As the rain pours and the winter of our discontent sets in, it is time to go back to winter pleasures such as idly flipping through magazines at the sound of new pop stuff. (There it is: a reasonable soundtrack for this seasonal post).
As work kicked in and the rentrée came to a height, so too little new magazines piled around my messy desk table. And some were indeed so small that they could have drowned in the midst of everything else.
Scopio, for example, measures 12x16cm. This might be strange for a photography magazine but it turns out to be a cozy format, if not for the fact that you will look like a far-sighted old lady while trying to decipher its images.
Just out in Porto, but proudly self-dubbed an international photography magazine, Scopio is indeed big when it comes to some of the names lined up for its contents: from Filip Dujardin and Helene Binet to Eszter Steierhoffer.
Its particular interest for me lies, however, in the fields it brings together: photography and architecture. Originating in a conference that took place at the Faculty of Architecture of Porto last Spring, it brings forward the recurrent approaches of its editor, Pedro Leão Neto, to the contemporary tools that involve urban representation and its images.
Thus, besides several visual and theoretical essays – that twice reach to specific notions related to curating architecture, but may also focus on local production – this first issue on Aboveground Architecture also provides in its Addendum the surprisingly good results of student seminars in which photography provided the instrument to analyze specific urban contexts.
The second small publication I bring here today is EFE 24, a “Cuaderno de Fotografía” first published in Madrid in the long-gone Summer of 2009. Although a more standard alternative photography mag – if one may use the oxymoron – EFE 24 also dedicated its opening issue to pictures of urban settlements, and in this particular case the barrios, the quartiers.
In EFE 24, after a few introductory essays – on the everyday, the periphery, or on how Mr. Greeenberg would like his photography – one dives fully and exclusively into photography, one after the other, all filtered by the same layout, all by different authors.
This is the moment when EFE 24’s project becomes clear and unique. From Xavier Ribas to Kevin Cooley, just to mention two arbitrary picks, the succession of 24 images by 24 photographers leaves us with no interpretation clues. Each image operates almost randomly, as only a sort of index that opens up to possible universes represented by the gaze of each different author.
Being a typical post-web magazine, EFE 24 weirdly reminded me of something that happened just today. Something that is revealing of how the internet nowadays not only offers a kaleidoscope of visual culture, but also represents a permanent lottery of how images may be seen and received.
EFE 24 reminded me precisely of how an image by Daniel Malhão – that William Menking used in his Architect’s Newspaper review of my Interiores exhibition – suddenly jerked into an unpredictable tumbling across the web in which it immediately lost all referents and became one image in-between many others in new bizarre visual universes.