Back during the birth of the digital revolution, RES Magazine was one of the first publications to jump headlong into the ones and zeros of our new creative era. Along with its film festival, RES helped to cultivate an innovative computer-enhanced aesthetic, celebrating the likes of Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, and Chris Cunningham before they were household names. On the eve of its 10th annivesary, RES is shutting down. Is it a victim of its own success? Do the fringe artists they once championed no longer need championing? Or is it simply another nail in the coffin of alternative print publications?
Owned by Chris Blackwell (who also owns Palm Pictures), RES was probably always a loss leader, but you have to wonder what's happening now that made them finally pull the plug.
As one of the earliest contributors to the magazine (and I was just starting to write for them again), I'll miss the illuminating profiles of experimental artists that no one else was writing about and the free DVDs that accompanied every issue full of groundbreaking music videos. While teaching, I've found these DVDs invaluable tools to widen the imagination of my students, allowing them to see what is possible in today's era of new media making.
Alas, another one bites the dust.
"It's with great sadness that I must inform you of the fact that this next issue of RES will be the last edition published in 2006," said the R.I.P. email. "Most importantly, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your contributions to RES. Whether we worked together once or many times, your work has made RES one of the smartest and most beautiful magazines around."
UPDATE: Contacted by someone at RES, I've been told that the magazine isn't exactly dead; it's just dead in its current form. Stay tuned for further details.