Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nerve, the future issue

Nerve, published in New York, is a new magazine -- about sex, of all things -- which I encountered today for the first time. In the words of its founding editors:

We have created Nerve because we think sex is beautiful and absurd, remarkably fun and reliably trauma-inducing. In short, it is a subject in need of a fearless, intelligent forum for both genders.
. . .
Nerve intends to be more graphic, forthright, and topical than "erotica," but less blockheadedly masculine than "pornography." It's about sexual literature, art, and politics as well as about getting off — and we realize that these interests sometimes conflict.
. . .
This is why we think the subject of sex deserves a magazine of its own: less to celebrate the gymnastics of sex than to appreciate the way it humbles us, renders us blushing teenagers.

While I'm not yet familiar with the content, I do appreciate the sensibility.

The reason I bring it up is that it seems the Nerve "Future Issue" was recently released, dedicated to exploring, through short stories and the like, the social role of sex in 2033. Apparently the publication of articles online is staggered over a few months, so some of the material is already up, but further explorations in this vein are forthcoming. For example, a piece online from 21 July: "70 is the new 30" by Douglas Rushkoff... In 2033, old is the new young. A series of email messages from a 75-year-old reveals that this development comes with certain sexual and professional challenges.

This future-themed edition was sponsored by a Swedish vodka brand -- but using suitably futurised advertising ("voted #1 vodka of 2033"), which leapt out for me as a great example of future-oriented art/design/communication, a topic that has preoccupied me much of late but about which I haven't written a lot in this forum, yet. Still, I think we can expect to see a lot more of this type of playful, immersive use of future imagery as time goes on, and I'll elaborate on that with a post in the near future.

I also really like this, from the editorial introduction to the Future Issue:

If, in 1973, you'd asked a writer to envision pop culture circa 2006, would he have predicted online dating, tax-deductible $12 martinis, BlackBerry sex and Gawker? If Voltaire, the VH1 commentator of the 18th century, were alive today, would he declare that if Paris Hilton didn't exist, it would have been necessary to invent her?

If nothing else, they have certainly grasped the need to unchain imagination to come up with anything useful about the futures of culture. Extrapolate and perish!

1 comment:

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