Spring 2008

Noted

Visionaire is an extravagant art-and-fashion-infected ‘magazine’. Each issue pushes form and content to breaking point: issue no. 24 (‘Light’), guest-art-directed by Tom Ford for Gucci, was a light box plus transparencies; no. 41 (‘World’) was a bag; and no. 46 (‘Uncensored’) was in a Plexiglas case. So can they still be termed magazines? ‘Yes,’ says magCulture’s Jeremy Leslie. ‘They just get more and more glamorous and absurd.’

Visionaire 53 is a ‘Sound’ issue comprising five twelve-inch vinyl picture discs in a plastic, wok-shaped box (like a giant powder compact) that struggles to contain all the bits.

To play the music (116 tracks, also on two CDs), there is a Mini Cooper ‘Vinyl Killer’, a Japanese plastic toy car with a stylus hanging from its undercarriage. Drop it on the record and the battery-powered car embarks on a scratchy, spiral (anti-clockwise) journey to the centre of the disc, tinny sound pumping from the speakers mounted in its roof. Design values are not exactly high on the agenda.

First reactions to this collectible oddity are typically surprise and delight (and children love the little car), but the joke soon wears thin. The picture discs contain swoony images by Anna Blessmann and Peter Saville, Nick Knight, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman. The less predictable audio contents include Mike Skinner, the Pet Shop Boys, Fennesz, Christian Marclay and Vijay Iyer. Liza Minnelli and Yoko Ono occupy adjacent tracks, but thankfully neither sings.