“ Odiseo is mostly about learning by doing, and I think this is quite clear when you look through volumes one to 11,” muses editor-in-chief Emmy Koski. An erotic independent offering which places itself halfway between book and magazine, Odiseo is conceived and designed by the team at Barcelona-based studio Folch. A far cry from the top shelf sleaze mags best left in the ‘90s, the hardback publication could easily be labelled art or fashion, with previous issues addressing a wealth of intriguingly disparate themes, among them Dystopia and Utopia, Laughter and Loathing, The Truth and Nature and Artifice. “The publication has increasingly found its true shape, becoming more conceptualised from content to production and constantly evolving,” says Emmy. “In terms of the team, I think we all feel an even bigger urge to explore the limits, to blur them, and to find what works best for us.”
The latest release is Odiseo’s eleventh. Where the ultra-explicit tenth issue distilled the “opposing visions” of dystopia and utopia into two separate hardback issues, its follow up takes an apparently altogether more safe for work approach heralding “cocoon” as its theme. Arriving nestled in a chrome black foil annotated with the statement “I want to speak about bodies changed into new forms*”, volume 11 is both a nod to, and subversion of the X-rated bagged-up porn magazines that inspired it.
Intrigued, we spoke to editor-in-chief Emmy Koski to find out what’s inside.
Given that Odiseo Volume 11 arrives wrapped up, can you give us any insight into the design of the elusive issue?
Odiseo is our playground, and we allow ourselves to evolve and transform from issue to issue. We have invited diverse photographers, writers and artists to bring their vision to the theme of ‘cocoon’.
Under the black envelope hides an unknown number of covers from a range of emerging photographers. Our strategy is to strengthen the concept at every step in the process, even when it comes to production. The cover remains a mystery until the bag is opened by its reader. We have made some changes in direction, a new approach to illustration along with some new literary formats.
Where did the Cocoon concept come from? Did anything in particular inspire the idea?
Initially, Cocoon came from ideas about isolation, ideological bubbles, fake news and echo chambers. This then evolved into other aspects of “being inside the cocoon”, such as transformation – and everything related. Inspired by the bildungsroman The Story of The Eye by Georges Bataille, the theme tackles the idea of limit experiences , isolation from the outer world and the constant search for continuity with the other, about togetherness and lonesomeness, trapped between life and death.
Among other references, the classic poem Metamorphoses by Ovid has also been particularly important, stories of creations and transformations but also thoughts on love and desire. Visually, we took references from various metaphors for the cocoon, such as the egg and the womb – palpable sensation, organic, primitive, almost sordid imagery.
Talk us through three of the most exciting features from this issue.
Alice Schillaci captures a strange love affair in “Stranizza d’Amuri” – which is actually the meaning of the song by the Sicilian singer Franco Battiato. (Trans. Strangers of love). I’m really happy with the art direction, the cinematographic approach, and the narrative of Italian romance. I’m really excited about this one.
The new feature ”Fake Monologues” takes on the definition of closeness and isolation based on true events in The third man: A monologue by Michael Collins . Collins was the third astronaut on spaceflight Apollo 11, the closest a man had ever got to the moon, without ever stepping foot on it. His unusual story reflects the idea of being inside the cocoon.
The illustrator Tiago Majuelos tells a story in different stages about the enforced transformation in the myth of Daphne, based on the classic poem Metamorphoses by Ovid. I’m a big admirer of Tiago’s work, and it’s been great to share ideas and to reach such a beautiful result.
Which contributors are new, who have you returned to, and why?
The writers are mostly veterans exploring new formats, something that felt very natural since they are all skilled in shaping and conceptualising their writing according to the vision, mood and aim of Odiseo.
We have the pleasure of working with Kingston Trinder, a recurrent collaborator who delves into a journey from youth to adulthood in an excerpt from his debut novel Milk Tooth. Vincenzo Angileri who’s also a part of the Odiseo team contributes a fictional piece which gamifies adolescence into levels, alongside Eugenia Lapteva who contributes a poem on psychic retreats and the barriers of
All the photographers are new to Odiseo, after the 10th volume it felt important to “start fresh” somehow and involve new emerging artists. Alice Schillaci interprets a cinematographic love story in “Stranizza d’Amuri” styled by Francesca Cefis , Tom Blesch flirts with the raw extraterrestrial in a visual narrative styled by Jamie-Maree Shipton . The photographer and set designer Rebecca Scheinberg portrays sublime objects in transformation in ‘Yoke, Honey, Hump’. Rudi Geyser captures the relationship between oneself and nature in ‘The Dance’ alongside a hazy and glamorous visual essay by Alexandre Haefli and stylist Oriana Tundo. Finally the body artist Liana Nigri has created a special piece together with the photographer Hilnando Mendes.
The illustrators are also completely new for this issue, Luis Mazon’s unique illustrations accompany the texts, while Tiago Majuelos’ work tells the story of Daphne, featured as its own series on the different back covers.
Finally, 11 issues along, what’s the most important thing you’ve learnt to date?
Shape follows content.
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