Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FIve or So Questions with Kira Magrann on RESISTOR

I interviewed Kira Magrann about her upcoming zine, RESISTOR, which is being co-created with Elissa Leach. It sounds like a fantastic project, and you can check it out on Kickstarter now!

Tell me a little about RESISTOR. What excites you about it?
Elissa and I have been wanting to collaborate on a project for awhile, and we just weren't sure what themes we wanted it to have. The second she said "let's do something cyberwitchy" I jumped out of the chair I was sitting in and nearly spilled the bourbon I was drinking. YES. CYBERWITCHES.

The cool thing about this project is that it's remixing a bunch of ideas, communities, and people in one place. That's a very cyberpunk thing in and of itself. It's featuring games, art, and fiction, in a zine format, which is very popular in current queer and social justice circles. We wanted a diverse set of creators so we've got trans, non-binary, women, and POC working on it. And we wanted it to have that gritty feel, like something you could find next to some fliers at a punk bar. I'm excited about the aesthetic, and the stories we're telling!


Zines have a long history with social justice, queer culture, and a lot of divergent subcultures. What are you bringing that's new to the format, and what inspirations did you have for the types of materials you brought together?
Elissa and I kinda wanted to remix a bunch of ideas, communities, and people in one place. It's a super cyberpunk idea, taking the old "zine tech" of rough edges, collaboration, personal politics, and making it new. It's featuring games, art, and fiction, in a zine format. We wanted a diverse set of creators so we've got trans, non-binary, women, and POC working on it. And we wanted it to have that gritty feel, like something you could find next to some fliers at a punk bar. So like, easy to pick up, engage with, and get sucked into our world with no prior knowledge of the themes or how to play these games.


What are a few of the challenges you've encountered creating a niche project like RESISTOR, and what good things surprised you?
I think the biggest challenges so far have just been logistics, really! This is my first Kickstarter, and Elissa's second, so figuring out how all that works and how to coordinate with a partner on a project like this has just been a little trial and error. Mostly we just hung around with Elissa's cats, listened to some records, and like, made headers and bios for the kickstarter page.

We're both visual artists, so creating images and finding collaborators on that end wasn't too hard. I've been really inspired while this kickstarter is running, it's hitting the reward centers of my brain and motivating me to create new stuff! I think that sometimes its easy to see creating things and making Kickstarters as difficult, stressful obstacles, but I've really enjoyed organizing everything, and coming up with ideas that are cyber-witchy to write about. Working with these amazing people has been really maybe the best part. Banana Chan's game is gorgeous, Elissa's art is phenomenal, my game ritual has been super inspiring, it's really easy to get into the setting and thinking of this zine and create a whole lot of things for it, because its basically everything that I love. Funny how that works out, making things I love is easy!


Cyberpunk and social justice are two things I absolutely love. Coming in from that angle, what are the two things that you would say to someone with my interests to get me to invest in the project?
I like to think of RESISTOR as a kind of tool to inspire people to think more about these ideas. Not really a manifesto, but something that someone can pick up and read and say, yea, I wanna go talk about this class issue, or this neat ritual way of thinking, or apply this to my every day life. We want it to be accessible to a bunch of different communities, so not just the queer, punk, music, comic communities where zines are popular now, but also gaming communities and fiction communities. My black heart would grow three sizes if women and trans and non-binary and POC people in comics started playing roleplaying games by picking up this zine. It's also hella styish and woke af. Cyberpunk often is about awesome chrome cyborgs and fighting the corporations in this real rebellious uplifting way, and we kinda want it to be like that but, less guns and simple binaries, more witchy rituals and complex cultural nuances.


Finally, if I were a cyberpunk dystopia, and you were a witch, if you took out our hearts, what would they be in RESISTOR?


I mean, we're already living in that dystopia. So basically, they'd be right where they are, but like, connected by deep black ghost tunes of all the other hearts around us trying to make this world a little better with our glitched-rituals, metallic hymnals resonating in tiny screens that sit next to us every day. Our hearts are all connected even outside of our bodies in machines where we make them vulnerable.


I don't know about you, but those black ghost tunes are throbbing in my heart right now. RESISTOR sounds like an awesome product and I'd love to see it out and available. Check it out on Kickstarter and consider becoming a backer!


This post was supported by the community on patreon.com/briecs.