This delightful, tiny publication just arrived in the mail at magCulture HQ. It’s the launch edition of isolarii, a new project that will appear every two months and focus on a single idea/text each time.
Editor India Ennenga gives some context, ‘The idea is to revive the Renaissance genre of the same name, meaning “island texts.” Each release is imagined as an island: a singular creative condition for readers to inhabit.’
This first issue is by London-based team Cooking Sections, known for their work around food and how it is affected by climate change. One focus of theirs has been the effects of salmon farming on the Isle of Skye and its environment.
Titled ‘Salmon: A Red Herring,’ the 7 x 11cm 178-page publication examines the colour dyes used to mimic the natural colouring (from their standard diet of shellfish) of wild salmon. The flesh of farmed salmon needs dye to appear pink, and the pages of the magazine fade from a deep red to a pale rosé, matching the colour options available to the salmon farmer in an industry dye guide.
Intelligently written, the series of texts pull together disparate stories of Scotland, colour, dyes and livestock. In the process we learn how egg yolks are made yellower with the addition of chemicals to chicken feed; the unhealthy effects of nitrates as they inhibit oxygen intake in human babies, leading to blue baby syndrome; and how a change in diet has left penguin poo less pink, and thus the snows of Antarctica are whiter today than they once were.
These texts sit beautifully on the ever-changing warm colours of the pages, offset by the warm grey and silver type of the front cover wraparound. It’s a beautiful first issue of what I hope will be a long-lasting series.
Next up in October: ‘Ф Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry’, edited by Galina Rymbu, and in December, a collaboration by Robert Coover and Art Spiegelman called ‘Street Cop.’
Series editors: Sebastian Clark and India Ennenga
Design: Office Ben Ganz and Chase Booker