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This is Badland Shop

COVER: Symone Lu Wynter by Sarah Feingold

From fossilised alien bodies to the dawn of hyper-intelligence, recent discoveries are seeming less like a break-through and more like a revelation of our relentless attempts at eliminating uncertainty entirely. Trusting our own selective memories and versions of the past, the ‘unknown’ is often perceived as something that lies in the future, not something that has already happened. In this issue, we unpack the past and pick at the cracks in what we try to define as reality—documenting our obsessions, our wanting to leave our mark, and our need for cataloguing, conservation, and classification.

Our ancestors had a firm belief that all unusual phenomena put in front of them were, in one way or another, encrypted in nature, where all answers can be found. Berl, the Slavic word for swamp, is thought to be the origin of the word ‘Berlin’—a metropolis built on a wetland, a saturated landscape capable of sustaining life, its greater Brandenberg area echoing with langua- ges, songs and mythologies of swamp motif since pre-modern eras. In conversation with artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen and researcher Dane Sutherland, we return to a digital ecology of swamp and navigate the relics of its past.

Further touring the winding streets of the past, the personal life-story of so-called Direktorica Svemira, former academic, and critical theorist Irena Ateljević reminds us of our terrestrial origins, our role as regenerative agents of the Earth, as well as the potential of our human spirit.

As we peel away old layers of the collective subconscious, we surrender into the old-school magic of divination: our dear friend, Tanja Horvat-Korent, ventured into the brutalist heart of Zagreb to seek the counsel of a local psychic, who practised the ancient art of reading fate in the messy patterns of coffee cups.

From ancient pottery to the fractal geometries of psychedelic experiences, humans not only create patterns but actively seek them in the world around us. In 'Woven Poetry' by Nora Stone Roig and Beyza Nur Özler, Kilim rugs offer more than just aesthetic pleasure; they reveal stories of the weavers, their nomadic communities, the changing seasons, and their intended purposes. 

In a 14th century Serbian Orthodox monastery near Kosovo’s Prokletije Mountains, unusual celestial icons from the Byzantine world have sparked debates and conspiracy theories for decades. What kind of symbolism should be attributed to a small figure within a lunar shell? These mysteries prompt us to reflect on the elusive nature of truth and its impact on our worldview through an exchange of perspectives between a group of authors.

If reality and truth are hypothesised pasts and futures, we believe that within the smallest fragments, to the infinite scales of existence—perhaps even between these pages—lies a world of possibility that goes beyond our chaotic present.
The Untold World.