Monday Morning Meditations

Happy Monday all! To start off the week I thought I would share a new gem in the & Pens Press library, Mazdaznan Health & Breath Culture, the First Six Exercises.


This soft bound, saddle stitched zine, explores the relationship between Mazdaznan, Johannes Itten and the Foundation Courses he taught at the Bauhaus.

If you are not familiar with Mazdaznan studies it was a religion founded by the  Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha’nish in Chicago at the start of the twentieth century. A couple interesting facts that we learned about Dr. Ha’nish was that it is rumored that Edison named the first lightbulb Mazda in his honor and that Henry Ford attributed the dawn of the motor-age to Ha’nish’s influence. The Swiss artist and teacher Johannes Itten was also a devout Mazdaznan and its exercises were an essential part of his courses at the Bauhaus.




To give you a general overview Health & Breath Culture is a practical guide to performing the exercises taught by Itten at the Bauhaus.  Throughout the zine you are lead through six exercises in thought, posture and breathing to help improve different senses.

The six chapters concentrate on:

1. Sight and Concentration

2. Hearing and Intuition

3. Smell and Memory

4. Taste and Will Power

5. Touch and Nerve Energy

6. Feeling and Heart Culture

Accompanying the six instructions are these beautiful and sweet line drawings of current Foundation students demonstrating the exercises, illustrated by Ian Whittlesea. (Admittedly the drawings are what lead me to spending more time with the text.)

DSC_0208 DSC_0209Following the first section of the book is a selection of found texts and images on the belief and history of Mazdaznan, which is pretty interesting.


So, if you are struggling with the Monday blues today this publication is a great item to have on hand, or in your bag, when you have a quiet moment and need a release. (Our favorite exercise to try at the shop is Taste and Will Power.)

Available (even for skeptics) in the bookstore, here.


Mazdaznan Health & Breath Culture, The First Six Exercises

By Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha’nish.

Illustrated by Ian Whittlesea with drawings of current Foundation students demonstrating the exercises, followed by a selection of found texts and images on the beliefs and history of Mazdaznan.

Friday Favorite : Lee Yanor

Well , here we are, the first Friday of our first week of being open. In celebration of all the great new publication we’d like to share we decided to start “Friday Favorite” a weekly post featuring a new publication we are excited about. For this week’s post we are featuring a stunning new publication by Isralie photo and video artist Lee Yanor.



In 2010 when Director and Artistic Director Pia Forsgren invited Yanor to The Jewish Theatre in Stockholm with the intention of introducing her work to the Swedish art scene, inspiration for creating a new piece in the form of a book emerged from her residency. Forsgren worked on the publication with award-winning Art Director Anders Wester, and in turn the book received a design award by Svensk Bokkonst.



Within this 472 page book is a wide range of Yanor’s photos, emulsions, holograms and documentation of three video works: “Cloud 9,” “Small Songs” and the film Coffee with Pina, about the grande dame of postwar Europe, choreographer Pina Bausch. Accompanying the images is a thoughtful collection of texts by curator Varda Steinlauf, Madelaine Levy, editor in chief of Bon Magazine, poet Paul Celan, Pia Forsgren, Lee Yanor and others. 


The result captures a literal and visual poetic flow of her works, leading you from page to page as if taking part in a choreographed dance in the form of printed matter. Even the newsprint-like quality of the paper adds to the ephemeral feel of the book.  A must read and see, available here.




Lee Yanor, Publication date: July 2013
Editor: Pia Forsgren, Anders Wester and Lina Österman
Art Direction and design: Anders Wester and Fredrik Axell
Production: The Jewish Theatre

Stay tuned for next week’s Friday Favorite!