The Magazine as Artform was probably the most interesting (and fresh) panel last Saturday in the first day of Tokion’s Creativity Now 2006 conference. On the opposite end, the Non-Traditional Advertising panel was, in my view, the most boring, full of buzzwords threw at the public packaged with well-articulated thoughts and already traditional recipes.
What made the magazine panel so fresh is probably it’s context in a world of media that’s declaring the death of the printed word in favor of new media, that is, digital media. For instance, The Economist declared just a few months ago that the last newspaper reader will toss away the last copy in 2043, that is scary. Ironically all these bad news have been disseminated primarily through print media, which suggests some kind of mediatic paranoia taking place.
In the context of this paranoia, Saturday’s session at The Cooper Union reflected a different future, perhaps one that we could already see coming or suspect that is possible: the magazine as an object is, in some cases, an intimate part of a structure of meaning, larger that the magazine itself, and this will support the existence of the magazine, not as media but as a manifestation of the industry that it represents.
Oliver Zahm, co-founder of Purple Fashion, explained how beyond being a “personal object” (which therefore means that non-personal magazines are doomed to exists as catalogues on the internet or just disappear), the magazine, and specifically, the fashion magazine, is part of a system (not just an industry) and therefore indispensable to that system as it’s manifestation.
Zahm’s argument is not universal, nor is meant to be a prediction of the future, however, it places the fashion magazine (and I’m sure other genres) in a different category of media that is even more connected with it’s subject and combine with a series of other elements, which exist beyond the magazine, to produce meaning. This should be embraced at least as hope for those of us in love with the medium.