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Announcement

tele- is an unusual online art and literary magazine, formed through a process similar to the game telephone, in which one person whispers a word or phrase to the next person, and the whisper is passed on, changing as it goes around the circle. Each tele- artist receives the piece of a previous artist, someone working in a different language or medium, and attempts to carry that piece over, to translate it, into their own medium. For a more detailed look at tele-'s processes and aims, see below

tele- Issue One drops Thursday, September 13, 2018, featuring work by poets, musicians, and visual artists, each of whom has created their piece as part of tele-'s semi-collaborative process. From these separate works, and from the artists' reflections on their processes, develops the whole—the finished issue—a visible stream of this process of communication, continuation, and change. 

We will be celebrating the launch of Issue One at Secret Project Robot in Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, September 20, 2018. We invite you to come celebrate with us. The event is open to all (21+). There will be brief performances and readings by tele- artists, information on the magazine, snacks, limited edition tele- merch and giveaways, and DJ sets. 

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tele- is an unusual online art and literary magazine, focusing on communication, collaboration, and continuation across distance, language, and medium. 

 

Communication

“In the end, works of art are the only media of complete and unhindered communication between man and man that can occur in a world full of gulfs and walls that limit the community of experience.” — John Dewey, Art as Experience

Each issue of tele- is an experiment set up to test the capacities of art. A family of questions guides the investigation: How can a work of art function as a form of communication, and on what level of consciousness does this transaction take place? In the liminal space between speaker and listener, writer and reader, artist and observer, what forces are at work in filtering, transforming, and translating* the message? How much of the self is involved in the transmission of the message? To what extent can one pass it on? What parts of the self intervene in, or interfere with, what was said? What is the role of game-playing, or play in general, in mediating our ability to understand each other, but also to lead our perhaps more separate creative lives? 

Collaboration

“If… the adult can manage to enjoy the personal intermediate area without making claims, then we can acknowledge our own corresponding intermediate areas, and are pleased to find a degree of overlapping, that is to say common experience between members of a group in art or religion or philosophy.” — D. W. Winnicott, Playing and Reality

tele- issues are formed from a semi-collaborative process, in which each contributor creates a work individually in response to the work of another tele- contributor, attempting to carry the piece over* through a different medium. By power of the game’s iterative nature, each artist, in trying to say the whole thing, creates a piece of the whole, a phrase within the paragraph that the issue turns out to be. Artists are invited into this particular mode of collaboration as a playful and mysterious “meeting grounds” that “[brings] out into the open a strange possibility of thought, which is that of its pooling” (Andre Breton, 1930). tele- begins as a whisper from one artist to the next, stirring the different notes of the wind chime, rustling the leaves, humming at the tops of empty bottles, resulting in a strange chord of these things touched by the wind. 

Continuation

This type of collaboration, this carrying over or passing on, is essentially an act of continuation of a thought, impulse, image, or gesture as it passes through hands, minds, languages, and media, and over distance. tele- is made up of this process of perceiving, understanding, engaging and negotiating with the work of others, the working through, or analysis, of the movement between contributors, and the final product, the published issue, in which readers/viewers and contributors can see each element as it makes up the whole, experiencing that movement themselves as they click through the ordered pages. The audience is invited to engage with the work as a whole by following its development, observing not just the pieces themselves, but their emergent relationship. 

The Machine

“Play is the base of every truly creative art expression.” — James John Sweeney

tele- is similar to the game known as telephone, teléfono descompuesto, or the game of variants, in which one person whispers a word or phrase to the next player and the whisper is passed on, changing as it goes around the circle. The goal is not to purposefully alter the whisper passed around the telephone game, but to continue the line of communication in its inevitable changing. The game is a machine that allows gaps to emerge by themselves—between what you said and what I took you to say, between what I said and what I thought I meant, etc.—, and it is in those gaps that tele- comes alive and each issue acquires a destiny of its own.  Each activation of tele-’s mechanism is an experiment in the trans-individual dimension of speaking and listening, a summoning of the unconscious, that strange, always slanted harmony of our individual voices.

Each issue begins with a theme. A jumping off point for the first contributor to begin from and a sort of soft compass for proceeding contributors to turn to, if they need some grounding or context. The first contributor creates a piece embodying or responding to this theme and sends it to the editors, who pass it on to the following contributor, someone working in a different medium and/or language. Along with the submission of their piece, each contributor includes a brief statement (see below) on their contribution. This statement, however, plays no direct role in the transmission, as subsequent artists work exclusively off of the incarnation of the message passed on to them. In this way, the finished issue results from two processes, one transitive, the other self-reflective.

The Work & Working Through

The completed issue of tele- includes each contributor’s piece, presented in order of generation, so that viewers can click through and watch the evolution of the message. This showcases the work at the heart of tele-: how each individual piece in fact engages with the one that came before; what survives (and in what form) from one piece to the next; what a piece ends up doing through (or despite?) its attempt to translate its predecessor. The work, in short, is just the living thing itself—plainly visible in its stages yet mum as to what it is and by dint of what forces. In addition, each piece links to a written statement, where the artist reflects on, works through, their contribution. If the work is the unfolding dream, the working through is the no-less pregnant attempt to formulate its meaning. Far from providing an immediate, or unfiltered, glimpse into the invisible process of tele-’s transmission, they are, once again, results of this process, only turned inward. 

 

*translate (v.) early 14c., "to remove from one place to another," also "to turn from one language to another," from Old French translater and directly from Latin translatus "carried over," serving as past participle of transferre "to bring over, carry over" (see transfer), from trans "across, beyond" (see trans-) + lātus "borne, carried." — From Online Etymology Dictionary
At the heart of tele- is this process of translation, which, rather than merely converting one thing to another, is a process of moving, carrying, and exchanging a single transmission as it changes naturally in each artist's hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

+ How does it work?

Each issue of tele- is created through a semi-collaborative process, in which each contributor creates a work individually in response to the work of another tele- contributor, attempting to carry the piece over through a different medium.

The issue begins with a theme, which is given to all contributors. This theme will serve as a jumping off point for the first contributor to begin from and a sort of soft compass for proceeding contributors to turn to, if they need some grounding or context.

1) The first artist creates a piece that embodies the issue's theme.

2) That piece is sent to the following contributor, someone working in a different language or medium. This contributor does their best to translate the work they were given into their own medium.

3) Each artist, in addition to creating their work, submits a statement in which they reflect on their process of receiving, engaging with, and translating the piece they were sent. This statement is published with the completed issue but is not sent to the following artist, and is therefore not a part of the following artists' understanding of the piece.

+ Can I submit a piece that I've already created? Do you publish previously created pieces?

When submitting to participate in the next issue of tele-, we ask that you please send examples of your work, so that we can get to know it a bit. However, tele- is formed exclusively from work that has been created for tele- and in response to the work of another tele- contributor. Therefore, we do not publish previously created work.

Your submission should be representative of the sort (medium, style, etc.) of work you are interested in contributing, rather than a preview of what you expect your piece to look like in the published issue. Again, we want to stress the major role we expect other contributors' work to play in determining your contribution.

+ I work with a partner on collaborative projects. Can we both take part?

You may submit to contribute to tele- together with your partner or team. All of the same rules and guidelines apply.

+ How are time slots determined? How long does each artist have to work on their piece?

When you are chosen to participate in an issue of tele-, you will be given a time slot, typically one week, for creating your piece. If you have commitments or conflicts planned in advance that could interfere with your ability to complete your work on time, please include this information in your tele- submission. tele- depends upon the timeliness of its contributors in order to maintain its continuity and production schedule.

+ I see that the artist statements on process are not sent to the following contributor. Are the artist statements (the analysis/"the working through") published in the issue?

Yes! These statements are an important part of the completed issue. We do not pass these statements on to the following artist, as we want each contributor create their own work entirely from an engagement with the piece itself. However, in the completed issue, the artist statement provides a look at another side of the tele- process.

If the work is the unfolding dream, the working through is the no-less pregnant attempt to formulate its meaning. Far from providing an immediate, or unfiltered, glimpse into the invisible process of tele-’s transmission, they are, once again, results of this process, only turned inward.

Masthead

 
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Alexandria Hall
Founder, Editor-in-Chief

Alexandria Hall is a poet, musician, and educator from Vermont. She received an MFA in creative writing from NYU, where she also served as web editor of Washington Square Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in NarrativeBOAATThe Bennington Review, Foundry, and Memorious, among others. She currently lives in Baltimore, MD. 

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Misha Davidoff
Editor, Translator

Misha Davidoff is a writer, artist, and grad student from Mexico City. He currently lives in Baltimore, MD. 

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