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Aleksei Kazantsev – Relaxing Chamber

At first encounter, Aleksei Kazantsev’s Relaxing Chamber strikes the viewer with an ambiguous title. From a layperson’s point of view, the phrasemight suggest a space designed for ordinary relaxation: a spa steam room or massage chamber to release muscles tense from the stresses of life. One might think that the book somehow seeks to put […]

John Spinks – Harrowdown Hill

Around 2003-2006 Thom Yorke, the frontman of the band Radiohead, wrote an angry song titled Harrowdown Hill. Its lyrics quite clearly referred to the death of Dr David Kelly, the respected Welsh scientist and UN weapons inspector, and to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a coalition led by the USA and the UK. Yorke […]

Nicolai Howalt – A Journey: the Near Future

Experiencing Nicolai Howalt’s A Journey: The Near Future is a complex process. Or at least it was for me. At first glance, I saw just reprints of photographs taken by rovers on Mars, some of which I thought I had already seen online. Barren landscapes of Martian dust, in irregularly shaped, jagged panoramas stitched from […]

Patrick Goddard – Die Biester

In 1931, Walter Benjamin castigated Albert Renger-Patzsch for his photo book titled The World is Beautiful. In Benjamin’s view, the book used photography to aesthetically transform its subject into something larger than itself, yet without educating the viewer at all as to the social conditions of that subject. Renger-Patzsch’s book, Benjamin wrote, is full of […]