Tuesday, January 10, 2012

MUTO Manifesto/Exterface Studios

One of the things I love about the Internet, at least as it now exists, which is to say before it is walled off into privatized, unaffordable bailiwicks ruled by a few very rich companies, is that you can surf and happen upon things that you might never encounter if you didn't have the wherewithal to travel, weren't located in a cosmopolitan area or had access to one, didn't know people in the know, and so on.  When I was younger, I avidly visited magazine stores in the various cities where I lived just to browse, sometimes for hours, the offerings on display. I'd flip through magazines from all over the world, news journals, art journals, fashion journals, zines, anything really, just to see what was going on in the wider world that I wasn't seeing in mainstream newspapers or on TV.  So many of these newshops and bookstores are gone, lost to the depredations of gentrification, falling patronage, and yes, the net; a few, like St. Mark's Bookshop, are barely hanging on. The Internet hasn't resolved the economic issues these stores faced, but it has provided another means, at least in some cases, to travel the world without leaving your desktop or, nowadays, your phone or table computer.

I was thinking of this when I came across the digital online  MUTO Manifesto, a year-old French queer periodical based in Paris and affiliated with Exterface Studio, two 26-year-old French art directors who have, in their words, been "working in graphic design since 2000 and photography since 2005." Exterface's previous projects have included editorial and personal photography, exhibitions in Paris, and books published by Éditions Nemo Media and noted gay publisher (NSFW) Bruno Gmünder; and a poster for the  fetish-forward fashion house (NSFW) Slick It UpMUTO Manifesto, a beautiful publication now numbering four specially-themed issues, pairs lyric prose with artful photographs of men (including semi and full nudes), landscapes, and other associative imagery.  It's available, like many free magazine publications, via online publisher Issuu.com. So far, MUTO Manifesto has kept things livelier than many a US queer/gay male publication would, and even if you don't read a word of French, it's enjoyable to flip through, but it's even more enjoyable if you do. (You can always type many kinds of non-English texts into Google translate and get a passable translation these days, another great aspect of the Internet, and you can pull up online dictionaries and other translation services too, for free).  I believe you can also download the issues and yes, read them on your desktop, phone or tablet device if you sign up for Issuu.com. Here are few images from the first four issues (1-4). Check them out and browse Issuu.com's roster of publications, which also include books, zines and other texts.  Amid the clutter, there are some gems, like the ones below.

Volume 1: Juvénile Ardeur
Volume 2: Looney Dudes
Volume 3: La Chasse à L'Homme
Volume 4: Agnus Dei

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