Arc is the journal of the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. The magazine is edited, designed and published entirely by current students.
We are hoping to raise the print and delivery budget for the next issue via Kickstarter. In exchange for your support we are offering copies of Arc 16, limited edition artworks, prints and posters. Read on to find out more about Arc's history and the artists, designers and writers involved.
The college celebrates its 175th anniversary this year; throughout its history there has been a dedication to print and publishing.
Arc itself was started up by students in 2004 to build on what had been achieved with Ark, the student-run journal that was published at the RCA between 1950 and 1978. Designers like Alan Fletcher, Ray Hawkey and Len Deighton began their careers art directing and designing for Ark, and those who worked for Arc more recently have gone on to art direct TATE ETC. and Grafik. There is an excellent feature on Ark for graphic design aficionados in Eye.
There's more to it than heritage, many of our readers, practising artists and art students, spend their time in the studio covered in the muck of their medium, not plugged into a laptop. For them, and for you, and a little bit for tradition, we would like to make something on paper.
Arc 16 – Design
The forthcoming issue, the first on Kickstarter, is designed by Matthew Stuart and Pedro Pina.
A mock-up of the design-in-progress.
Our plans are something like this:
Section-bound. 140 x 210mm. 66(ish) pages 1-colour. Litho printed. Mixed stock. 1000 copies.
The editorial submissions for this issue were so plentiful, so original and so diverse that we had trouble keeping the overall word length down. It seems death is an inspiration as well as an inevitability. So, loaded with both short and very long articles, the designers have turned this wordiness into a feature. The magazine for the first time (as Arc with a c) will be section bound. There is more on the design in our third update.
Arc 16 – Content
The contributors who have caused our designers to give Arc a spine include Critical Writing Ph.D. student Travis Jeppesen on Bela Tarr's last film, The Turin Horse. Ajay Hothi, Tom Harrad, Chiara Siravo, Anna Bates, and Patrick Langley write on axes in backs, murdered elephants, 16th century visions of Hell, suicide roller coasters and the most deadly road in London. Stella Bottai from Curating Contemporary Art presents an artist project that takes the form of a séance, Printmaking students Holly Antrum and Colin Henderson, respectively explore the life of Paris graveyards and the rebirth of the college department on the other side of the Thames river. Critical Writing tutor Jeremy Millar reflects on the untimely passing of writer Robert Walser and Pil & Galia Kollectiv on that of Steve Jobs. Clive Stafford Smith of human rights charity Reprieve shows us how the state turns away at the very moment of death, and forces us all to take another look.
We are also delighted to publish a new work by author Ali Smith. Jonathan Safran Foer once said of Smith's writing, "I felt glad to be alive to be reading these stories". No doubt, but for Arc she has written on cold cemeteries and warm killers; a chilling story that will shorten your breath.
How will the money be spent?
We all work for free: the designers, the editors, every single contributor, even those who are usually better reimbursed for their time. All funds raised here are exclusively for print, packaging, postage and a couple of unavoidable image rights fees.
We print at Aldgate Press where we have a long relationship, they do excellent work and help us operate within our small budget. For example, we are printing on off-cuts of paper discarded from other people's better-funded projects, this is why our format is small. We cover the costs of producing the limited editions where relevant, and of course the cost of carefully packaging and posting these out to you.
We take a small commission from the limited editions, the Printmaking department puts the rest into Fine Art Student Bursaries which enable talented students to study towards their MA at the RCA regardless of income.
- $1 – all pledges of $1 or above get our undying love, an invite to the launch event in London and their name in the magazine.
- $5 – all pledges of $5 or above get all this plus an emailed PDF of the first part of collaboratively written novel Kensington Gore. You will find out from this how you can be a part of this ongoing, gruesome project.
- $9 – the printed magazine for RCA students/staff (no p&p).
- $12 – the magazine posted to your home (image above)
- $25 – Baskerville letterpress print by Arc 16's designers Matthew & Pedro (no image, but more on the letterpress studio in our fifth update).
- $50-52 – The splendidly original writer Michael Crowe, who is also writing for our front cover, was invited to choose three front covers from our entire archives for reproduction as A1 inkjet posters (images below and more on our first update).
- $250+ – Limited edition artworks. In Arc 16 there is an article on the death and rebirth of the RCA Printmaking Department as it relocates from South Kensington to Battersea, 150-year-old one-ton etching press and all. In connection with this article, we have selected four prints by former students and staff to celebrate the perpetual life cycles of Printmaking, long may it live (images below).
Ark 37 (1965) (poster $51)
The Patrick Caulfield issue
Ark 22 (Summer 1954) (poster $50)
The Colour Symbolism Issue
Chris Orr, Arcadia (2002). Lithograph & stencil print, 36.5x57cm. Edition of 60. ($570)
Royal Academician Chris Orr MBE was Professor and Head of Printmaking at the RCA London from 1998 until 2008 and said on leaving, “This is the golden age of print – from the traditional technologies to the latest digital works, from Gutenberg to Gates, print and printmaking weaves its way through our culture.” His work is included in collections at the Tate, the Royal Academy and the British Museum.
Serena Korda, Building the Matterhorn (2009). Photo lithograph print. 25x25cm. Edition of 50. ($285)
Mark Hampson, A Muse (Bird Brush) (2010). Digital print on poster paper (rolled). 60x42cm. Edition of 60. ($290)
Mark Hampson has been both student and staff at the RCA. A senior tutor until 1997, last year he left to continue work at the Royal Academy Schools. His works is included in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, the Arts Council of Great Britain and the V&A Museum.
What happens next?
We have never tried this before, letting our readers decide if we are worthwhile or not is quite scary. If it does work, and we are able to print issue 16, we will spend the few weeks between the end of the campaign and delivery of the journal organising a killer launch party and inviting you all.
Hope to see you there.
- (31 days)