Magazine of the week: MacGuffin #6, The Ball

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The new MacGuffin has arrived and it’s the best issue yet. Always a favourite, the subject this time is The Ball, which proves to be a particularly strong source of material for the team to pick up and run with.

The cover sets the terms of reference well. One of Wolfgang Tillmans’ Transit of Venus series is overlaid with a coarsely halftoned golfball; the regular reader will already recognise the scope.

There’s plenty of football, from Maradona’s 1986 Hand of God to a fabulous series of still lives by Mathijs Labadie of the outer skins of tourmament footballs removed and laid flat (above).

The story of Laszlo Bic, inventor of the ball pen, and the popularisation of typographic mood via the IBM golfball typewriter (above) remind us of the ever-shifting communication formats we rely on; we see how curves first inspired modernist architecture (the desire to use globes for living) and then acted as an antidote to the same (Aldo van Eyck’s use of curves in public spaces and playgrounds to soften the harsh architecture); we meet Harvey Ball, the man who drew the smiley face, and Scheltens & Abbenes present huge close ups of their young son’s battered marbles.

As visually rich as ever, the texts live up to the visual promise. My favourite written piece is Eliot Haworth’s piece about the ball boys and girls that keep professional sport moving. Apparently the first ball boys were provided to help the huge Chelsea FC goalkeeper, William ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle in 1905. His size was useful to block the goal, but made him slow to collect footballs shot wide of his net. Two small boys accompanied him onto the pitch to exaggerate his size – and they also rounded up the balls for him.

Editors-in-chief: Kirsten Algera  and Ernst van der Hoeven
Graphic Design: Sandra Kassenaar

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