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MONO.KULTUR #37: JAMES NACHTWEY

Dear Friends,

our new issue with the legendary war photographer James Nachtwey has been a long time in the making – two and a half years in fact – but as it happens, it could not have been released at a more relevant moment, with a new wave of terror in form of the IS shaking up the Middle East, frontlines between Russia and the West hardening, and Ebola wreaking havoc in West Africa. All of which are themes of the kind that Nachtwey has dedicated his life to for more than 30 years.

Inspired by the press images from the Vietnam War that told a very different story to the official government statements, James Nachtwey found his calling that he would pursue with determination and compassion that are admirable: to document the effects of war, terror and disease. In the hope of raising awareness and inspiring intervention and change, his photographs are neither easy to look at nor easy to forget.

Having witnessed and reported on the defining conflicts and tragedies of the past three decades – from the revolutions of South America and Eastern Europe to the famines in Africa, from 9/11 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – Nachtwey’s photographs focus on the costs of war: the suffering of civilians, the damage and the scars.

There is no doubt that Nachtwey’s images are a challenge – to the powers that be by proposing an unflinching look at the reality on the ground, at the effects of politics on human lives, but also to us as their audience, by questioning our implication and, quite simply, by opening our eyes to the world.

In a rare and frank interview with mono.kultur, James Nachtwey talked about his struggles with photography, the different realities of war, and why images have the power to create change.

Graphically, the issue is at its most reduced, giving ample space to let words and images unfold: coming in two separate booklets, it presents a personal and uncommented selection of James Nachtwey’s work in one, and a highly intriguing and challenging conversation in the other.

As usual, the issue is available through our online store mono.konsum, and at the trusted book dealer of your choice very soon indeed. Suffice to say that it is an issue that we are particularly proud of.

Enjoy and all our best,
mono.kultur

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mono.kultur #37
JAMES NACHTWEY: SHARDS OF TIME
“To turn our backs is a form of acceptance.”

Autumn 2014 / English / 15 x 20 cm / 52 Pages
Introduction & Interview by Kai von Rabenau
Photography by James Nachtwey
Portrait by Antonin Kratochvil / VII
Design by Edwin van Gelder / Mainstudio


DARK NIGHT POEM

by Paul Celan, beloved poet of the dark.
Translation by Michael Hamburger.

EROTIC

That got your attention did it?

With cinema’s recent fetish for arthouse erotica in mind, here’s an literary ode to the body pleasures. Folch Studio erotic publication Odiseo is meticulously crafted such that it appears more a catalogue of contemporary nudes than of sensual acts. If you’re looking for something of similar caliber–but curated for the gentlewomen–model Anja Rubik’s 25 can show you some tricks.

REVEAL AND RELIEF

It is interesting – scary, as well – how power interprets certain things and engenders the ‘truth’(!). Recently, London police arrested street artist Banksy on the charge of ‘graffiti, public vandalism, criminal mischief, public indecency, resisting arrest, money laundering, criminal conspiracy and racketeering’. Beyond that, the police department revealed the artist’s identity with photos of him that had been kept secret for years.

Here comes the shocking part: it was just a hoax according to the artist’s publicist Jo Brooks. ‘Fear not, the street artist is still roaming free, spray can in hand,’ says the newspaper The Independent. Isn’t it a perfect example of how the media can manipulate?

We still don’t know who Banksy really is…

IN THE MEANTIME…

…it’s crazy busy at the studio, as several projects we’ve been working on are coming to fruition (including our new issue, of course) – watch this space!

Swim Team

Arms and Sleepers, a heavily underrated, Boston-based duo comprised of Max Lewis and Mirza Ramic, are about to release their new, surprisingly beats-n-synths-heavy album Swim Team later this month, and right after that, they’ll be on tour over here in Europe:
Arms and Sleepers live:
05 Nov :: London, UK :: Cargo
06 Nov :: Manchester, UK :: Eagle Inn
08 Nov :: Coventry, UK :: The Tin
12 Nov :: Hannover, Germany :: TBA
13 Nov :: Oberhausen, Germany :: Druckluft
14 Nov :: Copenhagen, Denmark :: Underwerket
17 Nov :: Hamburg, Germany :: Astra Stube
19 Nov :: Berlin, Germany :: Comet Club
20 Nov :: Magdeburg, Germany :: Cafe Central
21 Nov :: Dresden, Germany :: Scheune
22 Nov :: Nurnberg, Germany :: Club Stereo
23 Nov :: Prague, Czech Republic :: Chapeau Rouge
24 Nov :: Krakow, Poland :: Alchemia Club
25 Nov :: Warsaw, Poland :: Klubokawiarnia Chmury
27 Nov :: Bucharest, Romania :: Control Club
28 Nov :: Cluj, Romania :: The Shelter
29 Nov :: Timisoara, Romania :: TBA

“IS THE MUSEUM A BATTLEFIELD?”

Filmmaker, visual artist, author Hito Steyerl asks:

“…armed forces fire flares to add to the confusing scene of giant smoke plumes, ambulance horns, and faces illuminated by mobile phone screens. At the Cultural Center, a brilliant, all-female group of culture workers and municipality officials discusses the role of art with me. I pan to frame resident refugees observing F-16 jets circling above. What is the task of art in times of emergency?”

ABOUT BIRDS AND ART

As London’s ever so popular Frieze Art Fair is opening its doors today, what caught our eye is the gentle redesign of the fair’s fantastic campaigns, as Studio Frith have taken over the reigns from Graphic Thought Facility. Keeping the natural theme of the past 11 years, Studio Frith focused on local and migratory birds to establish the connection between the two fairs in London and New York. Conceptually nice, visually beautiful, it’s a subtle and quiet update of a successful campaign. Read a little more about the process over at It’s Nice That.

CBRE URBAN PHOTOGRAPHER 2014




CBRE 2014
Theme this year was ‘Cities at Work’ which briefed photographers from around the world to capture the beauty and day-to-day reality of working life. The overall winner was German photographer Marius Vieth with his image ‘Masks of Society’, although the runners up entries are just as striking, see them here.

NORWAY’S BANKNOTE





Earlier this year, Norges Bank, the Norwegian central bank, made a callout to artists to design the country’s new currency, with the theme of “The Sea.” After narrowing down the selection to eight artists, two series of illustrations will be used – one for each side of the bills.

Norges Bank choose the theme by design studio Snøhetta but decided to use only one side, rejecting Snøhetta’s front idea. It decided to use the more prosaic proposal submitted by the design studio Metric System on the krone fronts instead, like the 100-krone note design with the more traditional ship.

We think the pixelated banknotes are a great example of how exciting modern banknote design can be with a little risk-taking and imagination. The new banknotes will be in full use by 2017.