THE ISSUE OF PREHISTORY
THERE ARE MICROBES IN SOIL WHICH MAKE YOU HAPPY. Mycobacterium vaccae is what they call them and they stimulate serotonin production in your brain. When I learnt this my love of mud suddenly made a lot of sense.
Because of the kind of mud that’s in them, bogs have a nifty way of preserving things. When the layers of peat and water and clay coat a piece of organic matter, it stops all of the oxygen getting to it and consequently freezes it in time. You can even find ancient human bodies in bogs with hairstyles and clothing intact. They’re pretty cool. We love them so much that we made our own to model an 11-piece jacket made from grass in Sunday Best.
Magazines, I believe, are a bit like bogs. Preserving the present in a formaldehyde made from words and images. It saves the now for the future to look back at the past and understand it in some capacity.
Dirt, earth, soil, whatever you want to call it – it’s a great thing. It’s where we all come from and it’s where we’ll all eventually end up. It makes food and trees and life – and the raw materials for clothes. Bog comes from an unconditional love of what lies beneath our feet.
The first issue of Bog deals rather appropriately with the prehistoric. Prehistory, by definition, is the period before written records. With Bog I’m taking that quite loosely. Aside from literally looking at prehistoric clothing in Part Time Prehistoric I want to give you a record of objects and people which could possibly be overlooked and lost within the sands of time.
But you know, if I’m aiming to make a magazine which feels like a bog, how could I possibly make it from paper, leading front to back like some nice little yellow brick road? No. Bogs are more difficult than that. You’ve got to get your feet wet. Which is why Bog, the magazine, takes the form of an explorable virtual world which you are invited to navigate at your leisure and pleasure.
The landscape of Bog has a bit more to it than simulating a physical space, though. We interact with the world in a chaotic and unstructured way. Chance is an essential part of living, it makes everything more interesting. The internet has brought us a vast amount of possible journeys to go on, all from the comfort of our bedrooms. To make a magazine truly modern it should reflect how we live, should it not?
Although the internet was built to create some kind of utopia, like any tool it has been used in numerous unexpected ways. A lot of them are not perfect but 36 years on since its creation parallel universes really are beginning to form within the digital sphere. Look at Second Life, for example – or VR Chat. People are living and socialising through endless simulated worlds. You can be anyone or anything you like.
Sometimes I stop and think about how the Universe (our physical, “in real life” kinda one with all its planets and galaxies) is perpetually expanding into something much, much bigger and it really blows my mind. But so is our little world on earth, it’s just expanding inwards, digitally. It’s exciting.
Paper deteriorates and, for now, the internet seems as though it is eternal. The 3D scanning of fragile objects to live within the digital bog (like the mudlark Monika Buttling-Smith’s collection of shoes or the sculptural Exquisite Corpse clothing) has meant that they will exist forever as data, long after they’ve completely decayed. I think that’s really cool. We’ve accidentally made a museum which, I guess, was probably always lurking at the back of my mind. The technology used may seem cutting edge now but even in as little as a few years Bog will look dated and clunky (if it doesn’t already). I look forward to seeing it through that lens.
Bog exists on the premise that there is more to life than meets the eye and you’ve got to take your time to work out what that is. Things are never black and white. Clothes, in particular, don’t only exist to be sold, they tell stories about both their wearer and maker. It’s Bog’s aim to tell these stories. All you’ve got to do is dig.
EILIDH NUALA DUFFY, EDITOR-IN-BOG
IT'S A BIG FAT TEAM EFFORT!
digibog by Zach Beech and Yuma Burgess
sounds by Zoe Annesley
& a big shout out to The Sirens for their cover of Mountains O Things
plus a big bog kiss to the following for making Bog what it is:
James Anderson, Nini Barbakadze, Jackson Bowley, Frederick Burlage, Clare Coulson, Aidan Duffy, Harry Hughes, Alison Ingram, Valerie Kong, Ana Larruy, Claire Lemaigre, Julia Lessere, Alessandro Merlo, Helen Minnis, Cecile Tulkens, Jessica Mai Walker, Judith Watt &&&&& Cathy Welsh