Back in the Spring of 2001, LAB first came out in London with a plain opening statement: “Let’s do a magazine. Ok.” This emerged as a reply to another simple question, quite typical of people just starting their professional lives: “Shit, what are we going to do now?”
The magnificent editorial entrepreneurship of youth – and other like-minded people faced with such an eternal question – has always led to the idyllic development of magazines that, although beautifully done, didn’t make it past a couple of issues. This post is the first dedicated to a few of those.
LAB itself was the baby of Pavlova Design, and art directors Astrid Stravo and Joana Ramos-Pinto. Under the theme of Arrivals, its first issue was a catalogue of young creative talent with a tasty presentation that was soon to die on the footsteps of ongoing commercial indie mags like Spanish Neo2.
And even if color is already evaporating from its pages and fashion photo shoots, LAB was avant-garde enough to feature much graphic design that still feels fresh, articles that one can still enjoy, and interviews with people that are still pretty much around – from soundtrackable Finlay Quaye to ever-likeable FAT.
A couple of years later, whilst LAB sadly soon faded into oblivion, on the other side of the world and the specter, Influence was a promising New York mag that, despite its high ambitions and its cool backgrounds, also left only a few traces behind after its brief publication during 2003.
Its somewhat pedagogical, unexpected contents ranged from stories about Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Gilliam Wearing, to artist essays about photography, cinema, and the postapocalyptic ruin (Walead Beshty) or the distinction between the sacred and the profane (Daniel Mirer).
Influence was intended as an art magazine about “the ever-changing forms of artistic ideas.” However, the fact that it was published by fashion gurus such as Jan-Willem Dikkers and previous American Vogue creative director Raul Martinez perhaps explains the short-lived experience of the publication. There are worlds that, despite appearances, don’t really blend together.
The last lost magazine I dug out of my archives for today’s post is somehow symmetrical to Influence. Although edited by an outcast art critic, it tried to cross over onto the world of commercial publications with a fashion twist…
Chicote premièred last October in Lisbon, but I’ve just had news that its second issue – though ready to go to print – will never make it to paper. Which is absolutely no surprise when the IMF (aka the International Mother Fuckers in Icelandic) is precisely today landing in Portugal.
While Chicote is now another weblog cum facebook page, its first issue promised to whip up the sensibilities of a too dormant country. And this was an intention that, of course, was not totally welcome by the advertising wolf pack.
Being that this mag promised kinky provocations and counterculture warfare – from legal drugs to techno-utopia – I happily contributed to the project with my shrapnelesque views on how we should return to a more virulent criticism, much alike our 19th century literary predecessors.
In memoriam, here is the article I published in Chicote’s first issue, in what was to be the sister column of this very blog – Smithereens. Suddenly this text somehow felt as a vaguely adequate prequel to some minor polemics currently assaulting the Portuguese architectural blogsphere.
(And since I’m at it, I also released here and there my second, unpublished article for the mag – which I prepared last October in the wake of the biennale, the triennale, and other likely annales, but, again, may still present some durable assertions when all things critic are currently considered around here.)
There are always innumerable obscure reasons for some magazines to make it and others not. But it’s memorable that these wild flowers may briefly blossom in the midst of today’s mainstream manure – even if for one season only.