Zsuzsanna Toth, writer and editor
Previously managing editor at the Berlin-based digital magazine Freunde von Freunden and I Love You magazine, freelance writer Zsuzsanna Toth now contributes to the likes of i-D and works as an editorial consultant. She’s been collecting magazines ever since she was a teenager and – like most mag-fanatics – thinks carefully about how she arranges issues in her apartment.
‘When it comes to my magazine shelf I go for the most common tool in Berlin: the floor,’ Zsuzsanna explains. ‘That has little to do with having a minimal-aesthetic obsession, though. My apartment is – unlike what's normal in Berlin – really tiny. Putting a big shelf in would make the space ridiculously small.’
The collection pictured in her photograph is part of ‘the bigger picture’. ‘The day of my private library will come,’ Zsuzsanna assures us. ‘Just you (I) wait.’
As ever, we asked Zsuzsanna to pick three issues from her stack: a new issue, an old issue, and another thing.
A new issue: Supplement, #3
To be honest, I am generally not a fan of magazines that serve as/are a bi-product of an agency. The function often feels forced, the form predictable or exaggerated.
One-year-young Supplement, though, proves me wrong. Co-edited by the founders of UK based Plus Agency alongside Justin Quirk and Alex Rayner, the minimally designed magazine (“Supplement is curated like a gallery; presenting a neutral aesthetic”) is refreshingly unpretentious, but filled through-and-through with appealing content.
In the third issue there are beautiful portraits of Klara Kristin, Glen Martin and Petra Cortright, an examination of China’s post-Tiananmen art scene, and a look at the visual language of digital malfunction. It investigates the borders of creativity – and it’s a successful example of modern publishing.
An old issue: The Alpine Review #1
In immense anticipation for the third issue, I recently re-read the first issue of The Alpine Review, themed ‘Antifragility’ and published in 2012. I remember vividly when I got my hands on this one; I was overwhelmed by its size and its content that felt so on point and in line with the current culture that I initially thought it would be published at least bi-monthly. That said, it took me many weeks to finish the whole ‘thing’. It reads like a contemporary novel, each article marking another essential chapter.
So far there have only been two issues released and while I truly hope the Canadian magazine investigating contemporary culture, systems and society speeds up in terms of its rhythm of publication, another look at the issue makes me realise that this is not just a wish but a necessity. Inside issue one: articles on coffeshopification, the idea of magazines as identities and platforms, the internet of things, Corporate Families and Dreams. ‘Antifragility’ as a theme lends itself to a new kind of thought process, it’s a novel way of organising thinking in these chaotic types. It sounds quite up to date, doesn’t it?
And another thing...: #Fashion by Matin Zad
I have a little separate collection of zines and photobooks – each one bought on travels and/or flea markets. They deserve a separate spot in my flat, one that I mostly touch on Sundays or in rare moments where I feel almost bored and am looking for a new fuel of (excuse the term) inspiration. Unlike my ‘magazine shelf’ that gets a revamp regularly, this stack is growing only slowly, but steadily.
The newest addition to that collection is the photobook #Fashion by Matin Zad. I stumbled over one of his comparative photographs on tumblr (one interpreting Yohji Yamamoto) last year without context or credit. I felt immediately drawn to the aesthetics of it and pinned it on my cork board. A couple of weeks later I found out about Zad’s idiosyncratic work; in #Fashion - which started initially as an Instagram project - the New York artist and photographer collects reinterpretations of luxury brands he finds in everyday life, captured with, what else, his iPhone.
Being lost - as I mostly am (see portrait photo) - in the streets of Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago I found myself in a little independent book and magazine store where I picked up the print edition of his collection of which the existence I didn’t know about until then... a rabbit hole of nice coincidences.
The artists uses no words, just images. It’s easily digestable content for both the fashion savvy and... tired.