Failed States is an occasional publication that aims to collate and investigate ideas around place, or more specifically: “indeterminate geographies”. Each issue, themed on a particular type of terrain, is a trove of innovative text and image by emerging and established writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers and academics. The open-ended nature of the invitation extended to our contributors allows the journal to become a space for the exploration of new ways of working, potentially diverging from established practices. Rather than cultivate a house style, we strive to publish content that varies widely in intent, tone and realisation. This — together with the characteristic pithiness of the texts — engenders a journal both unique among art and literary publications and a radical departure from traditional geographic research.
Over the course of the first two issues, Failed States has developed organically and with unexpected momentum. An international assembly of contributors has begun taking shape and we believe that our study of place will remain interesting and worthwhile only so long as we are committed to continually broadening our global reach. So far the project has brought together practitioners from across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.
Our criteria from the beginning has been to seek out content from thinkers and makers whose endeavours we respect. To date we’ve been fortunate to include highly regarded emerging and established individuals: artists such as Charles Atlas, Matt Connors, Colter Jacobsen, Callie Spooner, Peter Nencini, Ian Giles, Martin John Callanan, Euan Macdonald and Monique Mouton; filmmakers Matt Wolf, Donal Mosher and Sam Ashby; photographers Brian W. Ferry, Thabiso Sekgala, Ayesha Malik and Sabelo Mlangeni; and writers Wayne Koestenbaum, Nina Power, Jack Self, Paul Clinton and Olivia Laing.
If you are interested in being part of the Failed States project, we would love to hear from you. Please write to us via the Contact page, or to support us in the development of our expansive and rigorous endeavours, please visit our Support page.
Who we are
Failed states, a journal of indeterminate geographies, was conceived of in 2016 by Publisher and Editor Jamie Atherton — an artist whose previous projects have involved performance, drawing and video. For the foreseeable future his practice is focused on Failed States and in the potential for research, collaboration, assembly and dissemination inherent in the publishing process.
Writer and teacher Jeremy Atherton Lin joined the journal on the second issue as Associate Editor. He has written on moths, phones, searchlights, swimming pools, closets, major museums and minor injuries, as well as editing anthologies, academic crossover books and design publications, and teaching as several UK universities. In 2018 he was shortlisted for the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize. Jeremy is represented by United Agents and is currently working on a book about gay bars.
Jamie and Jeremy have been partners in life and often work for over 20 years.
Art Director Sandy McInnes is an illustrator, graphic designer, animator and maker of extraordinary dolls.