The Future of 2
Delivered to Stack subscribers in Jul 2022
Based in Bucharest, The Future of Ghosts draws upon various philosophical ideas to explore the different ways that spectres, spooks and ghosts can be used to interpret contemporary society. It has a strong regional identity too, with many of its contributors coming from Romania and Eastern Europe, bringing a particularly post-Soviet spookiness to its stories about ecology, history, popular culture and more. Confused? Scroll down to see our interview with its editors and all will become clear…
Laura Naum & Petre Mogoș
Ghost writers & editors
What is The Future of?
The Future of is a magazine of extinct ideas, a publication that explores the lost potential of cancelled thought: notions and concepts that have seemingly exhausted their appeal or have been co-opted by regressive forces, banished altogether from the collective imagination. Can something be more reactionary and futile than longing for the past in purely nostalgic fashion? What good can ghosts do to us in a society that penalises non-profitable pursuits?
Also, can we exorcise contemporary culture from its obsession with productivity and a linear understanding of time? Is there more to pop culture than sheer entertainment? And since when is sheer entertainment a bad thing? The purpose of The Future of is to revert rooted verdicts: the nostalgia from our first issue can be reclaimed as a critical tool; the ghosts from our second edition teach us a lot of things about life; and the pop culture from our forthcoming volume is more than it seems to be.
What makes it different from the rest?
The topics that we critically deconstruct with each edition are more or less themes that have been ever-present in contemporary publishing. What differs however is the approach: a process-led perspective that allows us to tackle the topic from a myriad of contrasting and forever clashing angles. Difference of opinion is embraced, war of words encouraged. Our future indulges in the greys and sees beyond the visible and what seems to be definite. Our approach to the future maintains a sense of incertitude and perpetual questioning. This means to be open to the future—or rather to any possible futures, in the plural.
Who makes The Future of?
The Future of is made by the more fun version of the team behind Kajet Journal: by our more agreeable doubles. If Kajet is slightly more serious, with a more academic overreach and a more weighty obligation to deal with Eastern European narratives in a certain way, The Future of seeks to have fun, while also subverting our understanding of the things around us.
Who reads it?
The Future of is read by nosy meddlers and inquisitive troublemakers, by those who refuse to embrace deeply entrenched knowledge as unequivocal truth and who seek to see beyond the advertised packaging. Who are eager to speculate and present alternative (and quite possibly ineffectual) solutions to otherwise unresolvable problems. The end goal is non-existent, it is the process of searching for new futures that they are interested in.
Why do you work in magazines?
We enjoy the regularity given by periodicals. The magazine as a contemporary cultural artefact is actually a permanent work in progress: what you could not do in the previous issue can be tried in future ones. The paradox with each new edition is that you seem to always start from scratch, but you never do; you just keep adding new layers on top of already existing ruins. And this is the closest parallel we found to how life is.
Aside from the magazine, what else are you involved with?
We run a magazine/bookshop in the city centre of Bucharest, called Dispozitiv Books, which also operates as a publishing programme. So in addition to bringing the freshest titles to a hungry local readership, we also publish our own stuff: artist books and zines, poetry books and critical theory essays. For instance, our latest publication is a conversational guide for Ukrainians entering Romania; our forthcoming one is a poetry debut.
What would you change about The Future of if you could?
That’s always tough to know for sure. Our gut response would be to think of something utopian that does not have to do with the magazine itself but rather with the context in which it exists: stronger financial stability to ensure the frequency we desire. No pressure. Just a liberating peace of mind to do our thing 🙂
Where do you see The Future of in five years?
A publication called The Future of has to have a special issue devoted to the future. So sooner or later, hopefully within five years, if not sooner, there will be one issue of The Future of the Future. And hopefully a lot more themes explored in-between and beyond.
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