An audio-visual time capsule, a reflective diary of the year that has passed us by.

9.02.21  |  Article by Olu Odukoya  |  Art, culture

Dear reader,


We skipped 2020. It was a strange moment in time, and so we sought to respond to that. Not by hastening to produce as we have produced before, but by listening to this new rhythm. Modern Matter’s 18th Issue, It’s Time to Listen, is an audio-visual time capsule, a reflective diary of the year that has passed us by, encoded into an accompanying twelve-inch vinyl LP.

“We have taken the format of a magazine, but as a shell to encase something that steps beyond this, using it as a new way to communicate that allows the audience to engage fully their senses: to touch, listen and feel.”

Across 160 pages, the issue presents interviews and features with artists whose works speak to the passage of time, including Formafantasma’s Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, Tom Burr, Rebecca Ackroyd and Alexandre da Cunha, and Chris Burden, among others. It includes a series of transcriptions of conversations from Zoom, otherwise lost to time, including with Kerry James Marshall, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Vandana Shiva. The accompanying LP translates these moments into sound, bringing exhibitions and shows to life that many will not have been able to see. Side A introduces and illustrates the many conversations and essays that unfold across the issue; Side B presents a curated selection of shows from the past year, from Sadie Coles HQ to Tate Modern, stilling them as illustrations of our contemporary world, alongside a sound performance and tribute to the late James Baldwin by Editor Olu Odukoya, as he repeatedly counts up the seconds in a minute, demonstrating the constant degradation – and play – of time.

The purpose of the magazine has changed; it once moved coextensively with the seasons of fashion, and reviews of exhibitions from the greats and the up-and-coming, but it now seems to have hightailed to something beyond this.

We must change, too – we will no longer only record art, but engage in the creation of it, because that is how we can be useful. From the LP to the QR code, we have worked with various services to project into the world meditations on time, available for download or streaming on all music platforms.


Olu Odukoya