CMA Journal
Issue One: Failure

Letter from the Editors

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Journal of Comparative Media Arts! It is with excitement - and pride - that we launch a project that has become personal to each of us. Earlier this year, with the support of Faculty Advisor Dr. Laura U. Marks, we endeavored to create a peer-reviewed academic journal that would engender new dialogues and discussions across a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary field of study, and reflect a high caliber of work from graduate and post-graduate students.

The theme of failure reflects a provocative and forward-moving choice for our first issue for two reasons. Firstly, in a creative practice, the discourse of failure provides impetus for new pathways and potentials, as well as experimentation and investigation. It is a critical element of the creative process. Failures and mistakes reflect the dynamism of progress and discovery, equally frustrating and fruitful.

Secondly, success presents itself in many forms, least of which is failure, avoided. Juggling course-work, research, internships, employment, and waning personal lives, this Journal has challenged our collective capacity to bite off only slightly more than we can chew (and digest). From our perspective, “failure” thematically presented a blank-slate scenario from which success was just as possible an outcome. As first foray into the world of academic publications, we chose to approach the occasion capriciously.

Creative individuals live with failure as a daily reality. Buenos Aires-based artist Guillermo Kuitca’s body of work Diarios uses his failed and discarded canvases that “didn’t make the grade” as the basis for something new. We, too, are interested in the aspects of failure that can be re-presented as a second chance, rather than giving way to defeat.

Issue One is a record of failure as a starting point. From this position, the directions to be pursued become endless, shimmering potentialities. We received a diverse range of works from artists and scholars worldwide. From Italy to Australia and back, we felt buoyed by the outpouring of applications and interest in the subject, proving perhaps the risk of failure is far outweighed by the potential for recognition and success. So thank you to all our applicants, successful and otherwise.

As the first of hopefully many to come, we would like to use this occasion to acknowledge the people who fostered this opportunity and assisted in getting it off the ground.

A big thank you to Laura U. Marks for her encouragement, guidance, and enthusiasm throughout the process, and for planting the initial seed to pursue this academic venture. Special thanks also goes to the Peer Review Committee who volunteered their time and scholarly expertise for the successful outcome of the first issue. We would like to acknowledge Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, and the School for the Contemporary Arts MFA/MA Caucus for their generous contributions to the Journal, without which this undertaking would not be possible. And thank you to Metropol Industries for designing our logo, which we feel reflects the aesthetic direction and future of our Journal.

We hope you enjoy it , and here’s to many more!
Journal of Comparative Media Arts
Editorial Committee

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Samuel Beckett

Special Message

Congratulations to editors Carolina Bergonzoni, Kristina Fiedrich, Molly Grant, and Jorma Kujala on the inaugural issue of the Journal of Comparative Media Arts! Their creativity, solidarity, intelligence, and good humor inspire me. I hope you will find in this inaugural issue of CMA Journal fields of resonance and sharp points of contact.

Studying in the Master’s program in Comparative Media Arts here at Simon Fraser University, the editors have gained a solid foundation in thinking across art forms. They know how to attend to the singularity of each artwork while also discovering the contexts in which it best resonates. They welcome experiments. As it happens, each of them also cultivates an artistic practice, from dance to visual art to soundwalking: they sympathize with creative risk-taking from both the outside and the inside.

Wittily, the editors are launching the journal with a special issue on failure. This act of vaccination or pharmakon will surely guarantee CMA Journal’s success. In the words of my colleague Denise Oleksicjuk, failure is just another word for instigator, skeptic, innovator, and creator: someone who cheerfully and craftily confronts chaos.

Laura U. Marks
Journal of Comparative Media Arts
Faculty Supervisor