kessels’s collection of unconventional photo books. After ‘Terribly Awesome Photo Books’ and ‘Incredibly Small Photo Books’, this publication focusses on books that are barely watchable because of its controversial nature. Shown are books about sex, war, propaganda, medicine and balloons.
Edition of 1000
Rem Koolhaas: Countryside Report
The rural, remote, and wild territories we call "countryside", or the 98% of the earth's surface not occupied by cities, make up the front line where today's most powerful forces-climate and ecological devastation, migration, tech, demographic lurches-are playing out. Increasingly under a 'Cartesian' regime-gridded, mechanized, and optimized for maximal production-these sites are changing beyond recognition.
In his latest publication, Rem Koolhaas explores the rapid and often hidden transformations underway across the Earth's vast non-urban areas. Countryside, A Report gathers travelogue essays exploring territories marked by global forces and experimentation at the edge of our consciousness: a test site near Fukushima, where the robots that will maintain Japan's infrastructure and agriculture are tested; a greenhouse city in the Netherlands that may be the origin for the cosmology of today's countryside; the rapidly thawing permafrost of Central Siberia, a region wrestling with the possibility of relocation; refugees populating dying villages in the German countryside and intersecting with climate change activists; habituated mountain gorillas confronting humans on 'their' territory in Uganda; the American Midwest, where industrial-scale farming operations are coming to grips with regenerative agriculture; and Chinese villages transformed into all-in-one factory, e-commerce stores, and fulfillment centers.
Jerry Saltz: How To Be An Artist
“Saltz has not written a book for insiders, but for the novice enthusiast – something all of us have been at one time. Valuable insight on the creative process [with] a surprising amount of solid advice.” —Frieze
Art has the power to change our lives. For many, becoming an artist is a lifelong dream. But how to make it happen? In How to Be an Artist, Jerry Saltz, one of the art world’s most celebrated and passionate voices, offers an indispensable handbook for creative people of all kinds.
From the first sparks of inspiration—and how to pursue them without giving in to self-doubt—Saltz offers invaluable insight into what really matters to emerging artists: originality, persistence, a balance between knowledge and intuition, and that most precious of qualities, self-belief. Brimming with rules, prompts, and practical tips, How to Be an Artist gives artists new ways to break through creative blocks, get the most from materials, navigate career challenges, and above all find joy in the work.
"I wish I had read these rules forty years ago and carried them around like a bible. By chance or design I've followed most of them at some point but it took me a lifetime as an artist to find what worked. They are the generous, loving, enthusiastic, bullshit-free advice of a master communicator, just reading them makes me want to charge back into the studio" - Grayson Perry
Katie Mack: The End of Everything
If things feel like they're falling apart right now this book might help put things into perspective!
With lively wit and wry humour, astrophysicist Katie Mack takes us on a mind-bending tour through each of the cosmos' possible finales: the Big Crunch, Heat Death, Vacuum Decay, the Big Rip and the Bounce. Guiding us through major concepts in quantum mechanics, cosmology, string theory and much more, she describes how small tweaks to our incomplete understanding of reality can result in starkly different futures. Our universe could collapse in upon itself, or rip itself apart, or even - in the next five minutes - succumb to an inescapable expanding bubble of doom.
This captivating story of cosmic escapism examines a mesmerizing yet unfamiliar physics landscape while sharing the excitement a leading astrophysicist feels when thinking about the universe and our place in it. Amid stellar explosions and bouncing universes, Mack shows that even though we puny humans have no chance of changing how it all ends, we can at least begin to understand it.
The End of Everything is a wildly fun, surprisingly upbeat ride to the farthest reaches of all that we know.
David Wojnarowicz: In The Shadows of Forward Motion
David Wojnarowicz’s fractured scrapbook of dream journals, political critique and collage is an ultra-rare document of 1980s New York subculture
David Wojnarowicz’s In the Shadow of Forward Motion was originally published as a photocopied zine/artist’s book to accompany an exhibition of the same name at PPOW Gallery in 1989. Despite its meagre print run of just 50 copies, the publication has garnered a legendary status, and for good reason.
In it we find, for the first time, Wojnarowicz’s writing and visual art, two mediums for which he is renowned, playing off each other in equal measure. We glimpse the artist’s now iconic mixed-media works, with motifs of ants, locomotives, money, tornados and dinosaurs, juxtaposed with journal-like texts or notes towards a frame of reference that examine historical and global mechanisms of power symbolised through the technology of their times.
Wojnarowicz uses the fractured experience of his day-to-day life (including dreams, which he recorded fastidiously) to expose these technologies as weapons of class, cultural and racial oppression. The artist’s experience living with HIV is a constant subject of the work, used to shed light on the political and social mechanisms perpetuating discrimination against not only himself, but against women and people of colour, who faced additional barriers in their efforts to receive treatment for the illness. Rooted in the maelstrom of art, politics, religion and civil rights of the 1980s, the book provides a startling glimpse into an American culture that we have not yet left behind. Felix Guattari provides an introduction.
Painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, songwriter and activist, David Wojnarowicz was born in Redbank, New Jersey, in 1954 and died of AIDS in New York in 1992. The author of five books most famously Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration Wojnarowicz attained national prominence as a writer and advocate for AIDS awareness, and for his stance against censorship.
Virginie Despentes: King Kong Theory
'I write from the realms of the ugly, for the ugly, the frigid, the unfucked and the unfuckables, all those excluded from the great meat market of female flesh, and for all those guys who don't want to be protectors, for those who would like to be but don't know how, for those who are not ambitious, competitive, or well-endowed. Because this ideal of the seductive white woman constantly being waved under our noses - well, I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist.'
Powerful, provocative and personal, KING KONG THEORY is a candid account of how the author of BAISE-MOI came to be Virginie Despentes. Drawing from personal experience, Despentes shatters received ideas about rape and prostitution, and explodes common attitudes towards sex and gender. KING KONG THEORY is a manifesto for a new punk feminism, reissued here in a brilliant new translation by Frank Wynne.
Virginie Despentes is a writer and filmmaker. She is the author of fifteen books including Apocalypse Baby (2010) and the Vernon Subutex trilogy (2013-2017). She was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize for Vernon Subutex 1 in 2018. Her work is an inventory of youth marginalization; it pertains to the sexual revolution lived by Generation X and to the acclimation of pornography in public spaces through new communication techniques.