Print publication becomes a cyborg: Momma Tried issue 3 changes everything

Crystal Clear (Photos by: Momma Tried)

Crystal Clear (Photos by: Momma Tried)

Artificial intelligence in our everyday lives is no longer an imaginary concept reserved for the big screen. In fact, in just a few months, you will be able to hold an A.I. magazine in your hands. It will be a publication that will feel, smell, look, and have all the qualities of a magazine, but it will be something different. It will be the third issue of Momma Tried.

It’s difficult to not jump straight into the excitement of how co-creators of Momma Tried Magazine, Theo Eliezer and Micah Learned, have shaped a print-only publication into a living, moving experience, but there is an earlier love affair we can have with this interdisciplinary art project. Momma Tired is a print-only publication.

That’s right, taking inspiration from magazines like Playboy, Esquire, and MAD Magazine, Eliezer and Learned have retained the personal connection that many people feel when they hold an actual object in their hands. “I remember being obsessed with magazines as a teenager,” Eliezer says. “I would tear out the pages and put them all over my bedroom, and I would think, ‘this photo of Kurt Cobain is meaningful to me.’ But a photo of Kurt Cobain on the internet is not meaningful to me; it’s just more scrolling content,” Eliezer says when explaining why Momma Tried has retained their print-only mission in a world where many argue print publications are dying.

The exact opposite is happening for the newest issue of Momma Tried that will be out in the fall. This third issue has become a sentient being that recognizes its inevitable mortality as a print publication. Issue three will be a she. And she will be a cyborg.

This augmented reality concept for the interdisciplinary art project came to Eliezer and Learned, but it took awhile for it to sink in. “When Theo first came to me with the idea I said, ‘Okay,’ [pause] ‘we’ll see,” Learned says. But as days and weeks past, the two continued to brainstorm how this publication was taking on a life of its own. “After a while, there was no other way to relate to it. We are embedding the pages of a magazine with programming,” Learned explains.

So what does that mean?

Winona Forever (Photos by: Momma Tried)

Winona Forever (Photos by: Momma Tried)

It means a reader of the magazine can put their smartphone over the magazine’s pages and the pictures will turn into moving images or the text and the layout of the page may slide across the screen. But, “All of this will look like it is happening on the pages of the magazine,” Learned says.

Momma Tried asks its readers to think, question, and comment about the world around them, and this new issue takes on the conundrum of how we relate to people as well as how we relate to artificial intelligence. Yet, that is only one element of the publication. The magazine itself is a site-specific installation. It moves with the people who buy it, and it becomes an exhibit depending on where the purchaser puts it. “It’s in creative context when it’s in your bag and you’re on a bus,” Eliezer explains. “Or it’s in context as an installation when it’s on the back of your toilet…there can even be method about it being taboo because the magazine has nudity.”

Whether the magazine is perched on a night stand, tucked under a bed, or among the archives of other publications, it is carrying on a life. And I, for one, can’t wait to meet her.

Pre-sale of Momma Tired issue 3 began on June 19, and you can pre-order your publication here. To learn more about Momma Tried magazine, you can check out their website as well as follow them on Instagram or Facebook


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