Welcome to CONTAINER

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Welcome to the launch of a new adventure in publishing. CONTAINER has been an idea simmering for a while and born out of my ongoing fascination with the nature of objects. More specifically, as the world becomes increasingly virtual, the physical nature of printed matter–size, shape, materials, texture and construction–is becoming more distinct, virtuous and valuable.

There’s endless debate about the future of print – my contribution is here and there’s a discussion group here. While the whole print and publishing industry is feeling the pain, it’s particularly intense in the magazine sector. The trouble for magazines is that the essence of the experience – quality of photos, in-depth writing and portability – is very well replicated on an iPad. The relationship between the printed object and the content is somewhat disembodied – the content sits inertly on the two-dimensional surface of the pages rather than be a part of the three-dimensional structure. Contributors don’t get to play with the object. Everything is printed the same, all the paper’s the same throughout the book. Within the traditional format, there’s not much that can be done beyond matt lamination, gloss and matt inks and foil blocking, all of which are becoming more commonplace.

I wanted to create a publication that wasn’t a printed magazine, but a series of objects–a magazine where the contributors get to play with the object itself, so the content becomes a collection of individual objects, gathered together in a CONTAINER.

It’s probably at this point that I will stop referring to CONTAINER as a magazine, purely for the reason that it’s misleading from what it really looks like (and what it costs). The similarities are in the editorial parameters: it’s published periodically and each edition will have different contributors, around ten for each edition. Each edition will have a different theme. The theme for CONTAINER #1 is Hot & Cold.

CONTAINER is a bit of leap in the dark, there are only a few similar things done like it before – the fashion extravaganza, Visionnaire, the Japanese pop culture compendium, Gasbook and the 1960’s arts magazine-in-a-box, Aspen. It’ll be one step at a time. If this initial one works, they’ll be another later in the year and if that works, we’ll move to quarterly. I can’t see it being any more frequent than that, just because it’s so much work putting it together. It’ll be published in limited edition quantities and in very small quantities (200 for CONTAINER #1). If there’s overwhelming demand and they sell out in ten minutes, then great, but if they don’t sell, I’ll only have a small amount as a souvenir to my foolhardiness and not a whole warehouse full to weep over.

If you’re interested in getting one, they’ll be available for sale in a few months’ time. To get first dibs, register your interest here.

A extra special thanks go to the esteemed Prof. Malcolm Garrett and Images&Co for creating the website and identity and for putting up with my waffling on about this idea for too long.

More news to follow...