Welcome to the inaugural issue of fsm., an independent arts journal for the Greater Fox River Valley of Wisconsin. I often write in the form of statements—perhaps a product of my creative career—and like any good artist statement you may see in a gallery, there is often some basic information provided to give the observer a concept of what the heck actually is going on. I am going to use that method here… a straight-up what, who and why. Two whys, actually. Wait, no. Three.
fsm. is a free arts journal. Five-hundred copies will be distributed monthly, landing in coffee shops; galleries, museums and other creative venues; stores that supply needs for creatives; educational institutions; and the mailboxes of subscribers, amongst other places. The content will change dependent on the guest writers, but there will always be a section called What’s on Our Calendar. Additionally, you will see reviews and previews, interviews, editorials, letters, lists, historic themes, concepts, writings on process, poems, photography, sketches, and maybe even a rant. Probably a rant. The contributors to this journal are paid (as we believe that those who create should be compensated) and have the freedom to say what they want. This first issue is a lean eight-pages, but we fully intend for it to grow in size once it is financially and humanly feasible.
I say humanly feasible because right now this journal is run by a volunteer staff of two. I am a visual artist working on paintings, performance and installations, and Katharina Abderholden is a contemporary choreographer and dancer. We have collaborated on a number of projects together over the last year, this journal being the latest, but assuredly not the last one. We both have very busy artistic practices and see this journal as a natural part of what we do. I say that confidently because, as artists, we are communicators.
And that brings up the big why. Why, in this world of overwhelming amount of information appearing in our inboxes, news feeds, podcasts, social media, web searches, streaming television and radio... why would anyone create a newspaper. Isn’t print dead? The problem with relying solely on non-physical means of communication is that of equal distribution. If you aren’t in the “right” circles, you may not know about some incredibly cool things that are happening right here in our community. Or even if you are, with all that is going on fighting for your attention these things still may go unnoticed. Having this physical object sitting in a coffee shop, just waiting for someone to pick it up and freely take it, has an interesting effect. And that is that it is allowing anyone to have the equal opportunity to find it. Read it. Slow the world down for a little bit. And make the entire process a conscious choice instead of one being foisted upon.
There is a second “why” regarding the existence of this journal, and it is an extremely important one to us. It also has to do with equality. I do believe that there is an issue of opportunity of who may be able to go take in a cultural event or institution. There may be a lot of barriers: cost and time being some big ones. It is also possible that some people may not feel that are welcome, for any number of reasons. Sometimes, people just may not even know where to go. I sincerely applaud the institutions and people who are working hard to make the arts as accessible to everyone as possible because the thing about the arts is that they are not for any one person. They are for everyone. Regardless of how you may personally feel about something you are presented with, the arts are here to spur on that feeling, and the conversation that can come out of it. And, if you do not know how to approach a conceptual dance performance or an abstract visual art piece, it may be even difficult to formulate how you feel, or even why. That is why fsm. is here. To break down some barriers that may make the contemporary arts seem inaccessible or unknown. We want contributors to inform, educate, and challenge all who pick up a copy of this journal and take in what they have to offer. Because, as artists, we are communicators. We cannot survive without the support of the community, and, to be honest, the community cannot survive without the voice of the arts.
3rd why. Why fsm.? Two reasons. First, and politely, it stands for Fabricating Something More. We want to increase the level of conversation about contemporary art. We want to highlight some of the cool things that occur here with the hope that creates the need for even more to happen. As Katharina puts it, we are building the community that we want to create in. Less politely, it also stands for #fucksocialmedia. I do not want the arts to ever seem hostage to the surprisingly undemocratic way that information gets passed around. We are artists taking ownership of our work.