The Gothic Funk Press has launched the fifth issue of its Paramanu Pentaquark featuring fiction, music, nonfiction, painting, poetry, sketchwork, and sound collage. Please read the editors’ statement below and view the collection here.
The Gothic Funk Press opened submissions for the fifth issue of our Paramanu Pentaquark arts journal on January 5th, 2017. We accepted submissions through April, made our editorial decisions through August, and completed the design by the end of December. While we were considering the work of almost a hundred gifted artists, our world was going through its own stormy year. The United States and United Kingdom continued to weather the consequences of their recent electoral contests, the world embraced or rebuffed xenophobia, and the political fiascos and celebrity deaths that had played out through 2016 were replaced by more sobering public assessments on the merits of democracy vs. fascism, and the role of a free press, and whether persons different from oneself merit a dignity inherent to all humanity.
From its inception in the wake of the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the Gothic Funk arts collective has been a self-consciously political movement, but our work has also been conceived as a rebuttal to the pervasive irony of postmodern art, to the relentless aestheticism of the academy, and to the sterile economic algorithms of today’s commercial arts, music, and publishing industries. Almost fourteen years ago we imagined an art that would expose its bloody and beating heart for the world to see, but in which such an embrace of emotion and subjectivity would challenge its audience to reflection and action rather than offering the balms of sentimentality and nostalgia.
In 2018, it is clear that this message still resonates. Gothic Funk is relevant and restless in the age of Donald Trump, of travel bans, of nepotism and corruption, of resurgent, racist, sexist nationalism. And, as editors, we have been provoked and challenged by the submissions you will experience in this collection. This was a difficult issue to assemble. We pondered, argued, reconsidered, and built consensus. In addition to questions of artistic merit and tone, we were continuously asking ourselves how to put this issue on the right side of history. Are such questions, in and of themselves, politically indulgent? As editors, were we too preoccupied with how the selections would make us look and not enough with what they would do? What does it mean to reconcile politically meaningful and aesthetically pleasing creative work? What is the play between the assertions of the individual artists represented here and the posture of the issue as a whole?
There are no pat answers to these questions. As artists ourselves we brought our own passions and interests to the table and, like any good committee, the majority vote often came down against a skeptical holdout, sometimes in favor and sometimes against. In the end, we are very proud of this issue in its variety, its many perspectives, its contradictions, and its relevance.
Here you will find 25 Images, Sounds, and Words submitted by artists living in Australia, Egypt, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Serbia, the United Kingdom, and, in the United States, Florida, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, and they all evoke the poignance and instability that saturated 2017.
Some of these pieces, like Morgan Chandler’s “Same Time Tomorrow,” confront us with disturbing ambiguities, stirring beauty and violence in one pot, coterminus but unblurred. Others, like Bracha Bdil’s “Sanctified,” confront their audience with a fragmented reanimation of past atrocity and past activism. Still others, like Rae Howell’s “Powderhorn Lake” conjure an injured romanticism conscious of what has been possessed and enjoyed but also of what might be forever lost. Finally, some, like Maggie Well’s “Bright Blight,” seek to take in the whole mess of chaos in our lives – personal and civic – before fixing upon vignettes of tragic clarity.
These are not works to be held at arm’s length. The whole collection is incredibly varied, taking in the rough and the urbane, the harsh and the gentle, and the direct and the enigmatic, but nothing in this collection is asking to be experienced with dispassionate intellectual detachment. Nothing here shies away from either hope or hopelessness. As we cut the last tethers to 2017 and sail on into the future, we invite you to immerse yourselves in this issue, and to feel fully what it is asking you to feel, before beginning the hard work of answering its questions.