Press release, Mar 31, 2021

HKW issues volumes 4 and 5 of the book series The New Alphabet

Echo links technology, sound and politics and creates new values for a future world. Skin and Code examines the way prejudices are inscribed in bodies and digital interfaces.

In Echo, the literary scholar Louis Chude-Sokei questions Western science and its obsession with cause and effect. Based on his technopoetic, metaphorical and political echo concept, the volume experiments with how the echo of past ideas of life and form has produced the technologies and ways of life that underpin today’s world. In her essay, Lisa Baraitser shows how COVID-19 and racism shape technologies. In conversation, media scientist Maya Indira Ganesh and artist Wesley Goatley experiment with non-human and machine data processing.
With additional essays by Xavier Le Roy, Luciana Parisi, Sascha Pohflepp, Sophia Roosth and Gary Thomlinson

Skin and Code examines the violence that manifests itself on bodies, in chat rooms, memes and algorithms. In her poem, the writer Rhea Ramjohn tells of hybrid slang, Black Lives Matter and survival. The philosopher Luce deLire asks whether Spinoza’s philosophy can help recognize the contradictions of a binary coded but heterogeneously structured digital reality. Julia Velkova and Anne Kaun criticize the prejudices written into algorithms and show what effects they have on everyday life. The Berlin Initiative intersektionale Pädagogik (i-PÄD) teaches people how to deal with ambiguity in a practical way.
With artwork by Alyk Blue, Johanna Burai and Calah P Toussaint-Amat

On HKW’s book series The New Alphabet
In 25 volumes, The New Alphabet explores new worlds of symbols for alternative knowledge production. The topics range from Chinese pictograms, music playlists and the language of the body to manufacturing practices, artificial intelligence in music and alternative technological histories, Aby Warburg’s work on the Hopi snake ritual and the utopian potential of archives.

The book design by Olaf Nicolai takes up the logic of the alphabet: It repeatedly varies elements such as the title lettering, selected words, colors and the folds of the cover. These elements can be combined in different ways, they link the volumes with one another and open up a playing field for your own constellations. The volumes with numerous illustrations are published by Spector Books in Leipzig in a German and an English edition.

Volume 4: Echo
Essays by Lisa Baraitser, Louis Chude-Sokei, Maya Indira Ganesh, Wesley Goatley, Xavier Le Roy, Luciana Parisi, Sascha Pohflepp, Sophia Roosth and Gary Thomlinson
Editors: Katrin Klingan, Johanna Schindler, Nick Houde
English: 80 pages; German: 80 pages
Color illustrations, soft cover with folded dust jacket; price: €10
More information at

Volume 5: Skin and Code
Essays by Alyk Blue, Johanna Burai, Luce deLire, i-PÄD, Rhea Ramjohn, Calah P Toussaint-Amat and Julia Velkova & Anne Kaun
Editor: Daniel Neugebauer
English: 88 pages; German: 88 pages
Color illustrations, soft cover with folded dust jacket; price: €10
More information at

25 volumes in the series will be published by the end of 2022.

More information about the published and upcoming volumes can be found at and

Press photos at

We are happy to send you a review copy and forward your interview request.

The New Alphabet is edited by Detlef Diederichsen, Anselm Franke, Katrin Klingan, Daniel Neugebauer and Bernd Scherer and published by Spector Books, Leipzig. Concept and design of the series by Olaf Nicolai in collaboration with Malin Gewinner, Hannes Drißner and Markus Dreßen.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the Federal Foreign Office.

Press Contacts:
Jan Trautmann
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Head of Press and PR
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
D-10557 Berlin
+49 30 39787-192

Christin Krause
Spector Books OHG
Harkortstraße 10
D-04107 Leipzig
+49 (0)34126451012