This week we meet Roni Monhait, founder and editor-in-chief of Middle Plane, as the third issue of the magazine hits shops. Each issue explores fashion in close collaboration with a single artist, and the final printed publication changes format to suit the work. The latest issue is titled ‘Maggi’s Mag’ and was made with artist Maggi Hambling.
How do you start your week?
At the moment I’m holed up in a Suffolk cabin, so I’m working from here. My weeks are always varied, now more so than ever. The pandemic has created challenges but we keep moving forward – weekly team meetings via zoom have become the norm.
Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your studio/office
Right now, the view from my Suffolk window is serene and peaceful but I’m normally based in London, and my workspace there can be pretty messy. My Egon Eiermann desk is usually strewn with papers, as I prefer to handwrite my notes rather than use a computer.
The rest of our office is actually quite neat. There few sculptural installations in the form of piles of boxes with issues of the magazine and a big plant masquerading as a monolith, along with some Félix González-Torres posters on the walls
Which magazine do you first remember?
The first magazine I remember is a cult magazine from the sixties, Aspen, the first magazine that came boxed.
It left such a significant impact on the publishing world and on me. It felt organic and really pushed the boundaries of what a magazine could be. I love that the magazine’s content wasn’t restricted to certain categories but could include all sorts of objects and things.
In Middle Plane’s first issue zero (above), we published an article which looked at a raft of unique magazines from 1850s through to the 1970s. I think it’s essential to know about these publications before you think about creating your own magazine
Which magazine matters to you the most right now
Self-service. Their latest issue was made into a new video magazine format alongside their print edition. They always find new ways to engage with their readers as their digital audience increases. They are expanding the definition of a magazine, moving away from the traditional methods, which I find fascinating. I’ve also always loved their approach to fashion.
Issue one was a collaboration with the conceptual artist Vadim Zakharov
Describe Middle Plane in three words
Issue two was a series of fashion stories created in repsonse to the work of artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
Every issue of Middle Plane is very different in form and content; what is the defining theme that holds the series together?
With each issue of the magazine you can become immersed in the process of an artist asking questions and exploring the fashion world in a print format. Each time the result is entirely different, yet we are dealing with the same dialogue – looking at fashion from an art perspective. Each issue tells the artist’s story of how he/she perceives fashion.
What’s the starting point for a new issue?
To find an artist that has something to say about fashion. An artist with a substantial body of work that enables us to understand if this dialogue is something that can work as a fashion magazine. The process involves a lot of studying and researching, which we love doing.
Can you see Middle Plane moving even further from the regular print format, and becoming, for instance, a live show, or movie?
Middle Plane could be many different things; I’d never say never. We are open-minded to everything that comes in our way.
Share one piece of publishing/business advice that has helped you.
Choose to work with kind people.
Looking ahead, what are you excited about this week?
We’re excited about starting work on the next issue. We’re facing challenging times but the fact that we have such a loyal readership keeps us on mission when it comes to creating innovative and engaging content.
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