The beautifully produced magazine about cinema in Asia has reached its seventh issue. Films about male intimacy take to the spotlight this time, with the theme ‘The Scent of Boys’. We examine the issue highlighting five elements that make it such a special piece of print.
FORMAT Nang uses an old-school, journal-like format; at first it is a seemingly hand-made artefact. It has retained the physical design of previous issues: exposed binding, heavy cream paper and a single colour that peeps through the laser-cut title. The simplicity suits it: like Migrant Journal, Nang will be a series limited to (in this case) 10 magazines, all the more impressive when shelved together.
PLAYFULNESS Inside, the mag is full of quirks. A playful moment comes in the middle of the mag, where Nang’s two ads are prefaced with a page that simply declares ‘INTERMISSION’. An illustrated and scented (!) bookmark falls out on the first page, on it a drawing that matches the magazine’s spine. Interdisciplinary artist Beatrice Glow developed the two lingering smells, and included is a beautiful description of the process behind ‘Painter’s Hands’ – a scent based on New York, the ‘salty port city of encounters’ and ‘Afternoon Storm’, the smell of steam and anticipation.
PHOTOGRAPHY Scent is hard to convert into words or images, but as editor Davide Cazzaro writes in the introduction, ‘smell gives body to our desires’. This issue is full of photos and film stills that capture desire in an immediate, human way. Images of lovers from Lost in Paradise and Tropical Malady punch through the pages of Nguyễn Quốc Thành’s essay ‘That Indiscernible Scent of Yours’, illustrating moments where smell is pivotal to the scene.
EDITORIAL FORMATS Nang uses its theme as a device to slide in and out of its overall concept. It’s a magazine about cinema, but it’s not just reviews. There are essays that consider multiple films, interviews with filmmakers, and conceptual pieces, all springing from the issue’s core theme ‘The Scent of Boys’. ‘Wegen Hegel (Because of Hegel)’ by Fan Popo is a piece that particularly captured my attention. It’s an inventive short, illustrated text, unlike anything I’ve read before – almost like reading a screenplay, almost like watching a film.
HANDOVER A recurring feature can be found at the back of the mag, a brief preview of the subsequent issue, taking the form of an interview with the next guest editors, conducted by the current pair. It’s a charming way to pass the baton, revealing the direction of the next issue without spoiling the content. Well, there is one spoiler: Issue eight will be all about sound!
Publisher & editor-in-Chief: Davide Cazzaro
Art direction and design: Shin Shin (Shin Haeok & Shin Donghyeok)