Published April 2010
Geert van Kesteren, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin
Lisa Barnard, Mark Power and Daniel Cockrill, Marco Vernaschi
Roberto Boccaccino, Jane Hilton, Sohrab Hura, Liz Hingley
Louis Quail, Christian Burkert, Jamie Mcgregor Smith
Mark Dowie, Peter Beaumont, Paul Hayward, The Afghan Hound
Malu Halasa, Simon Njami + more.

Editors’ Letter

RIP Motor City, farewell then, Motown. Detroit’s illustrious past is lost to history and this rust belt city is now on the map for 50 per cent unemployment, its status as a “murder capital” and is infamous – to photographers in particular – for the faded grandeur of its abandoned buildings. And yet… countering these dismal trends are crosscurrents of possibility. What if Detroit reimagined itself as one of the first post-industrial cities? Or if the parking lots were torn up and paradise unpaved? There’s a real chance that this city could reclaim the fertile land that once gave birth to factories and turn its gravid potential into homegrown food. Our special report with photographs by Christian Burkert and Jamie Mcgregor Smith and words by Mark Dowie sees how the land lies.

By the time this issue is out, it’s odds on that a new political leader will be installed in Downing Street. Crosscurrents from the Tory regime that ended so memorably in 1997, as explored through Lisa Barnard’s work on the former Conservative Party Headquarters, have informed Labour policy and will pervade the new regime with equal force.

Elsewhere we look at different perspectives within mainstream news stories – Peter Beaumont and Louis Quail on Haiti, Paul Hayward on the first African World Cup, Geert van Kesteren’s new project on Gaza – along with those that are more or less ignored in the press – Guinea-Bissau’s collapse into lawlessness, Latvia’s youth as they try to find their footing, as well as a personal battle with schizophrenia in India.

Such reports are a contribution to history in the making. It is in or between these social, political and cultural crosscurrents that the potential for change, for radical alternatives to the problems faced by people across the globe, exists. If a common thread can be found, it is in studying power relations that are ceaselessly at play, and navigating a path towards responding personally or politically… without basing that response on diametrically opposed choices that in their narrowness remove space for contemplation.

We’re glad you could join us for our ongoing swim upstream.


Preview a selection of spreads from issue 27 below