Kajet Journal is developing a new editorial project. For one of its forthcoming editions, which is focusing on The Real, we are inviting new collaborations that can take the shape of texts and photography series. Five such materials will be selected to be published online and in print.

Kajet Journal is developing a new editorial project. For one of its forthcoming editions, which is focusing on the Real, we are inviting new collaborations that can take the shape of texts and photography series.

The aim of each edition is to deconstruct, recontextualise, critically interpret concepts that can be reclaimed as valuable tools in decoding (post-)modernity. That is, how can we re-conceptualise and re-interpret concepts that could prove relevant not just in exploring the current reality, but also in understanding the past and in building a better, more livable and more just future. We see this complicated notion of the Real—as well as reality, authenticity, fakeness—to be one such key notion that deserves more critical attention.

Technical info

In terms of the actual content that we are looking for, this editorial project maintains our current focus on critical theory and cultural studies, but seeks to move toward more relatable, approachable, informal, pop subject matters: namely, to depart from a theoretical premise which is then explored through an informal approach. Theoretical rigour is more than welcome in essence, but the form of the essay can take more informal routes; conceptually anchored, yet fluid in form. The contribution may have a speculative, fictional, experimental angle, it can be also narrowly focused on what the author perceives to be part of this ‘real’—‘reality’ realm, from pop culture to personal angles, from history to literature, from architecture to science-fiction, from art history to anthropology or contemporary art, etc. 

For essays, we are looking for a final word count of at least 2.500 words. For photo series, we are looking for projects of at least 10-12 images each. Five such materials will be selected to be published online and in a print edition that will come out in 2022. There is a total budget of 3.300 lei as part of a grant received from the Administration of the Romanian Cultural Fund, 660 lei for each material. We are aware that neither the allocated fee nor the tight timeline may stimulate the creation of projects from scratch, this is why the submitted projects can be already produced, in the course of production, or to be produced in the near future. If the format is flexible, only text and visual materials that tackle the notion of ‘the Real’ will be considered. This editorial project goes beyond the scope of Eastern Europe, unlike Kajet, but less Eurocentric/Westcentric approaches and subject matters are still encouraged. (Publishing this project in the English language should be enough in this regard.?)

A bit about the concept

A forthcoming edition of this new project will be focused on the ideas of the real, reality, realness, as well as interconnected and opposed concepts, such as the unreal, authenticity and phoniness, fake and fakeness, the imagined and the fictitious. We are not only asking what is real, but what is the real? Does the real have a future? If yes—or no—how does it look like? How do we write about it? How do we visualise it? 

It may be that if something cannot be found in the visible continuum of our everyday living, it is then not real. However, this precondition of spatiality (as well as of materiality) with regards to the real is an assumption that can be debated and debunked. To Plato, forms and ideas are real, although they are neither material nor spatial. To Kant, these are not things-in-themselves, but they belong to the way subjects intuit their surrounding worlds. What is the real in this paradigm caught between material and immaterial, between physical and virtual? 

Our most haunting memories survive in this liminal space of existence, between reality and imagination. There is a particular distinction between the real and the recreated—ultimately, between a so-called objective past and present and a so-called subjective interpretation of it. Situated in this limbo, memories have no active correspondents in reality. The virtual and the real overlap, provoking a hypnotic effect that sends the subject into the dizziness of uncontrollable vertigo. By entertaining parallel fictions, the world of reality may be itself inverted, taking the shape of an absurd fiction, a physical space where mankind is irrational and deluded. The real as we know it may be absurd, excessive, foreign, and alienating. We are not only interested in how we can represent this absurd reality or how we can critically tackle it, but—perhaps most importantly—how do we construct efficient counterpoints to it? Capital has assumed the status of the Real, so how can we come up with playful subversions through which a fundamentally new paradigm is possible? What is the future of the real?

Some keywords and possible avenues

socialist realism and capitalism realism, cyberspace and virtual space, the real Real with a capital R, alternative histories and speculative fictions that resolve ‘real life’ differently, the virtual and the real in a hypnotic melange of meanings, real-time and imagined time, illusions and the real of capitalism, capitalism and (in)authentic selves, authenticity and the crisis of the everyday, the commodification of reality through semiocapitalism, mythologies and realities, representation and reality culture, the prospect of post-capitalist futures, ideology and reality, capitalism and the fabrication of hyper-reality, the role of memory in subverting reality, the perils of reality and realism, realism and its failures, the real and the unreal, time and reality, truth and post-truth.

Calendar and deadlines

Deadline for abstracts: 31 October 2021

The selection of projects based on abstracts: 05 November 2021

Deadline for final projects: 30 November 2021

Abstracts for both photography series and essays should be submitted by the 31st of October via email: thefutureofthe@gmail.com.