This time featuring invited works on the two topics “Coincidences” and “Los Angeles”, Afterzine issue two follows a successful first issue themed on Negative Space, which featured input from Peter Saville, Noma Bar, Alexa Chung and Thurston Moore. Issue two of the advert-free self-published zine features words, comment, fiction and art from an impressive line-up that includes Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, Zooey Deschanel, Phillip Toledano, Robert Montgomery, Miranda July, Hans-Ulrich Obrist and many more. Here, Afterzine’s curator, Hamish Robertson, discusses the uncompromising optimism of many contributors in the face of quite unfortunate coincidences with the magazine's chief UK-based contributing editor Laura Havlin, and why, in an increasingly digitized world, certain content will always resonate better when in print.
Dazed Digital: What are some of the most surprising interpretations of the coincidences brief?
Hamish Robertson: So many good, positive coincidences led me to tackle this theme but I was surprised by how many of the contributions took positive experiences from negative coincidences — from near fatal walks to suicide notes to honouring a lost animal. I also learned a lot about the contributors themselves: designer Peter Mendelsund is also a classical pianist; writer Maud Newton has a near-death experience almost identical to my own; and singer-songwriter Diane Birch is perhaps reincarnated! This is making the issue sound a little death-heavy — please note the issue also includes striped socks, pink laces, and The Beach Boys.
DD: Would you ever be tempted to publish Afterzine online, or does it belong exclusively on paper?
Hamish Robertson: Digital publishing has, in many cases, given a lot of content creators the impression that more is better, or possibly even that more is required. The wonderful boundaries of print – not to mention the not-so-charming boundaries of a self-funded advertising-free publication such as Afterzine – teach us that what we print must be is the right mix/balance of content within a packaged and edited product. One great photo can say so much more than 30 shots from every angle, just as one beautiful sentence can touch you more than a whole paragraph of filler. Plus, people really seem to like the smell of ink.
DD: There is a great deal of content that focuses on Los Angeles? Why, as an Englishman, living in New York, have you become so interested in Los Angeles?
Hamish Robertson: I actually nearly moved there for work ten years ago but an unfortunate circumstance kept me in the UK. Since moving to New York City I have visited Los Angeles more than any other US city either for work or pleasure and have really grown to respect the city and it's inhabitants. It doesn't always seem like it on the surface but it's a tremendously hard-working place. So many friends are doing fantastic things there for the very reasons I was interested in further exploring it for Afterzine. I love the happy accidents and coincidences one encounters every day in New York City and was convinced such things didn't happen in LA due to it's very deliberate car culture. Spending more time there I soon realized that my most passionately pro-LA friend doesn't even own a car, instead he takes the bus for most journeys. Last year, as an experiment, I spent five days in LA with no car, using only public transport, or shockingly, sidewalks, and loved it. While I certainly discovered a lot of places I wouldn't have in a car, I also realized how the sheer size of the city might mean it doesn't have the spontaneous temptation of New York City but that instead people spend more time getting together in homes or local spots and often stay home to work—an idea that workaholic me can really get behind. I would definitely like to live there at some point but only after I get a little more acquainted with driving on the right.