Under the familiar guise of ‘creative collective’, South London based Off Modern are anything but the norm. Knocking over the first in a long line of artistic outputs is the club night which in turn introduced them to their peers who bought, featured and inspired the Journal and most recently, a brand new website. I caught up with Will Hunt (a founding member) for a bit of the who, how and why…
Off Modern has been running for over a year now, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
We met for the first time as a group in October 2008. Felix, Yuri and I were starting our final year at Goldsmiths and Johnny and Tom were starting their second years at Goldsmiths and Camberwell respectively. We were dissatisfied by what was on offer in terms of nightlife in South East London and felt inhibited by our courses so we created an event that would appeal to people who shared this experience. Our first monthly event was at Corsica Studios and it’s been there ever since. It acts as a platform for artists to showcase their work outside of college crits or the hyper-competitive gallery system and provides an unpretentious and fun environment for people to interact with and discuss artwork. The Off Modern club recognises that people aren’t one dimensional; in a single night you could take part in a performance, experience a site specific installation and mosh to a band or emcee.
Where do you put the emphasis of Off Modern’s endeavors?
The club funds our other projects but we can’t do it forever. We set up our website when we first launched the club and it has always featured a variety of content, receiving interest despite being irregularly updated. At some point during the summer we realised that a unique and attractive website is essential for keeping Off Modern sustainable, hence the recent facelift. Building a profile online is important for the success of future projects and the website is a hub of activity which influences our furrows into publishing, promoting and curating. At the moment we’re all really excited about getting to grips with the new website.
The site has some really distinctive voices writing for it, what is the motivation behind such intense commentary?
The site reflects our interests and Felix and I studied English at Goldsmiths so inevitably there is a literary style. We’ve always chosen to centre on developments in grass roots culture because there’s enough glass-tabled offices devoted to turning their, ahem, acerbic wit, on fashion and music. We put thought into most things we do and we try to pose interesting questions whether we’re blogging about a band, a photographer, a novelist, analysing aesthetics or discussing cultural movements.
What can you tell us about the future of Off Modern?
We’ve been offered the opportunity to take the Off Modern club to Paris and that will happen early in the New Year. We’re big believers in collaboration and the Paris night is only becoming a reality because we are working with a label over there. We’re working with another South London collective on a photography zine; we’ve recently acquired a photocopier which we’re experimenting with. Additionally, there’s a plan to launch OMTV; an online TV station reflecting our interests in art, music and literature. The Journal has been selling worldwide and it’s featured in zine fairs in Tokyo and Barcelona. The second issue will be coming out in the New Year and we will be releasing a third soon after, before beginning a new era of publishing projects.
- Artist Morgan Blair on her “pathological need to make you laugh”
- Lennarts & de Bruijn’s “hot as hell” campaign for Utrecht club, Ekko
- “My personal work informs everything that comes after it” and other bits we learned at September's Nicer Tuesdays
- Xiang Guan’s Symbiotic Objects require a human component
- Alex Fergusson on the provocative and powerful nature of surface graphics
- Bendik Kaltenborn talks us through his retrospective book, collating ten years worth of work
- Polaroid’s creative director Danny Pemberton introduces new brand Polaroid Originals
- Artist Dominique Pétrin on creating her very own domestic product
- Universal Everything animate emotive wallpapers for new iPhone devices
- Herburg Weiland’s meticulous editorial designs are typographically-driven
- The Visual History of Type author Paul McNeil selects and dissects his six favourite faces
- Breakdown Press’ Joe Kessler picks out his most-treasured books