We were a bit late on the uptake with the fantastic Alpine Review, a biannual gem that describes itself as “a compendium of ideas for a world in transition” and delves head-first into the evolution of international thought, systems and creations across fields including design, technology, agriculture and anthropology.
A dense yet easily readable volume that clocks in at just under 300 pages, The Alpine Review serves as timely guide to a world that appears to be in an increasing state of flux, as the mag’s director Louis-Jacques Darveau explains: “These are fascinating times. It is a common vanity to believe that one’s generation is the most tumultuous, most evolving and most important. Perhaps it is true. Perhaps it is nothing more that historical narcissism. Nevertheless, there is an uncanny feeling that something profound is taking place at this very moment. This is not a gradual evolution. This is an accelerating shakeup spanning industries and cultures: a massive tearing-down, redesign and renovation of processes, systems, structures and perspectives.”
Profound stuff. Issue 1 serves as an accessible introduction to the seismic shifts that are occurring in international commercial and cultural landscapes as the world rebalances itself and the established order of things is challenged. Central to these concerns is an in-depth exploration of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s concept of Antifragility, the notion that some things actually benefit and grow during times of disorder and volatility, and how this relates to governance, technology, food production, venture capital, education, clothing and even wine. The Alpine Review’s investigation of Antifragility also informs features on crowd-funding website Kickstarter, the creative spaces of Berlin, the “coffeeshopification” of education systems in the face of new technology, mediations on new and “olde” aesthetics and – most relevantly to our line of work at mag nation – a report on the emergence of magazines such as Monocle and Wired as brand identities that act as launching pads for commercial enterprises in the real world.
Issue one is topped off with a comprehensive review section, fantastic photographic features from Benoit Paille and Nick DeWolf and a neat little “Scenarios” insert in which ten of The Alpine Review’s collaborators gaze into their crystal balls and forecast what elements of society will expire or prove too fragile for the turmoil of the coming years. Whilst this may all seem to be a little cerebral, The Alpine Review is a truly fascinating read and one of the most interesting publications to grace our shelves in recent times. Issue 1 of The Alpine Review is available in-store and online now; take a look inside the magazine below: