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Magazines: Nozone X, a Minima, Neural, Cluster and Volume
Regine Debatty, 29 Sep 08

It's been a long Summer and i spent it with the usual heap of magazines. Here's some of the best that fell into my hands:

0aavoooluje.jpgI received the latest edition of Volume over the Summer but it took me a couple of months to go through it. The 16th issue bears the suggestive title Engineering Society and gosh, is it good.

In a nutshell and in the words of the editors: Our society seems to be locked into a position in which the user's and voter's choices determine how we shall live in the future. A disturbing collective urban life in a giant Big Brother House looms, a material and social world in which sensationalistic media and its commercial translation dominate. Our sense of what is real and what is quality is on the verge of collapse. The practice and education of the engineers of this society is determined by short-term effect instead of long-term social responsibility. Culture becomes little more than a market, politics its façade and the city its stage. Instead of reviving old school high modernist social engineering or claiming the need for an intellectual junta, we solicit new forms of social engineering. Where shall this lead?

The wide variety of articles in Volume is brilliant: the potential of gaming to affect architecture with the particular case of SimCity and how it has changed urban planning; a nice essay details a campaign by the Zimbabwean government to forcibly clear slum areas across the country; another shows that the French government is not necessarily much more clever when it comes to dealing with problems arising in 'slums and slabs' areas; a photo gallery about 20th century Utopian architecture (with many images that evoke Dubai btw); the obligatory article about Chinese cities adorned with never-gonna-be-tired-of-those spectacular images, etc.

Forecast: Nozone X, edited by Nicholas Blechman, principal of Knickerbocker Design in New York City and art director of the New York Times Book Review (Amazon USA and UK.)

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Publisher Princeton Architectural Press says: UN reports and newspaper articles are illustrated with dry charts and graphs predicting technological, economic, and ecological transformations that are already dramatically altering the way we live. Forecast revisualizes these abstractions about everything from our environment to our waistlines, from the stock market to the Middle East through the eyes of cartoonists and graphic designers who have made comics with a conscience: Ward Sutton imagines a nation divided into a red and a blue zone; Paula Scher maps out the Northern Hemisphere of 2100; Elizabeth Amon interviews New Yorker journalist Elizabeth Kolbert on global warming; and Tom Tomorrow looks back on the legacy of Bush-Cheney. Ultimately, Forecast is an optimistic book: using humor, it encourages all of us to take responsibility for predictions of the future and to take action to affect change.

Forecast is the 10th installment of Nozone, a politically-engaged graphic design and comics zine, founded by Blechman in 1990. Published as an independent and zero-profit venture, Nozone features the work of talented graphic designers and cartoonists, spot-on themes, and an abrasive take on contemporary events.

The theme of this edition is our increasingly unsteady and uncertain future. The one of the first edition, back in 1990, was pollution and on its cover was a man wearing a gas mask too. There's another gas mask guy on the current cover. The message is clear: 20 years on, the state of our blue planet is still a cause of concern.

The Morning News has a gallery of some of the drawings (not the best ones I'm afraid) you'll find in the magazine.

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The first Meatbook prototype

a minima is a great compact mag about contemporary art and in particular new media art, the magazine follows a methodology which resembles that of scientific magazines: the artists themselves write about their work, the editors leave the text untouched and add photos and graphics. Issue number 24 features a few pearls: Jose Luis de Vicente and Irma Vila discuss their Atlas of Electromagnetic Space, Marta de Menezes shares her experience of bringing artistic creation inside scientific research laboratories, like she did with Decon, a project for which she used biotechnology to create Mondrian-like paintings, Diane Gromala gives the gore details but also the motivation behind The Meatbook, Ulla Taipale from Capsula presents Curated Expeditions, an invitation to experience earthly phenomena through artistic exploration, Geert Lovink writes about blogging as a 'nihilist impulse', there's also a text about Íñigo Bilbao's artistic experiments with biomedical images and an essay by Jonah Lehrer who advocates that science should find a place for art. There are many more articles. A few of them are only available in spanish but most are publish both in English and Spanish.

You can order the bi-monthly magazine by contacting aminima at aminima dot net. But the best would be to subscribe, right?

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Objects of Desire, by Ludic Society which Neural has interviewed in its latest issue

The current issue of Neural paper mag is devoted to games. There's even colors inside and a new design. Exhibition reports, DVD, music, book reviews, artists interviews, all the usual crunchy media snacks. I guess i could do a lengthier paragraph about the magazine but that would be an insult to you, dear readers, cuz you are already subscribed, aren't you?

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The latest issue of Cluster is called Transmitting Architecture, it's been created in collaboration with the World Congress of Architecture 2008 and it is very very good. Take my word for it (sorry, too tired to keep on blogging) or check out the online version of a few articles published in the magazine.

Published both in English and Italian.

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