Critical Studio 2017 – The Cherries Are Gone – Zine

The instructions for this assignment was to elaborate on “From_In the World,” to “choose a part of our past that defines us.” As a kid, I had a lot of alone time. I cherished this alone time by doing absolutely nothing. I did nothing because I realized I could never fully do anything. The vastness of the world hit me at too young of an age, which made me turn to look at things I thought only I could see (light from windows, the mark left over from crossed legs). My life was extremely mundane. This type of isolation felt nice at first. I would come home to my mom everyday after school, and we would discuss everything from movie listings to why we think we exist to my aunt’s new hair cut over a bowl of cherries. After the bowl of cherries was finished, a bowl of pits would be left in the sink, rotting there until the next day, stems and chewed on pits magically replenished into bulbous and juicy red spheres by the following afternoon. For a while, I thought this was life, that this was living, always carrying around a feeling of empty longing in the back of my head.

When I moved to the city my entire idea of life completely shifted. Instead of waiting around my house, looking for tricks of light and bumps on legs and little quirks of our natural world, I was deeply rooted in something I had never felt before-vibrancy, connection, relationships. Moving to the city opened up not only a whole geographical world, but an emotional world. I wasn’t just watching life, I was living in it. For the first time, I had a group of friends, people to relate to, deep emotional connections that extended past after school talks with my mom.

The idea of the cover and back of this zine was a metaphor for (my) life. The bowl of cherries at the front signifies the beginning of an experience, a lifetime, and the back is the end, a bowl full of pits and stems, experiences gathered, chewed, spit out, used up. The first and second page are meant to illustrate my life before moving to New York. I would feel a cloudiness, and empty feeling of longing for something more than the mundane life I had led before the city. The image of the window signified the entirety of my joy at home-I would lie down in the same spot on my living room rug for a whole day and watch how the sun made specs of dust seemingly rise from a thick woven carpet, a breeding ground for all kinds of dust tracked in from the outer universe, and brought into mine. As the sun would set, light would change form, color, size and it would greet me, dazzle me, and then leave without a trace. This would be my entertainment, and the way I thought I was meant to experience the world, the inside looking out.

The next page signifies the transformation of my body, and the relationships around it. Once a lone island, and now an archipelago, full of people who teach me how to live within this world, how to smoke, how to go out, how to fully enjoy. Looking in retrospect, I imagine jumping into the past, screaming, “there’s so much more to all of this, you’ll see!” I get excited for who I was know that I know who I’ve become.

The last page represents the moment I realized my life had only started about a year ago, lighting a cigarette with a friend. This moment was a literal spark, a piece of worldly magic that jolted me into reality- reminding me that there is much more to this world than I’d ever known before that moment.

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