Natalie Gravenor | Monday August 16th, 2010
Inspired by re-visiting the Archive of Youth Culture’s work and publications (see blog post on August 15), I would like to point out two books in the Archive’s vast catalogue of “standardwerke” (German term for definitive work on a subject) on popular culture phenomena.
Today’s recommended reading is FLYER SOZIOTOPE, a 600 page, bi-lingual (German and English) tome edited by Mike Riemel and published by the Archive for Youth Cultures. Using the gazillions of colorful, witty and often enigmatic handbills designed and printed to advertise the myriad DJ sets and concerts in Berlin’s exploding post-1989 electronic dance and other alternative music scenes as a point of departure, Riemel succeeds on two counts. First of all, the book is an unparalleled catalogue of flyers: over 2,000 from all over the world and spanning more than two decades until 2005. (If your appetite is whetted, there’s a database of 30,000 flyers spanning the years 1970 to at least 2005. It’s sadly not online.) Secondly, FLYER SOZIOTOPE lives up to its name with texts (by such renowned authors as techno publishing mogul Jürgen Laarmann and music journalist Martin Büsser) that examine the sociology, history, psychology, design theory and future of the flyer. Check well-stocked design/art bookshops or Amazon (a used copy sells there for EUR 20).
Wednesday’s recommended reading will highlight a publication that examines the political messages and context in German language popular music, sometimes in songs where you didn’t suspect any.
BTW, this post inaugurates an irregular series on noteworthy, publicly accessible archival projects. The focus will be on Berlin and maybe Central/Eastern Europe (cos I’ve been there), but if you would like to point out an archive or collection, thanks!
P.S. Berlin Calling features visuals by design collective Pfadfinderei, pioneers of the Berlin club visual style.