$8,814
pledged of $7,500pledged of $7,500 goal
150
backers
3days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, September 19 2019 3:46 PM UTC +00:00.

Protean Magazine, Issue 2: Anti-Sisyphus

The second issue of our critically lauded, widely adored, ad-free leftist literary and arts magazine.

Protean Magazine, Issue 2: Anti-Sisyphus

The second issue of our critically lauded, widely adored, ad-free leftist literary and arts magazine.

$8,814
pledged of $7,500pledged of $7,500 goal
150
backers
3days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, September 19 2019 3:46 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Protean is a nonprofit literary collective for the political revolution. Our mission is to fund and publish a biannual print magazine and a website that both feature high-quality critical essays, fiction, poetry, and art for the rising left, completely ad-free. We pay our contributors fair compensation for their labor, as we believe that exposure does not pay the bills—it's something you die of in the wild.

We aim to become a beacon of culture on the left, and believe that all kinds of writing and art have an essential role to play in antifascist and anticapitalist movements. They help us reflect on the past, understand and embrace the present moment, and envision the possibilities of the future. Such art makes for precious lights in dark times.  

Issue 1
An illustration from our second issue, by Iranian artist Anis Tabaraee.
An illustration from our second issue, by Iranian artist Anis Tabaraee.

Why You Should Buy, Subscribe, and Donate

Since our first issue, Protean has grown into a known quantity, and we're confident that we continue to have valuable work to offer. Protean's first issue, Pattern Machines, was very well-received, and our online readership grows by the day. Our collective has established a strong and dedicated editorial team, a fantastic lineup of writers and artists, and a weekly output of incisive online content.

Moreover, Protean is an entirely reader- and supporter-funded operation. We do not take money from advertisers—which is why you're reading this Kickstarter. To publish at scale, we must raise funds, and we can't do it without our passionate, engaged readership.

Here's a list of our extraordinarily talented Issue 2 contributors:

Critical Essays

  •  Sophie Weiner – Night Editor, Splinter.com / Bylines in Gawker, Splinter, Rolling Stone 
  •  Maximillian Alvarez – Freelance Writer / Host, Working People Podcast / Bylines in The Baffler, Current Affairs, Truthout, LA Review of Books 
  •  Sophie Haigney – Critic & Reporter / Bylines in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Baffler, Slate, The Atlantic 
  •  Michael Malloy – Freelance Writer & Ecological Researcher
  • Jaya Sundaresh – Journalist & Activist / Bylines in Current Affairs 
  •  Tongo Eisen-Martin – Poet & Author of someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015) and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017) / American Book Award and California Book Award Winner / Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist
  • Tyler Walicek – Freelance Writer / Co-Founder & Editor, Protean Magazine 
  • Steven Monacelli – Co-Founder, Publisher & Editor, Protean Magazine 

Fiction

  •  Lyta Gold – Writer / Amusements & Managing Editor, Current Affairs 
  •  Jimmy Chen – Writer & Painter / Bylines in McSweeney's, Fourteen Hills, Snow Monkey 
  •  Mike Corrao – Writer & Filmmaker / Author of Man, Oh Man (Orson’s Publishing, 2018) and Gut Text (11:11 Press, 2019) / Bylines in Entropy, Always Crashing, The Portland Review 

Poetry

  • Fargo Tbakhi – Poet / Pushcart Nominee, 2019 Ghassan Kanafani Resistance Arts Scholarship
  • Mel Gammie – Writer & Editor, Protean Magazine / Host, Coffee With Comrades 
  • Dominick Knowles – Poet & Educator / Bylines in Viewpoint Magazine 
  • Ridwan Tijani – Poet / Bylines in The Stinging Fly, Cosmonauts Avenue 
  • More to be announced.

Art/Design

  •  Eli Valley – Illustrator, Cartoonist, Writer, Activist & Author of DIASPORA BOY: COMICS ON CRISIS IN AMERICA AND ISRAEL (OR Books, 2017)
  •  Anis Tabaraee – Illustrator / As seen in Now Then Magazine 
  •  Cristina Daura – Illustrator / As seen in The New York Times, Penguin Books 
  • More to be announced.
A gorgeous piece from our first issue, by Benjamin Sack.
A gorgeous piece from our first issue, by Benjamin Sack.

What We Need to Succeed

After the revolution, we'll all live lives of leisure in a post-money, post-work society. But in the meantime, we still pay the bills.

Our most central goal is to ensure that we pay our writers and artists at fair and competitive rates to help sustain their work and livelihoods. Funding, printing, and distributing the fruits of their labor requires money up front. We are fully dedicated to using those resources to produce nothing but the highest quality full-color magazines and to continuing to give online content away for free. 

Making magazines can be pretty expensive, particularly if you're paying your contributors fairly. This is why we price each issue at $20. Our fundraising goal for our initial issue was extremely modest: $500. We ended up raising five times that amount.

 We believe we can do even better this time around, which is why we're setting our goal at $7,500. This will allow us to increase our print run, expand the amount of content per issue, and pay some of the best writers and artists on the left. 

 Announcing Issue 2: Anti-Sisyphus 

Protean Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2’s theme revolves around the small, daily indignities that capitalism foists upon us. There are a thousand tiny absurd moments each day in the worlds of work, commerce, media, and more that insult our humanity and our intelligence, rob of us our dignity, and delude us about the nature of the world. These tiny costs to our mental health, our self-concept, and our understanding are factored in on the ledger, taken for granted as the baseline reality.   

We’ve developed a central metaphor to stand in for the weight of these disharmonies. Our title for the issue is Anti-Sisyphus—with a nod to Deleuze and Guattari, it's a retooling of Albert Camus’s interpretation of the classic Greek myth, which builds on the concept while distancing it from the outdated monoculture and social context from which it emerged. While yoked to endless toil, Sisyphus is a bit of a Randian übermensch, a heroic individualist. He is a fallen king, and his uncomplaining rise to the occasion of his cursed task feels in line with the Great Man theory of history, normative concepts of masculinity, and a whole bunch of other tropes that run counter to the kind of people that we’re trying to reach with this issue. 

To us, in a reversal of the Sisyphus myth, Anti-Sisyphus is an ordinary person who, in place of the traditional mountain, is instead trapped in a pit. They are not heroic, except in their own small and quiet ways, and were certainly never royalty. And while they may have to labor away at a futile job, they must also face down an avalanche of absurdities that every day threatens to bury them. By night they must dig themselves out, only for the cascade to begin anew each morning.  But they do not toil alone nor suffer in solitude, and by recognizing their collective condition, can hope to escape the pit for good.

We have some truly incredible writers commissioned for this issue who are working towards a better understanding of our nuanced emotional responses to capitalism, and the ways by which we might reassert our dignity and our humanity against the world’s hostile edges. We hope to have your help in supporting their work. 

Editorial Collective:

  •  Publisher & Editor: Steven Monacelli
  •  Editor: Tyler Walicek
  •  Art Director: G. Slug
  •  Fiction Editor: Seth Garben
  •  Poetry Editor: James Knox-Davies
  •  Associate Editor: Mel Gammie
  •  Staff Writer: Michael Malloy
  •  Operations Manager: Alyssa McDougle
  •  Intern: Alissa Anderson

Risks and challenges

There are few. We've done this before, and are a bit steadier on our feet this time around! The greatest risk is the possibility of a print or shipping delay. But rest assured, we will make certain that each and every buyer receives their magazines and merch come what may.

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    Receive some sweet decorative items featuring the Protean logo and artwork. You get to display cool flair, and we get free advertising.

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    Protean Magazine Issue 2 Digital Edition

    Our gorgeously illustrated, incisively authored magazine, in digital .pdf format! Browse our delightful content from the cold comfort of your glowing screen. The screen commands you. Do not move your gaze from the screen.

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    Protean Magazine Issue 2 Print Edition

    The thing itself. Blistering critique from your favorite writers. Extraordinary illustration from talents across the web. Poetry to bring you to tears or call you to action. If you've seen our first issue, you know how beautiful our print editions are. If not, please buy that one too! Lavished with loving care and designed to the highest aesthetic standard: what we think looks cool. Including our Protean corporate marketing products—a sticker and button with which to festoon yourself, heightening our Brand.

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    Protean Magazine Issues 1+2 Bundle

    The first two issues of our legendary, seminal print magazine. As the voice of the left for generations, a double dose of Protean issues will treat you to criticism, art, and content spanning the vast two years of our existence. They're fascinating. They're collectible. They look great on the shelf. You don't even have to read them. You'll look smart.

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    Protean Magazine Lifetime Subscription

    Over the course of your prosperous and fulfilling life, you will receive each and every issue that Protean Magazine concocts. That should add up to a good sixty-or-so issues, depending on your lifestyle, the possibility of impending climate-driven civilizational collapse, and how often we feel like it. We'll get you started with two mags in print and .pdf and some merchandise.

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    • Protean Magazine Issue 1 Print Edition
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    • Protean Magazine Issue 2 Print Edition
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