Kaleidoscope magazine's latest issue is its biggest to date, designed by Swiss studio Kasper-Florio

Publisher and creative director Alessio Ascari talks us through the issue's details, which address a pertinent theme of outdoor space, environmentalism, land art and camo trends.

10 February 2021


Some magazines are constantly evolving, and for the better too. Kaleidoscope is an example of how a publication can shift and change, adapting to meet new interests and certain trends that prevail over time. The bi-annual magazine launched in 2009 by publisher and creative director Alessio Ascari, alongside partner, co-publisher and executive editor Cristina Travaglini. Since the debut issue which “feels like a lifetime ago,” says Alessio, the magazine has transformed with a seismic shift in spaces, collaborators and identities: “which is something that makes the magazine hard to pinpoint sometimes,” he continues to tell It’s Nice That. Yet despite this evolution, the crux of the magazine has always remained the same; it’s a Milan-based art and visual culture magazine, launched by a then-“impatient” art student who adored the medium of print. And still does.

As for the publication’s most recent edition, Alessio marks this one as being very close to his heart: “The last issue is very special to me,” he says. Not only is it the biggest issue to date, it also introduces a new art direction with Swiss-based studio Kasper-Florio – “of which I’m very happy and proud.” The concept for this issue came as a response to the notion that art galleries and museums aren’t able “to contain new cultural waves”, which meant that Alessio and the team worked on the idea to focus on art that’s created “outside”. He adds: “At that point, the pandemic started and we found ourselves in lockdown – Milan was the first city in the Western world to be closed down, weeks after Wuhan. Clearly the theme of the issue took on an entirely new meaning. Even more so now, as we’re craving outdoor spaces and reimagining our horizons.”

An incredibly pertinent theme no less, the latest offering from Kaleidoscope explores the topic of outdoors to great lengths. Like many projects created over lockdown, the issue was composed remotely with each team member based in their own apartment or studio – a contrast to the usual process involved with creating an issue. Due to the events unfolding around them, this inspired the team to pay extra attention to the type of content they want to put out into the world. “A lot of plans shifted and circumstances changed, photoshoots were rescheduled many times,” he adds. “Some artists moved out of the city during this time and ended up submitting an entirely different body of work – like Peter Sutherland and his Colorado series, which we are now picking up to become an exhibition and book.” Otherwise, the contributions navigate around the notion of inside and outside, lensing a variety of topics such as environmentalism, geotechnology, food justice, terraforming, climate grief, land art, tech-wear, surveillance, war and survivalism.


Kaleidoscope: Issue 37 (Copyright © Kaleidoscope, 2021)

Inside, expect to find a range of visual essays, interviews, trend reports, artist portfolios and contributions summoning attention to the theme of the natural environment. The edition houses six covers, including an imagining of Paul Virilio’s seminal 1975 book Bunker Archaeology, interpreted by Virgil Abloh in the Luis Vuitton 2054 collection. Then there’s an essay by Taylore Scarabelli, a visual essay by image bank organiclab.zip and creative agency Ill Studio, plus a deep analysis of the industry of outdoor clothing. Not to mention a cover feature from Francesca Gavin who outlines the legacy of dub artist Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry; a piece about Treehugging; a trend report on camo; plus profiles and interviews with the likes of Takashi Homma, Bone Soda, Ram Han and Actress. There’s much to be explored throughout the issue, and we couldn’t have thought of a theme more timely than the great outdoors – a place that now brings us great comfort.

With an updated visual language spearheaded by Kasper-Florio, this issue was a chance to fine-tune the magazine's identity. Each issue, too, publishes an extensive library of illustrations created by Berlin-based studio PWR, “which have a viral quality and sort of ‘hack’ the Swiss grid,” says Alessio. “These two layers provide a framework to display and sometimes interpret the content created by artists and photographers, almost like a music production.”

Alessio points out a few noteworthy projects, including the shoot for “dub legend” Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry which took place on the Swiss Alps for the Gucci exclusive cover story by Lukas Wassmann. Describing the shoot as “dreamlike”, Alessio is a huge fan of his music and art, but he also adores the way in which the shoot broadens the issue’s theme to the topic of “outsiders”. Otherwise, the Matthew Barney interview by Neville Wakefield is a second favourite, a piece that Alessio states as one that “couldn’t be more timely”.

Alongside the creation of the issue, Alessio has been working on an exhibition with Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama and Swiss artist HR Giger, co-curated with Shinji Nanzuka. They’d spent a month in Japan for the launch at PARCO Museum in Tokyo, and underwent two weeks' worth of quarantine to attend the opening, “but it was really worth it.” Alessio and the team have also launched a book to accompany the show, designed by Kasper-Florio, and are currently preparing for the Spring/Summer issue in due course. Additionally, they plan to reopen the cultural program Spazio Maiocchi, “our home and exhibition space in Milan,” he says. “We miss nurturing and growing our community ,and the powerful moments of sharing that you can only experience in IRL. So I really hope it won’t be too long now until we can open the doors again.”

GalleryKaleidoscope: Issue 37 (Copyright © Kaleidoscope, 2021)

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Kaleidoscope: Issue 37 (Copyright © Kaleidoscope, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.

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