Published biannually, 8 Magazine looks beneath the surface and shines a spotlight on the issues that shape our world.
Now in its tenth year of publication, 8 magazine takes the traditional format of words and pictures to a new level. For each issue, we choose a theme to explore, usually a contemporary issue that requires investigating and understanding, and seek the best ways to bring the subject to light. With its unique mix of reportage, commentary, interviews and essays, 8 magazine has grown to occupy a unique place in the publishing sphere, offering world class analysis through essays, photographic and written.
As a contender for a subject to explore in words and pictures, Islam was at once too obvious and too risky. “The Question of Islam” was our starting point – in determining what we wanted to know and what others had already explored.
It’s for predominantly negative reasons that Islam, and its attendant politicised incarnation, Islamism, is rarely out of the headlines. While all religions succumb to extremism, it is the specific tactics of Islamist fundamentalists – suicide bombings – that have bred a culture of fear in which the religion and terror have become conflated. We, however, wanted to look at Islam in its myriad manifestations – cultural, political, social and spiritual.
As a spiritual path, Islam leads its pilgrims on the hajj, as Newsha Tavakolian shares with us in her photographic essay of her own journey to Mecca. And in Bangladesh, Munem Wasif observes his family and friends as they live their own interpretation of faith. Although apostasy is the ultimate act of impiety for Muslims, Islam welcomes converts. Paul Hayward looks at the appeal of Islam for black American sportsmen from when Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, while white British convert Kevin Brice looks at media misreadings of his own indepth research into the subject.
While the UAE offers its subjects the most opulent spaces for prayer, as photographed by David Cowlard, in countries that are traditionally not Muslim, it can be difficult to find the space to speak the word of God. The building of mosques is not yet banned in Italy yet rigid rules and regulations have led to a culture of makeshift mosques springing up on the edge of towns. In France, although Halal butchery is in the ascendant, life for French or immigrant Muslims is far from easy – the niqab and burka are banned there, as of April 2011. Yet in one of the UK’s whitest regions, South Shields, a boarding house for a community of Yemeni seamen provided a home from home. Integration and the multiculturalism policy, now belittled by the present UK government, is explored thoroughly by Ziauddin Sardar.
The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia at the beginning of this year took us all by surprise. The speed at which other countries began to oppose their governments, in what has become known as the “Arab Spring”, has secured these movements their own moment in history. As well as featuring the brilliant and brave work of three photographers – Ivor Prickett, Mads Nissen and Christian Als – from Egypt, Libya and Algeria respectively, we questioned the role of Islam in these uprisings, or whispers of dissent. We turned to one of the world’s most highly respected Middle East correspondents, Robert Fisk, for an answer. In our Report section, historical context is added with the photographs of Hengameh Golestan, of women protesting for their rights in 1979.
In two of the world’s poorest countries, however, a creeping Islamification is apparent. Sana’a, the exquisitely beautiful capital city of Yemen has played host to a spate of bombings targeted at tourists, in a concerted campaign by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. In Somalia, Jehad Nga has witnessed a total cover-up by women in the six years he has been photographing the country, for fear of public stonings carried out by Islamist groups like al-Shabaab. In Pakistan, too, Islam is not just the state religion, but an ideology harnessed to oppress. Madiha R Tahir writes from her home in Pakistan on the pernicious blasphemy laws and Malu Halasa brings us banned Iranian art.
Elsewhere in the magazine, we are proud to feature elegant fiction by Aamer Hussein, excerpts from Kenan Malik’s sharp book From Fatwa to Jihad and Leila Ahmed’s study of the veil as worn by American Muslims, as well as an exclusive interview with the extraordinarily prescient photographer Abbas, who has been investigating the subject of Islam and militant Islam through his camera since 1984.
We are approaching the subject of Islam from the only perspective we can: from a Western viewpoint. In this way, we are of course limited. Yet how Islam is seen by the West, how it is represented by writers, photographers, artists and the media at large, is critical. We hope that our selection of work by a wide variety of practitioners sheds a little light on what has become one of the most hotly debated and divisive topics of our times.
Wistbook 009 / Edition series. 100 / Format. 3″cd and novella…
A murder mystery by one of today’s finest crime writers, “Jigokuhen” takes place in a declining coastal city whose once thriving harbours and shipyards now house a shadowy criminal underworld. Drawn into this world when the son of the city’s mayor is killed, a jaded middle-aged detective finds himself distracted by a beautiful unemployed dockworker who spends each day walking aimlessly along the shore, and whose mysterious past may just hold the key to solving the crime. Throughout the novella, these two characters act as allegories of the dingy concrete metropolis and the wild untamed sea that borders it, City and Nature constantly approaching and withdrawing. The plot reaches a climax with a shootout in a warehouse, but the action plays second fiddle to the relationship between the detective and the dockworker, which remains ambivalent and by the end of the novel remains unresolved. Quiet, yet intensely evocative, “Jigokuhen” is a literary tour de force.
CD release with a limited edition, 50 page book complete with beautiful images and texts eluding to the recording materials, machinery, processes and personnel. The book also encompasses an audio cookbook with recipes for you to create your own experimental audio loops and soups.
The culmination of a year’s worth of sound experiments with machines of a bygone era, The Otolith Sessions sees Elsie Martins ‘Atom Eye’ project realise it’s most ambitious and complete work to date.
A meticulously programmed full length as opposed to a collection of tracks the album develops and unfolds with a palpable sense of purpose and adventure over the albums six storied compositions. The visceral nature of the beautiful but abstruse music is no fluke but a deliberate result of the unhurried nature of the albums writing and production process.
The Otolith Sessions was mixed & co-produced by James Aparicio (Liars, Spiritualized) and features guest appearances from regular collaborators; award-winning percussionist Pete Lockett (Björk, David Holmes, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Lee Scratch Perry, Primal Scream) and Mute Artist, Composer and Producer Simon Fisher Turner (whose work includes soundtracks for Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio, The Last of England, The Garden and David Lynch-produced Nadja).
Our sixth issue which tackles one of the dangerous themes in poetry. Expect to find poems about the weight of meaning behind the term ‘wife’, love as an elderly lesbian, motherhood and the hopeless powerlessness of love after death. Featuring work from some of the finest contemporary poets and illustrators working today, plus interviews with Joe Dunthorne, Salena Godden and Tom Chivers.
Each issue has around 168 pages and includes high-quality colour reproductions of the artists’ work.
Issue 26 looks at questions of pedagogy, such as gallery education, Godard’s didacticism, Lina Bo Bardi’s exhibition displays, and through the artists Catherine Sullivan, Isidoro Valcárcel Medina and Group Material. Accompanying texts look at Hans Eijkelboom, theorisations of the event and the current Moscow art scene.