Birkesnake is a handmade annual fiction journal founded by Brian Conn and Joanna Ruocco in 2008. Birkensnake's guiding principles are simple: that it should be awesome and that it should be affordable to readers. Thanks to the submissions of remarkable writers, the drawings of the intergalactically renowned Chemlawn McDermott, the help of dozens of loyal printers, folders, punchers, sewers, and gluers, and the serendipitous availability of cheap x-ray sleeves, flocked card stock, irregular boxes, magnetic filings, wallpaper, blowtorches, and toxic chemicals, Birkensnake has managed to remain true to these principles for five gloriously mutagenic issues.
Birkensnake 6, due in the fall of 2013, is an unholy experiment in trans-dimensional alliances of the stranger kind -- but that doesn't mean it won't be just as awesome and affordable as the Birkensnakes that have gone before.
It is being edited in seven different versions by seven different teams of editors, strangers to each other until they signed on to this project. All seven versions will be produced, and each will call itself "Birkensnake 6."
In addition, each version of this sevenfold Birkensnake 6 is being designed and constructed by a different artist or team of artists. One issue: seven aberrations. Birkensnake 6 will be the Cthulhu of Birkensnakes and the world of letters will never be the same.
Flavorwire says Birkensnake 6 is one of "The Year's Coolest Literary Magazine Innovations." The readers of HTMLGiant, in a statistically irreproachable survey, voted Birkensnake among the hottest litmags in the world. The New York Times once sort of deigned to mention us in an equivocal way.
We're hoping to give each of the Birkensnake 6 book artists a little money for materials, and perhaps, if they are very frugal, to pay them for maybe two hours of their time. And, since this is a project about startling objects arising from networks of strangers, like undreamt-of creatures coalescing from mountain mists, we want to be funded by strangers too. All the money we raise through Kickstarter will go to postage and to the bookmakers listed below.
Pledging can get you one or all of the stranger-edited-and-produced Birkensnake 6s, and maybe a little more. These Birkensnakes might also be available through other channels (such as our website) in the fall, but the best way to make sure you end up with one is to put some money down now.
Editorial teams have been laboring since the summer of 2012, when we chose people from an unexpectedly strong pool of applicants and paired them together by asking ourselves which partnerships would be likely to create the most interesting problems. The best introduction to their projects is our website; the links below will take you to the submissions guidelines of the various pairs, and give you some idea what they're doing.
- Yongie Jung and J A Tyler: The Shapes of Words and the Meanings of Sounds
- Emily Kiernan and Carol Samson: Thing Theory
- Benny Lichtner and Elan Lafontaine
- Megan Milks and Miodrag Kojadinovic: Neverending Tales
- Amber Dorko Stopper and Liz Hahn: Wild Conformations
- Brian Warfield and William Ambler: Crossing Thresholds
- Hedy Zimra and Diana George
All of them are destined to produce works that will stagger humanity.
- Edie Fake
- Yongie Jung
- Friedrich Kerksieck
- Walker Mettling
- Andrew Oesch
- Carol Samson & Emily Kiernan
- Nicole Trigg & Michele Chun
Why Are We Doing This?
Why is Birkensnake 6 not a normal unitary Birkensnake edited by Joanna Ruocco and Brian Conn? In part perhaps because we fear that our central nervous systems would not survive the manufacture of another Birkensnake at this time; but also because we are interested in what happens when two people, especially two strangers, work together as curators of art. Working together as artists is one thing, but working together as curators is different. Do the two stranger-partners create a different collection than either would create alone? Does this collection simply represent an intersection of tastes, or something more complex? Are there collections that can only be assembled by pairs of curators, and never by individuals? Are there collections that can only be assembled by pairs of curators who are also strangers?
What will happen to the stranger-partners themselves? Once they have curated art together, will they ever be the same again?
Birkensnake 6 will conclusively answer these and other questions. If you'd like more background, have a look at our original call for editors.
Risks and challenges
The risks are unimaginable. Anything could happen. But we have never made a Birkensnake subject to less than unimaginable risks.
The evidence that we will get it done is that we have done so five times in the past, mainly by knowing a great many kind people who actually know what they are doing, and secondarily by being willing to completely change our requirements several times a day as circumstances dictate. We've always ended up with something awesome, and we have faith that this Birkensnake will be awesome too.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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