State Of Independents

We asked Jeremy Leslie to select the most interesting magazines on show at Colophon2007, the international conference for independent magazine makers. Here are his choices…

rojo room

We asked Jeremy Leslie to select the most interesting magazines on show at Colophon2007, the international conference for independent magazine makers. Here are his choices…

Colophon 2007 took place last month in Luxembourg. Curated by publisher Mike Koedinger from the host country, Madrid-based writer Andrew Losowsky and myself from London, the three-day event took over the city’s old Casino, now converted into an art gallery. Ten independent magazines were invited to take a room each and express their publications in 3D, while in the main room a series of talks and panel discussions gave focus to what was an extended celebration of this most vibrant area of magazine publishing.

Aside from the organised events, a vital part of the weekend was the Room With a View area, where the 2000+ visitors could eat, drink, meet with each other and, most importantly, expand their magazine collections at the temporary magazine store set up by local art bookshop owner Hans Fellner. One of the invited speakers, Horst Moser from Munich, was rumoured to have bought a copy of every magazine on sale. I was (slightly) more selective, and here’s the edited highlights from the magazines I picked up over the weekend.

soDA (below) is published from Switzerland by Martin Lotscher and Iris Ruprecht, and is one of the current breed of magazines-as-galleries. The magazine is as much about physical form as content; for this issue, recording a tour through Asia, the pages are French-folded, with large gloss-laminated photographs on the external faces and a vast treasure trove of smaller images and comments on the internal faces. Every image bears a code number that links to further information on a dedicated website ( and then on to blogs and flickr streams. This is an extraordinary blend of print and online strategies and gets the most out of each medium.
soda 3 was one of the magazines invited to exhibit at Colophon. What started five years ago as an attempt to recreate the magazine experience online has come full circle; while the online editions remain their main focus, Andy Simionato and Karen ann Donnachie have now published five printed compendia that attempt to recreate the online experience in print. The fifth edition was published recently and featured a space for a ‘missing chapter’ to be glued in. That chapter was available at Colophon2007.

Kasino A4 (below) is a really exciting new project from Finland I recently discovered online, so it was a pleasure to meet editor Jonathan and art director Pekka and pick up copies of back issues. The magazine is having fun with itself, not taking things too seriously while gently playing with the conventions of the medium in an intelligent way. It’s hard to pinpoint specifics, and it’s certainly not perfect, but Kasino A4 possesses that most vital quality in a magazine, personality. Issue 4 is currently in production.

‘_ccidRnt’ was a one-off edition of Turkish project docu:mentalKlinik produced especially for Colophon2007. Not usually a magazine in its own right, docu:mentalKlinik publishes numbered collaborative works within other magazines. But this special edition was a self-contained piece designed to promote the concept to an audience of potential collaborators. It contains fragments of an imagined interview with the creators of docu:mentalKlinik mixed with comments and images about the projects’ relationship with Colophon2007. It was handed out free during the second day of Colophon2007 and gave readers the strange experience of reading a past-tense report about an event they were present at. The texts also contain URLs that link to brief online art pieces. Their next collaboration will be published in Luxembourg’s Nico magazine later this month.

Ever wondered what the skate/snowboard scene will look like when it grows up? Contemporary culture magazine The Journal is perhaps the answer. A pocket-sized digest of in-depth interviews, extended runs of photography and art, and cultural reviews, The Journal takes boarding as it’s starting point and heads off-piste in terms of both content and design. It ignores the design clichés of the scene, using Franklin Gothic in black and white for all text – the images provide colour and texture.

Rojo was another of the magazines invited to exhibit (room shown above). Published from Barcelona, it is a magazine of images and no words. Even the cover is wordless. Drawings, collages, graffiti, photography… each issue is a random collision of styles and genres. Regular contributors like Neasden Control Centre and Boris Hoppek ensure Rojo stands way above other image-only projects, and their collaboratively painted exhibition at Colophon2007 was a perfect 3D reflection of the magazine.
rojo cvr

Finally, there were two magazine projects being made on site during Colophon2007. The M-real sponsored Colophon2007 Magazine invited contributions from everyone at the event, the compiled result of which will be available in a couple of months, while invited magazine Shift! used their exhibition space (below) to begin work on their next project, running workshops on the theme ‘This Should be Made Public’. This is now an ongoing project, with plans to take workshops to Cairo and Malaysia. You can join in at
shft room

Jeremy Leslie is Group Creative Director at John Brown and was one of the curators of Colophon2007. He also runs the magazine blog, magCulture. An edited version of this piece runs in the May issue of CR. Please note that in the issue, due soley to a production error by CR, several of the magazine spreads have been wrongly captioned. Our apologies to the magazines concerned.

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