In Mycelium, a novel set against a transforming Berlin, an artist confronts a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Going to openings and parties, setting up a studio and breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Noora is living the post–art school life in Berlin when, in 2005, she's diagnosed with breast cancer. Vaguely restless, until now she's been neither happy nor unhappy, but her entry into what she calls “Cancerland” forces her to question the assumptions by which she lived her life so far. Uneasily, she realizes that the “relationships of the soul” she and her friends value over everything else might not be as indelible as family, after all.
In this sharp and picaresque first novel, conceptual artist Annette Weisser depicts the transformation of Berlin from the frontier city of the cold war to an international art hub as an analog and backdrop to the chaotic, corporeal transformation Noora undergoes through cancer and its treatments. Written in the casual, associative style of a female coming-of-age novel, Mycelium examines German trauma, art school dramas, and the inevitable parsing into winners and losers that her generation undergoes as they enter their mid-thirties.
Annette Weisser is an artist and writer who lives in Berlin. From 2006 to 2019, she taught in the MFA program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Her writings have appeared in Die Zeit Online, Springerin, Texte zur Kunst, Afterall, and other publications. Mycelium, her first novel, was published by Semiotext(e) in 2019.
Natasha Stagg's Sleeveless features essays and stories on fashion, art, and culture in the New York of the 2010s.
We were supposed to meet Rose McGowan at Café d'Alsace after the party, but she cancelled at the last minute. I saw on Twitter that she had been hit with a drug possession charge, which she insisted was a scheme to keep her Weinstein dirt quiet. I hadn't even read her Weinstein story… I still wanted to know that the articles were being published, and in large quantities, but reading stories of abuse and humiliation was as stupefying as a hangover. I didn't feel empowered; I only felt more hopeless. I wanted to watch the patriarchy go up in flames, but I wasn't excited about what was being pitched to replace it. If we got all of it out in the open, what would we have left? My fear was that guilt would destroy the classics and there'd be no one left to fuck. All movies would be as low-budget and as puritanical as the stuff they play on Lifetime, all of New York would look like a Target ad, every book or article would be a cathartic tell-all, and I'd be sexually frustrated but too ashamed to hook up with assholes, or even to watch porn.—from Sleeveless
Eve Babitz meets Roland Barthes in Sleeveless, Natasha Stagg's follow up to Surveys, her 2016 novel about internet fame. Composed of essays and stories commissioned by fashion, art, and culture magazines, Sleeveless is a scathing and sensitive report from New York in the 2010s. During those years, Stagg worked as an editor for V magazine and as a consultant, creating copy for fashion brands. Through these jobs, she met and interviewed countless industry luminaries, celebrities, and artists, and learned about the quickly evolving strategies of branding. In Sleeveless, she exposes the mechanics of personal identity and its monetization that propelled the narrator of Surveys from a mall job in Tucson to international travel and internet fame.
Natasha Stagg is the author of Surveys (2016) and Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media, New York 2011–2019 (2019), each published by Semiotext(e).