Get To Know | (Not) So Future Riso Magazine

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''Just making an illustration magazine for school? No! Let's do it otherwise!'' thought a group of 19 third years HKU students. They chose to collaborate, resulting in the beautiful (Not) So Future magazine, and a launch in EKKO. We spoke to four of its students!

What, where and why did you start this magazine?

Kim: ‘’It happened in our typography course! The initial task was: make a magazine in small groups’’

Karenina: ‘’What started off as a school project spontaneously became so much more. In the second class we were brainstorming, everybody was hyping each other up and became more enthusiastic. We just passed a big deadline and this was the moment that everybody was like, yes let’s do this!’’

Nadia: ‘’We also realised that we kind of missed collaborating. In the second year, we did an exhibition with all of us and that was a great success. I think this inspired us to join forces and make this zine.’’

Merel: ‘’Foremost the idea was - let’s do this for ourselves and not just for school. This got everybody happy and made the process to become a party, we thought this is gonna be fun!’’

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To collaborate with 19 different illustrators, that seems tricky to me. How did you folks manage?

Nadia: ‘’I was the bitch of the group. Haha joking of course! We had a directing editor group and that was the same group as previous year when doing similar projects. So we kind of already knew what the roles would be when assigning tasks to everbody. The tasks were clear and I was the one that made sure everybody reached their deadlines. We just took a deep dive and started doing it.’’

Why did you pick riso?

Everybody in choir: “Mostly for colour.”

Nadia: “And because we knew we wanted to work with a limited print run – with riso [keeping in mind the quality and colour] that is both fast and easy.”

Karenina: “And riso has a beautiful effect. Printing can become a bit flat and full.”

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How did you come up with the theme Sooo Future/Not So Future ?

Kim: “The initial task was to make a zine about your future self. Then we started thinking of names and the title Sooo Future caused us to create a magazine that takes place in the future.’’

Merel: ‘’Because both classes were working on the same project we also had people from both classes getting the same task within the magazine. Therefore we came up with splitting it, making two sides – Sooo Future / Not So Future.’’

Nadia: ‘’You could view the two sides as utopian and dystopian.’’

Are the themes utopia and dystopia recurrent in your own works – that you make really optimistic or pessimistic art? Did this shape the teams?  

Kim & Nadia: “We were team Sooo Future, Nadia. My first thought was - Sooo Future.”

Merel: “I did some work for Not So Future, but I was one of the folks that was still in between themes. I think that my page, even though it is about disappearing oceans, is still written in a positive way. I write about somebody looking for life in this dry area. This [hopefulness] fits with my work.”

Merel, did you do a lot of pre-research to your theme [drying oceans]?

Merel: “Together with my teammate we thought of doing a sea trip. My thoughts immediatly went like – what if oceans disappear? Then the story came up naturally”

Nadia & Kim: why the horoscope and fortune cooky?

Nadia: “We had lots of ideas and then we came up with the concept of a fortune cookie. I was thinking of this joke, where you open a fortune cookie and all it says is: This fortune cookie will come true – causing your reaction to be really positive. But what does it really mean? And vice versa: ‘This fortune cookie will not come true’ – causes you to be disappointed without it having a consequence – but why?’’

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Nadia & Kim: how was in to the editor of your own magazine?

Nadia: “It was so liberating to make your own rules! I liked that and I would like to do it more often.”

Kim: “Since we did a similar project last year it all went really smooth. The process therefore felt very natural.”

Since you also did illustrations for the zine, was it hard to switch between the role of editor and creator?

Kim: “Actually that made is easier. I was so busy with the whole magazine and everybody’s work processes that I became better and making choices for my own work.’’

Nadia: “We also knew what we wanted the magazine to be and therefore we could shape our own illustrations accordingly.”

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Karenina: you made the advert. Is advertising a field of work you like and why did you pick grasshoppers as a theme?

Karenina: “Grasshoppers are already mentioned to become future food. Therefore I found it funny to make them into overproduced commodity such as current meat. Likely it will turn out that way anyways, since humans seem to like mass production. I found it cynical to pretend it was healthy food and present it in an Albert Heijn way. My teammate Estrellera made a future hamburger recipe from the ingredients in the advert. Together we also made a hamburger tutorial!''

Looking at the tutorial - do you work a lot with animations?

Karenina: “I like animations a lot lately and especially abstract forms of stop motion. I draw them frame by frame and then scan the works. It is a lot more playful than drawing - with moving images I tend to be more creative.’’

What is the next step for Sooo Future/Not So Future?

Nadia: “This was a project with the full group, also with people not being interested in the concept itself. The next time this will probably change. We want to continue with the dedicated core group who wish to continue. The theme we do not know yet – maybe we’ll go back in time or travel to another universe!’’

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