AT THE CENTER of the Venn Diagram of Brutalist architecture, spa culture and Communist kitsch lies the Soviet sanatorium. In its heyday, the USSR had a network of hundreds of such centers across dozens of territories, from Estonia to Kazakhstan to the Russian Far East. Though their roots lie in the Russian tradition of curative baths, the sanatoriums of the 20th century shoehorned nicely into Soviet ideals of health and responsible rejuvenation, with workers encouraged to check themselves in yearly for a tune-up of their corporal machinery.Read More
THE ROOTS OF Russian Cosmism lie in the transcendental utopian writings of the 19th-century philosopher Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov, who advocated for, among other things, the exploration of space and a literal overcoming of death. Inextricably tied to the Russian Revolution and the rise of the USSR, Cosmism promoted broad ideals that mirrored the heart of Communism: that humanity should collectively strive to transcend the petty, temporary, and mundane.Read More
THIS BRUTAL WORLD, a catalog of worldwide Brutalist architecture, presents its starkly beautiful black-and-white photos as both a treatise and a love letter. The book’s author, Peter Chadwick, falls resolutely and joyously on the side of Brutalism as an egalitarian, economically progressive, and fundamentally global movement.Read More
DURING THE FINAL decades of the Soviet Union, architects found themselves freer to create unconventional structures than at any point in the country's history. This was particularly true in the republics outside Russia, where, while cursory tributes still had to be paid to overarching socialist ideals, the structures themselves took on a dizzying array of forms.Read More
THIS YEAR'S BERLINALE Festival—the 67th—featured a wide-ranging selection of curiosities from decades past, from thwarted epics to camp relics to vast, inscrutable psychedelia.Read More
BEN CATMULL IS an Oakland artist who works in various combinations of ink, watercolor, and scratchboard. He is currently branching out into metal plate intaglio printmaking and combining handmade miniatures with filmmaking (no, not stop motion). His letterpress prints (including the moth image below) started as simple pen-and-ink drawings and were printed by Volta press.
Ben's published works are Ghosts and Ruins (2013) and Monster Parade (2006), both from Fantagraphics, and Paper Theater (2001, Xeric Grant). Physical copies of Monster Parade are sold out, but it can be read online here.Read More
Laureen Mahler is a Berlin-based designer, printmaker, and co-founder of the print studio Volta Press. Over the past decade, she has produced a body of innovative work that bridges the gap between traditional print methods and modern design. Her minimalist, geometric style is strongly influenced by Modernists such as El Lissitzky and Jan Tschichold, while also embracing 21st century technologies and design principles. Originally from California, Laureen has lived and worked in Berlin since 2014.Read More