“I went to BJ Magazines on Varick Street at lunch – one of the better places to get magazines [in New York], but somewhere I’ve been going less and less,” recalls designer and art director, Richard Turley, of the day back in January he decided to create his latest project, Civilization. “I walked around and it felt different from how I remember and I was trying to work out why; then it occurred to me that the reason it felt different was because half of the shop was now crisps and corn snacks. Maybe this change had been happening for some time, but it felt quite shocking.”
Having bought nothing during his visit (and feeling irritated), Richard began to reminisce about the excited he felt upon first moving to the city, “going to shops with BJ’s, which in turn reminded me of the feeling I got passing a newsstand on the street and the thrill of seeing a new issue of New York Magazine for sale on a Sunday evening. And I got annoyed that that feeling had totally gone too.”
The decision to reignite this feeling by creating his own publication was also partly influenced by the work Richard was doing with “a bunch of teenagers” on a project for Wieden + Kennedy at the time. “They were all bemoaning the transience of their media, how they’re craving something tangible and permanent,” he explains. It was the culmination of these simultaneous experiences that resulted in Civilization: a newspaper about New York and what it’s like to live in the city.
Civilization is co-edited by Lucas Mascetello and Mia Kerin. “A lot of Civilzation is sort of autobiographical – the three of us working through things in our lives and the lives of the people we care about,” Richard tells It’s Nice That. Alongside the words and images of Richard, Lucas and Mia are a host of contributions: “Most of the contributors, if not all of them, are people who are close with at least one of us. It’s half newspaper, half support group really.”
As well as a music column by Bráulio Amado and a piece by Tom Powers discussing “the homegrown terrorism in Greenwich Village,” the paper features work by Bertie Brandes, Babak Radboy and Emily Segal. “Alongside and scattered in and around these voices is the confusion and metadata of modern life. It’s an intention, senseless mess,” Richard concludes.
“We didn’t ever think about making a magazine. We wanted to a do a newspaper. It’s a different thing,” he responds when asked why they chose the format of a broadsheet, “you just don’t get size like that anymore at that proximity to you.” In an attempt to move away from the “tiny screen a few inches from our faces” that we now almost exclusively peer into, Civilization forces your eyes to move around the pages, surrounded by ideas and words. It’s jam-packed design and content acts as a means to translate the confusion of modern living on a Victorian technology. As a medium traditionally considered disposable, “in the era of disappearing stories and scrollable media, it feels oddly permanent and stable in comparison.”
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