The Depression by Mathias Svalina & Jon Pack


ISBN: 978-1-951628-02-4
124 pages
Release Date: February 17, 2020

Civil Coping Mechanisms

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  • Review by Thomas Sorenson at The Los Angeles Review

“There are three different kinds of future. In one, I can step through walls, but never entirely through. In the second I have the widest arms but when they touch another person, the touching parts become glass. In the third someone is far away. I can feel them in the wind that shakes the aspens, in the cramping of my cheeks. When they arrive, a wilderness will arrive.”

A dream-like collaboration of fables and photographs, and a surreal and shifting deep-dive into clinical depression, THE DEPRESSION absurdly expresses the mind and life as we both know it and don’t.

I went on a state-sponsored summer exchange trip to Germany when I was 16. I arrived in Munich with 49 other kids from all across the US and was picked up by my very excited host family, who screamed like they won the lottery when they saw me. I was then spirited to their home for lunch, a short walk in a fragrant wood, introductions to the giant family dog Oskar, dinner with the punk older sister and her staring boyfriend, then back home to unpack and crawl into bed. I hardly slept on the flight and had never felt so tired nor so discombobulated, being newly arrived among kind and strange strangers. The floor seemed to undulate, my bones felt like they were made of acid. Everything shone with brilliant unfamiliarity. I was alive in a different way–more fragile, unnerved, a sense of absurdity like a veil over my face… And that’s what this book feels like in me. Hugs.

–Sueyeun Juliette Lee, author of No Comet, That Serpent in the Sky Means Noise

Photo by Hannah Ensor

MATHIAS SVALINA is the author of five previous books. He is a founding editor of the small press Octopus Books & runs a Dream Delivery Service.




Photo by Lloyd Bishop

JON PACK is a Brooklyn-based documentary photographer. Since 2008, he’s worked with filmmaker Gary Hustwit on The Olympic City project.