August 14, 2013

Lit Mag: SALT. #4

SALT.'s fourth issue will make you wonder about your cereal down to your tube socks.

"Pageantry as practice, by its very nature, dismisses subjectivity in place of artifice and fictions. This issue is an attempt to bring back the subjecthood. To pick apart the fictions and find a language of non-freedom through love, intimacy, anxiety and embarrassment." These are amongst the opening lines of SALT.'s letter from the editors, describing its theme of "pageantry."  Found in commercials, stores, bedrooms and people, the idea of pageantry has superseded advertisements and leaked into almost everything around us. From false constructions to the simple manner in which SALT. introduces its theme with a bold proclamation of PAGEANTRY (AND HERE'S THE DEFINITION IN CASE YOU HAD ANY DOUBTS), the magazine constantly emphasizes that the way people build things nowadays is something needed to be delved deeper into, instead of taken at face value.

SALT.'s fourth issue attempts to do this. Not an easy task, deconstructing the solid concrete facades we've all so carefully built, but the magazine's editors are quite aware, thank you very much. "It's doubtful that we have even come close to challenging the insidious nature of capital within the art world--who could claim at having any integrity?" the introduction boldly states. "But this issue is an attempt to come to it from the margins, creep in through the cracks." SALT. is an England-based magazine run by Saira Edwards, Hannah Regel, Thea Smiyh and Jala Wahid, all of whom have come together to create a space for artwork and writing surrounding feminism and contemporary art. An interesting concept, written by both editors and guest submissions by women and men (how's THAT for diversity?!).

At first glance, the idea of pageantry as a theme seems rather high, almost out of reach if you're in search of a fast, comprehensive read; however, this is intentional, and if not intentional, an extremely effective coincidence. Now, readers cannot rely on preconceived notions of feminist-lit or art-centric essays; instead, they must shovel through the content and pick through metaphors and careful construction to unearth the author/artist's true meaning. Issue four is filled with essays (both personal and critical), photographs, poetry and pictures of sculptures and exhibits that all manage to manifest the theme of pageantry in their own remarkable, diverse way. Samuel Kenswil analyzes the force of "thing power" while Grace Miceli's familiar bedroom scape dips back into the spotlight with the words "It's OK to be a princess" strewn across the top like a neon-colored banner, and Hannah Regel discusses the role of social media in constructing the facades we otherwise refer to as "people." SALT.'s fourth issue is a pageant of pageantry, and when you reflect upon that simple, yet stunningly complex idea, you realize it works just fine.

Find out more on SALT. or grab a copy of their fourth issue here

Written by Molly Morris