Presentation of Panya Routes, hosted by the African Centre for Cities and Stokvel Gallery with guest Mokena Makeka @ Stokvel Gallery, Johannesburg

Posted in art, Book launch, books, events, Motto Books on October 22nd, 2022
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Motto Books is pleased to invite you to the presentation of Panya Routes, hosted by the African Centre for Cities and Stokvel Gallery with guest Mokena Makeka.

22 October 2022
from 12pm


Stokvel Gallery
*NEW ADDRESS*
27 Boxes
4th Ave, Melville
Johannesburg, South Africa

Panya Routes: Independent art spaces in Africa
Kim Gurney

Independent art spaces on the African continent have flourished, particularly over the past twenty years in tandem with a youthful population in fast-urbanising cities. This book takes the reader on a journey to discover their DIY-DIT working principles: horizontality, second chance, elasticity, performativity and convergence. The itinerary begins at an empty plinth in Cape Town to closely track the performative and artistic afterlife of a colonialist statue whose toppling turned public space into common space. Next stop: Nairobi, Accra, Cairo, Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam — all rapidly changing cities of flux. The author visits five non-profit platforms that build narratives in public space by stitching together art and everyday life. They create their own panya routes, or backroad infrastructures of divergent kinds, in response to prevailing uncertainty. Working largely in collaborative economies and solidarity networks through refusal and reimagination, these “off-spaces” demonstrate institution building as artistic practice. By thinking and dreaming beyond the status quo, they fast-forward to creatively inhabit city futures that have already arrived in the global South. The key platforms featured in the book’s research are: The GoDown Arts Centre, ANO Institute of Arts and Knowledge, Townhouse Gallery, Zoma Museum and Nafasi Art Space.

Edited by Mika Hayashi Ebbesen
Graphic design by Márcia Novais
Published by Motto Books, 2022

21.10 from 6.30pm: “The secrets of Lake Balkhash” research presentation with Aigerim Kapar @ Motto Berlin

Posted in events, Motto Berlin event on October 21st, 2022
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Photo courtesy of Aigerim Kapar


Please join us for the research presentation of “The secrets of Lake Balkhash: community narratives, memories, and landscapes of past and futures” with author Aigerim Kapar.

Following the first launch in Bor, this event co-hosted by Slavs and Tatars will also serve as the Berlin launch of the publication As you go… the roads under your feet, towards the new future (Mousse/Rockbund Museum, 2022).

21 October 2022
from 6.30 pm

Motto Berlin
Skalitzer Str. 68 (im Hinterhof)
10997 Berlin

“The secrets of Lake Balkhash” focuses on the study of local values of Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan and how these values impact the everyday lives of local communities. Lake Balkhash is one of the biggest endorheic water bodies in the world and has a millennia-long history of sociocultural life, ecological traditions, and seminomadic management methods. The region also represents the position of the Kazakh Steppe, where the interests of China and Russia intersect. Today, the industrialization and militarization of the colonial Soviet period continue to prevail and frame the basin as a zone of ecological and social crisis. Lake Balkhash may disappear in twenty years and faces a similar situation to the drainage of the Aral Sea by the Soviet government in the 1950s for the purposes of agricultural production.

“The secrets of Lake Balkhash” aims to rethink the history of the region through a decolonial lens and study the future of the region reimagined by local communities. The research project is part of Artcom Platform’s Care for Balkhash initiative, and As you go… the roads under your feet, towards the new future, a long-term project and research inquiry that reflects on the Belt and Road Initiative and how it will alter the aesthetics and practices of everyday life in different local contexts of Ethiopia, Serbia, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, China, Kazakhstan. It was conceived and initiated by Biljana Ćirić in 2019 after conducting curatorial research in East Africa, Central Asia, and Southeast Europe, where the project is now situated. The three-year project has been conducted via individuals, cells, organizations, and institutions: Zdenka Badovinac (Ljubljana), Robel Temesgen and Sinkneh Eshetu (Addis Ababa), What Could/Should Curating Do? (Belgrade), Artcom Platform (Astana/Almaty), Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), Guangdong Times Museum (Guangzhou), and Public Library (Bor). The project does not attempt yet another critical investigation into Chinese colonialism, but rather seeks to unpack the complexities that certain regions are confronting within their current connections to the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as their established commonalities.

Aigerim Kapar (b. 1987, Kazakhstan) is an interdependent curator, interdisciplinary researcher, and a decolonial activist based in Almaty and Astana. Kapar founded Artcom Platform, a Central Asian community-based contemporary art and public engagement organization in 2015. She has also been organizing Art Collider, a school where art meets science bringing communities together since 2017. Kapar curates a hybrid reality project Steppe Space, an important space for contemporary art and culture of Central Asia, and initiated projects of care for lake ecosystems SOS Taldykol and Balqashqa Qamqor in 2020. Her key previous works include Re-membering: Dialogues of Memories (2019), an international intergenerational project in memory of survivors and victims of twentieth-century political repressions in Kazakhstan, and Time&Astana: After Future (2017–18), an urban art research and engagement project. Kapar is currently a resident at Slavs and Tatars’ program in Moabit. www.instagram.com/aigerimkapar

Photo courtesy of Mousse Publishing


As you go… the roads under your feet, towards the new future.
Published by Rockbund Art Museum and Mousse Publishing, 2022
Edited by Biljana Ćirić

Contributions by Zdenka Badovinac, Aziza Abdulfatah Busser, Robert Bobnič, Biljana Ćirić, Marija Glavaš, Sinkneh Eshetu, Chen Liang, Salem Mekuria, Aigerim Kapar, Dragan Stojmenovič, Larys Frogier, Nikita Yingqian Cai, Robel Temesgen, Jelica Javanovič, Alex Ulko, Kaja Kraner, Tara McDowell, Оasphy Zheng, Enanye Kibret, Gebeyehu Desalew, Manuel Borja-Villel, Mabel Tapia, and Ocean & Wavz.

14.10 from 18.30: Simulacrum Magazine’s thirtieth anniversary issue presentation with editors Mirna Vrdoljak and Kenneth Geurts @ Motto Berlin

Posted in art, Book launch, events, magazines, Motto Berlin event on October 14th, 2022
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Please join us for the presentation of Simulacrum Magazine’s thirtieth anniversary issue het Reflectienummer with editors Mirna Vrdoljak and Kenneth Geurts.

14 October 2022
from 6.30pm


Motto Berlin
Skalitzer Str. 68
10997 Berlin

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Simulacrum
is an arts and culture magazine based in Amsterdam. Since thirty years, it functions as an accessible and high-quality platform for students and experts from various fields to publish together. Simulacrum is a quarterly thematic publishing project that aims at fostering transdisciplinary connections among contributions that explore both historical and contemporary perspectives of the European cultural landscape. 

On 14 October, Simulacrum is coming to Motto Berlin to celebrate the magazine’s thirtieth anniversary issue titled het Reflectienummer. For this issue the editors delved into the full archive and asked contributors to reflect on their submissions. These reflections offer insight into how art, culture, and historiography have changed over the course of thirty years. However, the eleven reflections bundled together do not only refer to the past. Reflection is an exercise with an eye to the future; it is a moment of standing still and thinking about how it was, how it is, and how it could be.

Editors Mirna Vrdoljak and Kenneth Geurts will hold a discussion on the blurring of boundaries across disciplines in the humanities, and the magazine’s role in adequately responding to the reciprocal influence between academic and artistic spheres. Bearing in mind the magazine’s primary focus on art historical research thirty years ago, we will speak from our own experiences with the diverging range of submissions, as well as the questions that arise with the use of new media platforms and digital modes of archiving. There will also be a moment to introduce Simulacrum’s freshly printed autumnal newspaper on documenta fifteen, The documenta Issue.

Browse Simulacrum here

1.10: Book presentation of Har Shaam Shaheen Bagh by Prarthna Singh @ Motto Berlin

Posted in Book launch, events, Motto Berlin event, Motto Berlin store on October 1st, 2022
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Dear friends,

Motto is pleased to invite you tothe book presentation of Har Shaam Shaheen Bagh: One Hundred Days of Resistance with author Prarthna Singh.

Saturday 1 October 2022
6.30–8.30pm

Motto Berlin
Skalitzer Str. 68 (im Hinterhof)
10997 Berlin

Har Shaam Shaheen Bagh: One Hundred Days of Resistance

Author: Prarthna Singh
Design: Bombay Duck Design (Sameer and Zeenat Kulavoor)

Har Shaam Shaheen Bagh* is an ode to the infinite courage and resilience of the women of Shaheen Bagh, Delhi, who sat in protest for a 100 days and nights. A book of photographs, drawings, songs, letters and other material gathered as a record of the iconic protest, marks an extraordinary moment in the political and contemporary history of India.
In December 2019, a small group of Muslim women from the working-class neighborhood of Shaheen Bagh came out of their homes and sat down in protest, occupying a stretch of one of Delhi’s busiest highways. They were protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was designed to strip the Constitution of India of its right to religious equality. This peaceful sit-in continued until the pandemic sent India into lockdown; the state used this as an opportunity to destroy and dismantle all traces of the protest. This book serves as urgent and crucial evidence of a time that is systematically being erased from our collective memory.

From the women of Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter, the Dandi March and Chipko Movement, to those at the front lines of India’s non-violent protests, this book is an act of remembrance that preserves the powerful legacy of women at the forefront of historic revolutions.

*Every Evening Belongs to Shaheen Bagh

Prarthna Singh is a photographer whose work explores questions of identity and gender, especially as they intersect with the fraught politics of nationalism in contemporary India. Her images reflect on the economic and political trajectory of the country, drawing connections between feminine precariousness and vulnerability on the one hand, and radical acts of strength and solidarity on the other. Her practice negotiates how the two sides are inextricably linked. After completing her BFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, Prarthna lived and worked in New York City. Currently she is based in Bombay.

Sameer Kulavoor is a visual artist living and working in Mumbai, India. His work lies at the intersection of art, graphic design and contemporary illustration, and has taken the form of paintings, murals, books, zines, prints and objects. He is interested in why things look and work the way they do; constantly noting and understanding the impact that time, culture, politics and socio-economic conditions have on our visible and invisible surroundings. In this age of visual overload, his work involves filtering, dissecting, documenting and defamiliarising commonly seen subjects through the act of drawing, painting and design – often oscillating between instinctive and conceptual methods of making.

Zeenat Kulavoor is a typographer and graphic designer based in Bombay, India. She works with multiple Indian scripts and specialises in Urdu type, lettering and calligraphy. She believes that the Urdu script has endless creative possibilities and intends to change the perception towards the use of Urdu in India, which currently is widely perceived to be limited to religious usage. Using tongue-in-cheek humour and wit, combined with the use of scale, different mediums and varied print making methods, Zeenat is working towards reinventing possibilities of how the script can be a part of regular day to day life. Apart from her typography work, she is the creative director at Bombay Duck Designs, and runs a design store called Bombay Duck Shop that sells selected books, zines, prints and objects that blur the boundaries between illustration, art and design.

Order the book here

7.09 from 6.30pm: Ho Rui An presenting Tables | Factories, in conversation with Nut Srisuwan @ Motto Berlin

Posted in Artist Book, books, events, Motto Berlin event, politics on September 7th, 2022
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Please join us for the presentation of Tables | Factories with author and artist Ho Rui An in conversation with Nut Srisuwan

Wednesday 7 September
from 6.30pm

Motto Berlin
Salitzer Str. 68 (im Hinterhof)
10997 Berlin

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Ho Rui An is an artist and writer working at the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. Working primarily across the mediums of lecture, essay and film, he probes into the ways by which images are produced, circulate and disappear within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Bangkok Art Biennale; Asian Art Biennial; Gwangju Biennale; Jakarta Biennale; Sharjah Biennial; Kochi-Muziris Biennale; Kunsthalle Wien; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; and Para Site, Hong Kong. In 2019, he was awarded the International Film Critics’ (FIPRESCI) Prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany. In 2018, he was a fellow of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.

Nut Srisuwan is an independent researcher and curator based in Bangkok and Leipzig. His research examines the interrelations between subjects in transnational contexts, such as national identities, politics and migratory movements. As a co-founder of the artistic and curatorial collective “Charoen Contemporaries”, he also works together with other practitioners in finding new models for the art ecosystem in Thailand.

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Tables | Factories
Ho Rui An
Published by BANGKOK CITYCITY GALLERY

The process of preparing this book began with looking at photographs of large meeting tables around which Chinese and Singaporean public officials gathered during the many Chinese government study missions to Singapore throughout the 1990s. While such images might seem unremarkable today, the appearance of former revolutionaries of the Maoist era as sedentary technocrats marks the historic emergence of a distinct political imaginary in a time when “the economy” was displacing class struggle as the primary subject of governance in China.

It was at the table that these technocrats, having extricated themselves from the masses, devised the concept of the socialist market economy to frame the economic reforms that were launched by Deng Xiaoping in 1978. As they insisted on the compatibility of the market economy with the prevailing socialist social contract, the reformers articulated their turn towards the market as a decision informed not by the “invisible” manner through which the market allocates its resources, but by the assumed transparency of its information flows, which they believed would make visible what the party-state had been previously unable to see.

Yet, to the extent that this process of “seeking truth from facts”, as the reformers put it, is founded upon a set of separations—the party-state from the masses, information from ideology, the economic from the political—what ultimately underwrites the total visibility apparently provided by the table is the concealment of that which must not be allowed to appear as information in order for the logic of the market to obtain: the exploitation of labour.

It is on this basis that the factory can be construed as the table’s forgotten origin and impenetrable interior, and the gate that circumscribes the compound the limit of the market’s capacity for making things visible. Designed to spatially contain industrial labour and hide their exploitation from the public sphere, the factory gate is as close as the technocrat would get, as seen during the factory’s opening ceremony, to the world of labour under a capitalist mode of production. In thus proposing a convergence between tables and factories and examining their respective regimes of (in)visibility across the contexts of Singapore and Reform-era China, this collection of images and texts seeks to understand how the seemingly disparate worlds centred around these two objects in fact call forth each other to produce our deeply unsettled contemporary condition—one where the recognition that accrues to visibility has replaced freedom from exploitation as the most that the people can ever demand after the revolution’s untimely end.

Order the book here

11.08: Panya Routes with UTC’s African Centre for Cities | Book Launch with the author, Kim Gurney, in conversation with Neo Muyanga @ A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town

Posted in art, events, Motto Books on August 10th, 2022
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Order the book here

27.07, from 7pm: Book Presentation, Reading & Talk with Renée Thorne and Raimar Stange @ Motto Berlin

Posted in Book launch, events, Motto Berlin event, writing on July 25th, 2022
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Please join us for a Book Presentation, Reading & Talk with Renée Thorne and Raimar Stange, at Motto Berlin.

Wednesday 27 July 2022
from 7pm

Motto Berlin
Skalitzer Str. 68 (im Hinterhof)
10997 Berlin


*Raimar Stange
Born 1960 in Hannover, Raimar Stange studied literature and philosophy. He works and lives in Berlin as a freelance critic and curator. Stange contributes regularly to Kunst-Bulletin, Zurich; Monopol, Berlin; artmagazine.cc, Vienna; Artist, Bremen and has written catalogue texts on, amongst others, Monica Bonvicini, Peter Friedl, Thomas Hirschhorn, Michel Majerus, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Silke Wagner, Johannes Wohnseifer and Stefanie von Schroeter. He curates exhibitions on climate change and post-democracy.

*Renée Thorne
Renée Thorne is an author and artist based in Basel, Switzerland. Her work spans from lyric essays and literary journalism to texts rooted in a performative practice. Renée recently finished an M.A. in Transdisciplinary Studies at Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and will begin teaching Creative Writing at Franklin University in the fall.

Eurydice, Alive
Author: Renée Thorne
Publisher: art&fiction publications

Fusing essay, poetry and provocative prose, this hybrid work is an emotionally complex portrayal of loss and resurrection. The book ranges from memoir through myth to the overlapping lives of past artists in a fractal narrative traversing interior and exterior landscapes. In a brisk and unflinching account of the death of the narrator’s mother, the reader descends into the subterranean realms of grief as the loss unfurls into interconnected and unexpected stories of the underworld. From Eurydice’s indifferent return to Orpheus to a poet`s regret for the ghost that haunts him, each story is rich with the resonances in-between. Written in simple yet elegant prose, it is a story about emergence and the struggle to come alive. The result is a text as intense and urgent as the heartbeat the author is seeking.

Order the book here

09.07: Ingo Gerken: OFFENES BUCH | Book Presentation @ Motto Berlin

Posted in Artist's book, books, events, Motto Berlin event on July 7th, 2022
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Please join us for the presentation of Ingo Gerken: OFFENES BUCH, at Motto Berlin.

The artist will talk about the book, its ideas, problems and solutions with Jan Ketz (Raum für Zweckfreiheit, Berlin/Münster).

Saturday 9 July 2022
from 7pm

Motto Berlin
Skalitzer Str. 68 (im Hinterhof)
10997 Berlin


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Ingo Gerken: OFFENES BUCH
Texts by Eva May, Wolfgang Ullrich
Published by Hatje Cantz


Brilliant Bibliophilia

Ingo Gerken’s monographic catalogue literally opens a new chapter in his series of works, Bibliosculptures. Images of open exhibition publications or art magazines become the object of investigation here. Seemingly randomly opened book pages create a play of forces or connections between text, object, and image compositions. By depicting these views of books in the book, the medium itself is both the object and subject of analysis – typical of Gerken’s artistic practice.

INGO GERKEN (*1971) completed his studies of Fine Arts at Muthesius University in Kiel and studied Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art. He lives and works in Berlin.

Order the book here

23.06: HAWAPI Publication Presentation + Talk with Harm Lux @ Motto Berlin

Posted in architecture, books, events, Motto Berlin event, politics on June 18th, 2022
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Please join us to welcome artist duo and cultural association, HAWAPI, for a presentation of their publications and discussion with curator Harm Lux. 

Thursday 23rd June, 2022
from 7 to 9pm

Motto Berlin
Skalitzer Str. 68 (im Hinterhof)
10997 Berlin

7:00 until 7:45pm > HAWAPI introduce their work (intro by Harm Lux), followed by Audience Talk

7:50pm > Presentation of HAWAPI’s Publications

8:20pm > Open Discussion

*HAWAPI’S WORK PROCESS*

After some preliminary regional research, knowledge exchange and a get together, a concept grows and HAWAPI (Susie Quillinan & Maxim Holland) invite colleagues to participate in order to carry out artistic research and actions on site.

Two examples: In northern Peru, in the mountainous region of Sorochuco, lies the property of the weaver Maxima Acuna (family). The latter is now increasingly surrounded by Conga mining, a mining company that is not afraid to appropriate and privatise public water sources. Thirteen artists worked on site several times, and results were presented to the public.

In the “Pondores” project, 12 artists stayed – for longer periods of time – in the Colombian FARC transitional settlements to develop Empathy-building, playing and acting together with these young ex-combatants. 

We will also be presenting new publications from La Monja, books from Arequipa based artist- designer-theoretician, Sebastián Baudrand.

Order HAWAPI books here
Order La Monja books here

FRI JUNE 10 from 6.20pm > BLACK MED * book launch + listening session @ Dropcity, Milan

Posted in art, Artist Book, events on June 10th, 2022
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Motto is pleased to invite you to the presentation of Black Med (Humboldt Books), by Invernomuto, with Giovanna Silva, Alexis Zavialoff, moderated by Luca Galofaro.

Dropcity
Auditorium tunnel 60
Via Sammartini, 20125 Milano


Friday 10 June
from 6.20 to 7pm

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See you there!