Sarah Baugh and Nicole Lavelle are designers, artist-designers, artists and designers. They kind of walk the line between artist and designer. They work together as Sincerely Interested, and tend toward publication projects about place and environment. They often travel for their work so they can immerse themselves at the site of their projects.
They recently completed a project called the Green River Magazine.
1. Why Green River?
We came to Green River starting in 2011 and 2012, individually at first to take part in a visiting artist program called the Frontier Fellowship. We both became fascinated with the town, obsessed with its nuances. In the winter, it was the cold and the quiet. In the summer, it was the melon and the beach. We both left after a few weeks feeling like we had not given the town enough of our time. We had caught a glimpse, but there were many layers waiting just out of sight, trails that we had seen the beginning of but hadn't had the time to follow to the end.
We returned again and again to make projects, and always people would ask "Why Green River?" Initially, logistically, it was because Maria and Jack from Epicenter had chosen it as their home many years before and had invited us to make work there. But as we returned time after time, it became clear that the place was magnetic. The mythologies that seep out of its cracks form a really compelling vision of a place that has been built up by factors common throughout the West—land use, frontier mentality, natural beauty, individualism and communalism, the relationship between guest and host, and so on. This place is unlike anywhere else. At the same time, it is exactly like everywhere else.
The inevitable conclusion that we gather from the study of a place, with all of its constantly-changing factors, is that it is an unending process. We go back to Green River because it keeps on giving. Each time we return, there are new people to meet, new stories to hear, new understandings, new slot canyons, new controversies, new challenges, and new contexts.
2. Why did you choose the magazine form for Green River Magazine? What were you accessing in the form?
The Green River Magazine came out of a similar project we did in 2013 called the Green River Newspaper. The newspaper was completed in one month, from start to finish, and although it was a single, undated issue, there was an immediacy to it. It was intended to be a snapshot of Green River—we wanted to capture a particular and fleeting moment in the history of the town. We wanted to frame and elevate the everyday occurrences that take place in Green River and record them archivally.
For the magazine we wanted to take a deeper look at the town and explore its complexities. This was a year-long project with a larger number of contributors. We delegated authorship whenever possible and acted as facilitators. Instead of a snapshot, we sought to present something more holistic and layered. A lot of people who visit Green River are passing through to someplace else. They are only getting the snapshot. The magazine format lends itself to a more detailed and lasting account of a place. There is more space, the pacing is different, and it's more durable than a newspaper. And magazines traditionally have a wider range of distribution. While newspapers tend to be regionally focused, magazines bring a particular topic well beyond a single geographic location. The magazine is first and foremost for the people of Green River, but also we felt like there is a narrative in the past, present, and future of the town that is meaningful beyond Emery County.
The Green River Magazine was produced with funding from a 2013 Sappi: Ideas that Matter Grant, and generously hosted by the Epicenter. Copies are available for free in the town of Green River, Utah. If you would like to receive a copy in the mail, the artists will send them out until they run out of shipping budget. You can order one here.