Philosophy, lit, and arts magazine re-visits avant-garde.

What is the role of philosophy in the modern world? How does art strengthen our understanding of life? How do philosophy, art, and literature intersect to create new meaning and deeper understanding? These are questions at the forefront of Mount Allison’s newest venture into the world of publishing: Zettel, an interdisciplinary, tri-annual magazine launching Jan. 18.

Zettel is the brainchild of graduating philosophy major Kristian Gilbert, who was inspired by the independent, avant-garde magazines of early twentieth century Europe, such as BLAST and Minotaure. Gilbert wanted to recreate the energy of these early publications in a modern format by bringing together artists and scholars from within the university community and abroad, and to this end he has worked with his editorial team for the last six months to create a brand new publication from the ground up.

Gilbert and his team, who had no publishing experience prior to their involvement with Zettel, described the process as challenging, but also exciting and deeply fulfilling. Alexi Katsanis and Emma Bass, Mt. A students who worked with Gilbert on the project, recounted the new appreciation they gained for the detail-oriented nature of the publishing world, mentioning that everything from the font selections to the margin widths required careful planning and deliberation. The team credits Elijah Teitelbaum of  The Underbridge Press for his technical assistance, describing Teitelbaum as an invaluable asset who helped to fine tune Zettel’s formatting.

Despite the daunting workload, the Zettel editors are unwavering in their commitment to transform Zettel from an online blog to a physical publication. In our ever-evolving, Internet-driven world, Gilbert is determined to ensure that Zettel will be something special that can be savoured and enjoyed, and he believes that a published magazine is the only way to ensure the proper ambience. To illustrate his point, Gilbert compared the difference between the magazine and Zettel’s online blog to the difference between a “fine cigar and a cigarette.”

Gilbert described the first publication as “eclectic,” but hopes that future issues of the magazine will be able to focus on specific themes. The tentative theme of Zettel’s second issue will be space, which should spark reflection on the variety of ways that space as a concept manifests itself in our society, whether as personal space or shared space, the space between objects or the space within ourselves.

Jesse Francis, who spearheaded Zettel’s Internet presence and contributed the cover art for the first issue, explained that one of Zettel’s primary objectives is to take familiar themes and then to re-examine them through a variety of different media and perspectives. To this end, Zettel has adopted the Necker Cube as its emblem, citing the image’s perplexing combination of transparency and ambiguity as a source of inspiration.

Anyone who is interested in purchasing a copy of Zettel will be able to pre-order the first issue online at www.zettel.ca. Alternately, issues can be purchased from the editorial team in person at the launch party Jan. 18 from 7 pm until 10 pm. The party will be held in the abandoned opera house above Ducky’s Pub on Bridge Street and will feature music, drinks, and original art.

 

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