Unlock Book Fair Berlin 2017


16 & 17 September

Publishers | Programme | Extra video

Opening night Friday 15
Screenings start Thursday 14

➔ Read about the fair’s highlights ✍️

Graffiti books and hobo culture

The Unlock Book Fair comes back with more books and zines, and a deep look into the world of hobo graffiti. Our extended programme features guests and contributors like Carlo McCormick, Bill Daniel, Susan Phillips, Peter Stelzig and Kevin Kemter.

Publishers from many different countries have signed up. We are looking forward to provide again a meeting space for the independent graffiti publishing scene!

Book fair and public programme

➔ ExRotaprint, Gottschedstr. 4
➔ Saturday, 16 September, 11–19h
➔ Sunday, 17 September, 11–19h
Free entrance

Extra video screenings

➔ Wendel Cafe, Schlesische Str. 42
➔ Friday, 15 September, 20–22:30h
➔ Saturday, 16 September, 20–22:30h

➔ Freie Universität, Lansstr. 7–9
➔ 14 & 15 September, 9:30–18h (loop)

Free entrance

Explore hobo graffiti and culture

This year’s extended public programme studies ‘North American railroad cultures’: moniker graffiti, hobo culture, train hopping and freight train graffiti.

Recently unearthed, groundbreaking photographic and film documentation of late 1800s hobo graffiti will be unveiled. We will host lectures and screen very special films.

We have also edited a fascinating reader book on very early hobo graffiti as a companion to the fair. The book has been published by Urbanario (ES).

➔ Buy rare North American books and zines

The Unlock team has dug deep into the North American independent publishing circuit in order to bring to the fair a selection of old and new specialised publications about North American railroad cultures.

At our table you will find titles about hobo culture and graffiti as well as photo-zines from railway aficionados, all available for purchase.

Introducing the Tag Conference

The Unlock Book Fair team brings you ‘Tag: Name Writing in Public Space’, the first academic conference about tagging.

The Tag Conference will take place at Freie Universität on September 14th and 15th, right before the Unlock Book Fair, and will feature contributions from highly respected scholars, authors and artists. Entrance to the lectures is free.


Local fair manager: Edward Birzin

Bombing Science, Montreal
ExRotaprint, Berlin
Catering by Akim’s Flying Kitchen, Berlin

Unlock Book Fair 2017 support
Unlock Book Fair Berlin 2017 foto Enrique Escandell 1


Publishing house, DE

Magazine, DE

Carl Cattermole
Self publishing author, UK

Croatan Edition
Publishing house, FR

Dutch Graffiti Library
Publishing house and bookstore, NL

Editions Juste Ici
Publishing house, FR

Editions Premier
Publishing house, BE

Editions Terrain Vague
Publishing house, FR

François Chastanet and XG Press
Publishing house, FR

Frank Fickeisen
Self publishing author, DE

From Here to Fame
Publishing house, DE

Publishing house, GR

Ghetto Fever
Magazine, DE

Magazine, DE

Zine, FR

Guide Zine
Zine, CZ

H’artpon Editions
Publishing house, FR

Hitzerot – Druckwerke
Bookstore, DE

International Neighbourhood
Publishing house, DE

Magazine, DE

Klick Klack
Publishing house, DE

Self publishing author, DE

Author, UK

Magazine, DE

Possible Books
Publishing house, DE

São Paulo Vandalismo with Escrita ABC
Publishing house, BR

Seltmann + Söhne
Publishing house, DE

Street Spirit
Magazine, ES

Studio Ausser Haus
Publishing house, DE

Publishing house, ES

Urban Creativity
Publishing house, PT

Urban Script Continues – Jens Besser
Publishing house, DE

Urban Spree Books
Publishing house, DE

V Stol
Publishing house, RU

Zelle Asphaltkultur
Self publishing author, DE

Magazine, DE

Focus on ‘North American railroad cultures’

Adam Void
Self publishing author, US

All Kats go to Heaven
Zine, US

Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture
Publishing house, US

Buz Blurr
Self-publishing author, US

Publishing house, US

Near Zine
Fanzine, US

No Flags
Publishing house, US

Zine, US

Oxnard Plain Press
Publishing house, US

Magazine, US

Zine, US

Twin Palms Publishers
Publishing house, US

Unlock Book Fair Berlin 2017 foto Enrique Escandell


➔ ExRotaprint, Gottschedstr. 4

Saturday September 16

➔ 12:00 — Lecture

‘Academic Publishing on Street Art’
Pedro Soares (PT)

➔ 12:15 — Book launch

‘Graffiti Photographers United’
With editor Peter Stelzig (DE) and co-author Peter White (DE)

➔ 12:30 — Lecture

‘New Train Romantics, Hobo and Interrailer Cultures’
Jens Besser (DE)

➔ 16:00 — Book launch

‘Tramp Directories, Noms-de-Road, and Unwritten Codes
Special edition for Unlock
With editors Susan Phillips (US), Thomas Chambers (UK) and Javier Abarca (ES)

➔ 16:15 — Book launch

‘Kilroy’s Conformity’
With author Antny Kreeg 47 (US/DE)

➔ 16:30 — Magazine launch

‘Street Spirit’ Issue 2
With co-editor Zosen (ES)

➔ 16:45 — Zine launch

‘Brazilian Handstyles’
With co-editor São Paulo Vandalismo (BR)

➔ 17:00 – Book launch

‘Padiglione in Movimento Part I’
With editor Jens Besser (DE)

➔ 17:15 — Zine launch

With author Loiq (FR)

➔ 17:30 — Book launch

‘Trepes, las Cochinadas de Tijuana’
With Dumar Novy (US/DE)

➔ 18:30 — Live performance

‘Style Wars recited’
A read-through of five scenes from the film Style Wars by a troupe of non-professional actors

➔ 18:45 — Live performance

Hobo songs sing-along
With Dumar Novy (US/DE)

Sunday September 17

➔ 12:00 — Project presentation

The Martha Cooper Library
With director Christian Omodeo (IT/FR)

➔ 12:15 — Book launch

‘Intime Errance Cataphilé’
With author Psyckoze (FR)

➔ 12:30 — Lecture

‘Hobo Graffiti Lost and Found’
Susan Phillips (US)

➔ 16:00 — Book launch

With author Enrique Escandell (ES)

➔ 16:15 — Book launch

‘The history of Graffiti in Greece’, vol I and II
With co-editor Orestis Pangalos (GR)

➔ 16:30 — Lecture

Carlo McCormick (US)

➔ 17:00 — Project launch

ABCD, a collaborative database of graffiti and street art publications
With founder Christian Omodeo (IT/FR)

➔ 17:15 — Reading

‘Immortal Dead Soon 4’
By author Kevin Kemter (DE)

➔ 17:30 — Book launch

‘Wild Graphics, half a century of visual street diversion in Poland 1967–2017’
With co-author Tomasz Sikorski

➔ 19:00 — Closing performance

With dancer and calligrapher Kadir ‘Amigo’ Memis (DE) and baglama player Haydar Kutluer (TR)

Unlock Book Fair Berlin 2017 foto Enrique Escandell 1


The video screenings program of the Unlock Book Fair Berlin 2017 is presented in partnership with the Tag Conference, and has a focus on tagging. All screenings are free entrance.

➔ Thursday 14, 9:30–18h (loop)
➔ Freie Universität, Lansstr. 7–9

‘Red Bluff hobo carvings’ (16mm raw footage)
Robert Ranberg, 1969, US, 26′
International premiere

➔ Thursday 14, 9:30–18h (loop)
➔ Freie Universität, Lansstr. 7–9

‘Red Bluff hobo carvings’ (16mm raw footage)
Robert Ranberg, 1969, US, 26′
International premiere

➔ Friday 15, 9:30–18h (loop)
➔ Freie Universität, Lansstr. 7–9

‘Saeio tagg1’, 2 and 3
Saeio, 2015, FR, 1’4”

‘Saeio king taggeur’
Saeio, 2015, FR, 3’26”

Saeio, 2016, FR, 4”

➔ Friday 15, 20–22:30h
➔ Wendel Cafe, Schlesische Str. 42

Ben Brohanszky, 2016, BE, 3’22»

‘Guide 03: Paoo, Bior, Mouser, Adolfe’
Guide Zine, 2017, CZ, 7’45»
International premiere

‘Thrill+fury: the art of the tag’
Tim Stone, Allison Young and Lachlan MacDowal, 2016, AU, 29′
European premiere

German Rigol, 2014, ES, 1’46»

Alexandre Bavard, 2016, FR, 4’42»

‘Dr. Rat decorating Piss-alley’
Maarten Grootveld, 1981, NL, 5’43»

‘Mais rapel urbano’
São Paulo Vandalismo with Escrita ABC, 2017, BR International premiere

‘Ganchos’ online video selection
MX, 10′

Adam Void, 2015, US, 1’29»

‘Diamonds and rust’
Jiem, 2011, FR, 17′

‘Who is Bozo Texino?’
Bill Daniel, 2005, US, 56′

➔ Saturday 16, 20–22:30h
➔ Wendel Cafe, Schlesische Str. 42

Sootpaint tag
Макет, 2017, RU, 2’47»

Transit memorials
Alan Ket, 2017, US, 9′

Nug, vandal in motion
Akay and Lars Berge, 2012, SE, 50′

Long gone
Jack Cahill and David Eberhardt, 2003, US, 90′

➔ Saturday 16 and sunday 17, 11–19h (loop)
➔ Unlock Book Fair, Gottschedstr. 4

Forced freedom
Andrew H. Shirley, 2014, US, 8’46»

Unlock Book Fair Berlin 2017 foto Enrique Escandell

The Unlock Book Fair and its highlights: Berlin, 2017 ✍️

Last september Berlin hosted the second instalment of the Unlock Book Fair, the international publishing fair dedicated to graffiti and street art.

The event brought together again a good part of the European independent graffiti publishing scene, with 35 publishers from all over the continent — from Portugal to Russia and from England to Greece. The American continent was also represented with the presence of a Brazilian publisher and a good number of North American publications.

Unlock took place in a very special space, the glass room at the ExRotaprint culture center, in the Wedding area. An airy space full of natural light with panoramic views of green areas – quite different from the claustrophobic spaces that often host events of this kind.

Both the publishers and the numerous visitors enjoyed an exceptional environment in which to connect with each other and study the countless publications gathered at the fair.

Hobo graffiti and other railroad cultures

This year Unlock was themed around North American railroad cultures, especially hobo culture, train hopping, and boxcar art or moniker graffiti. The fair’s public programme was full of books, magazines, lectures and documentaries about the field. Several related European projects came with their publications, among them the obscure and respected French train hopping collective 4th, who publish under the imprint Croatan Edition.

The Unlock team took the opportunity to stock our table with a selection of rare and independent North American publications focused on different topics within the field. The display included numerous gems, among them fanzines by Adam Void, artist books from Colossus of Roads, and publications as fascinating as ‘Railroad Semantics’, the new edition of Bill Daniel’s ‘Mostly True’, or the projects from the Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture.

A new, unique book on early hobo graffiti

But the central feature of the fair was ‘Tramp Directories, Noms-de-Road and Unwritten Codes’, the book edited for Unlock by Susan Phillips, Thomas Chambers and Javier Abarca. An unprecedented publication that brings to light the most unknown and interesting graffiti culture to have existed: the hobo graffiti from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The book features excerpts from novels by North American authors Jack London and Leon Ray Livingston, better known by his moniker ‘A–No.1’, ubiquitous in the railroad landscape of that era. Both authors recounted in their writings their experiences as hobos and train hoppers, and as prolific taggers.

Featured in the book are illustrations taken from A–No.1’s books, newspaper clippings from the time describing his graffiti feats, and images taken from a mind-blowing and groundbreaking collection recently rescued from the trash: a series of photographs from 1969 capturing tags from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, carved on a wooden shack by the railroad tracks of Red Bluff, California. The images feature signatures from hobos mentioned in Jack London’s texts, from A–No.1 and from London himself.

The book has been published by Urbanario Libros and will soon be available at the Urbanario website and at the Berliner online bookstore Hitzerot.

More highlights from the programme

This year Unlock once again hosted a public programme of lectures, book launches and live performances. We were privileged to enjoy talks by respected North American authors Carlo McCormick and Susan Phillips, and book launches by figures such as French artist Psyckoze. But the most exciting moment was probably the closing ceremony, a dance act inspired by the motions of tagging performed by choreographer and calligrapher Kadir ‘Amigo’ Memis, a legendary local figure.

The video screenings program of the fair took place at Wendel Cafe, in Kreuzberg, and was programmed in partnership with the Tag Conference, also produced by the Unlock team.

Among the screened films were feature-length documentaries on hobo culture such as the influential Who is Bozo Texino? by Bill Daniel, and the lesser-known but also highly respected Long Gone by Jack Cahill and David Eberhardt. The Swedish movie Nug: Vandal in Motion completed the program of feature films.

Numerous short movies were screened, among which stood out the premiere of Mais Rapel Urbano, produced specially for Unlock by Brazilian videographers SP Vandalismo and Escrita ABC. The film portrays the spectacular pixação tagging produced in São Paulo using precarious rappel techniques.

Some films were screened at the Freie Universität, among them the priceless 16mm recording that accompanies the 1969 photographs included in the book Tramp Directories, Noms-de-Road and Unwritten Codes. Also at the university, and as a form of homage, a selection of films by the recently lost French artist Saeio were screened. The artist agreed to contribute his work to the event shortly before passing away.

Akim’s hidden canteen

As was the case at last October’s fair in Barcelona, this year Unlock set up a canteen serving complimentary meals to exhibitors, guests and volunteers. The kitchen was run by artist, cook and all-around mischief-maker Akim, an essential figure of the local scene. In the purest graffiti style, kitchen and tables were installed in a neglected, forest-like space accessible following a path coming out of the back door of Ex-Rotaprint.

A most heartfelt thank-you to Akim and the rest of the volunteers, to all participants and to the public for making possible this latest instalment of the Unlock Book Fair. See you next year! 📚🔥❤️🎉

Unlock Book Fair