Recommended by Daniel Hornuff
Together with designers and authors who have worked with us on this year’s issues, we have collected a few recommendations for all those who do not have any plans for the week between Christmas and New Year yet, or those who are looking for inspiration for 2018.
Daniel Hornuff studied dramatic theory, German literature, comparative literature, art history, and philosophy in Leipzig and Karlsruhe. His doctoral thesis and habilitation treatise were on topics in the sphere of art and cultural history. In other publications, he has examined theories of the image and design. As well as numerous university teaching positions, Hornuff has held several professorships and currently teaches art and design theory in the faculty of art history at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. This year, he put the debate about functionalism into a new light in form 270, and in form 273 he discussed the political influence of design.
1. Although published in 2013, this book by Jan-Werner Müller who teaches political science at Princeton, has not lost any of its explosive impact. On the contrary, “Wo Europa endet” [Where Europe Ends] discusses, using the case study of the Hungarian Fidesz party, which opportunities are available to the EU – to us all, then! – to counteract the forming of national dictatorships in Europe. Müller’s sober and highly concentrated essay in its wealth of knowledge of sociopolitical, legal, and ideological contexts is a shining example of democratic raising of awareness, a decisive plea for a “Political Union for Europe” – and is a gripping read for all those who see in liberal democracies the prerequisite for shaping a free coexistence with one another.
2. There are people who do not simply give presents at Christmas but also the associated receipts: “Here’s some stuff for you, do what you want with it and if it’s not right, it makes no difference to me, get something else instead,” grumbled Adorno completely disenchanted in the 21st aphorism of his “Minima Moralia”. Other people do not hand over the receipt, but something else instead, which is what they would like themselves – this leaves Adorno bewildered, too: “At best, they give what they would like themselves, but just a few grades lower.” Use the days between Christmas and New Year to recover from the impertinence of giving: distance yourself from politely thanking others, conventions which have been imposed upon us; recover from the traditionally poisonous actually-we-didn’t-want-to-give-presents-this year; and relax after the method acting challenge, to epitomise joyful surprise even in a dramatic drift between packaging design (still promising) and content (finally sobering). In short: is the time after the present-giving not one of the best gifts?