LOG was begun by The Physics Room in 1996 under the editorship of then
General Manager, Tessa Laird, and with the assistance of Gwyn Porter,
then a curator at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Set up to replace
the Physics Room Journal, LOG was established, rather than being
strictly about-art dialogue-based, to provide a site for artists
and writers to experiment with images and texts in a print format.
LOG supported writing-as-art and new pageworks from a variety of
art practitioners both from New Zealand and overseas. With each
issue thematically based, LOG was able to include in-depth articles,
artists works, reviews, interviews, and the regular regional
round-ups. Published tri-annually, LOG was distributed throughout
New Zealand, and increasingly, in selected international outlets.
LOG supported not only experimental practice in writing and the
arts, but also in design, and Tiso Ross, Caroline McCaw, Sarah
Jane Barr, Warren Olds, Jennie Hall, Glen Mossong and Richard Shaw
all contributed to the design of LOG over its five-year history.
Tessa continued as Editor after leaving the Physics Room and basing
herself in LA, and later Gwyn and Tessa switched roles, with Gwn
becoming Editor, and Tessa as Contributing Editor.
a record fifteen issues, and under the currently challenging financial
climate, the Physics Room had to re-evaluate the viability of producing
a tri-annual arts magazine. Sadly, issue
15 was our swan song,
but this does not mean the end of publications by the Physics Room.
From 2002, the Physics Room will publish a range of art
catalogues and publications, with a new focus on gallery activities and programmes,
but with all the freshness and attitude we celebrated in LOG magazine.
Selections of LOG will remain online on our
website as an active archive, at www.physicsroom.org.nz/log/
The Physics Room asked LOG Editor
Gwynneth Porter three questions on the occasion of it being no
PR: For those who
were not sure where LOG came from, where did it come from?
GP: I had decided to go to Sydney for a holiday. My then
boss, John McCormack, with whom I had been working on Midwest,
I should visit the director of the MCA, who was supposedly starting
an art magazine because he thought I would be a good writer for
him. I dutifully went and while being served weak tea in a lush
directors office, I asked the very ill-looking man what sort
of magazine it was going to be and if he had seen anything I had
written. He said they were going to run "serious art criticism" only.
From that moment on I made appropriate noises but was trying to
get out of there ASAP without agreeing to anything. I dont
think the magazine ever eventuated but was fairly sure he thought
I was a bit strange or something. The words Serious Art Criticism
continued to echo in my head and I guess something calcified out
of a reaction and I knew I did something else and that this was
not a bad thing. And that I was not alone. When I got back Andrew
Drummond told me that that Tessa Laird was going to be the new
Physics Room director. I said if she wanted a hand reworking their
Journal I would love to help. It was the start of a beautiful working
relationship. She is completely wonderful and comes up with things
like this in response to our sales figures: "Less than 0.00005%
of the worlds population read Artforum, while at least 0.000125%
of New Zealanders read LOG".
PR: How would you describe
GP: I am not sure. Main thing was I guess that it was set
up to support art writing rather than writing about art. All too
often institutions make art writers into art butlers and we wanted
a place for people to be able to publish what they wanted to be
writing or making as far as page art went. I started to see it
as a tree hut sort of community project that was all about family,
weird children, drunk uncles and all. Geoff Lowe of Artfan magazine
(totally worth checking out - it was done in Melbourne and amassed
pieces of writing and transcribed oral reviews of exhibitions from
artists, cleaners, children, anyone who was there) contacted me
and said "I have read Log a few times and beginning to think
its really great. Its a bit like <hillbilly>." This
made me very happy that someone understood its asleep texture.
In correspondence, I always used to say it was an arts council-funded
art tabloid published in New Zealand until it was not a tabloid
really anymore although I always liked the bulletin or noticeboard
or newsletter feel of how the mag was originally conceived. I was
actually really against the poncy cover thing that was the boards
idea. But that is something I always liked about Log being financially
retarded. I think in this day and age more people should experiment
with and experience money vertigo. You know like wilfully wasting
it or at the very least ignoring it until everything falls down
and you walk away and something lovely takes its place. I guess
that is what happened with LOG. I still cant believe we were
allowed to do it for five years. I mean I edited it in my pyjamas
for the two years I did it. LOG is the sort of magazine that (to
quote someone on breakfast radio) instead of going out and starting
a fight stays in and makes a hut in the lounge. We always wilfully
ignored the important things. I like the texture of something that
just falls together compared to the pointy whittled stick that
is the refined and more traditionally useful art magazine.
PR: What do you think should happen next?
GP: I hope that other people
will start magazines. It is surprisingly easy and I am happy to
tell people everything I learned. It is cheap and fun and rewarding.
I think New Zealand should not tolerate its cultural cringers for
a second longer and to solidify this, we should change our national
anthem to Dam Natives "Behold my Kool Styles".
As for me, I intend to sleepwalk my way to the top.
View LOG Editor Gwynneth Porter interview as a PDF
This interview originally appeared in
The Physics Room Annual
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