Technikart : From the post-68s zeitgeist to a countercultural shift, how has Laurent Courbin changed this magazine ?

Paul Foster
Aug 8, 2016 · 4 min read

Describing Technikart is not as easy as it seems, and can actually turns out to be quite difficult. At the outset, it is one of the most famous — and provocative — magazine of the French cultural and artistic world. Technikart was created in 1991, and was recently bailed-out by Laurent Courbin, a French business man and current CEO of Ateo Finance. Technikart has always been kind of a UFO in the French cultural press field. Its paradoxical relationship with its peers and its diverging editorial line makes it very different from the large majority of French press issues. The point I’m going to develop are the other explanations and logics that are at stake in this conscious and deliberate avant-gardist position.

Answers to these issues can be found in the counter-cultural movement that emerged along with the post-68s intellectual turmoil. This period paved the way for the affirmation of a new, cool and provocative part of the French society. Being known as the enfant terrible of the French media landscape is what makes Technikart so appealing today, as if it was part of the cultural legacy left by the 1960s.

Tell me what you read and I will tell you who you are

When it comes to the avant-garde and alternative culture, Technikart is a common reference in France, deeply rooted into people’s minds. This position is a significant privilege and opportunity for a media in France. In the light of the current crisis of the press sector, Technikart brand’s vitality points out how valuable it is for a paper to be ground-breaking, hype and out-of-the box. This identity prevented the magazine from losing its traditional basis and being weakened by the digital transformation.

Technikart’s content and mindset enables the reader to find and affirm a true reflection of his personality. This is what the Technikart phenomenon is about : its readers differ from others magazines’ ones, and they want this difference to be perceived. “Think different” would have made a perfect slogan for this French magazine…. if only Apple hadn’t picked it decades ago!

Finding descriptions for Technikart, an atypical magazine in the French intellectual sphere, launched at the beginning of the 1990s is not an easy task. Some might say that Technikart embodies all the characteristics of the countercultural movement. As a matter of fact, the articles published in Technikart are often sharp. But those papers reflect what makes the French intellectual scene so different from other ones worldwide.

Whatever it is, the spirit embodied by Technikart cannot be summed up as a ready-made thinking, or at least this is not how I see it. This last stance would ignore all the complexity and diversity of this magazine.

Technikart provides the overview of an unknown aspect of the French culture

Complexity and irrationality are at the root of a developed and prolific culture. I believe that Technikart raison d’être lies in this fight for cultural plurality and diversity. Hence, wandering into Technikart magazine allows us to discover a discrete — if not hidden — aspect of our society. In a way, it’s just like making a journey in a world without rules, prejudices and psychological barriers. Technikart enables its readers to see our society without filters and biased opinions, and to widen their cultural perspectives.

The Hegelian philosophy conveys, amongst others, the ambiguous relationship between a cultural object and the society it belongs to. Context plays a significant role in literacy and in the artistic production of a given society. Across the portrayal of an artist or a singer or the lines of a review about an underground musical event, Technikart’s writers provide a genuine and outside-the-box vision.

Could we get into the zeitgeist of a peculiar era through an intellectual object ? Could a painting, a book or a magazine carry that much significance about a cultural period ? That’s what Hegel advocates. I feel like Technikart conveys a vision that enables readers and observers to cast a glance on our society. The French society that you can see through Technikart breaks the rules, overtakes prejudices and promotes avant-gardism.

For the last couple of years, Technikart went through challenging times, but based on its identity and strong brand, the magazine started to recover. Since its acquisition by Laurent Courbin, Technikart is back on track. Whether you like it or not, Technikart will not leave you indifferent.

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