This time five years ago, we nervously pressed the big red “LAUNCH” button on The Double Negative dashboard. But what have we learned about telling stories? Or about loyalty and friendship and adventure? And what next?
A little under five years ago we launched The Double Negative. Part serendipity and circumstance, part opportunity and recognition of something lacking in Liverpool’s arts publishing, a lot has happened in the intervening half-decade. One of the major initiating factors leading to the idea to dive head-first into the indie publishing fray was that Liverpool, it seemed to us, had attained a level of creative maturity – across various disciplines – that meant its output deserved increased levels of comment and criticism. Indeed, we would need those things.
On launch, we wrote that “what The Double Negative represents, and the purpose we wish it to serve, is as a forum, a hub if you like, where the layers of talent in this city can be drawn together in an eclectic showcase for the benefit of all – to be read by and for these people, and beyond.” And while we also wrote that its “mission is to hold a mirror up to the creativity of the city and reflect it,” something very important that has informed everything we’ve tried to do is that “and beyond” bit. Liverpool is not an insular city operating on a default siege mentality, and we hope that The Double Negative has managed to reflect this positive and dynamic outlook. Indeed, we’ve become a place to reflect and critique contemporary arts and culture from all across the UK and from other countries, too; stories that are intriguing, argumentative, subversive, beautiful, and sometimes downright weird.
For this, we must thank our many, many contributors. They have encouraged us with their talent, challenged us to aim higher than we ourselves initially thought possible, and continue to surprise and delight us. We have a particular investment in encouraging and developing the next generation of art critics; we believe it is crucial to offer a platform for fearless, well-researched and balanced criticism, which strives to represent a wide range of voices and stories from wherever they need telling.
Such is their undeniable talent that many of our contributors have gone on to work freelance for various other publications and online platforms of repute, including Frieze, ArtReview, VICE, Art Monthly, Art World, Dazed, the Guardian, the Independent, Aesthetica Magazine, Corridor 8, Creative Tourist, Garageland, Shanghai International, a-n news, Tate Online and more. (If you’re an editor/creative director or eager collaborator after artists, writers, photographers, graphic designers – or even a technologist – we’d urge you to visit our directory here.)
What we don’t want to do is rest on any laurels. Even in the online world, no publication can afford to do this. Over the coming months, we have planned an exciting programme of events, happenings, collaborations and partnerships that will challenge what we’re about. We want to learn and we want to be pushed, prodded and provoked. We also expect The Double Negative’s content to increasingly reflect the national and international goings-on in the worlds of Arts, Design, Film & Music that we care about; whilst fiercely remaining very much of and for the city that has allowed us to flourish.
You, our readers, of course, have been key to this. Without your support we wouldn’t have lasted five months, never mind be preparing to enter our sixth year. Whilst much (MUCH) has changed in the world around us since 2011, the need for open, quality debate and discussion hasn’t changed one iota — in fact, critique is more valuable and urgent than ever. Likewise, loyalty and friendship and adventure have never felt more precious or more powerful. We sincerely hope your friendship, dear reader, will be lifelong, and we sincerely thank you for sticking by our side during the adventure thus far.
Take our hands, as fun and exciting things are on the horizon and we want you to be part of it all.
Mike Pinnington & Laura Robertson — proud co-founders