Currently reading : Mega-Zines: NOFFUN
“Printing for the sake of it” is a phrase I hear (and perhaps say) a lot in the conversation about print media. No longer a means of informative exchange or communication or of commerce, the search for purpose is so often after-the-fact. Historically printed as a means of communicating local ideas and centralized or sub-cultural spheres of interest, from Punk show advertising to Riot Grrrl politics, the zine became a tool of the marginalized, often the only tool at their disposal. However as the very nature of publishing has changed, the printed thing is more an artifact than a means of articulation. It’s interesting, then, that its very nature as a luxury thing, created for its own means, allows a certain extension of an institutional theory of art, one which asserts its position purely because it exists in the sphere as such, recognized as so by those in that sphere. Printing for the beauty of printing, and collecting not for any visual or informative content, but for the cabinet of curiosities-style collection.
One such publication is the London-based NOFFUN. Almost entirely photographic, save the odd page of text and addition of collaged elements, the limited 100-run , folio-printed publication sits inside a stitched and screen-printed canvas packaging in what feels like an allusion to the delicacy now associated with print publishing; a curiosity to be kept, bought with a safe place in which to store it included. With little internet presence aside from the basic website that allowed the issue to be sold as well as a fairly un-googlable name, the physical thing is a mash up of still life, nudes and incidental photography.
To accompany exclusive images from the release Paride Calvia, one part of the paper’s enigmatic editor team, spoke to Sang Bleu about its production and place in the sphere of publishing:
Can you tell us a little bit about NOFFUN?
NOFFUN is a project that does not have any particular sense nor follows any concept, we simply wanted to put out a collection of images that were aesthetically pleasing to our eyes. After the production, of only 100 copies, we have decided to have Tate Bookstore and Donlon books as our only two physical points of sale. The project is currently sold out but we still have few copies available online on our website.
Where did the name come from?
I can’t really remember where the name comes from, I think it just sounded great at the time. We are both in our mid 20’s and we work between the fashion industry and graphic design.
Perhaps an obvious question but what made you want to take on the project? Why this format?
I’m afraid you’re going to read these words a lot: “for no particular reason”. We started taking photos and play with them over a year ago just to do something, probably inspired by the amount of books and zines that we tend to buy on a regular basis. Later on, looking back at all of pictures, we thought it would have been nice to have them in printed matter and released under a communal name.
You’re kind of in a unique place between the printed magazine format and the photocopied zine; Would you define it as a either or something else?
Something else influenced by both.
There’s obviously a lot of hand-made/DIY elements in its production, what draws you to this kind of aesthetic?
We have been brought up between the punk and hip hop subcultures that in the 90’s were mainly advertised in DIY zines with bad collages of pictures, XEROX printing and random layouts. I guess that suited our taste the best!
What influenced the issue, both in terms of its content and the production/format?
For no particular reason, it all looked really nice together. The only thing that was decided prior to the shooting was to take mainly pictures of naked men. Nowadays you can easily spot a naked woman in every magazine you open, while in contraposition you cannot easily find male nudity outside the “queerzines” productions. For us was more interesting as a subject to explore.
Now that magazines are for the most part no longer a means of either commerce or communication, what do you think the purpose is of printing something like this, of creating it and also of putting it out into the world? What do you get out of it?
Nothing much. With the price we decided we were never going to break even with the production costs anyway. For what concerns printed matter, we do not believe that a release such as NOFFUN could have ever been brought to life on a digital format. There is some sort feeling in buying and collecting books that simply cannot be replaced with a computer monitor.
Your fairly brief website aside, there’s very little about NOFFUN on the internet – is this intentional?
Yes, as I mentioned we would rather invest our time on printed releases. We have to say that having our work online has helped us collaborating with other magazines and companies, such as ASOS.
You’ve only made a single issue – should we expect to see more?
We are thinking to keep on releasing, but this time we are considering to have the support of a publisher to alleviate printing costs.
Watch a preview of the whole issue below: