CYCLOSTYLE is a new magazine of art and writing based out of Bangalore, India. Started by Samyuktha Varma, Tara Kelton and Raghu Karnad, the first Issue of the magazine came out in June, 2012, and was titled Out of Date. The issue contains reflections on out of date ideas and devices, and to keep the theme of the subject alive, the creators went on to type the issue using a Remington Portable typewriter and printed it with Gestetner cyclostyle, a stencil-printing machine.
We decided to speak to Samyuktha Varma to find out a little more about the magazine and the story behind it…
Tell us a little about yourself. How did the idea come about? Was there something specifically that led you to it? Tara, Raghu, and I came up with the idea for CYCLOSTYLE together over the course of one very long, fun, conversation. Tara is an artist and a graphic designer and Raghu is a journalist and editor, I have worked as a writer and researcher. Halfway through, Sumeet Banerji, a designer and a writer, joined us to assist with editing and production. The magazine comes from our interest in bringing together original writing and art.
Why choose to call the magazine CYCLOSTYLE? What’s the story behind that? We talked about the form of the magazine first and it was Raghu’s idea to make a magazine on a cyclostyle machine. The cyclostyle was a commonplace device not very long ago, used to print our exam papers and homework sheets, but is now one of those pieces of technology that’s halfway between the storeroom and the junkyard. There were instant, appealing connections between this dusty, non-digital production technique, our own urge to create something physical rather than virtual/electronic, and the theme of the first issue, which is “Out of Date”. The name of the machine, cyclostyle, refers to its rotating drums that print words and images (as a “stylus”, a pen). It also seemed to call out a new meaning, as a style of production that went from use to disuse and was circling back into use, at least in the form of this magazine.
Your first issue looks amazing, we love the nostalgic feel, any specific reason for going in that direction? The theme for the first issue, “Out of Date”, came partly from the idea that the Internet has made many things obsolete in a very short period of time, things that have been in use until very recently but seemed to have quietly vanished. We were also thinking beyond just everyday devices but also at more abstract things like ways of communicating, ways of thinking, even. I wouldn’t really say we have a huge amount of nostalgia, in fact there was a conscious decision to ensure that the pieces in the magazine weren’t too nostalgic. It was more to give people a sense of the fun, the mystery, the humour and even the poignancy of how some small things disappear. Tara’s design for CYCLOSTYLE maintains the integrity of cyclostyle printing. It makes use of the typewriter (which is what was used to make the stencils for printing), standard cyclostyle duplicating paper, and tin file clips. The medium also inadvertently influenced the kind of contributions we got, for instance the ascii and text art pieces in the magazine.
Is there any specific theme to your magazine? Is every issue going to be the same in terms of curation? As we foresee it, the only fixed principles are the production process and the issue theme, which really opens out the content to a lot of imaginative possibilities for writers and artists. And we’d like to see as diverse a mix of contributors as we had on the first issue, which include an astrophysicist and a lawyer/ transport-geek, neither of them self-described writers, who just had something very intriguing to add to the mix.
Where can one get a hold of the magazine? Issue 1 had a limited edition print of 700 copies. So far we’ve distributed CYCLOSTYLE through friends and given it to people that we think might enjoy it. Copies have also been left at magazine shops such as Variety in Bangalore and Yodakin in Delhi. We are happy to send copies to people who write to us and are interested.
What are your future plans for the magazine? Could you tell us a little about the upcoming issue. We hope to have a second issue out by the end of the year. The theme for issue 2 is ‘XXX’. I think that is self-explanatory!
If you want to learn more about CYCLOSTYLE or other literary magazines out there, then GALLERYSKE and Toto Funds the Arts is organizing a Lit Mag Evening on Saturday, July 7th, 2012 at 6.30 pm. The line up features- The Obliterary Journal, CYCLOSTYLE, and Civil Lines 6. This is a free, open to all event and will take place at GALLERYSKE, #2 Berlie Street, Langford Town, Bangalore, India._