Grashina Gabelmann, Flaneur
The eighth issue of nomadic magazine Flaneur is published this month, a result of the team’s collaboration with local artists and contributors on Taipei’s Kangding Road. The issue launched with a day-long festival in Berlin. Co-editor Grashina Gabelmann tells us about the issue, the festival and her working week.
Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work.
I don’t have a typical Monday or any day for that matter! Every week is totally different and that can be quite overwhelming (as well as being such a blessing) so I'm always trying to bring some stability into my ever changing schedule. Mondays can be spent at home, at Flaneur’s co-working space, traveling or running errands.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your office.
My desk at home has two Greek metallic wine pitchers holding pens – the pitchers always bring me back to our time in Athens making issue five. Then there’s always at least three books that I’m reading at the same time. Right now: ‘Keep Walking Intently’ by Lori Waxman, ‘Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind’ by Brian Fagan, ‘Restless Cities’ edited by Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart.
And there’s also three fiction books that I got yesterday at one of Berlin’s 83 public libraries. I only just got a membership (5 Euros per year!!) yesterday and can't fathom why it took me so long. I am giddy just thinking about the books that await me.
My view is towards my window a few meters away. I don't have a spectacular view as I live on the bottom floor but I have a few plants and forks and spoons dangling next to the window. I learned how to bend those and they are a good reminder that everything is possible ;). A recent addition to my room is a light box that we built for the first Flaneur Festival.
Which magazine do you first remember and why?
Bravo. A German pop culture weekly for pre-teens. Each week a teenage boy and girl would be photographed naked alongside an interview about their sex life. On the next page Dr. Sommer would answer people's questions about sexuality. There were interviews with pop stars (Nick Carter!), posters, and “in-depth” reportages about teen girls taking their lives after Take-That announced they were splitting up. I was reading Bravo as soon as I was able to read on my own and it was a great education haha!
Which is your current favourite magazine?
Acne Paper’s last issue: The Actress. I’ve had it for ages and began flicking through it again. This magazine never gets old and that's hard to accomplish as a fashion magazine.
Why do magazines continue to matter in 2019?
Magazines matter because they are culture. Culture is a healthy, creative, communal way of making sense of our society and as long as there is need to do that culture will matter and thus magazines will matter.
Does Flaneur get easier to make each issue as you get more used to the process? Or is it simply starting again every issue?
It gets easier in the sense of the team growing closer and closer together and the understanding of one another deepening. It also has gotten easier since adding an incredible project manager to the team bringing some much needed structure into what is otherwise a very floaty endeavor.
But since Flaneur has no formula apart from that it's always about one street it doesn’t get easier but we wouldn't want it to. (We kind of make sure it doesn’t). The design, content and production start from scratch with each issue.
Our network continues to grow and this makes some things easier. It’s also hilarious to see that as editors we make the same mistakes each time for e.g. leaving things like the contents page/masthead to the very last minute when we could have gotten that out of the way before the final stressful period.
Tell us about the street you selected for the new issue. What was unique about it?
Kangding/Wanda Road is one street that changes names running through West Taipei's neighborhood of Wanhua and Galaa. This area is less “developed” than East Taipei that houses the famous 101 Tower. In Wanhua you still get old night markets, alleys full of herbs, temples and it's where the kind of people cities like to forget about (homeless, sex workers etc.) live and work.
The street ends (or begins, however you want to see it) with Taipei's largest wholesale market and begins with a failed idea of a cinema entertainment district. The street is simultaneously the periphery and the centre of the city while also being the birthplace of Taipei.
You launched the issue with a festival, asking the question ‘Can a magazine be a festival?’ Can it?
The reason we wanted to put on a festival (other than all of us being slightly insane) is that after having made seven issues we realized that the collaborative spirit of Flaneur magazine doesn’t get fully translated to our audience with a common launch party.
In a way, the release of a publication can feel like an anti-climax, as if it marks the termination of the discourse it started. Thus, the idea to turn the magazine into a festival is an attempt to extend the platform of Flaneur in a participatory way. We want to open up the multiple angles and discussions that characterize each issue of Flaneur to the public thus creating more debates, adding contradictions and new angles.
Three weeks after, we can say that a magazine can be turned into a festival! We are super thrilled, inspired and proud of the outcome!
What’s going to be the highlight of the week for you?
A thank you dinner at Berlin’s Lon Men Noodle House for our extended Flaneur family. The restaurant is Taiwanese and it was featured in our first issue taking place on Berlin's Kanstrasse (above). We are friends with the owner and have been loyal noodle slurpers there ever since.
He was beyond excited to discover that we were making an issue about his hometown so I can't wait to give it to him and have some sesame-peanut noodles.
Publisher: Ricarda Messner
Editors-in-chief: Grashina Gabelmann and Fabian Saul
Art direction: Studio Yukiko
The new issue of Flaneur will be available at the magCulture Shop soon