At the studio: mono.kultur / Kai von Rabenau


Disclaimer: As a reward for reading all of the following words, you’ll find the possibility to win something.

Over the last few years, I’ve often been asked how much longer I thought it was going to be until printed publications would go extinct. Because naturally I, someone who publishes online (as in: the antipode of offline), would totally oppose everything printed on paper. Like online publishing is on something a kind of religious mission striving for world domination. Though it all sounds terribly 2009, this phenomenon is scarily present in the fight against subscription and ad sales losses most print products face these days. Still, I do not have the saving answer, despite saying out loud that I do love print! I mean, you get to choose the paper, and a format, and a cover (or umpteen covers, as seems to be necessary these days), and there is just no equivalent way to do a correlating double-page spread in a browser. So yes, there are a dozen reasons to still do print products, at least in my Weltanschauung.

I have to admit, I seem to honor only a few of the gazillion available magazines by actually walking to the store and paying money in order to read them – but they do exist and one outstanding exemplar is the Berlin-based mono.kultur, a publication I’ve eagerly followed since attending the event celebrating their Miranda July issue in Spring 2008 at Scala (which no longer even exists, oh oh Berlin…). So of course I said yes to spending an hour of my more than restricted time (you might remember I’m working on finalizing my thesis) at their office in a lovely Kreuzberg backyard on the occasion of their new issue.

Portrayed here is Kai von Rabenau, the head and motivator of a team of ten writers. Being a photographer and magazine lover himself, he started mono.kultur back in 2005, searching for contributors by, quite classically, putting a flyer at the Pro.qm bookstore. The concept of mono.kultur is simple and has grown out of economic necessity – they never managed to finance the print of their dummy, which included several interviews, so they decided on spreading them over single issues, starting with Carsten Nicolai, Frank Leder, and Nine Inch Nails. This turned out to be a genius idea, making it possible to create a new design for each issue, resulting in fabulous editions on Tilda Swinton, Dries van Noten, Dave Eggers, and many more. (Also note the reprint of their Taryn Simon issue on the occasion of her solo exhibition at Neue Nationalgalerie.)

Their newest issue, “Refine for Now”, focussing on Chris Taylor, the bass player of the fabulous Grizzly Bear, has just been released and will be officially presented this Wednesday night at L.U.X. in Kreuzberg. Good thing is: you’re all invited! Even better: Kai agreed to present us with five copies of the new issue, so if you want to share some of my print-joy and win one of those five, just leave a comment saying you want one under this post before Thursday, Nov 10, 8pm! (The winners will be announced in the comments – so take a look on Thursday night!)


ps, in case you can neither make it to the release event tomorrow, nor win one of the issues, you can still follow mono-blog.


also leave a comment
  1. adele on


    I love seeing people in their natural habitats!

  2. Forest City Fashionista on


    Intelligent sarcasm and oversized geek classes–my favourite things in men!

  3. Ryne on


    What about it makes you say depressing?
    Thanks for the blog.

  4. Mary on


    This is pretty hard to describe since it’s a very subjective feeling – In my perception the city is turned towards its past, conserving and protecting its condition from the times of the K.u.K., the court of the Habsburger, the goold old days, the golden times etc… pp. I guess it’s the dominant presence of post-war re-constructed architecture. The inner city of Vienna is basically buildings from the age of historicism and ecleticism and is heavily frequented by tourists searching for the old Vienna.
    What makes it beautiful is yet again exactly this – the old Viennese Kaffeehäuser with the waiters wearing bow ties (though this might be very Berlin-esk, it is almost impossible to find professional waiters here), the original wood panelled men’s outfitters…

  5. blica on


    aber aber aber: es hat sich einiges getan. wenn ich -mal abgesehen von eigenen beobachtungen und dem erstebezirksphänomen- den berichten glauben schenken darf,die einen größeren zeitraum überblicken, hat sich in den letzten jahren doch einiges zum positiven hin verändert.

  6. Mary on


    ja natürlich – ich wäre ja auch nicht so oft da, wenn ich das gefühl hätte wien drehe sich um den heldenplatz

  7. gih on


    That’s a prefect place or room to rest. very clean.

  8. Ryne on


    Thanks for your insight Mary. I have never been. I am dying to however and was just curious for your opinion.
    Thanks again.


  9. Mona on


    I live in Vienna and sometimes it IS depressing!Not always though…especially in summer ;)

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