Back Office is a response to the fact that, despite the growing number of French publications and publishing houses devoted to graphic design, there is very little research being done directly on the effects of digital technology. While, in English, one finds numerous publications on established fields such as the history of computer science, the philosophy of digital technology, media archaeology, and software studies, this is not the case in French.

The lack of French publications and critical distance about digital technology, which is such a major part of our lives now that the very designation “digital,” when applied to fields such as design and the social sciences, is almost superfluous, is the raison d’être of Back Office. Like its twin magazine, Back Cover (Editions B42), it is a bilingual annual journal that features a different theme each year. Back Office is published both in print and digitally. The journal features in-depth articles, along with shorter pieces on specific topics or innovative pedagogical initiatives, as well as a historical piece, excerpted and re-examined by its author after twenty years, looking back on the ways his discipline has evolved. A technical glossary will be in each issue to explain terms which are often confusing to the uninitiated. In light of the mass of mass media already available, Back Office is focused upon critical interpretation, providing perspectives, showcasing major issues, and proposing ideas to shed light on the current situation and blaze ever new trails.

Issue 1: Making Do, Making With

Considering that it was an invention poised between art and industry at the end of the 19th century, it is logical that design once again confront the new techniques of digital technology. These techniques are characterized by a mathesis universalis, whose objective is to reduce any element into discrete binary entities so that it can be computed mathematically. In the course of this process of the delegation of tasks that predated this technology to a machine, has some part of a designer’s “craft” perished, notably in the restructuring of their activities into “professions”? It is these many methods of working against or “with” digital media, that we have chosen to examine in this, our first issue. We will examine and question the notions of tool, implement and “apparatus” within the context of graphic design. A “revolution” for some, a field of “innovations” for others, the series of technical inventions that make up digital technology means that it would be simplistic to merely perceive it in terms of its power to compute, store and handle information, its association with media (multimedia) or even merely as a new “cyberculture” detached from the past.

With contribution by: Lev Manovich, Manon Bruet, Eric Schrijver, Thomas Bouville et David Vallance, Etienne Robial, Pierre-Damien Huyghe, Sophie Fétro, Frank Adebiaye, Nicolas Taffin, Nolwenn Maudet, Raphaël Bastide, Association Signes (Bernard Baissait, Léo Coquet and Aymeric Dutheil) and Outils Libres Alternatifs (Raphaël Bastide, Sarah Garcin and Bachir Soussi Chiadmi).

Printed Version

French / English
19,5 × 28 cm
144 pages
ISBN 978-2-917855-80-5

22 € + €3 shipping fees

Digital Version

Full access to the responsive website.

5 € 

Mobile Version

Native app for smartphones and tablets iOS/Android.

Coming soon!

Edition

Editorial direction
Kévin Donnot
Élise Gay
Anthony Masure

Back Office is copublished by Fork Éditions and Editions B42 (Paris).

Advisory board

Michèle Champagne
designer, writer, Université du Québec à Montréal
Gregory Chatonsky
artist
Pierre-Philippe Duchâtelet
developer, designer and educator at the ERG Bruxelles (Belgium)
Sophie Fétro
tenured associate professor of design at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Jessica Helfand
designer, educator at the Yale School of Arts
Jean–Noël Lafargue
research associate professor of design at the Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, educator at the École supérieure d’arts du Havre (France)
Marie Lechner
digital culture journalist at Libération
Lev Manovich
artist, professor of Computer Science at the City University of New York
Luna Maurer
Interactive designer
Nicolas Nova
educator at the HEAD Geneva (Switzerland)
Pia Pandelakis
tenured associate professor of design at the Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès (France)
Sophie Pène
professor at the Université Paris Descartes
Vivien Philizot
Research associate professor of design at the Université de Strasbourg (France)
Anne-Lyse Renon
PhD in Social Science EHESS-CNRS, Post Doctoral researcher at the Ensci-Les Ateliers/Telecom ParisTech (Paris)
Gilles Rouffineau
teacher at the ÉSAD Valence (France)
Catherine de Smet
tenured Associate Professor at the Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis
Nicolas Thély
professor at the Université Rennes 2 (France)
Véronique Vienne
designer, graphic design critic

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If you want to sale Back Office, please contact our distributors: Les Belles lettres (France, Belgique and Switzerland) and Idea Books (other countries).

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Order/Shipping

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Issues

  • Is there a digital version of Back Office?

    Of course! The journal is available as a pay-for-access responsive website. An iOS/Android app for smartphones and tablets is coming soon.

  • How often do you publish new issues?

    We try to remain flexible but aim for only one issue per year. Sign up to our newsletter to get an email whenever a new issue is available.

  • How can I advertise on Back Office ?

    We have some available ads (half or full page); please contact us to know more.

General

  • Do you have a press or media kit?

    Coming soon!

  • Can I contribute to the next issue?

    There isn’t call to texts. We do, however, appreciate your suggestions for topics or people you think we should consider; please contact us.

  • How can I sell Back Office?

    Please contact our distributors: Les Belles lettres (France, Belgium and Switzerland) and Idea Books (other countries).

Back Office was born thanks to the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap), and with the help of the backers of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

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