Megan Bailey

Junk Drawers

On eBay, hundreds of people sell their old, unwanted items, labeled as “junk drawer lots.” These items were valuable enough to the owner to not throw away, but not deemed worthy enough to keep. Over the years, as these objects have repeatedly changed hands, they start to collect emotional residue. Histories, events, and feelings are all embedded in these items, most of which remain unknown to their new owners. These items may look like trash to outsiders but have gained an immense inherent value, built up over time by those who, at one point, cherished these objects, even if that personal significance has faded. Rusty keys to a home that is no longer theirs, an old camera that once captured the important moments of one's life, or the ashes of a long passed pet; all of these items have been touched by countless hands, all of which have rich and unique lives. We can look at these objects as small windows into the lives of strangers we will never know.

Gabriella Gloster

Feed Me My Loopback

Images don’t come from nowhere…maybe all images begin in a meaningful state because they came from somewhere else, a specific world. They become meaningless when broken, spit-up and chewed-out, shared and loved (or liked), forgotten and then remembered again. Could this happen to me, too?

We make the world and, in turn, the world makes us. We make The Image — it morphs, reproduces, and disseminates, thereby shaping our landscapes and institutions. We made The Internet — we have asked it to cater to, watch, record, and sell information about ourselves while it desires to, and succeeds at, fragmenting reality. Have we become the web? As these snippets of ourselves and our realities are delivered back to us, the blurred boundary between the individual and image becomes all the more present. Through the nullification of opinions which layer upon convictions that build upon worldviews, the digitized fractures of memory are mended into a new whole, an indiscriminate timeline that points to an ever-present feedback loop of self and image.

Jaden Hestla

Hailee kennedy

Why Do We Have Teeth?

Making something is fun for most people. Whatever you decide to create, you probably like doing it. Unless you don't like making anything at all, in which case you probably like being shared things that others have made. Personally, I like them both. I like to sit down and look around me and make something just for the hell of it. Then, I like to look over at the peer next to me and show them an amalgamation of thoughts I've thought and things I've collected. That's it. That's all from me. Thank you. Y’all should all bow and applaud me, as zines fall from the sky, blessing you all with the knowledge that designing isn't all about what it's about. Instead you're thinking about how it's all about string and images and shower thoughts and sponges and sharing and laughter and sadness and realizations and funnel cake.

Magan Marks

Here and Now, There and Then.

Who I am is where I’ve been. I have spent the majority of my life moving from place to place, and I’ve left behind a part of myself in every room I have ever called my own. The places I’ve lived are more than just locations; I am built from them, and they are the infrastructure of my identity. I am drywall and dust and crumbling asphalt, and you will not find me on any map. Yet, we have the urge to claim our stake in the world, to call someplace home, to point to a map and say here I am, and this is where I’m from. Belonging can be found, not on the surface but in that subterranean charge that can be found in a place, perhaps any place, if one takes the time to look.

Stare up at the ceiling tiles and our gaze will meet. Run down the hall and you will feel my hand holding yours.

Look here, and tell me you feel it too.

Angie Vasquez

American Landscape

Not From Here, Not From There

Being a first-generation American means being a mix of two distinct cultures. With this comes a balancing act and an attempt to navigate the clashing of two different worlds, where each holds distinct values, traditions, and expectations. We are expected to be “American” enough but also cherish and honor our cultural background. America, often described as a “melting pot,” is home to a diverse group of individuals with distinct backgrounds, yet the discourse surrounding immigration often takes on a hostile and xenophobic tone. This landscape, shaped by power structures, is unwelcoming to immigrants and their families, particularly those of color. As first-generation Americans, we don’t know how, nor do we want to embrace, any part of us deemed “Un-American,” and so we assimilate. This has a dangerous consequence: an erasure of culture that affects us and future generations.

Maddie Nunnery

The Center Will Not Hold

I’m searching for “dirt”— the digital image that has fallen in the crack, lying between worlds. These outliers reveal the system from which they’ve been rejected, their relevance deemed marginal at best. We look to the Internet to show us the world, but it tends to lead us further from truth. I like telling what some would call lies and I'm unconvinced that this distinction matters. The images I’ve excavated from an online landscape resist categorization, creating an erratic assemblage of their own. Within the archive, the photoshopped image blends in; it materializes. It is just as real as any other. Attempting to look at our image-world from the outside, we reveal its bounds or lack thereof. Everything means what I say it means. Or, what you say it means. Seeing that my reality differs from yours reveals an in-between that questions both of our logic. Confessional fragments lie at the core of the work. It is this communication at the center that won’t hold.

Conner Seavey

This, There, That

People feel connected, held back, restricted to a certain geographic location due to many factors. This location has tangible as well as psychological implications that cause you to repeatedly return to a specific place such as your job, family, or memories. These photos are physical placeholders that construct a place that one repeatedly comes back to whether that is by physical transportation or through memory. I notice this often in myself. I continually find myself reflecting on life back where I grew up, examining the environment that used to, and still, encompasses me. How does this landscape impact my worldview? How does this designed environment subliminally imbue me with inherent biases based on the types of people and class structures that comprise it? These questions ground my study of the scenic kaleidoscope that is Southwest Tennessee.

Porter Tomaszewski

How Do You Deal With It All?

“Once he knew what he really was, he looked around at other humans and the rest of nature, and he was amazed at what he saw. He saw himself in everything – in every human, in every animal, in every tree, in the water, in the rain, in the clouds, in the earth.”
- Don Miguel Ruiz

But in his heart, he knew this was not all he was connected to. He could sense the bad that thrived in this world. He saw visions of a future and a world that was full of pain and suffering fueled by fear. A fear that would morph into hate and ignorance, a fear that would spread through humanity like a wildfire. But in his soul he knew that all these connections were the key to bringing us together. Because of this he wasn’t scared, he knew that this was not the end.

Mohammad Omar Yasin

I haven’t washed my jeans in over a year

Clothes have a unique identity with attached history, a design originally made for function and sometimes a new comfortable approach. I like my jeans because they are a pair of jeans that have a previous owner who has given life to them and now I have given them a new life. I found these in an abandoned building and who knows where or with whom they truly belong. The design before me was meant for work, yet I wear them to go to class and hang around. It’s sturdy material that has lasted this long only for it to be used and looked over. This belongs in a museum as a piece of art, because of the way it has been designed and crafted. It has a rich history, linking our past to our present (and beyond?).

Yamman Dean Azzouz

Harbingers of Revelution

When you jeopardize the life of one species, you start killing the thousands of micro lives dependent on it. Styles of life are like species of plants, naturally occurring and evolving. As far as we know, mutation is the imperfection of the replication process. Make more of me. Copy/paste. But lower the resolution.

How do you think of me? Or me you? How do we relate? Maybe I catch your gaze walking down the street: what can I give you in that moment? I think that matters. We share the same space, we live together. Structures and organizations, digital or physical, thrive off exploiting something or someone. These are the logics that mold us: police patrol, protect the property, the obelisks of material hoarding. An empty building, a neglected junkspace, the remnants of a preceding economic force. Property is held.

It’s worth something right? Yet, lots sit vacant, torn down and rebuilt, ignored for years. It’s the only sure investment they tell themselves but then doesn’t the invasive mimosa, with its aggressive nature, disrupting the balance of nutrients in the soil, drives out native species which host caterpillars and other insects, that which the songbirds feed on. The mimosa extracts more efficiently in our home soil. It cannot be competed with. And for some reason, I feel the flower I see won’t gleam goodness without hearing the song of the bird who professes from that terrace. And yet…

Lilly Dixon

Craving Dark Chocolate

Conversations about today’s environment go one of two ways: The expression of frustration and defeat, and returning to ignorance because it feels like an unsolvable problem; or, strategizing how your lifestyle can respond to the destruction—you can “save the world” one eco-friendly choice at a time. These perspectives are the victim and the hero mentality, both dependent upon the habitual ignorance fostered by our society. An open-minded confrontation of humanity’s past and current choices gives us the opportunity to learn, shift our perspectives, and accept that we cannot have the kind of answers we desire.

Environmental awareness necessitates self awareness. It demands the deconstruction of imperialistic concepts surrounding the separation between humans and nature. Through embracing the reality of coexistence we can realize that the harm done to the environment is harm done to humans. Within separation, we may find ourselves deprived and craving something much more satisfying than immediately gratifying sweetness. Alongside this acceptance of coexistence comes bitterness, yet somehow that is more comforting, because it is the truth. Darkness may not be unbearable, it may just be dark chocolate.

Emma Soefker

Selling Mythologies, Harnessing Autonomy

Fashion is a form of creative expression, but the industry’s narratives of what is to be valued or devalued often manipulates individuality. Fashion campaigns, advertisements, and publications are interventions in cultural meanings, altering how individuals relate to these accessories of self-reflection. Due to their overwhelming, multimodal, narratives we consume these mythologies from all directions and in turn they consume our identity, resulting in a skewed self-image. One can choose to emulate what is being shown through media or reject the mainstream; participating in either strategy recognizes the impact the fashion industry has in personal identification. It is a battle in being authentically oneself while also being confronted with what is deemed acceptable, trendy, or respected as culture continually shifts. It becomes difficult to discern where our consumption is routine or intentional. This work calls for an increased sense of individual agency, an encouragement for a more DIY engagement with fashion versus passively receiving and adhering to the pressures of the fashion industry.

Andy Tate

Hey Kid

My realities became surreal as the hallucinations became oppressive; they stripped away my identity. I was sinking deeper into the void and unknowingly letting it consume me. With each pill I took, I thought a chunk of myself was being ripped out. I was the pill, but the real me was barely existing without it. I was becoming an echo of what I used to be. I want to revel in the memories that have been replaced by the barren landscape, times where nothing and everything mattered. Open its cavernous jaws of lost experiences that conceal any recollections of my past. Let it free as the subconscious is unraveled by the elusive memories of childhood, and spark the embers of who I am. Remember the times where the abyss didn’t shape me, and I was still me. Strip away the fabrications framing the vacuum of emptiness, expose myself, and let it seep out. The void, simultaneously a sea of nothingness and a graveyard of rediscovery.