Interviews: RVM, Talking about art and society with photography
RVM Hub is a complex project, a company that concentrates its forces, artistic and communicative flair in a magazine of stories and photography with an all-Italian heart, a mandatory step for those who today want to delve into the maze of independent periodical publishing in our home. . A visual and tactile experience to try.
The first thing to say about this magazine is that it looks more like an artist's book, thanks to the physicality of the object and the high content. The second is that it is a slow product, in the most positive sense of the term, because instead of getting caught up in the anxiety of deadlines and fixed publication dates, it concentrates its efforts in the editorial gesture to give readers a product of the highest quality.
But let's start from the beginning: in the decade since its birth, Rearviewmirror Magazine changes direction and editorial line and, under the guidance of Agnese Porto and Giammaria De Gasperis, assisted by the art director Francesca Pignataro, undergoes a profound restyling. Three issues have been published since 2017, each issue corresponds to a color that acts as a leitmotif to the magazine from the first to the last page, touching on different topics in a transversal way, from politics to art to nature. Each project is placed on different types of cards that adapt to the project proposed to the reader. Thicker or lighter, opaque or glossy sheets are bound in a medium-sized volume that looks like a small photographer's chest.
Agnese e Giammaria, how did you come up with the idea of relaunching a print magazine in a world dominated by digital?
When we decided to pick up the work on Rvm and dedicate ourselves to the magazine, we immediately thought of publishing it in paper format. We believe that the beauty of these times lies in giving everyone the opportunity to express themselves at their best, according to their aspirations, ideas and possibilities, through the web, free press, fanzines, magazines or books. We felt the need for a slow path, reasoned and built over time, as stated by you before, and paper is the means par excellence to physically make slowness. Furthermore, now - even more than a few years ago - those who decide to follow the paper path do so by seeking excellence. The books and in particular the paper magazines of a certain type, are on average beautiful and well-finished in every aspect.
The first issue of RVM, the Redor which is now an unobtainable collector's item, has been bound by hand, but also the editions White is Black they maintain a deep artisan attention to the construction of the magazine.
Rvm is printed in UV-LE, a type of printing that - compared to the classic Offset - allows you to print on natural papers with perfect color rendering. Thanks to the lamps used in this print, the ink drying is almost instantaneous, remaining on the surface of the paper a bit like in serigraphs, and avoiding that absorption which, especially in natural papers, condemns the photos to flatten and lose detail. The colors remain so vivid and bright. To achieve this, we turned to the Longo printing house in Bolzano, one of the first in Italy to experiment with it. With the help and support of the typography - in particular our contact person Giuseppe Scarpelli - we have tried to obtain a product that can remain fresh and innovative over time.
Rvm has the Swiss binding with visible spine and for the first issue, the Red Issue, the processing was done partly by hand. From subsequent issues we have moved on to automated processing, which allows us to have more uniform copies between them. We have chosen this type of binding because it allows us to publish photos in double page, being able to open the magazine at 180 °, without losing any portion of the images in the center of the page. One of the most important moments of our work is the choice of the cards: we select eight or nine for each number and each card is chosen to best enhance the images that will be impressed on it, to give three-dimensionality to the shots and involve the touch of sight. The stories are published on pages with a different format from the rest and which tends to vary from number to number (from the format of the classic book of fiction in the Red, to the narrow and long one of the White and Black).
We are also interested in the reader's approach to the magazine: all our choices are evaluated to try to create an interaction between the support and the person. The choice of different papers and formats serves to slow down the reading and to "force" the reader to take the right time. In this regard, in the Red Issue we inserted a red PVC sheet which, overlaid in some parts of the magazine, allowed to read or hide portions of text and graphics, a bit like a photographic filter.
RVM is photography but not only. Each project is accompanied by a necessary appendix worthy of a museum, texts and narratives that explain or depart from the project itself, while still conveying its meaning. How do you select photographic and textual projects and how do you combine them?
G. The selection of the projects is made by six people (myself, the editor in chief Veronica Daltri, the art director Francesca Pignataro, the editors Chiara Oggioni Tiepolo, Valeriano De Gasperis and Louise Clements) with a rather anomalous process compared to that of most of the editors of the other magazines, which include one or two people for the photoeditor figure. From this point of view, we are a very horizontal editorial staff, in which the choices are widely shared among the collaborators. Everything starts from the theme, the color, and from a series of keywords that in our opinion allow us to address it in all its facets. Once these guidelines have been drawn, each of the six photoeditors proposes a list of projects and from the final squad we choose the five works that we believe best represent a heterogeneous vision of the theme.
TO. Once the projects have been chosen, our editor Marzia Grillo and I enter the field and we entrust the selected works to as many writers, chosen mainly from the authors we love most and whom we think can relate well to that particular project. It is a moment of great exchange and comparison both between us and with the authors and it is an almost magical part of the process. We ask the writers for a difficult job, sending them the photos of the project that we have chosen to combine with their short story and giving them as little information as possible, because we want them to write something that comes from the inspiration of the images, often through unconscious, not immediate and never didactic. Our authors gladly accepted because they were fascinated by the challenge, I guess.
After the Red, you are thrown on White and then on Black, two powerful colors that enclose all the others, perhaps not easy to manage. What drives the choice of the color you work on?
The choice of colors as a common thread among the various issues starts from an idea of our editor Chiara Oggioni Tiepolo, born during a discussion on the issues to be treated in the new course of the magazine. Color is investigated from number to number from a chromatic and semantic point of view, almost as if it were a filter on contemporaneity, a medium. The choice of the first three colors came from exchanges and reflections that we shared with Francesca Pignataro, our art director and third fundamental pillar of Rvm (art director also of Ossì).
We are experiencing a particular period that is marking the life of each of us and that will certainly make itself felt from an economic and social point of view in the immediate future. What repercussions will it have on your magazine: Will you tell about this pandemic in your next issues?
Good question! At the moment we still don't have a clear idea on the subject, unfortunately, and we can't even imagine how long it will take before returning to a regime that is not normal, at least programmable. It is useless to make fun of, the economic consequences will be there and will not be a walk in the park for anyone, unfortunately. We have been thinking about this topic every day, for a few weeks, and the only honest thing we feel like saying is that we navigate on sight. Certainly Rvm it will continue, but when the next issue will be released, we cannot schedule it to date. Will we talk about Covid-19 and its consequences? It is very likely, we will certainly do it our way, so it is not said that we will address the subject directly, but it is such an extraordinary event (out of the ordinary) that is so profoundly marking our lives, that we believe it will surface even when we it will talk about something else, through many different elaborations and interpretations. We certainly can't wait to be able to historicize it.
How are you living these days? Any advice for your readers?
Unfortunately, we are experiencing this period of social distancing separately, by chance and misfortune. We try to keep a routine as healthy as possible: do something at work - even a little - every day, don't blame yourself if you really can't be concentrated for a long time, do some physical activity, spend time in a pleasant way, without performance anxiety (reading a lot, studying or being performing) between reading, good movies, music - which is always an excellent companion (Giammaria plays the guitar) and reducing the moment of information to a few, selected reliable and rigorous publications. We would like to recommend Il Post, with yours newsletter evening, dedicated to the Covid-19 emergency e Slow News, which for some years now has been doing excellent journalism, with an approach that we particularly appreciate (even on social networks they are sharing a series of clear and very useful graphics). Other advice: do what makes you feel good, physically and emotionally and "protect the grace of your heart".