“During my last year at ECAL, I was doing research about the ephemeral quality of an object,” recalls Italian-Mexican-born, Switzerland-based graphic designer Giacomo Bastianelli. “How technological progress is replacing physical items, but the human being is not capable of renouncing the good feelings and memories of it.” This is particularly true of the music industry, he continues, “where people now are divided into digital streamers and old fanatics of the physical record”.
As someone to whom music is a large passion – Giacomo took a year out after studying to play in a band, and record his own EP – while researching his project at university, he found himself simultaneously “frustrated as a musician because everything I listened to in that period sounded like a remix of something already existing”. With these two factors as starting points, the designer produced Next Eleven Paper, a publication that reflects on the new music movements coming from the Next Eleven, or N-11, countries.
Visually rich and tactile but with an AR app integrated into its experience, Next Eleven promotes music to both digital and analogue users. With its first issue focussing on the underground music scene in Mexico, the paper expresses Giacomo’s (and many others’) belief that the N-11 – Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, South Korea and Vietnam – will revolutionise the music scene.
“It is certainly possible that the next wave of renewal for music scenes could come from outside the western world altogether,” he begins. “Their over-driven economic metabolisms will generate all manner of social tensions and cultural rifts, which could spawn some 21st Century musical form that might take the world by storm just like jazz and rock’n’roll did in their day.” What’s more, any new genres would be born in the technological and internet age where visuals and sound could be created simultaneously, and not just to accompany one another.
It’s for this reason that Next Eleven allows users to hear music through experiencing imagery, scanning full pages with the app N-11. If more than one image is scanned, sounds interweave and mix together to create new sounds.
Although much of the design was dictated by the augmented reality application, the vibrancy of colour was influenced by Mexico’s rich culture. “During my diploma, I went to Mexico City for two weeks,” Giacomo explains. “The main goal for the newspaper is that all the content is the result of an exchange between two cultures, mine and theirs.” During his time there, he collected as much material as possible: “I was lucky enough to know a Taxi driver that took me in the most beautiful and weird places in the city.”
By combining digital and physical experiences in such an instinctual way, Giacomo’s proposal for the potential future of cultural consumption feels prophetic, not gimmicky. With a wealth of interesting and experimental music to explore from around the world, and with plans for each issue to feature unique aesthetics according to its country of origin, it seems Next Eleven is only going to get better and better.
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