A Quest for Meaning:
The Multi-faceted Life of an Independent Magazine

With this being the fourth (or perhaps even fifth?) mission statement we write for La Piccioletta Barca, one thing is becoming increasingly clear to us: magazines evolve. While the conclusion might seem a tad trite, especially following three years of monthly issues, hundreds of independent contributors, multiple editors, and a dozen or so columns, it encapsulates the essence of LPB. Rather than attempting to accomplish one particular intellectual aim, we have grown to accept that our motivations are constantly changing, as are the standards that guide them. Of course, while our past content is still available on the website, (including the 36 monthly issues published since our launch) we now look to the future, and all the new discoveries it might bring.

What began as a mere aggregation of writing and art three years ago, slowly morphed into a large residence whose rooms its inhabitants decided to eclectically decorate. For some of us, LPB is a space for radical experimentation with form. For others, it is a platform through which aesthetics and philosophy can be reconciled, delving into the essence of thought with a focus usually found in rigorous academic writing, yet employing mediums that can only be dubbed as artistic. To return to the analogy: we have come to the realisation that LPB should not be constrained by the cohesive aesthetics of one specific room, but taken as the aggregate sum of all its facets. With this in mind, our latest mission statement (i.e., this) might do best to describe it as a ‘collective,’ and not a magazine.

Creation of a boat drawing

Various of our new ventures explicitly engage with our audience. From our film club to our book club and various (mainly digital) events, we are increasingly bridging the divide between creators and receptors. However, we are also exploring how thought itself is formed, through podcasts, interviews, and multiple essays and studies on movements and thinkers themselves.

Perhaps the greatest change of all, however, comes from the lack of one specific central theme. Our previous mission statement was titled ‘Art for Art’s Sake,’ and while the (slightly cryptical) quip rolled off the tongue well, it failed to encapsulate the character of the magazine. What we were striving for was a methodology, a way of thinking and acting, as opposed to a specific idea. We hope (although do not expect) that this mission statement lasts longer, and affords our editors and contributors even more creative freedom than before, allowing them to explore the questions that inspire them. Subsequently, we also hope it brings more curatorial structure to the collective, allowing our readers to peruse our pages with greater confidence as to what work they will discover.

"While the quality of the editing ensures a sense of aesthetic coherence across each issue, the experimental ambitions of the journal allow for some pleasantly surprising results."
Inducted in the British Library's permanent digital collection of UK magazines and publications.
Included in the Poets & Writers: 50 & forward prestigious list of endorsed publications.