BY Terence Trouillot in Opinion | 27 JAN 23

Editor’s Picks: Jumana Manna’s Agrarian Satire

Other highlights include composer Ryuichi Sakamoto’s latest album and the New York Review of Architecture – a small, independent newspaper reviewing the city’s most reputable (and disreputable) buildings

BY Terence Trouillot in Opinion | 27 JAN 23

Frieze Editor’s Picks is a fortnightly column in which a frieze editor shares their recommendations for what to watch, read and listen to.

Jumana Manna, The Foragers (2022)

Before the new year, I went to MoMA PS1 in New York to watch a special screening of Jumana Manna’s feature film The Foragers (2022). The gallery in which it was being shown was so packed that I had to stand to the side to be able to read the subtitles. Presented as part of Manna’s exceptional survey, ‘Break, Take, Erase, Tally’ – on view until 17 April – The Foragers, in many ways, fully encapsulates the artist’s multi-disciplinary practice exploring, in the words of the museum website, ‘the paradoxical effects of preservation practices in agriculture, science and the law’. The fictional documentary – Manna’s own parents feature among its cast members – tracks the lives of Palestinian foragers in the Golan Heights picking akkoub and za’atar, herbs that have been designated endangered plants by the Israeli Nature Protection Authority. The film, which was made in collaboration with human-rights lawyer Rabea Eghbariah, depicts, with great tenderness and humour, the absurdity and strife that comes from criminalizing the indigenous practice of foraging – another means of alienating Palestinians from their own land.


New York Review of Architecture

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, I developed a very regimented routine for myself during lockdown: I sharpened my knives for cooking every morning; religiously (and anxiously) watched the daily COVID-19 briefings from New York’s then governor, Andrew Cuomo; prepped and cooked elaborate meals for both lunch and dinner; and watched two episodes of Seinfeld (1989–98) before I went to bed. Generally, after the morning news, I would pick up something to read and, of the numerous publications I consumed, one stood out amongst the rest: a monthly rag called the New York Review of Architecture (NYRA).

New York Review of Architecture, cover pages
New York Review of Architecture, cover pages

NYRA was started by a group of Yale graduate students in 2019 and was brought to my attention by my good friend (and former managing editor) Dante Furioso. Having begun as a small broadsheet and developed, as of quite recently, into a full-blown print newspaper, NYRA does exactly what it set out to do. In addition to the insightful and colourful essays on the state of architecture in the Big Apple (and, occasionally, further afield), NYRA also offers short, snippy reviews on both old and new, everyday and monumental buildings, that are witty and thought-provoking, with just the right blend of political savvy and academic rigour. With a smattering of smaller publications having folded in recent months, NYRA’s critical musings on the built environment are worth the read and your support.

Ryuichi Sakamoto, 12 (2023)

Lately, as a first-time father, I rarely have time to listen to anything other than audiobooks on parenting or children’s songs and lullabies. Last week, however, I took time out to listen to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s recently released album 12, a beautiful collection of low-fi, ambient tracks for piano and synthesizer. In 2021, the Japanese composer and former member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, was diagnosed with rectal cancer – just a year after his throat cancer went into remission.

This recent album was written over the course of 13 months and features 12 tracks, each titled numerically according to the date on which it was produced. Unlike his previous album, async (2017), which was made in response to his first bout of cancer, 12 is more raw, ethereal and minimal. In almost every piece – piercing through the sweeping yet enveloping tones – you can hear Sakamoto’s rhythmic and strained breathing acting as human metronome. The effect is hauntingly sombre yet sublime, as if you have been physically transported into a room with Sakamoto at his keys to bask in his sonic play.

Main image and thumbnail: Jumana Manna, Foragers (video still), 2022. HD video; duration: 64 min. Courtesy: the artist and MoMA PS1, New York

Terence Trouillot is senior editor of frieze. He lives in New York, USA.