Last year, my cohort put together a publication called Synezoma (formed from synesthesia and rhizome) from our own writing and art, outside submissions, and images found in the Gary Library archives. We fashioned ourselves into a curatorial team: handling outside submissions, checking image DPIs, working on publicity and social media. One of the main images we focused on was a complex and sprawling root system:
What a hulking, crisscrossed, heaping, and gorgeous mess. In the factual and the fantastic, we share crossed boundaries and blurry lines—here magic meets reality and the absurd. We follow great river tributaries into swamps and salt marshes, into the bay, then out to sea. Stop to watch the hermit crab as she makes another home hers—a snail shell, a clam shell, a discarded toothpaste top scuttling in the tide. Let’s wedge our souls into what fits best. We feature work that considers what it is to be of and in this vast world. Zoom out and let your eyes go soft. Zoom in and inspect chunks of dirt clinging to our roots. We’ve made space here for worlds to expand and slam into focus. We feature works that jar, comfort, dialogue with other art, bend rules. Each piece in our journal joins hands with its neighbor, sings with it, folds its arms, then turns its back, remains always aware.
We worked with professional designer and book artist Rick Myers, who was able to turn the content we gave him into a delicate and raw art object. Which included a removable cover/poster that we all got to fold by hand.
Rick is now working with the new class on a curatorial vision for their own publication (tentatively titled Trailhead). I have to tell you, they’ve thought up some pretty cool phrases to describe it: Physicality of the page relates to content; Peters Projection Map (the kick-ass, upside-down ones from The West Wing); coming through the side door; utilitarian and tangible; outside submissions can turn into collaborations; the process is part of the product; rainbows (!!!); reveal the seams; and something very complex and crazy-interesting about turning the whole publication into a sestina. Breanne, please find a way to turn the whole business into a sestina.