MacGuffin is a magazine for graphic designers, designers and architects that will amaze you with the depth with which it analyzes the individual themes that give the title and specialization to its editions, from the sink to the rope, from the bed to the window, to arrive in this issue 6 to the ball. MacGuffin traces in each of his volumes the history, anamnesis and details of apparently common objects to give them non-trivial meanings and look at them from a slightly less considered side. 

You don't have to be a ball fan to talk about balls. But the sixth issue of MacGuffin is a succulent booty for those who have to deal with or take inspiration from roundness of any kind. 


MacGuffin cover

The authors begin by explaining that the intent of this issue is to address the theme "the ball", and that they do not belong to "that group of people who see the wheel as the greatest invention of humanity". Kirsten Algera is Ernst van der Hoeven they point out how the ball represented the world with which the ancient Greek gods played football, an object that does not have the simple function of rolling, but has its own inner soul.

From these words starts a very detailed excursus of texts and images on the history of the ball in unconventional functions. Do you have any idea how many thousands of people queue for each year a ball boy place in the most important tennis championships in the world? Did you know that tumbleweed bales, the mythical rotating bales in the deserts of Western films, are actually a brilliant invention of nature to spread seeds? MacGuffin, in his first pages of "history" of the ball is all a detail with a wealth of particular curiosity that you have probably always overlooked about the balls.

Going into the objects instead, if that of the bic pen is a well-told story, more interesting is Pol Esteve's dissertation on the Disco Ball, that glittering ball that has been a must have in every disco since the 1960s. From the author's point of view, this "mirror moon dancing with an artificial sun" is nothing more than the most valid object capable of embodying and bringing to life the racial, gender and sexual orientation differences within human bodies. Making them dance together, highlighting their differences. 

Balls are also success stories, which seem unfortunate but perhaps they are not. It is the Fantozzian story of the Harvey Ball.

Harvey Ball

Yes, this apparently simple ancestor of the modern smileys, every year makes those who have the intellectual property $ 130 million, for the inexplicable spread of objects such as trash pillows that invade the bars of the highway stops. Well, in the face of so much marketing magnificence, this nice and mild face born as an advertising campaign to convey trust to its customers by an American company, is the symbol of a colossal mockery. The inventor was Harvey Ball, who for such luxurious future income at the time sold his idea for the sum of $ 45. 

In the middle of the volume MacGuffin transforms himself, enters architecture, cities and palaces, dozens of pages with photographs and captions of completed and unfinished works around the world that have the sphere as their dominant theme. He talks about the ball of "Biosphere 2", the science fiction project of a handful of American visionaries to live in a huge warehouse invaded by plant species generated by them, estranging themselves from the world, only to discover that the human nature makes men and women fragile and bad at at the same time, causing the project to fail. MacGuffin-Soccer ball

As you read MacGuffin, a light and soft paper runs under your fingers, with sometimes battered images that tell the other half of things that cannot be said with simple words and that are the exciting part of this magazine. The smell of MacGuffin's paper is soft, a sour tip of the ink will only hit you if you want to smell it closely, this volume.

Past the meatballs, the glass marbles, the bouncy balls, the horoscope, the tales about round things and dozens of other contents, this admirable editorial work ends with the photos of the works of Rupprecht Geiger which represents the postwar sentiments iconic color spheres.

The thin line with which dozens and dozens of objects, buildings, thoughts, images, works of art in the world are linked together by roundness is the true power of this volume. The creative energy that the contents emanate is a living thing that makes the idea of a successful work with the intent of giving representation through texts and images of a form that is an integral and essential part of our lives, the ball. 


The magazine is Dutch with English language texts and can be purchased on Frab's (with the possibility of free standard shipping) clicking here


April 10, 2019 — Dario Gaspari

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