Issue 1, November 2016
Letter from the Editor
I would prefer not to
Presumably, dear reader, you’ve arrived here, directed from the previous landing page upon which lies a succinct statement concerning what 4A Papers is, or wishes itself to be. Set forth is a list—perhaps a schedule, or a brief at best—that signals what can reasonably be expected of individual and collective eyes and ears and hands, minds and hearts and dreams. And nightmares. Seeking to ‘only connect’ one may say, which one does say in resurrection of an oldie but a goodie from last century’s tumult (and funnily enough, 4A was borne not of the epoch of Howard’s End, but only his beginning). NOW, THEN, MAKE, TALK, SEE: sounds simple, right?
Yet what might 4A Papers actually do? What might it become? What is its purpose, its métier? Well, if you’re expecting direction from its Editor, some kind of ‘mission statement’, I defer to the enigma of Melville’s Bartleby: I would prefer not to. Which is to say, by no means do I churlishly disclaim the role’s responsibility, much less immodestly reject my hand in its very formation from spark to sweat (certainly not only mine). I say instead that 4A Papers is what it is and that it is what it does. What does it do?
We have a single issue at present from which to determine. But before we get to that we might ask, what is it not? 4A Papers is not a press release (they have their purpose and live elsewhere). 4A Papers is not behind a paywall (time is money, so spend your time reading). 4A Papers is not engineered for academic credit towards career advancement from lecturer to associate professor, and a disassociation from the coalface that commonly engenders (we’re gathered round the fire here, so expect to feel its embers on your face). Last but not only, 4A Papers is not on paper.
So, then, the minds—back to those. They appear below with names attached. You may seek them out. You will notice a majority reside in Australia, indicative of nothing more than the proximity of fellow travelers when the traveling has only just begun. Next time we’ll be racking up food miles for hungry readers, so stay seated.
First, Alana Hunt offers a fierce, whetstone-like intellect set to sharpen the blunt hubris of nations, and the desperation of peoples yet to form nations. Few are equipped to confront what she does so that others might comprehend something of NOW. Hyun Lee follows in a state of alpine clarity about the confounding exhaustion of the fashion system and the exhaustive fashioning of confusion in the museum and its gift shop. I recommend throwing yourself head first down her coil of reason—the quality of its denouement is rare.
Further along, John von Sturmer animates Bugs Bunny in service of an afternoon’s musing (consult the notes as a chair of literature sets her watch and life to Finnegan’s Wake and you will be rewarded). Speaking of now with a Pompeiian eye on THEN, John’s riff will surely keep undergraduates’ stock of quotable aphorisms and wise maxims in surplus, at least until examinations suck the life out of them. It takes a lifetime to think like this—your gain is that his distillation asks only for a long coffee break of attention to get its buzz.
Mikala Tai reports on how to MAKE from Yogyakarta, filtered through WhatsApp and wax, while Minerva Inwald prompts TALK and reflection among three qualitatively different participants in an undertaking linking the Pearl River Delta to Botany Bay.
Wearing Adidas in Guizhou, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan beautifully unfolds a personal letter in full view, such is our privilege to SEE. In Beijing, Joanna Bayndrian ascends to a future that is already past: galaxies, dope and dub-step. Don’t stay out too late.
Other voices, other rooms, yes. But you will learn something of yourself and the world herein. I did.
Best, and less
Pedro de Almeida
Editor, 4A Papers
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