BigMag is a showcase of magazines which are otherwise not easy to find as they have never been displayed at eye level on the newsstands. Chance is they didn’t make it to the newsstands at all. Some of them were published just once; others were for years just few Xeroxed copies held together with a glue stick. Some of them became a breeding ground for maverick journalists and some of them are now to be seen in design handbooks. Most of them have never gained any official recognition. But each of them is a testimonial to someone’s passion for distilling actual events and repeatedly communicating with the world through assemblage of text and image on paper. Initiators of the project Aleš Najbrt, Bohumil Vašák (both from Prague’s leading graphic design studio, Studio Najbrt) and Michal Nanoru (former editor-in-chief of Živel and Hype magazines) think such passions should be cultivated, preserved and promoted. That is why they in 2007 built a platform, where creators of “other” magazines can show their work to a large group of potential fans, competitors, collectors or academics. Every author, publisher, or fan can start their magazine’s profile here and bring it out of obscurity.

BigMag.cz is an informal intersection, a lively database monitoring magazine production in the Czech Republic after the regime change in 1989. A look at alternative, nonprofessional and noncommercial publishing, can bring much needed reflection in the situation when the industry is undergoing a major shift, the outcome of which no one can yet fully fathom. As a recapitulation and homage to the diversity of attitudes, lifestyles, and aesthetics these publications represented and the role they fulfilled in the pre-Internet age. But also as a reminder of the roots of (micro)blogging, user-generated content or citizen journalism and an inspiration for the development of digital media.   

In the Czech milieu a survey of “other” magazines and their involvement in the dialogue over time and ideology also necessarily brings to light attempts to come to terms with the new definitions brought by the adoption of late capitalism. Magazine is always a great snapshot of ideals, policies and trends and, as opposed to the graphically prim newspapers or deceptive photographs, it conjures up the time and place of its origin. Before you have read a single line you will have learned as much about the past twenty years in the Czech Republic from BigMag as if you had been browsing through the country’s family album.

The information gathered through the website also serves the authors as the basis for various side-projects. The eponymous exhibition opening at Prague's DOX Center for Contemporary Art 23/3 is one of them. It is on view until 25/4/2011. 

 

Thanks to:

Exhibition Organizers:

Moravian Gallery in Brno
DOX Centre for Contemporary Art

Administration:

Martina Krýslová, Dita Dubová, Pavlína Nebáznivá, Daniela Alfonzová and Vojtěch Kohout

Research and hiring magazines:
Petr Krejzek, Zdeněk Neusar, FunkFu, Tomáš Zilvar and Pavel Čejka, Jiří Macek, Zdeněk Trinkewitz, Radek Diestler, Zdeněk Řanda, Michal Škapa, Olga Benešová, Radek Sidun, Jana Kománková, Jana Návratová, Jana Černá, Radek Hruška, Filip Blažek, Pavel Smutný, Louis Armand, Tim Otis, Tomáš Trnobranský, Zdeněk Mitáček

Exhibition design:
Šárka Zíková