May 15th, 2005

operesque

Serious magazines

The selection of magazines available to the traveller leaving the Ostbahnhof in Berlin is somewhat more strange, serious, pretentious and eclectic than, say, the periodicals offered by W.H.Smith at Liverpool Street. Here's a handful of the ones I found the most interesting, photographed yesterday. If I'd had enough money I'd have bought them all.



Bob Magazine has just published its first issue. It proclaims itself "monothematic and multi-perspectival" and has themed this issue, with a bearded lady on the cover, around the idea of "identity as experiment". The mag itself seems to have a clear identity, though: glossy but daring. Based in Berlin, it costs €4.80.

Issue magazine has been going for eight issues. This one is actually dated Fall 2004, and seems to be the most recent, so it may even have stopped publishing. Issue is based in New York, on West 6th Street. It's about "individuals making art happen". There's an impressive portfolio of Tom Wood's snaps of 1980s council estates, featuring some really incredible hairstyles sported by teen mothers, an article tracing the parallel development in Manchester and Cleveland of industrial music (lots of nice pictures of Genesis P. Orridge posing in front of Tesco), a feature on the collaboration between Pierre Huyghe and Douglas Coupland about school yearbooks, and a Pippilotti Rist portfolio. Worth its $10 / €14 price tag!

jpeople is a very weird Japanese (I think) magazine, a "brand file" featuring 42 brands, 21 gadgets, and 463 items. Most of these brands and gadgets are things like trainers and watches, spread across the page in tiny pictures, with basic information below each one. But there are also interviews with "creatives" in which, i-D style, they answer a short standard questionnaire. I must say I rather like the minimalism and cleanness of the presentation, although I don't know how interested I am in reading about "interdisciplinary initiatives for Puma". I mean, are trainers really a form of multimedia art? €8.50.

Anstoss prompts the question "Is football a form of multimedia art?" Put together by artist Andre Heller, Anstoss (which means "kick off") is a new bilingual magazine about the 2006 World Cup. Made with money from the Artistic and Cultural program of the 2006 World Cup, FIFA's art and culture program, it promises "articles by prominent, competent authors about the passion for football, the first instalment of an essay in photographs on the World Cup stadiums for 2006, as well as a 'simple philosophy of anticipation'." It's hard to imagine any football fan arty enough to want to leaf through pieces by Salman Rushdie and French transvestite Fabrice Hybert, but I like the look of Anstoss. Fresh and very coffeetable. Number 2 covers the period from May to September 2005 and costs €9.90.

Der Freund is a new German literary magazine, now at issue 3. The title means "the friend", and editor Christian Kracht is a friend of mine: I first met him in the early 90s in London, when he interviewed me for Tempo magazine and commissioned a young Wolfgang Tillmans to take pictures of me sitting like a goblin on a phonebook in my Cleveland Street flat. Christian asked me to contribute a short story to the first edition of Der Freund, and I wrote a long and mystical piece about an imaginary quest to find the legendary Neue Deutsche Welle musician Holger Hiller (he's eventually located in the winching room of a cable car station deep inside a mountain at Graz, Austria). Reviews reported that "the Berlin-living Scottish musician Momus writes about a dark Germany only known to him". Der Freund costs €10.



du756 is a Swiss art magazine. The current edition is a collaboration with British artist Richard Long. It's taken 15 years to get the project (entitled "Walking Into Existence") together, they say, adding:

"He walks. His art is walking, it is about time and space. Richard Long, born sixty years ago in Bristol, leaves traces made from natural materials that he finds on his walking journeys – circles, straight lines and meandering lines created with stones, mud and ashes, sticks and water. Then he leaves his sculptures to the forces of wind and time... Richard Long likes all the forms of his art – photo and text works, stone circles and river mud works, his traces in the landscape. “It’s like a mantra that goes through my life. My work gives me pleasure, not superficial but deep pleasure. It gives motivation and meaning to my life. I think it’s a good idea to walk across England, carrying a stone each day to the stone of the next day. I can’t explain why that’s interesting for me, but it is, so I do it. Most people would find what I do meaningless, and maybe that’s why they are not artists but I am... I enjoy throwing mud around.”