Bum is a risograph printed magazine made in Helsinki that has absolutely nothing to do with bums. Entitled ‘Common’, the inspiration behind this first edition, as Lee Marable explains in the editor’s note, is actually door handles. Specifically: the fact that door handles in Finland do not exist; a door is opened by inserting a key and pulling it, allowing the weight of the door to do most of the work.
Marable has a hunch this might be something of a regional quirk: a door without a handle is rather less welcoming than a lovely plump knocker. But the focus of the magazine is not really on objects as signifiers of differing national psyches. Rather, Bum is a celebration of objects as “evidence of the endless, and joyful variation that can be found amongst objects that we rarely appreciate.”
One beautiful spread is devoted to the architecture of the 84 mile Thames Path in London. The path is intricately mapped, with little symbols to indicate “Access via ladder” and “Beaches” and “Stepped access without handrail”.
The minute attention devoted in this magazine to the technicalities of how we move through the physical world is immensely satisfying. The fact that the magazine itself unfolds like a game of consequences, with flaps and pull-outs and gorgeously illustrated footnotes, is key to its appeal.