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    The Interstitial Arts Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the study, support, and promotion of interstitial art: literature, music, visual and performance art found in between categories and genres – art that crosses borders. Find out more!

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    Thanks to 277 generous backers for our Interfictions Indiegogo Campaign, we raised $10,318 by the time our campaign ended at midnight, July 14th, 2014.  When we launched on June 3rd, we were staggered to find donations doubling almost daily, until after about 3 weeks we had reached our original target goal of $8,500, and were able to move on to our Stretch Goal of $10,000.

    Which means we not only get to publish Interfictions Online for another year, but we can pay our contributors at higher rates now, rates more in line with the effort and talent that innovation requires. Thank you, each and every one of the 277 generous donors who stepped forward to say that interstitial art is valued and valuable. The number of people is as important as the number of dollars raised. We are awed by your generosity.
    Now [...]

    INTERFICTIONS issue #3 is up online!

    The editors of Interfictions Online are happy to announce the birth of the journal’s latest issue, on May 22, 2014!

    The Spring 2014 issue’s non-fiction offerings include Mark Craddock’s poignant collage in Aerial Acrobatics and Gender Reassignment Surgery – A How-To Guide, while Inda Lauryn’s Parallels and Transitions splices analysis of contemporary female vocalists into a graduate school memoir. Isabel Yap’s Life Is Not a Shoujo Manga speaks for itself. And in an interview with Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss, the two creators discuss their illustrated guide to writing, Wonderbook.

    The fiction offerings remix tropes from ghosts to automata, with new work by Richard Butner, Su-Yee Lin, Kat Howard, Tade Thompson and S. Craig Renfroe Jr.

    Several of the poems in this issue reimagine older narratives: Sridala Swami’s AI Winter draws on the Mahabharata, Sonya Taaffe’s Double Business on Hamlet, and Mary Alexandra Agner’s Hypothesis Between Your Ribs on the brief life of Charles Darwin’s daughter.


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  • How many ways to spell “WE ARE NOT A MOVEMENT”?
    by Ellen | December 8th, 2009 |

    Interfictions 2 author Lavie Tidhar’s weekend guest blog spot on Jeff VanderMeer’s Ecstatic Days includes a semi-comic tirade about ‘so-called “movements” in genre fiction.’ He writes:

    Being a fairly prolific short story writer, I’ve noticed something rather strange happening in the last couple of years: I’m at the forefront of a lot of so-called “movements” in genre fiction.

    What does it all mean? Why me? And how do I opt out?

    …And then there’s Interfictions II, an anthology from the dark cabal with the unlikely name of The Interstitial Arts Foundation. …

    What’s it all about? What the hell is interstitial? Is it infectious? Is there a cure? … Science fiction has always been overly attracted to manifestos. Let’s make our own group within this group! …

    As a co-founder, and now President, of the IAF, I gotta say this gave me all kinds of heartburn. My comment on the blog post:

    Why, oh why, when we try to break away from genre boundaries & make a nice little non-profit foundation devoted to work that knows no bounds or allegiances, does Interstitial Arts still get clumped as a subset of science fiction? Why? Can anyone tell me that?

    I sent my cri de coeur to the IAF Board, sparking a discussion I think is worth looking at, considering, and responding to here in the Comments section of this post. Please join in.

    (You can also find a host of essays on the idea of interstitiality and what it means to artists, writers, readers, academics, et alia, on the IAF’s Essays Page.)

    finish line

    10 Responses to “How many ways to spell “WE ARE NOT A MOVEMENT”?”

    1. Geoffrey Says:

      Roughly reworked, this is what I posted in the comments to the original post:

      “One of the problems of our chosen terminology is that if we assert that our work exists in the boundaries between genres, then critics can assert that interstitial work must therefore be of no existing genre. In truth, genres have become such huge, messy, ill-defined and quick-to-swallow-up-the-successful beasties that this becomes problematic. Instead of neither literature or science fiction and fantasy admitting Italo Calvino into their ranks, for example, forward-thinking cats in both genres can claim him as one of their own. To me, interstitial work is not neither blue nor yellow, but green – as well as fuschia, teal, plaid, polka-dotted, tax return, kerfuffle, and chipmunk.”

      …And here (again, roughly reworked) is what I didn’t post over there, but did send out to the IAF Board:

      “A critic might look at an object we call teal and he’d sniff that it’s perfectly fine to classify it as blue. That’s his right, and it’s not our responsibility to stand on tables and rant that no, gawddamn it, it’s not blue it’s teal, but to show other people that it’s okay to be teal, if you like teal things more than blue things to come hang out with us, and if you’re interested in making teal things here is a list of resources for making teal things and a host of opportunities to share teal things with other fans of teal things – and in so doing, hopefully make new fans of teal things who might previously have only thought blue things were possible.”

    2. Erin Says:

      A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were talking about Interfictions 2 after reading the anthology’s back cover and Henry Jenkins’ essay. During our conversation, my husband said, “It looks like the beginning of an interstitial literary renaissance.” From there, we started talking about how The Fugitives began their literary magazine by getting donations/subscriptions from their friends and how that affected the development and the growth of southern literature.

      The more I think about it, the more I believe we’re actually in an interstitial awakening rather than a renaissance. Let’s face it, interstitial fiction has been around for a long time. It just went unnoticed due to the absence of a regular publishing venue.

      As I see it, the IAF is a community of artists who are working together to illuminate overlooked or currently uncategorized pieces of art (not just literature). I don’t see Interfictions as leading a new literary movement. It’s more of a venue for capturing a moment in time as literature evolves into something new.

      Interstitial art is constantly in flux, constantly evolving and changing, giving rise to new genres and subgenres as “like” pieces gravitate together into something that may one day be classified and categorized. Then again, maybe not. Maybe some of these pieces of fiction will remain interstitial, forever straddling multiple literary borders.

    3. Nin Harris Says:

      I’ve always championed the idea of interstitiality and where I’m looking at it is from the perspective of liminal studies and phenomenology. I’d agree that it’s _bigger_ than a movement, but I can also understand how it can be misunderstood. But yes, science fiction. I’ve always had a beef with people slotting fantasy fiction, mythic fiction, magic realism etc underneath “science fiction”. To me interstitiality isn’t just a genre, it sits between genres and mediums. And I think it’s more an indication of how in today’s global climate, more and more writers and artists are beginning to realize that we are unlimited, and unconstrained by idiot rules of the past that deem that we must be either in Box A or Box B.

    4. Wendy Ellertson Says:

      What makes me comfortable in the world of the inbetween, is that we don’t have to separate ourselves or our work into neat little boxes, genres, categories. A lot of we interstitial dancing types just live art and are artists in all our ways of living. (I might add this is pretty familiar to many cultures, just not some Western ones..) We sculpt, we write, we sing, we dance, we work in the world recognizing artists deep down are individuals tapping into that amazing creative spirit which circles in the universe. We have a responsiblity to make sure some of the energy becomes manifest during our days. Some find a particular form which is right for them and is comfortable, perhaps for a lifetime… but many of us let the spirit dance through our hands, our voice, and our words and don’t have any need to explain, categorize,rationalize. We are the creatures of the inbetween. Are we a movement? No. We just are.

    5. Chandra Peltier Says:

      Assuming that interstitial arts can only be seen as a subset of speculative fiction is essentially missing the plot. Being both a writer and a visual artist, I have long recognized the potential applications of interstitiality. As a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild I am listed not as a figurative artist (which some people may regard much of my work) but as a mixed media artist. This frees me up to create all manner of work, from figurative to wearable art. Because I use a number of fiber arts applications I am able to do this, and am thus able to defy categorization.

      Categorization is a very real problem today in the world of Fine Craft. There are many very fine artists who rail against being thrown into the large pit of the category of ‘Craft’ because while they may be using traditional materials and techniques, they are applying these materials and techniques in wholly new ways. This is where interstitiality becomes an incredibly useful form of terminology. The interstitial artist can comfortably point to both Fine Art and Fine Craft as parent groups to which they do not entirely belong, yet exist somewhere in between. Interstitiality suggests something other, and leaves it to the viewer, reader, or listener to discover what that other might be.

    6. Felice Says:

      I completely agree with Erin’s description of the Interfictions series as a venue for whatever’s current or just ahead of current (rather than a movement in itself).

      Here’s something Delia said in the Afterword to Interfictions 2 that made a lot of sense to me:

      “The problem with trying to pin down interstitial fiction is that the examples are going to change from year to year. Stories that were interstitial when they were published are now the proud center of their own sub-genres: steam-punk, mythic fiction, fairy-tale retellings. I wouldn’t say that any of the stories we published in Interfictions 1 looks sweetly old-fashioned after only two years. But I expect some of them will after ten years. As will the stories we have collected here. Well, not sweet, maybe, or exactly old-fashioned. But no longer outposts on the edge of genre.”

    7. will shetterly Says:

      I put my answer on Jeff’s blog.

      I think the IAF has done important work. But now that genre barriers are falling or, arguably, have mostly fallen, it may be time to declare victory and throw a party.

    8. will shetterly Says:

      PS. If that makes it sound like I think the IAF is a movement, I don’t exactly, but I understand how it appears to be one. It champions a cause. Whether you’re promoting something or only recognizing it, you’ll be seen as an advocate for it.

    9. ellen kushner Says:

      Will: I wish! I love a good party. But – in your *dreams* those barriers have fallen – except in the case of a few cutting-edge short story anthologies (including Strahan’s ECLIPSE series & anything the VanderMeers touch…)! See, f’rinstance, our latest post on “Modern Literary Ghetto:
      There are still many barricades to be manned.

    10. Erin Says:

      I agree with Will’s take that we are championing a cause, even if it’s not a movement. We do have victories. Lot’s of them!

      However, Ellen is also right. The nature of interstitial art is to be in constant flux, always moving beyond its current victories into new uncharted territory….It is nice though to turn around and see all of those flags in the ground and to have so many supporters cheering us on.

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