I’ve written quite a bit here about the state of publishing in our current digital obsessed climate and I continue to be surprised and delighted with the number of interesting projects that keep emerging that challenge our conventional understanding of what a book and a magazine can and should be. The latest to catch my attention is Container — the brainchild of Tim Milne who has been a staple on the UK publishing scene for awhile, having co-founded Artomatic in the early 1980s. Container is billed as a “new publication about the nature and culture of objects and their changing value in a virtual world” and as the inaugural issue is comprised of a box holding ten physical objects, it by its very nature confounds our expectations of what a magazine should look like and the types of content that it should contain. The first issue includes objects that are thematically linked around ideas of “hot and cold” and features work by Accept & Proceed, James Bridle, Nik Roope & Violetta Boxill, Daniel Eatock and Malcolm Garrett. Going well beyond merely theorizing about the relevance and place of objects in our contemporary culture, Container makes a powerful, and tangible, argument for the importance of physicality and the real in our age defined by the digital and the virtual. Container encourages an experience of, and engagement with, things like a firestarter, a scarf and a CD unmediated by a screen which is becoming a rarity in our current moment. I’m sure Container will arouse claims that it is not a magazine, but I think it’s inspiring to see how print responds to the challenges posed by digital media, reinventing what a book and a magazine can be. Click here for more information on Container.
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