Oliver Scheiding is professor of North American Literature and Culture in the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at the University of Mainz, Germany. His research focuses on literary markets, periodical studies, and the socio-materiality of literature. He edited the journal Amerikastudien – American Studies on behalf of the German Association of American Studies (2011-2019). His new book Print Technologies and the Emergence of American Literary Culture is under contract with Wiley-Blackwell, with a planned release of 2023.
Indie Mags in the Digital Era: The Politics and Geographies of Environmental and Technological Change in Avant-Garde Magazines
In the context of a floundering mass-market of magazines, the indie press stands for a print revival in recent years. Despite its limited lifespan and precarious living conditions, independent magazine publishing pushes the boundaries of content, form, and design. Independent magazines do not focus on mass marketing, but highlight innovation, unorthodox thinking, and a reader-first mentality. They give space to different perspectives, diverse cultural knowledge, and make legible marginalized voices. Given their fresh approaches in diagnosing the societal, material, and technological transformations of hypermodern societies, my paper argues that indie mags are of vital political significance and indispensable for understanding innovation in print, in a world increasingly shaped by technological change and its algorithmic logic. Among the diverse indie publication projects that have been launched over the past years, the paper discusses independent magazines dedicated to raising awareness of technological progress and the geographies of environmental degradation. It focuses on collaborative magazine projects that explore the relationship between art, technology, and the environment in the form of a printed publication (e.g. NXS from Amsterdam and the London-based magazine It’s Freezing in LA). My paper analyzes how avant-garde magazines create a distinguished style and aesthetic space of cultural politics and audience participation. The paper examines how these magazines build a distinct visual identity and, in doing so, target specific communities of taste publicizing stories about groups of people and their state of the world.
»Independent Magazines Today,« JEPS 5.2 (2020): 1-11. With Natasha Anderson and Sabina Fazli.
»Indie Magazines as Brands: Aesthetic Communication and Designing the Kinfolk Experience,« JEPS 5.2 (2020): 26-59.