Assemblies are ancestral, transcultural ways of coming together as a community. Over the past decades, multiple social movements have reappropriated these forms of collective organisation as a prominent component of political struggle, to defend radical visions of democracy. At the same time, governments across the globe have sought to reframe public deliberation as a response to the failures of representative democracy. How can we analyze this double movement, and could assemblies of equals once again offer possibilities to reimagine and renew the ways politics is practiced? To address these questions, we need to move beyond simply asking what assemblies can do, and instead examine how they are made. This means departing from the shores of a speculative, deliberative ideal and restoring attention to both their diversity of forms, and their capacities to perform, deform, and transform. Bringing together accounts written by those who practice assemblies, and contributions from artists, activists, historians, philosophers, and social scientists, as well as three architectural experiments that attempt to imagine models for a future assembly, the book proposes a critical inquiry into the potential of assemblies to shape political subjects. From assemblies in Indigenous territories of Brazil to those of the Yellow Vests in France, from medieval communes to street parliaments in Africa, from citizens’ assemblies set up by public authorities to practices forged from emancipatory traditions, What Makes An Assembly? examines the tensions that exist in all assemblies between the need for form and the danger of formalization; between the scripts, rituals, and architectural settings from which they derive, and their capacity to erupt and emerge anew. Contributors Ayreen Anastas, Andreas Angelidakis, Hans Asenbaum, Frédérique Aït-Touati, Richard Banégas, Sandra Benites, Jean Godefroy Bidima, Patrick Boucheron, Florence Brisset-Foucault, Manuel Callahan, François Cooren, Armando Cutolo, Pascale Dufour, Ben Eersels, Tallulah Frappier, Rene Gabri, Delphine Gardey, Alana Gerecke, Andrés Jaque/Office For Political Innovation, Laurent Jeanpierre, Pablo Lafuente, Laura Levin, Stacey Liou, Catherine Malabou, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Florian Malzacher, Piersandra Di Matteo, Markus Miessen, Raumlabor, Philippe Urfalino, Yellow Vests, Aleksandra Wasilkowska, Ana Terra Yawalapiti

The first book on Italy’s unique Brutalist style, from the authors of Soviet Asia What makes Italian Brutalist buildings different to their counterparts in other countries? Containing over 140 exclusive photographs―ranging from private homes to churches and cemeteries via football stadiums―across every region of the country, Brutalist Italy is the first publication to focus entirely on this subject. Architectural photographers Roberto Conte and Stefano Perego (authors of Soviet Asia) have spent the past five years traveling over 12,000 miles documenting the monumental concrete structures of their native country. Brutalism―with its minimalist aesthetic, favoring raw materials and structural elements over decorative design―has a complex relationship with Italian history. After World War II, Italian architects were keen to distance themselves from fascism, without rejecting the architectural modernism that had flourished during that era. They developed a form of contemporary architecture that engaged with traditional methods and materials, drawing on uncontaminated historical references. This plurality of pasts assimilated into new constructions is a recurring feature of the country’s Brutalist buildings, imparting to them a unique identity. From the imposing social housing of Le Vele di Scampia to the celestial Our Lady of Tears Sanctuary, Syracuse, Brutalist Italy collects the most compelling examples of this extraordinary architecture for the first time in a single volume.

The Serving Library Annual comprises several bulletins organised around a theme for an international audience of designers, researchers, writers, and artists. This years collection explores how translation is fast becoming a significant site for the negotiation of identities and power dynamics in an increasingly Anglocentric cultural scene. Departing from literature and the visual arts, the issue veers off into mathematics, music, architecture, religion, and more. It is guest co-edited by Italian novelist and translator Vincenzo Latronico and features contributions by Meehan Crist, Philip Ording, Katrina Dodson, Claudia Durastanti, Joseph Grigely, Minae Mizumura, and more.

Through the media of photography, film, and text, Dutch visual artist and photographer Petra Stavast unravels and structures complex social issues, often departing from a seemingly insignificant personal observation. ‘S75’ is a project she named after the Siemens S75, a mobile phone that was launched in 2005. It was Stavast’s first phone which featured an integrated camera, with a maximum resolution of 1280 × 960 pixels. All the portraits appearing in this series were photographed by Stavast using the S75 between 2006 and 2022 in Amsterdam, Banff, and Shanghai. The book is designed by Hans Gremmen.

Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey – Catalogue, Cover No.2 (Unit 04) offers a comprehensive overview of the work of one of the most important and influential graphic designers of the modern era. Published to celebrate the major retrospective at the Design Museum in London, this book presents the work of a graphic titan. A pioneer of the new modernity, Crouwel’s early work anticipated the current computer era, and caught the sprit of early space age futurism. His programmatic approach to graphic design, his innovative use of grid systems, and his hunger for typographic experimentation, is as relevant today as it was when he first began working as a graphic designer in the 1950s. But this is not a usual formulaic design book: instead, Crouwel’s posters, catalogues, documents, manuals – even his stamps and personal photographs – are presented in the raw, bare-concrete setting of the Crouwel archive. As Tony Brook, the exhibition’s curator and the book’s co-editor and designer notes: ‘This approach exposes the process of making an exhibition, and of imparting the sense of discovery as archive boxes are opened to reveal hidden treasure. It also gives a greater sense of Crouwel’s work as objects that functioned in the real world rather than mere representations seen in only in books.’ The book contains an interview with Wim Crouwel conducted by Tony Brook. During the course of the discussion, Crouwel describes his early life, his formative years – including his period at Total Design – and his philosophy of design. This all-encompassing catalogue of Crouwel’s work demonstrates that he is that rarest of phenomena – a bona fide graphic design master. The book comes with three different cover photographs, and a variety of title stickers.

This is the Cover No. 2

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