Good Reads: MacGuffin journal explores the lives of “issues”

Based out of the Netherlands, MacGuffin magazine was born as a platform for fans of inspiring, personal, unexpected, familiar or utterly disregarded ‘things’.

The independent publication’s founders and editors, Kirsten Algera and Ernst van de Hoeven, both work in the design world, and at the time of starting the magazine felt that the industry was too heavily focussed on the new and upcoming.

“This, combined with the feeling that the things that already exist and are out there offer so much is the reason that they started the magazine; creating something that showed people how things can be used, and have been used, was important to them,” says MacGuffin’s studio manager, Benjamin McMillan.

“And not only ‘use’ in the practical sense, but also how objects influence and are influenced by the cultural and social-political surroundings they are made and placed in, as this is what gives them their significance,” he adds.

Working alongside graphic designer Sandra Kassenaar, the editors begin the process of creating each issue with the selection of a theme – generally something interesting but also ambiguous enough to be representative of the many stories that evolve from the everyday life of an object.

“Each issue of the magazine tries to be as focussed as possible on the topic and narrative,” says McMillan. “The content needs to be well researched, this is not just for the writing but also the imagery and the way you present the work, it needs to have a strong voice and point of view.” The team therefore works with an array of different writers and artists from issue to issue, to make sure that they get as many perspectives as possible.

In the latest issue of the magazine, The Chain, the team explores the many manifestations of what McMillan describes as “that most contradictory of objects”, which encompasses everything from charms and chokers to shackles and fetters. The issue also features contributions from Inigo Laguda, Jacqueline de Jong, Harris Blondman, Scheltens & Abbenes, Olivia Ahmad, Rab Messina, Kai Lobjakas and more.

As for the future of MacGuffin, the team are working on a number of projects including a shiny new website and podcast. The core theme of each print issue, however, is something that will continue to be at its heart.

“It was important for us from the start to really theme every issue so that it can become a complete collection and series,” says McMillan. “This allowed for issues to never slide out of relevance. You can pick up the inaugural issue of MacGuffin and it remains as interesting and fitting to the time as it did when it was first released.”

The Chain issue of MacGuffin is out now;