The Creators Project: Hello Joerg. How did you first get started in publishing?
Joerg Koch: 032C started of as a complete DIY project. It was a zine that we ran out of a project space that I had here in Mitte, in Berlin, with two other friends. That was already like a Beuys fanzine in a three-dimensional space. We did shows with Friedman, the photographer, who did all the hip hop covers and punk covers for Bad Brains, Black Flag, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, and also skate photography.
I hear you also had a hand in developing the first-ever web browser. Is that true?
Yes, that was even before Netscape. It was called Mosaic and I worked for one of the first online magazines in Germany, called Wildpark.
Did that influence the early issues of 032C?
Well, the intial idea was to use the magazine as a kind of trojan horse. It was really just there to propagate the URL of our website, but then we realised the magazine had a much bigger following, and was much more fun to make, so we decided to focus on the print version.
What is behind your creative direction?
The inspiration for the magazine comes from things that do not happen in other magazines. We feel we have arrived now at what we believe is a proper magazine.
Do you consciously take into consideration a certain demographic or target in terms of readership?
I would argue that the magazine is at the intersection between fashion, art, business, politics, and design and where it all collides. It does not provide you with an ideological framework, but it does give you power and inspiration. There is force that you can feel. There is some sort of utopian belief that people can make things happen. Essentially, it’s about the celebration of ideas, wherever they happen.
You recently relocated to a region of Berlin where you’re surrounded by other media offices, but your former offices were in a kind of wasteland in the middle of town.
The space where we started the project two years ago was really depressing and it still is. It is in a very central area but nothing ever happens there. It is very strange. It is at the back of the State Department and it used to be the library of a guest-house that was used by the East-German government. Well, we found the place and we saw beauty in it. It felt like Venice on crack. There is a river, a terrace, investment ruins, 19th century houses next to gigantic apartment buildings next to luxury townhouses. We tried to fill this depression with interesting ideas and projects. If you think about how architecture can carry meaning, then our new building is much more part of the establishment than the old one.
There are not a lot of people in this office, but you have a huge network. How is the magazine actually produced? How do you communicate?
We completely incorporate all modern means of communications. We use iChat, Blackberry messaging, email, the web, and we have this really big network of people out there in the world that we can access.
How do you feel about the crisis the print media market is going through right now, following the development of so many online media portals?
If I look back to the last ten years, I’m surprised at the eradication of newspapers in the States. I didn’t expect that so quickly. I think we are in a lucky position as a niche magazine. There will be a comeback of hapticism, of feeling something in your hands, which is opposed to the mainstream development of something like an iPad, where everything is digital. We’re not so much about the paper business but we’re really into communicating ideas. Whether it’s through the architecture of the space we are housed in or through the magazine.
What do you think will be the next big step in terms of communications technology?
When technology becomes really invisible, when you don’t think about it, when you just have it out there. We’re progressing towards that. Imagine what the architecture communicates and what it communicates about the magazine. We made a decision to move here because it was what 032c was about. It’s interesting if you have that density of feelings, emotions, ideas, triggered by technology and that is done in a nonstandard way, not as in a website, but if its just out there. And we’re developing that.
So you’re no longer bound to places. You can communicate from everywhere with everyone at any time?
Exactly! But the beauty of that is, is that there is always a counter reaction. People actually coming together, having coffee together and so on. And that refers back to what I said earlier about us being a niche magazine. There will always be space for us. The trick is not to react in a nostalgic or sentimental way.