Running Stack is generally quite straightforward: people sign up to receive a different independent magazine every month, and we send them a different independent magazine every month. Except sometimes a magazine comes along that stretches the definition a bit, and that’s exactly what happened with our November delivery, Pilot.
Their first issue (the ‘Pilot Episode’) began as a perfect-bound magazine, while issue two switched up to a large, oversized format bound with industrial staples to reflect its theme of ‘Hardware’. Their third issue took a much greater step away from publishing convention, and that’s the one we decided to send out as our November magazine.
On one side it’s a poster, on the other side it’s a board game, and the whole thing is themed around the concept of ‘Play’. Looking at all three issues together reveals some similarities – for example they all feature large-format poetry across their pages – but the only thing that really unifies them is their enthusiasm for experimentation and their willingness to give contributors free rein.
The poster / board game format is one example of that joyful experimentation in action. It brings a very literal form of playfulness to the project, and it also forces an unconventional approach to storytelling, with the texts stripped back into brief snatches of editorial that don’t need to behave like ordinary magazine articles.
The interview with Hudson Mohawke, for example, keeps the reader at a slight distance as it relates the producer’s thoughts and influences. Is this editor-in-chief Dagny Tepper’s response to the fallacy of the celebrity interview? Convention dictates that the interviewer must meet the interviewee and come away with some special personal bond or meaningful insight that they can communicate to their readers – does this represent a more honest attempt at the interaction?
Whatever the motivation, I love Pilot’s commitment to its theme, and the framing of playfulness as, “a rebellious tool to enhance your craft and life”. The issue also comes complete with a set of postcards featuring illustrations by the issue’s designers Lou Buche and Javier Rodriguez, and the editor’s letter, the game instructions and game counters also come in postcard form.
Of course Pilot will always be the exception rather than the norm, but I was really pleased to send this one out to our subscribers, as an example of independent publishing from way outside the mainstream. If you’d like to receive our monthly magazine deliveries, sign up at our subscription page and we’ll get your first magazine out straight away.