In this postmodern world, the process of creating art may hold more value than the work itself.
Last night in the Terrace Room at Claudia Cohen Hall, a collaborative student group celebrated the first issue of a new campus publication: Symbiosis.
This annual publication began last fall as just an idea, but with support from Jessica Lowenthal of the Kelly Writers House, the idea became a reality.
Symbiosis is designed to foster collaboration between visual artists and writers of poetry and prose.
College freshman Gina DeCagna, the magazine’s founder and editor-in-chief, described Symbiosis as “not just the typical literary art magazine.”
DeCagna — who plans to study English and creative writing — was inspired to create a new campus magazine through her involvement with Writers House and her lifelong passion for art and writing.
“Symbiosis was an idea that grew out of my love for intertwining visual and literary media — only this time, I was interested in how differing creative minds come together through collaboration,” DeCagna said.
And collaboration has been fruitful. With more than 60 contributors and 19 staff members, only 10 pieces ultimately made the editor’s cut.
As Symbiosis’ project manager, College junior Deepa Lakshmin had the role of pairing artists and writers and routinely checking up on their progress. Once the artists and writers were paired up, they decided how they would collaborate on their projects.
Some duos met at coffee shops, collaborated through email, went on trips together or even found inspiration meeting in a graveyard, DeCagna said.
Symbiosis editors also hope the publication will build cohesion in the creative community at Penn.
“We’re off to a great start, and we’ve brought out a lot of promising artists and writers,” said College freshman Nick DeFina, one of the magazine’s poetry editors. “And the hope is to encourage more artistic collaborations inside and outside of the magazine’s publication on campus.”
Symbiosis also strives to “break boundaries” by introducing new artists and writers who have a mutual interest in creative exchange.
In this spirit, the magazine is already looking for submissions for next year’s issue. Once accepted, contributors will be randomly matched up with a partner to create a “symbiotic” artistic experience.
Copies of the magazine will be made available at locations such as Kelly Writers House, Houston Hall and Fisher Fine Arts Library.
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