Interview with a Zinester: Metropolarity!

We start the day with an interview from the crew of Metropolarity, a group of queer people of color who create sci-fi zines! Check it out.

A laughing crew of zinesters making fun expressions in a room with bright green walls.

A laughing crew of zinesters making fun expressions in a room with bright green walls.

Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do.

Metropolarity is a Philly-based collective of four queer sci-fi writers of color: Alex Smith, Rasheedah Phillips, Maggie Eighteen, and Ras Mashramani. As individuals and as a collective we do readings & performances, workshops, and put out work in the form of individual/collaborative zines and object/information-based propaganda. Alex Smith is the founder of Laser Life, our favorite series of queer sci-fi readings in Philly. Rasheedah has recently authored an experimental time travel exploration of trauma in her book, Recurrence Plot, and is the creative director and founder of the Afrofuturist Affair and Black Quantum Futurism. Eighteen writes & records All That’s Left, a post-binary dystopian cyborg zine series (online 4 free at cyborgmemoirs.com), and is working on an extended book version for October this year (thanks Leeway). Ras was the impetus to form Metropolarity itself and occasionally does Street Theory, a communal potluck and open mic critical theory night. The lot of us organized the Allied Media Conference’s Liberation Technologies sci-fi track last year together with Ash Richards, KellyAnne Mifflin, Petra Floyd, and Jade Fair of Honey & Blackbone.

We at Metropolarity believe that those without power must take advantage and control of the media outlets that we have access to. We choose science fiction as our lens to create new worlds, identities, self paradigms, and to destroy old, harmful ones.

We have a frequently updated calendar of events at our site: http://metropolarity.net, and a solid selection of available gear at our distro spot, http://metropolarity.storenvy.com  ^_~/

How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?

Informative, personal, historical, radical zines have always been in our lives. We are influenced by no one person or group in particular, and probably more driven to produce zines as a means to be in control of our own mediated narratives and technological exchange with others.

What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

Our zines are feminist by all means, yet to confine our zines to that or any single word is insufficient. We think producing an object as a tool for communication, education, and information exchange should be done deliberately, like any meditation or ritual. Feminist zine making is a communion.

What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

We like zines that feel like important objects and heavy with intent.

If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

A pair of scissors.

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

Emma Caterine had a couple of badass sci-fi zines last year, which was a delight because we are vicious radical scifi nerds and that’s rare. Big up massive to our neighbors, all the Philly zinesters because they do good shit. Looking forward to seeing what everyone’s going to have, the list right now is stacked!

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