Opinion by Richard Baird
MacGuffin is a biannual design, art and crafts magazine that commissions stories on, around or jumping off from ordinary things, uncovering personal and curious relationships with the objects that surround us. Issues 1 to 5 explored The Bed, The Window, The Robe, The Sink and The Cabinet. The Ball, MacGuffin Magazine No.6 Autumn/Winter 2018, the one BP&O has its hands-on, takes a look those related to the spherical; from the ballpoint pen to the disco ball, Harvey Ball (the designer of the smiley face), to the Biosphere and the sphere as the building block in which to shape a Japanese future.
The magazine mixes writing styles and lengths with documentary and cinematic stills, still life and artworks, the diagrammatic, illustrative and iconographic. Featured writers include Danish artist Nicolai Howalt, graphic designer Paul Gangloff and Real Review’s Jack Self who reflects on Bisosphere 2, an eco-futurist experiment.
MacGuffin, in its content, manages to draw beauty from the banal, the hidden and the utilitarian, elevating the every using a plethora of interesting and revealing philosophical, historical and socio-cultural insights. These moves from the micro, macro and abstract, viewed through an architectural or art and design lens. There is, occasionally, a form of meta-criticism at play which is a nice observation on the spherical type element of the Selectric Typewriter, nicknamed the golf ball, doing the hitting, rather than being hit. However, the publication largely leans towards the simple joy of revealing the idiosyncrasies and legacies of the commonplace or the overlooked. The spirit of this is expressed graphically, typographically and materially by editors Kirsten Algera and Ernst van der Hoeven working with Dutch Designer Sandra Kassenaar. MacGuffin Magazine No.6 is 210 x 218mm, 232 pages and features five Pantone inks. It is supported by adverts, these come in the form of a fold-out cover, back page and the first five pages. It costs 14GBP / 16EUR / 20USD, and is also available as a yearly subscription.
Opinion by Richard Baird.
Migrant Journal is a six-part exploration of migration in all its forms. Indeed, it covers the very current and pressing political and socio-cultural implications of the migration of people fleeing from persecution, seeking better economic opportunities or under pressure from shifting environmental conditions, yet it also touches upon the more abstract movement of objects and ideas around the globe. Migrant Journal, in its breadth but continuity of theme, intends to reclaim the word migration, to make a break from the prejudices and clichés of migrants and migration.
This is a hands-on review, BP&O holds and has read issues 1,3 and 4, but unfortunately is missing Issue 2. Migrant Journal began as a Kickstarter project, is edited by Justinien Tribillon, Michaela Büsse and Dámaso Randulfe, co-edited and designed by Isabel Seiffert and Christoph Miler of Offshore Studio.
Opinion by Richard Baird.
Tatau chronicles the rich cultural history of Sāmoan tattooing, from its beginnings 3,000 years ago to the practices of today. Tatau takes the form of a 320 page hardback book (255 x 200mm) illustrated with historical photographs from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first-century, diagrams, film stills and images of posters and related artefacts. These were brought together by Sean Mallon and Sébastien Galliot, and set alongside texts that explore how Sāmoan tattooing has been shaped and reshaped over an extended period by regional and international forces, with graphic and editorial design by New Zealand-based studio Inhouse. The book features a distinctive debossed cover, custom typeface and a reversible half jack with examples of contemporary male and female tatau by photographer Greg Semu.