Archizines, an exhibition of contemporary, small architectural magazines from around the world, is on view at Storefront for Art and Architecture through June 9. The traveling show includes a range of small, ‘experiemental’ publications, from the always entertaining Evil People in Modernist Homes In Popular Films and Fresh Meat, to the more ephemeral New City Reader and Another Pamphlet, and even some hi-fi productions such as CLOG, Beyond, and Volume. In conjunction with the exhibition was a two day symposium April 20 and 21, addressing this unique sliver of the publishing industry and surveying its present and future relevance.
Each publication was given approximately 15 minutes to give a ‘manifesto,’ which usually came in the form of a description of the publication’s mission statement, or a description of a particular issue. The editors were grouped into categories, which organized the two days into five sessions. Friday night the themes were ‘medium’ and ‘speed,’ while Saturday, the talks focused on ‘history,’ ‘crisis,’ and ‘desire.’ Saturday also included a conversation between Elias Redstone, curator of Archizines and Craig Buckley, Beatriz Colomina and Urtzi Grau, members of the curatorial team of Clip Stamp Fold, an exhibition about the radical architecture of little magazines that was presented at Storefront in 2007.
The best bits of the symposium were when things got specific. The overall messages tended to blur together, loosely formatted around a crisis in the content production/consumption cycle. What stood out were the specific provocative projects, which is the advantage of this informal format, which allows authors to be more creative and experimental. (Log 22: the Absurd, edited by Michael Meredith, is a great example of this.) And its not just the kids who are experimenting in this medium. Alongside the students and up and coming writers can be found more established authors such as Stan Allen and Jeffrey Kipnis.
So what does this plethora of “little magazines” tell us? As is often the case with exhibitions and discussions, especially those meant to provoke, it offers more questions than answers. What does radical mean today? Is it still possible to be radical? Clip Stamp Fold poses a nice juxtaposition to the current exhibition. Another question posed by the symposium was that of content. Many of the manifestos addressed the saturation and speed of content. What is the solution to this? What can the young aspiring architect, curator, or editor do about this influx? Is the product of an anti-content manifesto perversely more content?