Home PageArchivesVolume no. 4Issue 1Letter: V4I1

I Once Was Lost…

Volume no. 4 – Winter

Place exists outside the human mind, yet gets altered in its image through human interaction, right? The way a forest becomes a condo park or the way one of those generic condos becomes a hip and cozy pad, yours.

Though involved in web design for several years, my gears remain twisted on the subject of virtual space. First off, where do virtual spaces exist? A) The Internet? B) Your portable device? C) The human mind? D) All of the above?

Like any human creation, 2D virtual spaces (videogames, websites, your smartphone’s GUI) fall into genres, each with spatial conventions that developers tease and appease to create a more hands-on “life-like” experience. Videogames remain the most interactive. Ever play “Marble Madness”? Racing a marble through a totally 80s “3D” grid-scape, dodging pits and impediments to reach the finish line. One of the most frustrating games ever made. To this day, I recall the sensation of straining against the inertia of a course’s tight curves to avoid being thrown from the track into the black abyss below. What’s down there? I wondered. Well, nothing, of course—down there never existed because it wasn’t programmed, only imagined. And those life-or-death curves? More than imagined—a projection, data manifesting as space in the mind; though only when encountered, never occupying physical space. If no human mind were to encounter “Marble Madness,” the space would not take shape, the screen only an odd way to illuminate a room.

And if a tree falls in a forest—

For the last few months, I’ve been on the front lines of the Newfound redesign. Our aim was to construct a place with aesthetic elements that convey attitudes decided upon by the staff—fresh, artful, smart, fun, professional. Simplicity and white space were our modi operandi. So we over-designed, then erased as much as we could while keeping the aesthetic alive; minimalism, like a Gordon Lish treatment of a Raymond Carver story. No design is ever finished, though we feel we’ve achieved our goal to provide room for a reader, space to breathe, to relax, dream in the margins.

The redesign has been a team effort. Our committed staff welcomed several newcomers as a result of our growth and recently prepared for the launch of Hothouse, our blog. There are so many folks to thank. Since I’m talking technical, I’ll shout out Jonah Sullivan from Craniumstorm.com and Stephanie Meyer, without which we couldn’t have pulled everything off so well for this release.

In Newfound 4.1, we present work of the highest caliber in which “place” is integral. Very talented individuals grace these pages: Amelia Gray, Anis Shivani, Kazumi Tanaka, Kambri Crews, Diana, Abu-Jaber, and more. For these artists, place serves as landscape, setting, scene, and subject, but also actor, obstacle, adventure, persona, revelator, friend, and home. Like the “Marble Madness” projection, this issue wouldn’t exist without people, contributors and staff and readers like you; all essential in shaping this space, so full of imagination, inspiration, and joy.

Welcome to Newfound: An Inquiry of Place.

Daniel Levis Keltner, Managing Editor

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