GASTGARTEN IS Like a Coffee Table Book In Magazine Format

25 May 2022

  Martin Hufnagel

Courtesy of Gastgarten

Multifaceted, captivating, and inspiring – reading Gastgarten is like participating in a lively discussion. Each issue of this magazine, published and curated by Jonas Mannherz and Heiko Lietz, deals with a specific topic. While the first issue, 'VESTIMENTÆR[Y]', published in 2020, looks into clothes and anything made through a process like (inter)weaving in a broad sense, the second issue, 'SPATIAL [RÆUMLICH]', is concerned with different types of spaces. To introduce you to the Gastgarten magazine, Martin had a chat with Jonas & Heiko.

Why did you decide to start a magazine?

Jonas’ original idea was to start a publishing company for unpublished bachelor’s and master’s theses. He wanted to create something sort of like the Suhrkamp Library, so a series featuring critical contemporary works. We then started to talk about this, but weren’t sure if we wanted to immediately release a series of publications and thought about what the next smaller version of that could be. That’s how our magazine Gastgarten was born. In further conversations, we took on Heiko’s interest and background in interdisciplinary approaches to develop the concept for Gastgarten further. Based on these interests, Jonas is responsible for design and Heiko is responsible for editing.

What is the idea behind the title of your magazine?

Gastgarten  is the Austrian word for 'beer garden’, and we really liked the alliteration. The metaphor is that different people are sitting together around a table, talking about a topic to wich everyone contributes something from their unique background. In Gastgarten, you can similarly find different points of view on a specific topic and ways to approach it – both textual and visual –, coming from various artistic, scientific, and professional backgrounds. Our magazine therefore resembles the idea of a collage, where gaps and links between content can be designed in special ways. We consider Gastgarten a sort of coffee table book in magazine format, so a book that’s supposed to be displayed to inspire conversation among people.

Why did you decide to make Gastgarten a print magazine and not just publish it online?

Actually, we don’t publish Gastgarten online at all.
We’re doing print because we’re fascinated by the magazine as an object, as a thing that can lie around in your flat, that can be put away, or sorted by date, for example. The print format thus also characterises how you read the magazine – you can feel the pages, browse through them quickly, focus on specific pages, and so on. That’s why print is just cool.

How do you split the work?

Heiko does all the editing, proofreading – everything that relates to the creation of the texts in our magazine.
Meanwhile, Jonas takes care of all the tasks regarding design, like making the cover, dealing with images and layout, and more.

What’s the most time-consuming part in making an issue?

For Heiko, it’s definitely the proofreading and giving extensive feedback to our contributors. He also spends a lot of time helping with the writing process – but that is also what he enjoys doing most.
What takes up the most time for Jonas are the feedback loops regarding the design of the magazine. In other words, whenever there is feedback on the design, adjustments have to be made, that also inform future issues. Usually, it’s just minor changes though. With our Spatial issue, most of the time went into designing the cover. It’s also a lot of work for both of us to plan the release of an issue.

What role does the city of Hamburg play for Gastgarten?

That’s a great question. Since we and many of our contributors live and work in Hamburg, one might say that there is an effect through the city in the sense of enviroment – Hamburg influences our magazine in the way that it sort of sets a specific mood or atmosphere. I mean, there’s a reason why we live here (laughs).

How were the reactions to the issues so far?

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback. Our contributors have told us that they appreciate our work and love the outcome, and our readers have enjoyed the contributions. Apart from that, it was an amazing opportunity for us to launch the second issue of Gastgarten in the Hamburger Kunsthalle, one of the biggest art museums in the country. In the context of the exhibition 'Out of Space' at the Kunsthalle, we organised an event with tours through the exhibition, a performance by Anna Regner and a lecture by Lukas Sonnemann.

Thank you, Jonas and Heiko, for being part of THE WASTED HOUR.

See more of Gastgarten here: