John Heartfield and Sergei Tretyakov (Серге́й Третьяко́в), 1931
“Malik” comes from the Albanian word meaning “robbers.” [Wieland] Herzfelde wanted to publish a novel of that title by Else Lasker-Schüler. At that point, however, military authorities in Berlin prohibited the magazine Neue Jugend. Then Herzfelde called a publishing company into life, supposedly just to print this novel. He called it “Malik-Verlag.”
And there appears in the workrooms of this solid director, where the Dictaphone trickles quiet speech from a wax cylinder recording into the ears of the typist, where a telephone is available with ten buttons to give orders to every department, where there are drilled secretaries and where the envelopes are stamped by a machine, a Buster Keaton. You will remember this tragicomic figure of American cinema, who never smiles, who is so frail and so obsessed.
A very small, very pale, very earnest person, who is apparently accustomed to speak only with giants, and therefore keeps his face constantly lifted a little, his eyes and lips always ready to smile, trusting and friendly all at once.