In 1967, the first issue of Aspen was published. It became known as the magazine-in-a-box, and consisted of a number of separate printed texts loosely collated within the confines of a three-dimensional card box. Different issues each add specific themes (the theme for issue number one of CONTAINER, Hot and Cold was an idea considered for Aspen but never used) with guest editors for each.
Aspen explored how different media could be incorporated within a magazine format with tape reels, flexi discs and various objects and though still firmly text-based it’s remarkably engaging. It hinted at a powerful new idea: that a publication could be created from different objects and that each object was a physical expression of its contributor.
Taking this idea to a next stage, CONTAINER (the original translation of the French word, Magasin meant a place to keep things in; a storehouse) is a publishing experiment about the nature and culture of objects. It invites contributors to express themselves in a physical language — to create individual objects that conceptually articulate an idea relating to a common theme set by the publishers.
The reality is a collection of original objects, created exclusively for an issue of CONTAINER featuring work from different creators.
CONTAINER is a purist expression of physical language and sets itself in direct comparison against the traditional idioms of words and pictures. It also demonstrated a key characteristic of object-creation: unlike other expressive mediums, which require the artist to actually execute them — e.g. a writer has to write something — manifesting objects is a collaboration between the artist and the maker, and thus, at its most basic level, demands only an idea from the artist. This in turn means, that the language is open to creators from a diversity of disciplines and isn’t restricted to habitual object-makers.
The first issue, CONTAINER #1:Hot&Cold was published in July 2013 and features original pieces from Daniel Eatock, Rebecca and Mike, Mother, Accept & Proceed, Malcolm Garrett, James Bridle, Leila Johnston, Nic Roope and Violetta Boxill, David Hieatt and John Willshire. The items are wonderfully diverse in their structure and execution, with over 67 different materials and processes used in their construction.
A little like Aspen, which languished initially and until its fortunes were transformed by the appointment of Andy Warhol as guest editor for issue #3, the future path for CONTAINER is with guest curators and contributors drawn mainly from the art world, which understands the currency of objects.