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20×20 – 2008

20×20 is a new London-based magazine of “visions” (black and white photographs and drawings), “words” (prose and poetry), and “blenders” (hybrid compositions of graphics and text). A note at the end of one contributor’s piece, “Deconstruction of a Failure,” sums up nicely the inaugural issue’s editorial slant. Kiril Bozhinov writes:

20×20 is a new London-based magazine of “visions” (black and white photographs and drawings), “words” (prose and poetry), and “blenders” (hybrid compositions of graphics and text). A note at the end of one contributor’s piece, “Deconstruction of a Failure,” sums up nicely the inaugural issue’s editorial slant. Kiril Bozhinov writes:

This is the second chapter from Anatomy of a Loss, a compilation-book of statistical data, obvious inversions, narratives with a variety of genres and characters lacking conversational topics. This is (instead of crushing my tongue against the cheek, I gladly let it unroll from out of my mouth) a taxonomical approach to story-telling, ladies and gentlemen. Dead-pan imagination swarming with inverted obviousness, missing noses, protruding ears, lame warriors, newly weds, horse riders, reconciliations, objects that speak and their shadows speak too, this is an ode to love, the Holy Trinity of love.

Whatever their themes, from public architecture to the meaning of literature to lost love, these unusual pieces nearly always invert expectations, blend genres, turn statistics into narratives and narrative into statistics, and often keep us guessing about what is tongue-in-cheek and what is a tongue “unrolling out of mouths.” 20×20 authors imagine conversations with noted literary figures (“The Time is Out of Joint?” by Kat Wojcik, “To Put a Brake on Time’s Winged Chariot,” by Alexandria Clark); convert the work of literary greats to visual images (Graham Day, “The Two Kings and Their Two Labyrinths – Borges”); and ponder imagination as a literal experience – literally (a “blender” by Maia Sambonet, “Blind Walk,” depicting the imagination’s many “assistants” conducting their work, an illustration accompanied by brief explanations and descriptions).

This pervasive “blending” affected me in unexpected ways. When I reached the journal’s final entry, a haunting, quite exceptional photograph of a lone music stand perched on a bluff against a background of ominous clouds (“The Music Stand” by Katherine Skeldon), I wanted to lift a line from Martin Slidel’s poem “Game Over” from the first pages of the issue and give the image a caption: “And the nearest season is imagination.” The game’s clearly not over.
[www.20x20magazine.com]

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