A couple of weeks back I discovered Sleeperhold, it is a publication platform which will have a limited edition of 10 issues, so it is set to die. Every number is an experiment in approach / collaboration / distribution / media. There is no recurring theme, no recurring format, no recurring audience.
An original concept and new approach for magazines. Crap is good did an interview with editor and creator Ward Heirwegh, where he explains us the Sleeperhold concept , right after read more, be sure to check it!
How did the sleeperhold project come to existence?
In some weird way, Sleeperhold is no more than a valid excuse to work with the people who’s work I admire. When I finished my studies in graphic design it seemed very hard to get in touch with the right kind of clients: those who are willing to stretch out the limits of, for example, rather static terms as “a museum catalogue” or “exhibition design”. So coming from a graphic design background the field of self-publishing and its constraints seemed like the perfect first step in finding similar minds.
I have always been functioning on the waves of border-line phenomena of self publishing, post-internet art and do-it-yourself ethics. But for Sleeperhold I wanted to take more time to reflect on the subject and find the most suitable form for its representation. It’s about problem solving, about rethinking the entire process of making something and putting it out on the market. This is a common tactic, applied to each number so far. So at its best there will be an entirely different approach for every SHP number.
Sleeperhold also thrives on “utter themelessness”. I did not want to exclude future pathways. The perfect starting point for a Sleeperhold number would almost be like the prison in “THX_1138”: a vast, open space where anything is possible. And we slowly start to create and narrow it down until an output is ready.
In short, Sleeperhold is an experiment in curating in it’s broadest sense, combined with a high dosis of energy and an interest in editorial design.
Where does the name “Sleeperhold” come from?
The name Sleeperhold is derived from the world of wrestling, the domain of illustre cult-heroes with bell-sounding names as “The Hulk Hogan” or “Macho Man Randy Savage”. In this vast and immense landscape of chairs crashing and bodies breaking, there is one wrestling move called “the sleeperhold”. This move basically consists of headlocking your opponent from behind and slowly strangling him and thus forcing him to fall asleep. So in this non-stop whirlwind of flying bodies, the ultimate move is basically standing still for 2 minutes while your opponent doses off, a sort of silence after the storm. This grand spectacle of bigger, better, higher and harder comes to a standstill. The crowds get nuts while the players freeze in time. An interesting contradiction, similar to the contradiction Sleeperhold is trying to be.
Who is behind it?
Well, you could say that Sleeperhold functions on the input of all the artists who contribute to the project. Organisation-wise it has been a one-man-venture so far, run by me, Ward Heirwegh, but I don’t exclude bringing in external forces to strengthen the troops. It really depends on which projects are going to be realized in the future and who is/are the right person(s) to get them done.
What are the methods Sleeperhold uses to create the Projects?
Some artworks have been created in close collaboration with myself, others just submitted what they wanted to have printed. There are no fixed methodologies in dealing with creation. For example, the set of poster was basically a selection of people who worked with media who are not related to one-color printing techniques and see with what they could come up with. For the deck of cards, I found it interesting to work with an actual object, something that could be used. My inspiration to pick a deck of cards as “transmitter” of the artworks came from the games put together by fluxus artists in the 60ies and 70ies.
Any future plans for sleeperhold?
I am working on a more text-based output now, something along the lines of a storybook or magazine. A broad theme is being sketched out and some texts are being selected. A part of the publication will be a carte blanche for the contributing artists.
As for the future, nothing is defined or fixed so far. There are no limitations about how far Sleeperhold can go. I want to go as wide as possible, ranging from book publication to an exhibition design or an event, in order to force myself to rethink the concept for every number. Sleeperhold is not shapeless but always reshaping, in a constant flux.