A personal and sophisticated take on erotica
Odiseo stems from a need to explore. We seek a visual, unique and personal vision of seduction, dig into new formats, elude conventions. Odiseo blurs the confines of traditional erotic publishing. It combines imagery lying somewhere in-between art and erotica with insightful philosophical texts which delve into universal themes. We aim not only for a visual experience; we strive for intellectual seduction. Odiseo shouts out the unseen: it is contradictory, mysterious, intellectual and intuitive. Odiseo illustrates our mission: the exploration of new ways of doing and seeing, offering a different and cross-cutting vision on erotism, going far beyond gender, seeking seduction through bodies and abstraction.
“With Odiseo we seek a deliberately visual, unique and authorial vision of erotism.”
Albert Folch, Founder and Creative Director at Folch
In-between body and mind, book and magazine
Combining erotic imagery with insightful texts and crossing the boundaries between books and magazines, Odiseo defines itself as a hybrid. With Odiseo, we don’t seek to publish current normative content, but focus on the extended present, retaining the periodicity but doing away with the obsolete. This complex and contradictory nature shaped Odiseo as a small, bi-annual hardcover publication. Moving away from the tradition of magazine mass consumption, Odiseo is a publication to be appreciated and read without pressure. It deserves quality time invested into its content.
“From our perspective as designers and editors, the greatness of periodicals lies in their ability to continue improving.”
Pol Pérez, Former Editor and Designer at Folch
An independent publishing success: from idea to realisation
Conceptualised and developed from within the studio, Odiseo is a challenge that involves Folch in many processes which fall outside of the graphic design category. Apart from requiring a strong network of collaborators and partners, many assets of our everyday work became crucial in a project like Odiseo. This involved naming, distribution strategies, having strong sensitivity and sensibility towards imagery and their meanings. The synergy of people behind the project made Odiseo into an outstanding success within the field of independent publishing, creating “a bold legacy of being unpredictable, entertaining and though erotic by nature—never distasteful.”
A publication for adult entertainment
Odiseo’s first volume worked as a pilot episode. After its release, however, we realised that what we published wasn’t anything new or innovative and so it became clear volume two needed a swift redesign and re-think. We re-conceptualised the project and looked for a different and intimate take on photography. In the end we shaped a publication that resembled a book rather than a magazine, printed in an exquisite uncoated smooth paper. Odiseo Volume 2 was the real beginning. It featured photographers such as Lina Scheynius (who contributed a series of self portraits), Jo Schwab (‘Habitual Grace’) and Jonathan Leder (shooting Amy Hood), included a critical study on hipsterism by Eugenia Lapteva, a long-distance call with Yuri Suzuki and Timo Mashiyi-Veikkola‘s view on collective identity in mass culture. With its now iconic sprayed spine, Volume 2 claims to be A publication for adult entertainment, starting the tradition of the publication’s dynamic. Fot the second volume of Odiseo, CANADA directed and produced a teaser video celebrating the publication through collages, plants, a naked woman and Charles Darwin. The video teaser below has been awarded with a Silver Laus.
After the release of Volume 2, we felt like we had finally found the balance we were looking for.
After previews in NYC and Barcelona, the whole print-run sold out in a few weeks. With Odiseo Vol.3 and Vol. 4, we continued to explore our conceptual approach to eroticism. The third issue —featuring photography by Marc Regàs, Olya Oleinic, and Max Von Gumppenberg & Patrick Bienert— was presented at bookshop Do you read me?! in Berlin, and introduced through a trailer shot in Brooklyn by Pensacola. The writers who contributed with their visions to the issue’s theme of ‘Sustainability’ were Ingo Niermann & Martti Kalliala, Joie Reinstein and Francis Neville.
“A publication you can read on a plane” was the strapline of the fourth volume, printed with a black foil stamping on the signature coloured spine. The issue focuses on the loose topic of ‘value’, explored from different angles by writers Philippa Snow, Marka Jankovska and Eugenia Lapteva. Their words are accompanied by a black and white portfolio by Jonathan Schofield, a vision of femininity by Alex Franco, as well as the impactful and graphic imagery by Olya Oleinic printed on shiny coated paper. As an exclusive for Odiseo, the contemporary art studio Zeitguised produced the video teaser, of which selected frames were used as dividers in the printed publication.
(Not) Safe For Work
For the fifth issue we wanted to keep evolving. As a tribute to erotic mags’ conservative paper sleeve cover and as a strategy to increase the hype and the fascination around the issue, we introduced changes to the format and put the magazine inside an envelope concealing the cover image. Unlike previous issues, we moved away from a paint splattered spine and a black and white cover image. Instead we chose a painting by artist Ángela Palacio, giving the cover a distinguishable character. We themed the issue around humour and decided to involve our readers in the promotion and marketing of the publication through the use of the hashtag #undressodiseo. Given that at this time Odiseo didn’t have any social media channels, we thought it would be interesting to the readers to be a part of the communication process. As a wink at this online/offline strategy, the title of the issue pays homage to the Internet slang used to mark links that contain nudity or vulgarity, ‘(Not) Safe For Work.’
For this issue we had the pleasure of collaborating with Arnaud Lajeunie, Pol Agustí, Philippe Gerlach and Laura Gardner. Also featured are Luis Cerveró views on the work of photographer Sam Haskins, an interview with Johan Johnsson by our editor Oriol Mogas and illustrations by Pol Montserrat.
Following a few weeks of teasing, the cover was unveiled during the world presentation at YCN, in London.
Odiseo Vol. 7 is dedicated to the notion of ‘Truth’. The triptych of covers by Juan Hernández opens the issue. Paul Jung depicts human body as if it were a surreal landscape; the young German photographer Bennie Julian Gay offers seductive sights and gestures with glimpses of fashion; Maud Rémy-Lonvis portraits her personal muse in a set of pictures that, while keeping her studio photography styling, reveals the intimacy between the two as Maud appears in some pictures, self-portrayed. Regarding the text, writer Eugenia Lapteva interviews the famous French mathematician Cédric Villani, aiming for an answer to our quest for Truth. Alongside Hans Frederik Jacobsen’s essay on Zeteticism, Fiktion contributed two brilliant pieces, being parts of the book Concentration, as introduced Ingo Niermann in ‘Literature and Concentration’, followed by a fictional text by American artist Amy Patton: a fragmented work, almost a pre-screenplay.
“For without disjunction and dissymmetry within the self and between the self and other, no third term is created, no symbolisation occurs and the precarious movement of love is surreptitiously cemented.”
From ‘Love’s Work: A Precarious Encounter’ by Eugenia Lapteva
The rift between the other and me
Odiseo Volume 8 explores the multiple meanings and shapes of ‘Encounters’, with Eugenia Lapteva’s essay Love’s Work: A precarious encounter, an essay treating the application Tinder. Alongside the philosopher Nick Bostrom’s letter from an utopian future self, Joe Fletcher contributes with his retrospective on vinyl artworks by the Italian saxophonist Fausto Papetti. This volume also contains the recurrent input Fiktion, this time with an essay by Francis Nenik. Claudia Grassl explores and creates new shapes of the human body in connection with erotic elements in her introducing photo essay. Eliot Lee Hazel delves into the many lines of the figure in a beautiful series pf photography and finally a sequence of portrait focusing on the erotism centred around the mouth by the local photographers EskenaziEncursiva.
An influencer more than an advertising container
Drawing a clear line in-between a magazine and an atemporal publication, the chosen limited advertising is one of the pillars of Odiseo from the start. We believed that alternative forms of brand communication could be found and that Odiseo could be a vehicle for promoting brands and companies who share an affinity with us. “Being an influencer, more than a advertising container”; the chosen product being promoted with this strategy is something we ourselves would recommend to friends, and has been carefully considered with this in mind. This has allowed us to stay true to our conviction of not mixing advertising with content. In Volume 5 we used the brown envelope to print an advert marking the launch of a new sunglasses brand, Alfred Kerbs, inside the bag, alongside the publication; a small promotional booklet introducing our readership to the eyewear campaign by Alfred Kerbs.
“Taking care of every detail of the distribution model was as important as the content edition for the success of the magazine.”
Rafael Martínez, COO & Branding consultant at Folch
Caring about every detail in production, partnership, collaborations
Finding an alternative model for distribution was one of the most daring challenges we faced. Every detail has been taken into account in order to optimise our distribution and promotion possibilities and opportunities. We chose to manage the main sales directly with the customers, whilst maintaining communication with a network of strategic selected resellers across the world, as well as controlling the subscription system, the limited print run and the periodic partnerships and collaborations with filmmakers and video producers. This informed decision contributed significantly to the success of our independent self-published project and its readership’s loyalty. Production and materials are crucial to Odiseo; particular care has been given to small aesthetic details. Odiseo is printed with creative direction in production with Artifact, using Arctic Paper Munken Print and Fedrigoni Tatami for interior pages, and Geltex White for the hardcover paper.