The resurgence of indie print magazines in times of migration
From Migrant Journal to Nansen Magazine, both offer a twist on the meaning of "migrant" beyond the clichés.
While some people were expecting the death of print with the arrival of the Internet, independent magazines have made claimed it as the best platform to explore deep issues in an unusual and very creative way. They do it by making associations between concepts go one step further and offer their readers what is not a book nor a magazine. It's another way of telling stories for lovers of photography, design and slow-burning stories.
Of all the current topics imaginable, migration is one of the most pressing. For a few years now, some indie publications have been devoted to examining migratory flows and the role of the migrant beyond all stereotypes, giving them a new meaning and redefining migratory flows beyond their saddest and most negative aspects: the human tragedy at the border or the refugee crisis.
Because it was migration that reconfigured our world, we propose three independent journals that explore migration as movement, flow of human beings, goods, and information.
Published by Offset Studio, this six-issue print magazine seeks to "break down the prejudices and clichés" associated with the term 'migration' and does so from the perspective of art, architecture, activism and journalism as ways of "rethinking our approach to migration and critically exploring the new spaces it creates," the studio explained.
"Migration is a phenomenon that everyone can relate to in one way or another: landscapes are the result of various migratory processes, the goods and food that circulate around the world are 'migratory' - all of this forms an understanding of migration that our magazine wants to make known," commented editor Catarina De Almeida Brito to The Spaces a few years ago.
Its latest issue is dedicated to Kalaf Epalanga, one of the founders of Buraka Som Sistema - a fusion of electronic music and Angolan dance - who as an essayist and cultural critic destroys the borders drawn during the Portuguese colonization of Angola.
Nansen Magazine seeks to turn the concept of "migrant" on its head and start talking about human beings, and much more, like "visionaries, entrepreneurs, explorers, thrill-seekers and dreamers." That's regardless of whether, as they point out, we move from one place to another out of necessity or desire.
"We are all descendants of migrants, those people who left Africa more than 50,000 years ago, slowly populating the planet for thousands of generations. Today, national borders and visa regulations ensure that travel is challenged in different ways than it would have been for our ancestors. But human migration is still driven by the same factors: a combination of basic needs and curiosity," say its founders.
Exploring conflict in all its forms through visual culture is the mission of this artistic organization and annual magazine that dedicated its first issue to representations of migration and displacement.
"Conflict, in all its forms, continues to inform the work of artists, photographers and other visual practitioners. From traditional photojournalism to the live broadcast of global events, image has the power to influence policy, shape public opinion and even provoke us into action," its editors pointed out.
An interesting aspect of Contra is that, in addition to its printed publications, it develops community outreach projects that aim to create a positive impact on communities and establish cultural exchanges with other artists, as well as promote dialogue and healthy debate.