POSTmatter relaunches, finding meaning amidst chaos in the digital age

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How do you find meaning amidst chaos? Mythologies have always given shape to the world around us, weaving stories to make sense of natural forces, potential futures and other mysterious phenomena.
The parallel between the myths and rites of the past, and the alternative belief systems of today’s postdigital age, are explored in POSTmatter’s newly relaunched online format, which will see the digital platform publish two issues per year, developing custom interactive and moving image pieces that put a new spin on the traditional.
Separate to each issue, the magazine will also publish original written and visual pieces on varied topics throughout the year.
With a primary focus on contemporary art, POSTmatter is the trailblazing force setting out to challenge the outdated separation between online and print, looking at how emerging and established artists alike are being influenced by new technologies, and how they in turn are changing the ways in which we engage with these tools.
“I began to wonder why it seemed to be the rule that a magazine’s print output was the archive that they would value for longevity, while they were happy for their digital output to be fast-moving and throwaway” explains POSTmatter’s editor-in-chief Louise Benson. “This felt outdated to me, particularly at a time when new media formats offer such rich connective and creative potential.”
Together with essays, artist commissions, interviews, new fiction, mixtapes and multimedia experiments, POSTmatter is at the forefront of re-enchanting the scope of the digital magazine, becoming an essential voice on life and culture in the digital age.
“The online experience can be just as meaningful as the offline one, and I set out to show that digital does not have to mean disposable” says Benson. “The relaunch is about taking a different approach to digital publishing, and reconsidering the technology that we all live with.”
The first issue of the theme-based publication, entitled New Mythologies, aims to find something more human within the technologies that surround us.
“I became interested in mythologies as a structure that has always been used by people to give shape to the world, weaving stories to make sense of nature, history and potential futures. As a mode of communication and connection, they represent a timeless shared ritual.”
The issue features new and exclusive work from a number of artists, filmmakers and photographers who are experimenting with the boundaries of photography, who each have a very distinct approach to digital culture, or simply to culture at large – with some connecting to the spiritual elements of myths and religion, while others looked to uncover hidden power structures and the will to survive.
Dominic Hawgood
Delving into the spiritual realm, previous British Journal of Photography International Photography Award winner Dominic Hawgood’s new series Casting Out The Self, draws a curious association between the photographic fictions enabled by digital technology and the otherworldly hallucinations induced by the drug Dimethyltryptamine.
First shown at the Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian in Paris earlier this year, the project is now presented digitally with new soundscapes by David Corney.
Emma Charles
Artist Emma Charles who works with photography and moving image, premieres her new 16mm docu-fiction film White Mountain is set in a retro-futuristic data centre, once housed the WikiLeaks and PirateBay servers, buried 30 metres underground in Stockholm, where fish and lush greenery coexist alongside the flashing lights of the data storage systems.
The film connects geology with the materiality of the internet in a poetic unravelling of the hidden infrastructures of modern life.
Suzanne Treister
HFT The Gardener is a multi-part digital reimagining by graphic artist Suzanne Treister that follows the fictional explorations of Hillel Fischer Traumberg, a fictional high-frequency trader (HFT) turned outsider artist, uncovering a conspiracy that links psychoactive drugs, trading algorithms and the meaning of the universe.
In a series of botanical prints, Traumberg uses gematria to match the ethno-pharacology of over a hundred psychoactive plants with companies in the FT Global 500 Financial Index.
Lucile Hadžihalilović
Also featured is Lucile Hadžihalilović, who after an 11 year hiatus showcases new work which explores the dreamlike state of childhood, gender and genre, dealing with moments of transition and transgression that define the young minds and bodies pre-pubescence, the point at age ten or eleven when children begin to question and transition.
“We don’t exist in a bubble, shielded from what has come before” says Benson. “After all, the new tools that connect us ultimately just reflect and embody our inherent human qualities, unchanged since the beginning of time. the past casts new light on the present – and on the future to come.”
POSTmatter relaunches on 29 September. The launch party at  125-127 Mare Street, Second Home’s upcoming Hackney location, will also be remaining in the venue as an exhibition open to the public from 30 September – 2 October. For more information, go here.

Charlotte Harding

Charlotte Harding is a writer, creative consultant and editor of More This, a sustainable sourcebook for doing good, based in London. She has been writing for British Journal of Photography since 2014, and graduated in 2016 with an MA in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths, UoL. Her work is published on various arts and culture platforms, including AnOther, TOAST and Noon Magazine.