Why, they ask, would an arts magazine have such a cover?
The cover is borrowed from a moment in the 1940s, the word “Iran” in this particular incarnation was once “Jap.” And so tales of what regime is to be taken out next, black sites, scandal, botox jobs, amorous affairs had and fortunes to be made have long been (unlikely) siblings. For it is the indeterminacy of these narratives, their impossible ambiguity and their resistance to the project of defining origin, divining the bounds of Truth/Lie, that in fact holds them so closely together.
And so, rumors. As a magazine that is not bound by the professional codes that, say a standard news broadsheet is, we try our best to spread them — all the time. “Rumor” as the theme for this, our winter issue, came about in, you could, say, the most seamless, natural manner. We commissioned writers to think about different forms rumor has assumed in the world around them — whether it be via their currency in the genre of memoir writing, their (intimate) relationship to the generation of value in the art world, or their ability to foment an extraordinary collective hypnosis. Two artists’ projects — one by The Yes Men and another by a fortuitous meeting of Bidoun editors, an artist, and a newsroom graphic designer — aim to raise questions as to the potential power of the rumor as a technology of sorts, particularly given the packaging in which it may be delivered.
In the end, where the truth(s) end and the falsities begin in this issue is for you to decide. We think those lines hardly matter. It’s the fact that these stories are being told in the first place — that we are all complicit in desiring them, willfully exaggerating, spreading them — that is perhaps most revealing.