Spring 2002

One for the nihilistas

The Stealth Corporation

&pound;25 (Three-issue subscription &pound;50)<br>

Throw up once at a party and it’s rude, ignorant and a bit pathetic. Make it a habit and you’ve got an aesthetic. This is why it’s difficult to judge the first issue of concept magazine The Stealth Corporation. True, it is trite, glib and desperate. But (and this ‘but’ has attitude, admits it’s vain, stupid and doesn’t care), do it a couple of more times and it might have something interesting and fucked-up, in a Brett Easton Ellis kind of way.

This is a magazine that is not a magazine at all. It’s a package. We know this, first, because it comes in a box. There are two magazines inside, one with features, the other with fiction. We also know it is a package because the accompanying blurb tells us. This is the first of fifteen limited editions, a kind of Dorling Kindersley Visionaire. Collect the set and get a Met Bar ring-binder. After five years the people involved in the magazine will (trust me, they actually say this) have become successful new-media, art-dealing, gallery management, fashion/lifestyle design entrepreneurs. Darling.

The publishers claim that it is, ‘designed for a corrupt, clever generation aware of its flaws but unable to control its greed.’ Or, a generation that want to be nihilists but only got as far as M for Muji. For the sake of argument, let’s take the audience demographic as being more than projection. This is an audience of nihilistas. Edited by Bidisha, designed by Carolin Kurz (formerly at Booth-Clibborn), The Stealth Corporation is Ab Fab for twentysomethings.

The cover of the features magazine highlights the problem with The Stealth Corporation: its posturing. A young woman in combats, with a headscarf, with what looks like a bomb strapped around her waist. Inside there are features on female entrepreneurs in the media and arts, features on cities and features on money. You do get a sense of someone having an eye for something that’s happening. It needed spelling out. Issue one is simply about money. Young money. Sixteen-hours-a-day money. Art money. Euro money. Borrowed money. Web money.

All the attitude confuses things. You don’t doubt there’s an intelligence somewhere, but it’s well disguised. The Stealth Corporation is talking to you, while looking over your shoulder for someone else.