THE IMPOSSIBLE

I think this concept is cool.

While some of us expand our reach, how about some of us also limit it. I’m an all of the above and all of the below kind of guy.

I think it would be awesome if the website played this song on a constant loop:

7 thoughts on “THE IMPOSSIBLE

  1. And what, precisely, is the concept? I read the site and have to say I don’t really get it.

    This sounds like millions of other zines to me, honestly (except this one has a website). And I love zines, but I don’t see what’s so revolutionary or noteworthy here. Maybe I’m missing something…?

    • The site’s focus is explained on its “About” page as follows:

      THE IMPOSSIBLE IS AN EXPERIMENT IN OBSCURITY. COMPLAINTS ARE OFTEN LODGED AGAINST DIFFICULT ART– & OBTUSE TEXTS SPECIFICALLY. THE IDEA OF A TEXT BEING UNREADABLE OR TOO ESOTERIC IS TOO OFTEN AN EASY WAY TO DISMISS WORK.

      THE QUESTION IS: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN ARRAY OF IMPOSSIBLE TEXTS ARE COLLECTED TOGETHER AND DISPERSED INTO THE WORLD IN RARE FORM?

      THE IMPOSSIBLE IS A HIGHLY EPHEMERAL & LIMITED LIT JOURNAL/ZINE THAT IS INTERESTED IN PUBLISHING UNREADABLE, HERMETIC, ESOTERIC, OBSCURE TEXTS.

      THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL RELEASE FOUR PRINT ISSUES THROUGHOUT 2011 AND THEN DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY. EACH ISSUE WILL EXIST IN ONLY 25 + N COPIES, THE VARIABLE N HERE STANDING FOR THE NUMBER OF CONTRIBUTORS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL ISSUE.

      OUT OF THE 25 COPIES NOT INTENDED FOR CONTRIBUTORS, 5 COPIES WILL BE SOMEWHAT-ANONYMOUSLY DISTRIBUTED TO VARIOUS PLACES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. 5 MORE COPIES WILL BE OFFERED AS PART OF A LIMITED SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGE. THE REMAINING FIFTEEN COPIES WILL BE SOLD FROM THE INTERNET.

      THE IMPOSSIBLE IS INTERESTED IN REFERENCING THE LIMITED NETWORKS THAT VANGUARD LITERARY WORK TRAVELLED THROUGH IN THE 60S & 70S. TEXTS PUBLISHED IN THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE TO READ ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET.

      THE IMPOSSIBLE IS INTERESTED IN FOSTERING THE UNCANNY ATMOSPHERE ONE CAN ENCOUNTER WHEN DISCOVERING LOST WORK. THE OBSCURITY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE IS NOT AIMING AT AN ELITISM, RATHER, IT IS AIMING FOR AFFECT– THE POSSIBILITY THAT A RARE TEXT OBJECT, BY ITS OWN INVISIBILITY, ITS OWN ESOTERICISM, CAN CAN A ZONE OF ATMOSPHERE FOR TEXT TO TRANSPIRE IN.

      BECAUSE OF THIS DESIRE FOR AFFECT, THE IMPOSSIBLE IS INTERESTED IN TEXTS THAT REVEL IN & AIM FOR TRUE TERROR. HOWEVER, THE IMPOSSIBLE IS NOT INTERESTED IN TEXTS THAT CONFORM TO ADJECTIVES LIKE “SHOCKING” OR “EDGY.” THE IMPOSSIBLE IS AFTER THE VIOLENCE OF THE PAGE, NOT THE VIOLENCE OF CONTENT.

      THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL LEAVE ITS MARK ON THE WORLD AND THEN FADE INTO THE LIMELIGHT. IN THE PRESENT STATE OF THE LITERARY WORLD, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. LIFE CAN LAST FOREVER IF YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT NEVER END. LIFE CAN BE SOMETHING THAT IS GREATER THAN EVERYTHING ELSE.

      IN THE FUTURE EVERYBODY WILL NOT BE FAMOUS FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES, THEY WILL BE FAMOUS FOR ALL OF ETERNITY. IN THE FUTURE, THE IMPOSSIBLE BECOMES POSSIBLE. IN THE FUTURE, WE CAN ALL FLY. IN THE FUTURE, WE ARE ALL IMPOSSIBLE.

      No, it isn’t clear what this “JOURNAL/ZINE” intends to do, but then again that lack of clarity might have something to do with their effort being an “EXPERIMENT IN OBSCURITY.” The question is, what happens to the reader when she or he encounters a text with all caps? Another question is, how can something LEAVE ITS MARK ON THE WORLD AND THEN FADE INTO THE LIMELIGHT”? Seems like a contradiction in terms to me, an impossibility, as it were.

      Despite these curiosities, I am more curious to see what David Peak will have in the first issue.

      • I read all that, John (hence my statement, “I read the site”), and

        1) I honestly didn’t understand a lot of it (“THE OBSCURITY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE IS NOT AIMING AT AN ELITISM, RATHER, IT IS AIMING FOR AFFECT– THE POSSIBILITY THAT A RARE TEXT OBJECT, BY ITS OWN INVISIBILITY, ITS OWN ESOTERICISM, CAN CAN A ZONE OF ATMOSPHERE FOR TEXT TO TRANSPIRE IN.”)—much gratitude if you can explain the end of that sentence to me;

        &

        2) I didn’t (and still don’t) see what’s so “cool” or novel about this concept. Obscure writing that won’t be put on the internet but will instead be distributed only to the contributors (plus a few copies “somewhat-randomly” placed here and there)—”THE QUESTION IS: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN ARRAY OF IMPOSSIBLE TEXTS ARE COLLECTED TOGETHER AND DISPERSED INTO THE WORLD IN RARE FORM?”—well, welcome to the world of zines! There have only been, say, maybe several million of them made since the mid-1970s.

        I’m not trying to be cynical (well, not too cynical). I’m genuinely asking Tim, you, others: am I missing something here? Is this journal doing something new, and I’m just not seeing it? (Please point it out to me if so, I want to see, maybe even contribute, hunt down a copy.)

        Or is this instead more like a case of a small lit journal trying to build hype by appropriating from zines, but not calling it that—either because they don’t know they’re doing that (perfectly OK), or because calling it for what it is would make it less hype-full (more dubious to me)?

        I’ll admit I’m curious partly because Chicago is right now right smack dab in the middle of its annual ZineFest (being a former zinester, I just read at one of their events), so zines happen to be on my mind.

        Many cheers to all,
        A

      • Adding: The all-caps, btw, is a clue that this is totally zine-inspired. I bet the Journal is badly photocopied and uses Courier as its font.

        Also adding: I’m not knocking it! I’m all for any writing, any magazine! The more the merrier! But I also like when high lit folks admit which huge established subculture they’re ripping off in order to win their street cred!

        Especially since, in my experience, small press folks tend not to pay zines any attention whatsoever—and vice versa. (I have tons of small press friends, and tons of zinester friends, and they’re totally separate worlds—it’s not unlike the divide between poetry MFAs and slam poets). I like to think that’s changing, though, or can change… I happen to like both, myself.

        • my immersion in the history of zines & small press culture, and the amount of forgotten shit that i regularly seek out is part of the motivation behind the project– i mean, i do even note, specifically, in the about, that it’s my interest in these scenes that is driving the project. the ‘pretense,’ or whatever, towards not specifically calling it a zine is more in the interest of actually attracting writers– because on a personal level it’s also sort of an experiment in solicitation & i want work that i know will be fantastic.

          i like both as well, and i suppose this is also somewhat of an attempt in combining what it is that i like about both. (i should also note that while the result will indeed be photocopied & possibly using courier as a font, my specific design influences are being drawn from small/limited architectural & conceptual art booklets/zines/whatever… i’m not taking the punk-zine route here,–as i hope to have made clear by the website–i have a lot invested in communicative aspects of design itself)

          and yes, it may be coy, or even too obvious, for the vague nature of the ‘about’ to echo the idea of the obfuscation, but the entire project is about shaping the formless. you ask about this sentence: “THE OBSCURITY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE IS NOT AIMING AT AN ELITISM, RATHER, IT IS AIMING FOR AFFECT– THE POSSIBILITY THAT A RARE TEXT OBJECT, BY ITS OWN INVISIBILITY, ITS OWN ESOTERICISM, CAN CAN A ZONE OF ATMOSPHERE FOR TEXT TO TRANSPIRE IN.”

          perhaps it could be considered that i’m fabricating a ‘time capsule.’ subjectively, when i manage to track something down that seems like it’s been lost forever, there’s a level of experience built into that which shades my experience with the text/images/content itself. with the authors i’m soliciting i would imagine that more than 20 copies could reasonably be assured to sell to/”make themselves present in” the (lit/art/whatever) world.

          the limited nature is pushing towards ideas i’ve had about experiential literature/text/art and how to push this level of affect beyond the words and images themselves. if you end up with a copy of journal, you know that you are one of only 25+N people who will have the object. arguably this changes the relationship to the text. for the text to reach beyond this extremely limited pool, it would have to be bootlegged, which is completely ok with me. this is, of course, just ideas being put into praxis– i feel like it’s made very clear that the entire project is experimental in nature. i’m not necessarily trying to break entirely new ground, but i am specifically interested in what will happen when this sort of invisibility vs presence (i.e. the authors will probably post their publications in their c.v.’s, etc, but to be able to actually encounter the text itself will take a level of steps beyond clicking a link once it’s sold out. perhaps i’m pushing for a more active exploration of literature).

          • Thank you for your very gracious response! It’s better than I deserve, really, since I’ve been being somewhat obnoxious. I’m afraid my original question grew out of hand. I really didn’t mean to be such a curmudgeon. Sourpuss, perhaps, but not a curmudgeon.

            Mainly, I was trying to clarify what the journal was about. Given Tim’s enthusiasm, I had the feeling that I was missing something (which I was). I did not mean, to paraphrase Donald Sutherland in Little Murders, to put anyone down:

            So thanks for taking the time to respond! I’m all for the zine/press overlap, and it was wrong of me to assume you didn’t know what you were up to—apologies. I’m wishing you the very best in this project. As well as trying to think of something excellently impossible to send you…

            Cheers,
            Adam

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