Buffalo Zine’s anniversary issue is unfinished. Deliberately so? We’ll never quite know; the editors have apologised profusely in the A4 photocopied letter that falls out at the content page, claiming that they were desperate for a holiday in August, and that sorry, this will have to do. Even the spine has been left without its proper shiny binding.
However, a suspicious amount of detail has been put into this supposedly unfinished issue. It’s absolutely massive for one – over 300 pages – and with ten covers to choose from, there’s clearly been no slacking here. This concept is a great way to reveal the vast amount of work that’s put into a magazine, much more so than a perfectly presented issue ever could. The overwhelming impression I get is of organised chaos: this issue is both the slick swan and its manic legs under the water’s surface.
‘Homemade as good as bread, and created with joy, love and devotion. Like a diary or an orchard,’ says Adrián González-Cohen, the editor in chief and art director, when asked to describe Buffalo Zine. This issue is more like a bonus content DVD, or a room in an exhibition devoted to an artist’s unfinished paintings. Not only does this behind-the-scenes issue give us insight into the process of making a magazine, but it reveals the all too often overlooked aesthetic qualities of a work in progress.
The untrimmed pages here are a good example of this. The CYMK test colours have created a rainbow bleed on the edges of each page, and the same raw combination of base colours is seemingly the underlying colour palette for the whole issue.
Handwritten notes have been left everywhere; there’s a yellow ‘HI RES?’ on one image and a magenta ‘Get rid of flare!’ note on one of the covers (above). The flare has of course been left un-retouched, and the cover is all the better for it.
Elsewhere, expect to find Post-it notes, spelling mistakes with handwritten corrections (above) and bad photoshop. It all works though, and maybe that’s because with glossy fashion imagery as omnipresent as it is, the rawness of something left undone (and done well) is more impressive.
The magazine features artists who work in this vein too: in an interview with Michael Krebber on page 146 finishes abruptly – ‘the conceptual German painter exercised the right to choose the endpoint of the conversation himself.’ His work is described by the interviewer as ‘(highly considered) sloppiness’. Later, a photo of his work is missing – a grey InDesign box awaits (below).
The magazine-making process is also highlighted by the inclusion on the contents page of items that got cancelled (above); I wonder, though, whether Angela Merkel ever seriously contemplated being interviewed for the issue?
Even the website has had a redesign – and that’s ‘unfinished’ too.
In the post-internet era, it’s nice to find a magazine that effortlessly slinks between digital and physical without inevitably resorting to publishing a written analysis of the relationship between the two. Buffalo Zine’s creators simply acknowledge this novelty, and have fun with the visual consequences. As ever, their fingers are firmly on the pulse: this is a truly inventive piece of conceptual magazine-making that is also pacjed with great fashion and writing.
Creative directors: Adrain Gonzalez-Cohen and David Uzquiza
Editor-in-chief: Adrain Gonzalez-Cohen