Migrant Journal explores the circulation of people, goods, information and ‘even fauna and flora’ around the world and looks at the transformative impact they have on contemporary life.
Before I get into the magazine, here’s the important reason why it’s our magazine of the week… if not the month… if not the year:
If 2014 was a year of food magazines, 2015 a year of pet magazines, 2016 was a year of new feminist titles. The trend away from light-hearted themes towards more vigorous and politically motivated topics that Krass, Girls Like Us and Ladybeard have been exploring is encouraging weightier magazines to launch Kickstarter campaigns, of which Migrant Journal and The Real Review are two of the newest examples. 2017 should be the year of politically conscious independents, the year of magazines of resistance.
During a week when the restrictive and harmful impact of blinkered social media news feeds is more evident than ever, Migrant Journal points to the possibility that print can provide by putting readers in contact with viewpoints outside of cushioned, personalised streams.
There’s another possibility for independent magazines that hasn’t been explored to a wide-extent within the scene yet: we need to start thinking about the way titles can be distributed to a variety of different groups and readers in a way that social media doesn’t currently allow for. Let’s consider how the titles we create can move beyond networks of like-minded individuals. Migrant Journal is our choice this week because it gestures towards the fact that print can circulate ideas across and outside of our self-imposed, online borders. It can circulate opinion, information and all-important fact in spaces far out of reach from dangerous cooperate interests.
Migrant Journal plan a limited six-issue run and each edition will take a different theme related to migration as its starting point. Issue one looks at the spaces beyond the city through essays and reports; it explores what’s happening in the countryside, from the rural exodus in Japan to the shifting glaciers in the alps to undocumented spaces that migrants move through in Mexico.
Its a magazine about migration but also globalisation – for example, there’s a map showing how the UK gets its electricity from other countries. Its not just people, or even goods, that are in circulation. It’s energy, the Internet, the cables that flow. By emphasising this, Migrant Journal asks a political question: if we build a wall to prevent migration, are we to cut cords too?
The theme of ‘Across Country’ is timely; the editors consider the current refugee crisis in Europe and how it’s brought the countryside to attention. Syrians fleeing the war via Turkey and Greece move across the fields and landscapes of Europe, and as the editors note, ‘the forgotten rural land is the stage of our present migration tragedy, not the cities.’
An atlas-like design gives the publication a sense of authority; its sturdy weight, vivid infographics and use of intricate, detailed maps assert a smart tone. It’s a confident design by Isabel Seiffert and Christoph Miler; the metallic bronze spot colour used throughout conjure dirt and earth, and the custom typeface (by Offshore studio) articulates transformation through its combination of sharp corners and curving forms.
The strength of the words is conveyed through mature design, which is in contrast to a title like Weapons of Reasons where the force of the editorial can be undermined by its sometime coy visual elements. The politically motivated magazines of next year will use editorial design for asserting power and clarity.
Migrant Journal is vigorously intelligent in the way it circulates ideas about the circulation of people and information today.
Editors: Catarina de Almeida Brito and Justinien Tribillon
Art direction: Isabel Seiffert, Christoph Miler