Post-Work is a “collection of thoughts, images and ideas on life during a global pandemic”. Its creator Jonathan Blayney explains the genesis of the publication.
You are a product designer by trade, when and where did the idea of creating Post-Work come about?
A big part of my job is to design solutions for problems. When this all kicked off it struck me that here was a big problem that there was no clear solution to. I found that fascinating. How often is there a truly global event that virtually all people experience simultaneously? Young people are experiencing the isolation older generations live with daily, relationships are being tested in extreme ways and everyone misses their friends and families.
The mechanics of our lives and of society are being exposed and we are all facing some home truths. It is exceptionally unique and I felt a strong desire to try and capture a snap shot of this moment. So we can look back after we have all forgotten and remember the good and bad things that have come to light.
How did you go about assembling your team of contributors?
To begin with I started approaching my friends and people who I knew and admired. It grew from there and nearly everyone I spoke to recommended someone else and so the mix happened quite organically.
An observational calm permeates many contributions to Post-Work. Do you think this opportunity to take stock has been rewarding for those in the fortunate position to do so? Is there a concern that the real panic may come next?
I tried to avoid the hysteria and any contributions that were either overly morbid or overly positive. I didn’t think people needed to read about what a Zoom funeral is like, or here about how difficult some people’s jobs are.
The news is hinged on capturing people’s attention with the promise of descriptions of others misfortune. How bad was it? Tell me more. I don’t think that actually makes people change their behaviour, but if you read or listen to something balanced and personal it gets in there. I want people reading Post-Work to believe it, and for the messages to sink in.
You punctuated Post-Work with a few ‘out there’ moments and takes also. How important is the imaginative flight when we are grounded?
To a certain extent that was the result of casting the net far and wide and seeing what came back. Those odd, humorous and left-field moments in the magazine highlight the many ways people deal with and respond to isolation. It shows that when the water is churned up some pretty strange things come up from below and I think those moments are what make Post-Work for me. Hopefully they catch people off guard and make them smile.
How do you see Post-Work evolving post-Pandemic?
I have thought about this a lot. I would love to do a second issue (the dreaded second album) as I have had a great response to it and there are so many people whose opinions and perspectives warrant publication. However, I am very conscious that when this is over people aren’t going to necessarily want quarterly reminders of what happened. I think a more interesting opportunity is for the magazine to evolve into a conversation tracking how life is changing, and how the very way people go about their lives is evolving. How this notion of the 9-5 in the office is starting to look and feel less and less attractive. What does this post-work society look like? I would love for the magazine to chronicle this change in society.
How has your own work been impacted by the lockdown? What changes do you foresee occurring in your day-to-day routine and personally?
I have always had a desire to live in the countryside. I grew up in Dublin and love the place, but I find cities altogether unnecessarily stressful places. During this lockdown I was fortunate enough to spend nearly two months in a fairly remote location and I was better for it. I am able to do my work remotely these days so I think I will explore what living in a community outside the bigger cities feels like.
Can you tell us about your involvement in the We Make Good initiative?
I heard about the WMG project when I was finding my feet in Dublin after moving back in December of 2017. After hearing about what they do I was eager to get involved. I contribute to the project as a designer and creative consultant, I help Caroline and Joan with ideas for developing new products and help to improve the production of products. I have also designed the interiors of the pop-up shops, in Smithfield and the one currently on Fade Street. It is an amazing project and in an ideal world the brand would continue to grow and develop more of its own products.
Issue No. 1 available now from €12
Words: Michael McDermott