For the inaugural issue of The State, then, we kept the theme intentionally vague; fifteen writers from around the world responded in myriad voices and ways. Topics range from sociohistorical looks at sewers and single parenting throughout the ages, to reimagining a weedy field as a portmanteau of globalisation. Others take a more personal approach, interrogating experiences of Afropolitanism, of being a person of colour in post-9/11 America, and of returning to the Gulf with your tail between your legs. They are joined by two ‘website-specific installations’—exploring joblessness and speaking in tongues—which are scannable within these pages. (Though near-obsolete, we find ourselves especially fond of the QR code)
2. There is something to be said about launching a new print journal in this media climate. As writers and editors, we float in the ‘printernet’—that uncertain space inhabited by print cultures as they transition to mediated online forms. Publishing has been on dialysis for years; we keep up a deathwatch only occasionally peppered with reverent elegies. Yet for all we trust that print will continue to die, we don’t seem to quite believe in the internet, either. Even as we upload our lives to the cloud, we wonder whether the internet’s tubes just might break after all; whether it isn’t dangerously ephemeral, fleeting, transient; whether it will still be there tomorrow.
We might also wonder what came first: the tablet or the book? Long before Facebook, we were painting our self portraits on cave walls. Long before Twitter, we were inscribing our daily annals onto wax tablets. Media is inherently cyclical, and seems doomed to repeat itself—as tragedy, as farce, as meme. The screen begins to resemble the page, which resembled the scrolls of antiquity, which in turn mimicked the screens of the future. Lather, rinse, repeat.
3. Fast-forward to 2070. Nature has engulfed and encroached upon the city; printed matter no longer exists. The page has become superseded by the screen, which covers every possible surface. The anatomy of the codex has been thoroughly contorted, its spine ruptured, and its pages vectored through time and space. Perhaps we should augment the page, and let it be a screen too.
FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE: