By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For those longing for the early days of inspiration from such counter-culture magazines as Vice or perhaps even Wallpaper, a Carioca group is breaking through bland with a publication for the visual cortex. The refreshingly independent magazine, MODO, focuses on contemporary art, photography and fashion with an avant-garde approach: no text.
Freely distributed throughout shops, restaurants, book stores and galleries in Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone), MODO excludes editorial columns and stories in their bi-monthly publications, allowing the images to speak for themselves.
“The idea was to create a space of free expression for artists,” André Carvalhal, one of the creators of MODO told Restler.com. “It is featuring fashion editorials, and works of art that do not follow themes, trends or directions. A space that artists can express themselves doing what they crave.”
Created by designer Carvalhal with friends, photographer Daniel Benassi and Renato Antunes in early 2011, MODO is only produced in physical form with no real online presence, with the exception of their Facebook page.
“We want to rescue the relationship with the paper, the smell of ink, the printing plant,” explained Carvalhal. “It is for those who like to collect, store, frame or are just in the mood for something different. It will not have a website, or iPad version…”
MODO, in English translates to “way” and the creators have approached magazine publishing in a very different way during these modern times. While many other publications were increasingly abandoning print in search of apps and hyper-connectivity, MODO began with a printing approach and plans to remain on paper, wordlessly.
“In an innovative way it reverses the technological process where an image says everything,” the magazine states on its opening page, the one page where text is on display. The latest edition features cover work by artist Raul Mourão, with small vertical text on the lower-right hand corner that reads “Uma mão tem 5 dedos. M de mão, M de MODO” which translated means, “A hand has five fingers. M for hand, M for MODO.”
The image on display is that of an imprint of a hand in ink. It appears a little smeared and worn with time but the picture implies the tactile experience.
This is something that can be touched with five fingers and can be held with hands. This is something that can be smudged and dirtied unlike clean black fonts on white website pages. This is a physical object.
After opening the cover and flipping past the introductory pages, viewers will find a six page spread by photographer Felipe Diniz. Model Loulou Chavarry is featured and appears at times dressed in black lingerie, studded black heels and a giant bunny costume head. The entire set brings an edgy and alternative perspective to the landscape of Rio.
Next, “Piquinique Tropical” a work by the artist TOZ is shown and on the following page “Equilíbrio Brilhante” a digital work by Felipe Raposo.
Then there is a four page layout of unique shots by photographer Rafael Salim where models, Breno Ortega, Kalinka Kelzer and Gabriela Witerwaal appear partially submerged in compositions that appear horizontally divided by what might be water.
Works by creators Bianca Nabuco, Rafael Doria, Patricia Thompson, Fefe Talavera, Katia Wille, Henrique Madeira and Alê Souto are also included. The only way to experience MODO is to pick up a free copy, currently available at the Gringo Café, Galeria Huma, Oztel, Farm, Redley and Homegrow among other places.