The latest issue of Good Trouble features 32 pages of buzzing creativity meeting at the intersection of politics and culture.
The brainchild of Rod Stanley, former Dazed & Confused editor, and designed by the iconic Richard Turley and Sophie Abady, Good Trouble revolves around the ever-concerning themes of protest and resistance printed with the “same ink-comes-off-on-your-fingers retro zine joy” in a colossal broadsheet size.
In-keeping with its previous issue, the publication’s second edition is a grid-based newspaper made from memory without using any grids. The design is clear and accessible with notes of punchy, graphic touches to distinguish between the print hierarchies.
Adding a refreshingly personal approach to its stories there are four covers to the broadsheet. Its first cover features notable immigration rights activist, Ravi Ragbir, who has been fighting his deportation from the States since 2006, while using his platform to speak for others. The other covers feature equally impressive, radical individuals and groups such as The Resistance Revival Chorus, Darian Agostini and Jex Blackmore. Leading advocates for equality, female empowerment and justice for minority groups; this issue is packed full with absolutely necessary, cultural material.
Below we speak to Rod to give us further insight on the release of Good Trouble’s second issue.
It’s Nice That: How did you decide on the four cover stars?
Rod Stanley: It’s funny because I’ve always been pretty reluctant to go down the multiple-cover route. I generally prefer it when a mag creates one cover and stands by it. And I think multiple covers is a thing that’s been abused over the years, to appease advertisers and publicists or whatever. Like, everyone gets a cover! But it just felt right in this instance.
Three are from the story that Dan Martensen shot of all these incredibly inspiring New York-based activists, so it was a way to showcase the breadth and diversity of those different groups and causes. The fourth cover was this radical artist and activist from Detroit who is a Satanist and uses public rituals to challenge social and religious repression. All the images were striking and worked well together, and their stories are really strong… This is a time for collective action, so it made sense to foreground a range of inspiring people and causes, rather than singling out one person or issue.
INT: Although on its second issue, Good Trouble’s approach is ambitious by featuring topics that people face locally that can also resonate globally. Is it important for you to balance these two things?
RS: I did worry when we were trying to pull it all together if we had been a bit over-ambitious this time round. I feared we might be like an indie band following up a well-received debut album by going off to spend a year in the studio and coming back with some conceptual double-album that everyone shrugs at. Maybe we have done, I don’t know. But we did try to have as wide an outlook as we can – it was great to be able to get a story from South Korea in there, and speak to Sea-Watch who are doing DIY migrant boat rescues in the Mediterranean. It’s all inter-connected, isn’t it? We try to look at everything we can. Local context is important and that’s how people can be effective, but ultimately people everywhere are pushing in similar directions. It’s maybe like what Naomi Klein talks about, her idea of ‘Blockadia’ – that around the world, you see the same groups of people springing up to fight fossil fuel extraction, hundreds of different struggles all over the globe but also all part of the same.
INT: Could you tell us about the Unmanifesto section?
RS: Yes, it’s a separate 16-page section with eight pieces of work at pull-out poster size, by great artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Sara Rahbar, Scott King, Helena Foster, Boychild, Scott Treleaven and more. Francesca Gavin curated it and did a wonderful job. It’s like a magazine within a magazine, and works like the issue’s gallery space in a way. We asked each artist to show a piece of work related to a personal belief or cause, with the aim of creating a collective visual ‘manifesto’. The works are all really powerful, and collectively make a strong statement.
INT: Would you say that Good Trouble is optimistic about the potential for change, and the potential for arts and culture to impact change, and make some good trouble?
RS: On the one hand, I am under no illusion that self-published arts zines are about to bring the establishment to their knees, or compare to people doing the really hard work of campaigning and organising. On the other, I do think it’s important we all take the time to tell stories to each other that are true, direct and real – that we celebrate the energy and the wins, and the creativity that goes along with people trying to do the right thing or make the world a slightly better place. As the artist Peter Kennard said in the last issue – and he should know, as he’s been doing this for 50 years – when art is allied with actual social movements, the effects can be powerful. To be honest, if you’re in some sort of position of influence in arts and culture and you’re not trying to make a positive difference at the moment, what the fuck are you doing?
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