Magazine of the week: NXS #1

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Pronounced ‘nexus’, NXS is an exploration of human experience in a digital world. Its first issue is themed around cyber sensuality, reflecting on the blurred lines between where our screens end and where we begin. NXS aims to explore the emotional sides of hardware, software and algorithms, which are usually only examined on the basis of their functionality, aesthetics and ethics.

Hailing from Amsterdam, this tall, thin magazine is an experimental biannual publication, where each contributor comments and reflects on a previous contribution. Each article, essay, interview and artistic work refers to one another, and the interconnections between the pieces are visualised in a large circular graphic on the middle pages of the magazine (above). The resulting graphic chaos is not immediately attractive, but serves its content well.

Among the issues’ many contributors are Bruno Zhu, Dr Trudy Barber, and Real Review editor-in-chief Jack Self, who respond to one another in a series of insightful essays, which discuss how we seek pleasure and insight into our sensual selves through technology. Elsewhere, the links are more conceptual; illustrator Jacob Kerray explores fetishism as he imagines Nicki Minaj’s X-rated ‘I’m Legit’ lyrics in watercolour, painting a crude image of famed freak show attraction Sarah Baartman, who was known for her large buttocks. He pairs Nicki Minaj’s lyrics with a sign that reads ‘Keeping up with the Baartmans’, drawing obvious comparisons between Minaj, Baartman, and social media’s most notorious family, the Kardashians. Aidan Doyle responds to the illustration with ‘The Robot’s Guide to Dating’, a set of rules to be applied in an imagined dystopian future, where robots live for billions of years and lie about their processor speed to attract dates.

The magazine is conscious of its physical space; its printed pages offer a place away from the digital world, to give the distance and time needed to create new perspectives. Through its interconnected stories, NXS responds to our fraught online existence by building a physical community of ideas. This new and exciting approach to magazine publishing reacts well to timely issues, and is our Magazine of the Week. It will be interesting to see what the next issue will bring.

Curation and design: Goys & Birls

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