small night zine
I was a violent blusher as a kid. At the mention of IT I feel its rosy red fingers creeping into my cheeks. The first and worst time was when I was asked by my English teacher at twelve years old to stand up and read out an essay I'd written about a crocodile who went to the dentist. The teacher must have been good, someone I trusted. I'd emptied out in the text, nothing censored, everything I knew or didn't know as a twelve year old was on the page. Trust died that day. The teacher had singled me out among kids I barely knew—neck flashes red; asked me to stand and read my words, words I'd entrusted to one reader, the teacher—cheeks flash red; about a fucking crocodile that goes to a heavy-metal loving sadist dentist and… I forget. The setup is good, crocodile and dentist—you can imagine. I remember the crocodile, the dentist, and especially the heavy metal element, because the cool kid in the class had an AC/DC patch on the back of his denim jacket slung over his chair and, as soon as I finished reading under what felt like a thousand electric heater coils circling me like the rings of Saturn, voiced his offence of my characterisation of the sadist dentist as a metaler—cheeks burst.
To blush is "to become red in the face especially from shame, modesty, or confusion". And yet this dictionary definition does not go deep enough in defining what it is to blush. You cannot fake blushing. Why would you? How could you? Flutter your eyelashes? The social and professional personas we construct are paper thin. When something unforeseen occurs in the public sphere those paper personas bleed with the private you. These paper personas are how we see ourselves in public and deal with the social environment. We recruit them to protect our private self from the public other. We believe in them. They work well in the given context, until the unexpected word, gesture, slip or trip launches the blusher headfirst towards the sun.
I recently shared with a classroom of students—this time from the other end of the classroom—that I had lost my blush, and I miss it. Being a blusher is the worst thing as a kid—it's always there, like night and day, waiting for you to think it alive. Nevertheless it reveals a connection with the body that, from the outside, is ingratiating. We feel sorry for the blusher, but we also want to be them. What a thrill to be alive in our cheeks.
With these blushing images in mind, Small Night Zine invites artists to submit a proposal for a screen-printed zine that blushes, causes one to blush, reflects on blushing, and so on. The selected artist will supply the content and Small Night Zine will act as editor, confidant and printer in the development of the idea and zine. We will talk, bash around ideas, make mistakes, maybe even blush, and hopefully start a train of thinking that goes beyond blushing to new thinking and ways of disseminating art in the world.
Submit 500 word proposal and mood image to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 25th 2019.