Running the length of the 032c workshop windows, Common Wealth turns the store’s terrace into the balcony of a shared Eurasian embassy, with one flag for each nation under S&T jurisdiction, surrendering with equal parts romanticism and defeatism to their complexities:
The country we call home, the country we used to call home, and the country we dream to call home are all very distinct and disparate places. It is the result of a productive schizophrenia: We are in all of them at once, a ravishing sensation, but one tempered by the slow, sobering devastation of never being in any one entirely.
S&T’s Slavs poster is a manifesto that encapsulates an uncompromisingly polemical approach to this cultural heritage: More a call to action than a mission statement alone, it attempts to deliver pan-Slavism from the jaws of nationalism—not by mobilizing historical authority, but rather by engaging a romantic sense of cultural affinity within the massive, unwieldy territory that is Slavs and Tatars’.
Drafting Defeat: 10th Century Road Maps and 21st Century Disasters
Drafting Defeat republishes a collection of Al Istakhri’s highly stylized 10th-century maps of the Middle East, printed with the legends that accompanied them in a 1933 Soviet edition of Persian bureaucrat Nasser Khosrow’s Safarnameh (Book of Travels). These unearthed documents explore a different kind of heritage, this time in keeping with an indulgent archivalism. Akademia, the book’s original publisher, was known for its unexpected titles and limited runs; included with these maps, technically unrelated to Khosrow’s travels, was an aesthetic caprice, an unorthodox approach in the otherwise austere Soviet publishing landscape. It’s a rare piece of evidence that S&T’s weakness for mercilessness bureaucracy can extend to the bureaucrats themselves, one evinced by Drafting Defeat’s fold-out cover illustration portraying a Russian folktale, a clin d’oeil to Akademia’s penchant for aesthetic flourish.
Histoire du Monde Slave et Tatar
Histoire du Monde Slave et Tatar proposes a revision of Louis-Henri Fournet’s Tableau Synoptique de l’Histoire du Monde, a visual map of the past fifty centuries of world history. Blocking out the histories of certain territories to highlight those relating to S&T, this limited-edition map, one of three, reclaims not only a historical sphere of influence often off the Western radar, but also the monomaniacal beauty of mapping an entire world history on a single sheet of paper.
A Thirteenth Month Against Time / The League of Impatience
Conceived as an addendum to one’s everyday diary and inspired by an ancient form of the Zoroastrian calendar still in use in Iran and parts of Central Asia, A Thirteenth Month Against Time proposes thirty-two daily polemics, reflections, and musings, true to a decidedly defeatist approach to time. The calendar is accompanied by The League of Impatience, a text-based triptych of three aphorisms, set against a vista of the Central Asian steppe, from Iran towards Turkmenistan.
S&T’s Nations posters, once exhibited at the 2nd Moscow Biennial and, simultaneously, at Colette in Paris, combine the still rarified geo-political vocabulary of Slavs and Tatars land with the deliberately first-degree humor of the cliché.
Slavs and Tatars is a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China, known as Eurasia. While the real Slavs and Tatars increasingly look West, S&T cherishes, caresses, and redresses this Eastern heritage – a heritage that is not merely intellectual, political, linguistic, or aesthetic, but above all affective. S&T has recently exhibited at the New York Art Book Fair, the 2nd Moscow Biennial, and the Shenzhen Architecture Biennial. Slavs and Tatars is represented by Newman Popiashivili Gallery in New York. A selection of their works was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, NY.