Summer 2004


A C/Kabinet meeting


In the fall of 2000, after rejecting dozens of names including Soggy and the Relentless Friend, we finally settled on the name Cabinet for this publication. Our overblown feeling of pride at our creative breakthrough was soon punctured when one of our contributing editors pointed out to us that there was already a publication called Kabinet, based in St. Petersburg, Russia. We looked online and found to our horror (and delight) that in addition to sharing a name, this other Cabinet also shared much of our sensibility and many of our interests. We placed a phone call to Olesya Turkina and Victor Mazin, the co-editors of Kabinet, and asked if they would allow an American pretender to usurp their title. “Don’t worry,” they said over a crackly phone line with which we are by now thoroughly familiar. “Our few hundred readers are all in this country and we have no plans to try our luck in the US by producing an English-language edition.”

A year later, in 2001, we met Olesya and Victor in person when they were in New York for a visit. At this meeting, a fateful joke was made: wouldn’t it be funny to do an issue together, possibly on the very theme of Doubles? Some jokes remain jokes; this one didn’t, partly because it seemed to be an almost Necessary Idea once it had been articulated.

A generous grant from ArtsLink in New York made it possible to explore this collaboration further by allowing several Cabinet editors to spend two weeks in St. Petersburg in the summer of 2002. Victor, also the director of the inimitable Freud Dream Museum, arranged a symposium at the museum where Cabinet was presented. It was during an interview on Russian state television afterwards that the editors of the two magazines first found themselves making a public commitment to millions of puzzled Russians to produce the issue on Doubles you now hold in your hands.

We’re very happy to have had Olesya and Victor as our fellow-travelers on this unusual joint venture. If their inventiveness, generosity, and energy during the collaborative process halved our editorial labor, it more than doubled the pleasure of completing this issue. 

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