4 verk 166 medlemmar 1 recension


Plutser-Sarno has been collecting Russian street messages, usually hand-written and posted on walls, for two decades. This book is a sampling from his Museum of Ads and Announcements. The notes are of a great variety: seeking recruits into cults or prostitution; offering items, some of them bizzare ones, for barter; warning miscreants of dire harm should they, for example, continue to steal light bulbs from a common corridor; prohibiting--predictably--a wide range of activities; and occasionally pleading in tones of insanity.

Many of the messages are shown in illustrations, and Pluter-Sarno offers brief comments, sometimes necessary ones; without his explanation I wouldn't have guessed that 'artificial rock' was a term for a concrete slab, for example. (I'm sorry though that he didn't explain what curious Slavic behaviours created the need for notices in public lavoratories asking that users not stand on toilet bowls). Given the range of notes here, it's possible for the reader to get a hint of Soviet and post-Soviet customs and beliefs, the daily struggling with poverty and paucity, and the impact of the political upon the individual.

Because Fuel, the publisher, is a design company it's small wonder that as an object this book is pleasing. It's a small hardback with a cover done in relief, and sewn in signatures. The outer 2/3 of the pages are a kraft-paper brown and the inner 1/3, with colour illustrations, a cream colour. . .Shame about those grocers apostrophe's, though.

Notes from Russia is entertaining, informative, and lovely to look at but it's not of huge significance or impact. Call it a very superior or upmarket version of those bedside books of lists, grafitti, heroic failures and so on. Worth having, all the same.
bluepiano | Dec 30, 2016 |