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A CREATIVE JOURNEY TO OUTER SPACE

We speak to editor of NORK Magazine about the north, sustainability and what it means to run a print magazine today.

IMAGES COURTESY OF NORK / BOBO IN PARADISE

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From NORK VOL 5

NORK Magazine is a printed bi-annual publication, aiming to collect and share the boldest and strangest stories from and about the North. Aiming to explore art, culture and creativity in Northern Norway and beyond, NORK wants to connect the North with the global community. 

Crafting and publishing a magazine during a global pandemic is no small task, so we were curious to check in with editor Agnese Zīle how the last few months have impacted the process.

Creative Director & Editor-in-Chief – Agnese Zīle
Art Director – Konstantin Lobanov
Graphic Design – BOBO in Paradise

 

Tell us more about the fifth issue of NORK?

The next issue of NORK will take the reader on a creative journey to outer space. On Earth, Space has become many different things. Space is a utopia, a new religion and a fantasy too. It is unexplored yet being explored every day. For NORK vol5 we have collected bold and contemporary stories about different kinds of spaces – spaces here on Earth, fantasies about life on Mars and many more. We have selected bright and playful illustrations, blurred photos and proof that we are not here alone. We are also very proud to feature works by Sarker Protick, who has been my inspiration in photography for many, many years now.

How come you chose to start NORK?

The idea to start NORK came to me very randomly. I’d never dreamed of being an editor of a magazine, even though I have always been passionate about print. I had just moved to the very North of Norway, to Tromsø (don’t ask why, I still don’t know). I don’t think I was ready for a life above the Arctic Circle, as I am more of a sun-kind-of-person, so I thought that I’d better have a project to focus on. It was also inspired by the fact that living in the North was a quite unique experience and yet I could find no art publication or magazine about it. So, I thought - why not? Let it be me who makes it – and somehow, I did.

Maybe you could tell us more about you as an editor - how do you select the stories that you feature? What has to be in place for you to feel like something is a strong story?

My background is in photography. I’ve somehow been connected to art my whole life, and the visual world in general. I think that a good story (either visual or textual) is one that you either don’t forget or that affects you deeply. It doesn’t matter if you hate it or love it, the story is supposed to make you feel things, and get lost in it too. The final decision about what stories to feature is based on the feelings it triggers, and the aftertaste it leaves behind. 

How would you describe the design and art direction of the magazine? What are you aiming to achieve with the design in your pages, does it reflect the talent / the theme / or the mood of the area in which it is created?

It was a long process to get NORK looking the way I imagined. It only came together in the fourth issue, where the art direction and graphic design was created by branding agency BOBO in Paradise. I always wanted NORK to be bold and brave, to have it step outside the usual. What I want to do with NORK is to inspire the reader and to have the magazine be timeless. So even after three years, when you take it out of your shelf and look through it again, it is still inspiring as well as current and contemporary.
 

What excites you in art and culture at the moment?

This probably won’t be a unique answer, but in these strange times I am passionate about what people do with their extra time during lockdown, what kind of art they choose to make and what is that they are thinking of. 
 
I’m also passionate about green living and sustainability. Every time I see art that has been made either by recycling or by using something that already exists (and doesn’t look like trash), I’m amazed. For example, I am so in love with works by Marta Veinberga. She creates art from stickers that are given out by a variety of sales outlets in Latvia, such as supermarkets. The aim is to collect the stickers and receive a prize. I feel that her work speaks about consumer’s culture and how “buy more, get more” has affected our lives and life on Earth in general. 

"Maybe the future of print lies in the quality, in the sense that people will only buy something they will consider worth having in their homes, something that’s an addition to their lifestyle, personality and taste."

Do you feel there is a different kind of energy when it comes to creating in Northern Europe, or in Norway?

Yes, I feel that the process of creating is somehow different here. I feel that it is strongly affected by the weather, for example. Here we have a period of polar night when all you see is darkness (ok, it’s not that crazy, but it’s still very dark!). You need to use your creativity to survive it, otherwise you go mad. Creativity is necessary up here.

What kind of changes would you like to see in the world going forward?

In times like these when something big and out-of-our-control is happening, we think we are going to change and be better, that we are going to read more, exercise more, be better as a society and so on. It never happens, I think. We forget too quickly. But if something was about to change, I wish that people would think more about sustainability, a more sustainable way of life. The same applies in art. I am one of those people whose heart breaks when someone at the shop takes a plastic bag. 

Is there a future for print magazines? What does it look like?

I don’t think that print is dying. It might be changing, but not dying. I myself am really old-school, I love to have books and magazines in my bookshelves. I don’t like to read on the internet too much. Maybe the future of print lies in the quality, in the sense that people will only buy something they will consider worth having in their homes, something that’s an addition to their lifestyle, personality and taste.

What smell/scent makes you feel like anything is possible?