In a world over-saturated with pornography, eroticism designed without the hetero-male gaze in mind has become a rare pleasure. Odiseo offers one such space — a print publication that is intelligently breaking ground by offering a genderless and artful prism through which to view the world of sex.
Odiseo is not quite a magazine and not quite a book — a hybridity that is central to its identity. Folch Studio, the Barcelona collective behind the publication explain; “Odiseo shouts out the unseen: it is contradictory, mysterious, intuitive. It is the exploration of a different vision on erotism.” This essentially contemporary, fluid conception of eroticism is expressed through their thematically charged issues: composed of creative responses that are abstract rather than graphic, and moving rather than obscene. “We believe that eros lies in a more profound space, a more primitive desire,” they explain. Odiseo is exploring and inhabiting this ‘profound space’, artfully challenging stereotypes through their rich and varied perspectives.
Their 11th volume is being released today at the Independent Publishing Fair in Bologna: titled Cocoon, the edition explores the concept of metamorphosis. They invited six artists of intrigue — Alice Schillaci, Tom Blesch, Rudi Geyser, Rebecca Scheinberg, Liana Nigri and Alexandre Haefeli — to create six distinct covers, each hidden beneath a black envelope. Which will emerge from the cocoon that you choose? Inside the issue, both motion and stasis are explored as actions. Voices of socialization, passion, and love form a cacophonous harmony with those of isolation, individualism, and transformation. We spoke with Emmy Koski, the editor in chief of Odiseo, about publishing, eroticism, and what we could expect next from this unexpected publication. For those intrigued, you can purchase Vol. 11 of this beautiful publication here.
The Six Secret Covers Of Cocoon, Vol. 11 Odiseo
Images © Odiseo
Where did the concept for Odiseo come from?
From the beginning, Odiseo was a good excuse to explore both the notion of eroticism, as well as the world of publishing. Creative Director Albert Folch and Brand Manager Rafa Martínez believed there was something missing in the range of erotic publishing. Together, they shaped a project that is both visual and intellectual, something that can be attributed to both their particular and complementary visions:Albert as an art director, and Rafa from the field of journalism.
Eroticism is the central tenet of Odiseo; could you tell us what it means to the publication?
The central tenet I would say is rather the connection between eroticism, fashion, and art. A connecting point that is driven by seduction. At the same time, we are shaping the magazine into an object of desire. Our aim is to create something so seductive and exciting — in both content and form — to make the reader want to purchase and open a black envelope purely for the sake of seeing what is hidden beneath. Eroticism for us is linked to this sense of curiosity, the driving force behind exploring — visually, physically and intellectually. We try to see beyond the most obvious vision of Eros and instead trigger both an intellectual and visual desire.
There seems to have been quite a boom in erotic publications in recent years; why do you think that is?
Demand and request. Most of the independent erotic publishings have a unique niche and their own audience. I believe people feel more free to express different representations and to blur the lines between definitions. Also, I think the fact that more women have stepped up and are now setting the standards and demands in the publishing and artistic scenes has led to a huge wave of change and a rejection of the predominance of the male gaze in eroticism, as a result, we can see a wider range of erotic publishing, not only aiming for a male heterosexual audience.
Why are such emotional, abstract representations—as shown in Odiseo—important?
Since each issue of Odiseo is bound to a notion, we expect a conceptual take on the theme from the photographers, writers, and artists. We are avoiding explicit content, we rather see an abstract image open for diverse interpretation and contemplation, triggering the imagination and playing with the senses. Odiseo is our playground. It is where we have space to explore emotional and abstract representations, where we can connect with a variety of creatives and together with them find an expression that follows our intuition without any restrictions.
Cocoon marks your 11th volume, how have you seen Odiseo evolve since your first edition?
In all kind of ways, the only thing that still remains the same is the format. We are always pushing boundaries, conceptualizing every aspect, from art direction and text formats to production and promotion. Delivering a concept as a whole package is, for us, a very impactful way to work and also challenges us to go a few steps further, fleeing from the obvious and finding that point of connection. The point that makes Odiseo the hybrid that it is.
What’s next for Odiseo?
Odiseo will turn into an agency focused on concepts, fashion, and interdisciplinary arts.