24.11.14 - 5:27pm
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Temporal Fold: Galia Gur Zeev’s Brazilian Self

Picture two types of gazes: one, which observes in real time, is active and industrious, documenting and perpetuating: Galia Gur Zeev, a photographer, diligently documents the objects in her parents’ home after her father’s passing. Her camera further follows the house’s emptying and the removal of objects, capturing not only the empty space, but also the signs of dust, the changing shadows, and even the naked, orphaned nails on the wall. Woven into this archival observation, which transpires in a “continuous present,” is another gaze, which looks back, to the distant past, to childhood. It is a wondering gaze which examines memory, questioning its credibility: a group of yellowing album photographs, a box of faded slides, and a few objects originating in Brazil, rediscovered during the house’s clearing – these alone indicated that it all indeed happened: a period of three years in the early 1960s (1962–1965) which Gur Zeev and her parents spent in Brazil as emissaries, living in Rio de Janeiro.


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02.09.14 - 7:16am
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Thornwillow Press: A Visit with Luke Ives Pontifell

I recently read an article on the internet that pondered a long list of things technology has to answer for; limited attention spans, the end of artisan craftsmanship, and naked selfie sharing (amongst others). My Iphone fell in the toilet and died when I left it on the ledge while showering. I wanted to be close to it. Sometimes innovation requires a movement backwards, and this is exactly how Luke Ives Pontifell has revolutionized media’s oldest business: Bookmaking. Thornwillow Press has built its name preserving the sensual art of making books by hand, boldly producing large scale print runs of type set, hand bound editions.


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20.04.14 - 8:05am
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Annie Appel’s Occupation

Annie Apfel was frantically making the rounds of the L.A Art Book Fair, crossing off the names of publishers and artists she wanted to present her work to. I admired her hustle, and gladly obliged when she insisted on showing me the portraits she had been making of people at the Occupy Wallstreet protests that swept throughout the U.S during the Fall of 2012. Each image in her series presents a protestor, alongside a quote describing the changes they wished for. She had spent months travelling with her 4X5 camera and film, she recounted, spending her savings in order to try and cover as many of the protests as she could. The Occupy Portraits: A Photo Essay is comprised of approximately 450 black-and-white portraits of activists (from California to New York), shot between October 2011 and May 2012.


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22.01.14 - 3:17pm
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‘Kufer Bir’im’ Reconstruction Model with Hanna Fouad Farah

Over five years ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Hana Farah to talk about Kufer Bir’im – Reconstruction Model, 2008 – his architectural proposal for his fathers village, Kufer Birim, which…


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22.01.14 - 5:38am
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Fruits of Light: A Reflection on Studio Photography

Studio portraits were once a staple of modern life, relegated to bureaucratic and personal realms of modern documentation: passport photos, family portraits, and wedding pictures where but a few of the many reasons people would frequent photo studios. According to Jacob Mikanowski, “studio portraits once belonged to the teeming undergrowth of photography, the network of practices and forms that sometimes predate and often anticipate its emergence as a recognized art form.” It was because of their functional nature that they were of so little interest to the world of high culture.


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24.11.13 - 3:55am
OPEN POST

Staccato

Language is communications; the written word is its material manifestation. However, at least since the arrival of symbolist poetry language departs from its concrete references. This is the beginning of open interactions between phonemes, the actual meaning of poetic dynamics of interacting consonants and syllables, between rhythm and sound. Even in its written form it departed from its conventional function and assigns its own function to typography that composes meaning since Mallarmé’s free-floating poetry, which defines the empty page of a book as compositional framework. The introduction of writing into the arts, however, accentuates not only its visual component, it elevates it to a special symbol that presents language as a material signifier that can be read while a peculiar abstraction appears due to its exposed visibility.


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10.10.13 - 8:24pm
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The Reluctant Allegoricist: Jennifer Abessira’s ‘Elastique’

Craig Owen’s was certainly unaware of Jennifer Abessira’s work, otherwise he would not have made the mistake of assigning the masculine gender to allegorical impulse. Abessira’s life has been defined by a series of dualities; born in Paris, but raised in Tel-Aviv, her ongoing photographic series ‘Elastique’ reflects this constant tension through pairings of images that she both finds and creates. While the artist admits that she is often “too lazy to travel”, she has found freedom through the internet. As she explains, straight up photography had stopped fulfilling her creative needs; like many people in this digitally over saturated world, she started to feel guilty about creating new images…


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25.09.13 - 4:39am
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Overlaps and Meeting Places: The Work of Jim Verburg

Over his career, Jim Verburg has used photography, video, text, installation, and print to explore his love of modernist aesthetics, emotional matters, and the interpersonal. As a body of work…


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18.09.13 - 8:08pm
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The Braddocks: A conversation With Agnes Bolt and Jessica Wilcox

Agnes Bolt’s book brings together two towns that had never heard of each other: The Braddocks of rural North Dakota and post-industrial Pennsylvania. The project examines the social and cultural differences of these namesakes through the stuff of their inhabitants. From discarded meat grinders to pheasant feathers, people’s things and the narratives around those things begin to take on drastically different meanings as they get passed from one person to the next. Bad memories become yearnings, conquests turn into warnings in humorous, awkward and poignant exchanges. Encounters were conducted from word of mouth, and door-to-door. The following is a discussion between Jessica Wilcox and Agnes Bolt about the project.


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10.09.13 - 4:32pm
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Jessie Kotler: Primary Work

I take photographs to become intimate with all beings. I search for myself in my subjects. My photos are spontaneous. I never tell my subjects what to do or how to pose. Sometimes the subjects are aware of the camera and sometimes they are unaware. Regardless of how the photo is taken, what I look for is always the same. I am interested in vulnerability and mortality. I like to look at things that many choose to look away from such as death…


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30.08.13 - 12:41pm
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Mother Tongue, Father Tongue: Following the Death of the Mother and the Death of the Father

Mother Tongue, Father Tongue is a searing memoir written by Ariella Azoulay that deals with the intersection between linguistics, heritage, and social justice. Azoulay thoughtfully and provocatively reminisces about her experience growing up as a Mizrahi woman in Israel, addressing the alienation, estrangement, and civil injustice that continues to plague equality in Israeli society. The text was translated by Talya Halkin, and appears here for the first time in English. It will be included in Sternthal Book’s upcoming publication ‘The Rothfeld Collection’, about a collection of Israeli contemporary Art.


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25.06.13 - 8:29am
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Adriana Varella: Cracks in Civilized Landscapes

Sternthal Books has recently begun work on a new artist book with Adrianna Varella and Ife Niklaus called Cracks in Civilized Landscapes. I recently sat down with Adrianna Varella in her studio to discuss her life and work.

Cracks in Civilized Landscapes is a performative work that challenges architecture as a patriarchal authority. Filming ourselves in the process of fucking/having sex in a church, a mosque, a castle, a museum, a bank and other institutional monuments, we seek to deconstruct their sacred, heroic and sexist dimension. It is a subversive attempt of desecration. We infiltrate these buildings by focusing on the structure and trying to decipher the oppressive power of these infrastructures beyond their formal aspect. Each body is a political instrument, and nobody can represent us better than ourselves. Therefore, It is with full awareness that we act without concession or self-censorship.


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13.05.13 - 12:03am
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David Grossman: On ‘To The End Of The Land’, and The Politics of Language

Anneli Rstaad sat down with the acclaimed author David Grossman to discuss his critically acclaimed novel To The End Of The Land, the politics of language, and his perspectives on Israeli culture today. The book tells the story of Ora, a mother whose son has been called to the front lines of a war with Lebanon, and who, in an act of magical thinking, leaves her home in Jerusalem to evade the ‘notifiers’ who might arrive to tell her of her sons death. In a twist of cruel irony, Grossman’s son was killed in the Lebanese War of 2006 while he was completing the novel.



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30.04.13 - 4:02pm
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An Interview with Boris Kralj: Author of ‘My Belgrade’

Boris Kralj’s photography book ‘My Belgrade’ was published at a time when very few contemporary photographic representations of Belgrade existed. The project uses photography to capture fragments of Belgrade – public signs, communist architecture, street fashion, and old record albums. The work expresses a wave of Yugo-Nostalgia that has emerged in response to the failure of independence to bring forth the future many dreamt of. Kralj sat down with me at a café called West Berlin to share the intimate details of his own family’s story, as well as to shed light on the political realities subtly intimated throughout the book. The project is in many ways a protest against the poison of nationalism and the horrors of war which splintered his family amongst the various national factions…



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06.03.13 - 9:40pm
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Display as Destination Culture

Dana Levy’s recent body of work in photography and video straddles several interrelated themes, from the war between nature and culture, to metaphors for freedom and constraint. Her work extends even to the use and abuse of the environment and the trafficking of natural artifacts as souvenirs. As such, I wish to look at the sites of Levy’s investigations, the locations she has selected for her shoots, which form not only the background to her films’ “action,” but which are integral to the meaning and structure of her work, oftentimes forming bridges among her various visual investigations.


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30.12.12 - 9:31pm
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A Letter From Hannah Arendt To Gershom Scholem

The following letter was written by Hannah Arendt to Gerhardt Scholem, a scholar who made a number of pioneering contributions to the study of Jewish mysticism. The letter was written in response to the publication of Arendt’s book Eichmann in Jerusalem, originally published as a series of essays in the New Yorker. Her letter touched me deeply from the moment I first read it. Arendt manages to flippantly dismiss Scholem’s attack, carving a unique position on the direction that Israel in the early 1960’s had begun to take…

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18.12.12 - 5:32am
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A Conversation with Jorge Luis Borges

Juan Luis Borges candidly discusses his father’s library, immortality, and the mystery of his writing in a fascinating conversation conducted in 1984 by the Professor of Philosophy Tomás Abraham, associate professors Alejandro Rússovich and Enrique Marí, and their students in the Psychology Department of the University of Buenos Aires. The conversation was first published in English by Joshua Ellison, translated, and included in Habitus Magazine’s third issue on Buenos Aires.

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05.12.12 - 7:02pm
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Flesh And Spirit

In the period of our early national existence – the period of the first temple – we find no trace of the conception of a duality of body and soul. Man, as a living and thinking being, is one in all his parts. The Hebrew word Nefesh includes everything, body and soul, and all that belongs to them. The Nefesh, the individual human being, lives as a whole and dies as a whole; nothing survives. This notwithstanding, early Judaism was not perplexed by the problem of life and death. It knew nothing of the despair which begets the materialistic philosophy of the exaltation of the flesh and of sense enjoyment as a refuge from the emptiness of life; nor did it turn its gaze upward to create in Heaven an eternal habitation for the souls of men. It offered eternal life here on earth. This it did by emphasizing the sense of collectivity, by teaching the individual to regard himself not as an isolated unit, with an existence bounded by his own birth and death, but as a part of a larger and more important whole, as a member of the social body.

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28.11.12 - 2:40pm
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Rendering The Invisible

When Sonel Breslav, founder of Blonde Art Books, wrote an essay responding to Pauline Oliveros’ question ‘Why can’t sounds be visible?’ she didn’t realize that her response would eventually turn into a call to action. Sternthal Books recently sat down with Breslav, and Matthew Walker, on the occasion of the recent exhibition they curated at Present Company in Williamsburg titled, ‘Render Visible’, to discuss graphic scores, the sound art community, and the possibility of rendering the unseen visible…


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25.06.12 - 5:09pm
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Doorbells

When Montreal based photographer Jordan Weitzman rang noted photographer Duane Michal’s buzzer in New York, he didn’t expect to find himself face to face with his idol, forget about having the opportunity to shoot a series of portraits of him. The following article details Weitzman’s encounters with Michal’s, accompanied by the beautiful images he made of him.


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17.05.12 - 3:55pm
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Eitan Ben-Moshe & Yael Hersonski: In Conversation

The following interview is an excerpt from a longer conversation between Eitan Ben-Moshe and Yael Hersonski, a documentary filmmaker who was nominated for an Academy Award for her film “A Film Unfinished,” a critical analysis of The Nazi propaganda film “Das Ghetto.” To read the full interview, order a copy of the book from our shop.


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03.05.12 - 7:55am
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The Lies My Father Told Me: An Essay On Collecting

“Ian, anything material can be taken from you, except for what is in your mind.”

In sixty years my father had amassed many things. Antique clocks. Group of Seven paintings. Three talkative children. A beautiful wife. Family videos. A fancy alarm system to protect the collection from thieves.

“The need to accumulate is one of the signs of approaching death.”

I value my father’s words of wisdom more than Walter Benjamin’s


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11.04.12 - 5:24am
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The Chicken

The telephone rang. I picked it up. A shiver rushed down my spine. I knew it was the Commandant. “Hello Commandant,” I said. My voice bounced off the far wall, and echoed in my ears. I was so caught up in my thoughts that I mistook it for the voice of another, and gasped.

“Why did you just gasp?” the Commandant asked coolly.

“Because I mistook my voice for the voice of another,” I responded.

I couldn’t lie to the Commandant. I had attempted it in the past – had attempted it once in Vienna – and he had recognized it at once for what it was: a big fat lie! He could see right through me.

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03.04.12 - 5:59am
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Fighting Words

Unlike my literary peers in the United States and the Rest of Canada – or the R.O.C., as it is now known here in Quebec – I can no longer scribble in English with impunity, which makes for a certain frisson. The Commission de Protection de la Langue Francaise has dispersed 15 inspectors, each of them armed with a tape measure and color chart, to make sure that English lettering on outdoor commercial signs is half the size of the French, and that perfidious Anglophones haven’t painted their half-pint messages in colors more alluring than the French. If Quebec’s language laws tighten just one more notch, I may have to write my novels in words half the size of the French so as not to antagonize our linguistic vigilantes.

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29.03.12 - 10:20pm
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Guy Yanai: The Middle Of Somewhere

To hear him tell it, Guy Yanai’s solitary two-month artist residency in a desanctified 19th-century church in a rural section of upstate New York in 2009 was a season in the back of beyond, like stepping into the yawning gulf of a howling wilderness.

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16.01.12 - 5:13am
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A Tale of Two Sisters: Reflections On The Story

This is a story about sisterhood. Although it was written when the Sotah ceremony was no longer performed (if indeed it ever was), it served as a warning to women who might be tempted to collude against male power. The narrator of the story warns that anyone who tries to circumvent the law will pay with her life, and the final kiss will be a kiss of death. Feminine loyalty will not succeed against masculine rule of law. Actions must be met with consequences, and ultimately justice conquers all.

But I am not willing to read the story this way. I take the liberty of freezing the end of the story one moment prior to the sister’s arrival, just before the sisterly kiss turns to a kiss of death. I search within the Talmud’s paean to quiet obedience for the subversive story that lies hidden between the lines, between the letters…

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14.02.11 - 1:26am
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The Sternthal Journal:

The Sternthal Journal aims to broadcast socially relevant voices, while infusing the worlds of art and design with philosophical and political introspection. I have never liked authority, and I believe that each individual, so long as they are not harming others, should have the right to determine how they are seen and heard. The goal of this space is to use images, videos, and prose in order to examine political questions from a visual perspective. The articles we publish will sometimes accompany our existing projects, allowing readers to gain more contextual information about our various publications, but they will….

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