Increasingly we live in a society based on images both in philosophical and literal terms. How much overwhelmed are we by images each day? This is exactly why this column is dedicated to images and those who deal with them.
The constant pounding of images and content production under the form of visual inputs (video, images, gif, etc.) results in a flattening of the content and a loss of sharpness in the viewer, in favour of an increasingly rapid creation of information. Our eyes -and brain- are full of images and it’s difficult to hold them back. In addition to this, we are witnessing the multiplication of styles or codes used in an ever more restrictive and aseptic manner, whereby the content becomes just a passenger to carry around.
We think that this attitude, in addition to ineffective (in a mass of similar information, how can we remember anything?), it is also infertile: the form is built outside of the content which is just pasted above.
Thus, this column wants to be a reflection over this topic and a discovery, through artists, authors and works, of what images are and how they influence us. For this reason we want to bring to your knowledge authors and works that deviate from this content-disposable mentality.
Given the premise, we are very pleased to start with what we believe is currently one of the most versatile creatives in Europe, and maybe not just in Europe.
His name is Max Siedentopf and if you do not know, maybe you should.
Max was born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia. He has worked in Germany and the United States to become art director at Kesselskramer in Amsterdam, a position he still holds. Max’s work ranges “across photography, sculpture, films and bad jokes” as he personally states on his website.
We reached max to talk especially about Ordinary Magazine, a quarterly magazine that involves twenty artists (different for each issue). Each artist receives a common object that somehow they have to ennoble, looking at it in an extra-ordinary way. Started in January 2016, we know the fifth issue is coming out very soon, even if the protagonist object is still very secret.
— (Here you are the covers of the first four issues of Ordinary) —
Ordinary was born from an idea that max had been brewing for some time, to have his own magazine.
“There were absolutely no expectations or goals. The entire idea could’ve also been a huge failure, so in a way it was quite good to just go into it without overthinking it or setting any expectations.” As it turned out that was everything but a failure, in 2016 Ordinary has been shortlisted both among the best magazines of the year by Stack magazine and among the best covers by Coverjunkie.
So, what does it mean “ordinary” for Max? “I think most often ’ordinary’ means ‘a missed opportunity’ to me. The ordinary objects are almost invisible to us, like a blindspot in our daily lives. We use them, but never spare a second thought on them, even though they have so much extra-ordinary potential. “Ordinary” tries to play with this. You get the ordinary object, which the issue is about, as an extra, and the inside is full of extra-ordinary interpretation of the ordinary object you got as an extra.”
— (Ordinary Cutlery Issue – Thomas Mailander. This is one of Max’s favourites pictures) —
It seems that, in general, Max’s work helps people to look at things differently and to find new perspective on them. However he told us that this is probably mostly a by-product of his work. “My aim is always to make work for a broader audience and doesn’t only talk to a selected art community, this is often done with simple twists to situations that everyone can identify with.”
In our opinion Ordinary is one of those magazines that you can browse everyday and find each of these days something new. It tags into our minds and lives, because it shows objects that surrounds us in so many different ways that we start re-evaluating them. And maybe unconsciously we start playing with them trying to imagine all those situations seen in the magazine.
The design by Yuki Kappes is wonderful and not so easy as it seems. Often with pictures, we feel pushed to explain them. Here there is no need to do that. In their own way pictures talk to us because even if they are part of our everyday lives, they act differently.
Personally, we are very attracted by this magazine because it lets us imagine scenarios that we would have never thought of and that maybe will never exist.
And this is what photography has to do, sometimes. We need to be taken away from the ordinary to appreciate it.
To finish on a higher note, we asked max to list for us his last-year’s favourite creative, photobook and magazine. So here you are his nominations with a single adjective for each of them:
- Max’s favorite creative: Jonas Ersland – “Hairy ”
- Max’s favourite photobook: Janfamily: plans for other day – “Tasty”
- Max’s favourite magazine: Buffalo Magazine – “Wild”
And do you want to know max’s favourite creative process? “My preferred creative process is to lie in a sunny park or by the beach and wait till some ideas drift by”.
Thanks a lot max!