FOUND Magazine

FOUND Magazine was born in 2000, when creator Davy Rothbart discovered a note mistakenly left on his windshield. The note was left for a man named Mario, and it chastised him using strong, foul language for a perceived infidelity. At the end of the note, the author ironically asked Mario to page her later, suddenly shrugging off the rage present in the rest of the note. As they say on their website, “We loved this note — its amazing mixture of anger and hopefulness — and so we shared it with as many folks as we could.” From there, Rothbart and friend Jason Bitner began soliciting their friends for other found notes and objects. They began to collect them into zine-format photocopied fliers and with that, FOUND Magazine was born.

From Zine to Magazine to Webzine

FOUND Magazine started off as a printed zine, and then spread into the realm of more traditional quarterly publications but keeping with the zine format. Eventually, they took their efforts to the Internet and began daily postings of brief notes. This allowed them to maintain an online presence without abandoning their traditional print endeavor. Additionally, a spin off was formed called DIRTY FOUND which caters to the seemingly large amount of nude photographs and sex-related notes which may not be appropriate for the mainstream publication.

Infinite Diversity and All That

FOUND Magazine’s website now consists of graphics inspired by discarded notes and is centered around the daily posting. Previous days postings are available for viewing and it is possible to spend long periods of time cruising the endless slices of life inserted into these small epistles. The notes, as with similar sites like Post Secret, range in content from reminders to one’s self to messages meant for others. There are drawings, loosely scribbled letters, receipts, homework fragments, and even product wrappers. The content of the writing ranges from angry rants to notes of encouragement. The emotions depicted are as varied as the persons writing them.

Some recurring notes do appear. There are more than a few poorly forged notes excusing someone from school or P.E. class. There are a lot of notes discussing choosing between more than one possible lover. Finally, there seem to be a lot of notes left by parties who missed a connection. These are things one might expect to find in abundance in the wild. They were either designed to be left for someone, or are relatively insignificant. There aren’t very many property deeds or letters of resignation lying around. Despite that, these small fragments of lives provide an invaluable glimpse inside the universes these people inhabit. Many forms of intentional art attempt, sometimes successfully, to present emotions and lives in a realistic and meaningful way. Without trying, simply by existing, these vignettes accomplish that often elusive goal.


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