Already setting itself apart in the zine scene with its focus on such a wide variety of different mediums, The Signal House Edition describes itself as ‘a living document that exists at a junction in time’ that ‘aims to bring together the thoughts, images, works of art and words of living artists, thinkers and makers from all continents’. Does having such a broad scope of styles and subject matters pay off? Read on to find out what our writers thought…
‘I am a different person than I was a year ago.’ I think we can all agree that no truer words have ever been spoken, now more so than ever, as we try our best to get back into our prior routines of normality. Even the previously enjoyable act of socialising with friends has now become a daunting task that is almost impossible to fit into a seemingly overwhelmed schedule. I did not expect these simple words in a perspective piece to hit me as hard as they did, but Kit Brookman’s matter-of-fact way of discussing the experience (of living through yet another ‘once in a lifetime major historical event’) reminds me that we will all be forever altered by it.
The concept of isolation in general did not seem as detrimental to me then as it does now, which makes the idea of an anchoress seem like nothing short of insanity to me. The way in which Kit Brookman interweaves the explanation of Julian of Norwich’s life, and the juxtaposition of London city life in lockdown with the somewhat picturesque view of the rural English countryside, is reminiscent of the newly discovered appreciation of the comfort found in nature most have witnessed within themselves.
I am indeed a different person than I was a year ago. Last year me would definitely not be reading a conversation between an artist and an ecologist about the relationship between art and science specifically within this one installation and how the artist’s methods are reflective of natural phenomena…while also really enjoying it! ‘Not cool, orange rock’ had me firmly in its grasp the moment Blundell said, ‘We are all just what we are in a particular moment; we are only what we are in relation to what we are going to be and what we were.’ How did we get to this wondrously philosophical point talking about rocks?! And what seemed to be the most fascinating thing to me is that I absolutely understood how we had arrived at this thought through the complete communication of processes by both Leduc and Blundell. The person I am now recognises the beauty in the similarities between humans and the natural world.
One thing about me that has not changed, and never will, is my love of the Purge movies, so when I encountered ‘Purge’ by Keith Jarrett I instantly recognised the format. Reimagining the concept into a love letter to queer resistance, and the ‘purging’ of heteronormative society, was a perfect complement to the original idea of The Purge. Whereas what the movies show is nothing short of a terrifying dystopia, that one hopes would never occur, I very much long for the future this poem is suggesting. While remaining humorous throughout Jarrett also continues to remind the reader of the anger felt towards the previous and ongoing suffering of the LGBTQIA community.
Overall this is an interesting collection of pieces of art, in a variety of different formats, that, whilst strikingly individual, also complement each other and capture both the beauty and melancholy of art within a post lockdown society.
The Signal House Edition was completely new to me when I opened it up on my web browser. Not necessarily the concept, as online consumption and publication of content seems to be rising in popularity. But I hadn’t had the pleasure of encountering Signal House itself before.
The first thing I love about Signal House, as a whole, is the eclectic choice of content. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that one of my favourite things is being able to sample the arts like a tasting menu in a fancy restaurant (and that’s only because I’m a little bit indecisive at the best of times). I want a little bit of everything, to broaden my pallet, and publications like Signal House allow me to do that. From poetry to short story to photography, there’s lots to get my teeth into.
Just glancing at the titles of the pieces had me titillated but one thing caught my eye. ‘Eighty-Two Days on the Road’, a photography piece. Now, I’m big into art and photography, and I’m well aware that can come across in a rather pretentious way. Because when people say they’re into art and photography most people will imaging cravats and private school graduates talking about how these splashes of paint represent the futility of life. And honestly? I have sometimes looked at art and thought it had some kind of deeper meaning, but I’m also not looking to make art into anything it isn’t. For me, art and photography isn’t so much about what I can see in the work, but what the creator saw. This piece is no different. Viktor Hubner, the photographer, tells a tale of his journey hitchhiking through nine different countries. The photos capture the kind of brilliance that can only come from someone truly appreciating, not only the natural landscapes, but the journey they’re on too. We see images of people, some looking dead into the camera, others bathing. The stories of their interactions with the photographer are written in the tired lines of their faces. We see landscapes. Rugged deserts and green fields and perhaps, even more foreign to us in this time of life, a crowded beach party in Cyprus. I spent a lot of time lingering on ‘Eighty Two Days’, because I found something new to look at every time. And all of it gave me a rare insight into what a journey like that may feel like. What finding oneself might feel like.
Of course Signal House offers more tasty morsels for me to ruminate on, such as the perspective piece, ‘Green Lines’ by Kit Brookman, detailing the Parkland Walk in North London. Cycling back to my absolute (pretentious) love of art, I had perhaps underestimated the calibre of work that would find itself in an issue of an online publication. ‘Green Lines’ feels like a sunny day to me, it almost smells like cut grass and sounds like crickets chirping and starlings chittering. It’s difficult to describe how a piece of art can connect so nicely to me, but the best way I can think of is like when you successfully slide a USB stick into the port on the first try.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Signal House. It’s been a joy to read and connect with the contributors through their work, and it very much surpassed my expectations in terms of the calibre of work on show.
With the broad description of The Signal House Edition, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, what I found was something I, apparently, had needed.
With the slow re-opening of the world, my life has nearly regained its pre-pandemic speed. Sitting down to read/listen and look at The Signal House Edition No. 13 represented a much-needed break for me. It was an excuse to simply sit and read. To sit and listen. To look at images. To explore all of the richness on offer to me. I found that time really restorative. These are all examples of things I would like to engage with more, these kinds of essays, photographs, poems, but I struggle to find the pockets of the internet where publications like these can be found. (If anyone has directions, please do let me know!)
No. 13 pulls together different forms and mediums, and turning each page is a process of discovery. I was looking for the threads that connect the pieces—looking for what binds them together at this moment.
One piece of note for me was ‘Green Lines’ by Kit Brookman. This piece of writing spoke to a few things that have been swirling around my mind right now. It talks about our evolving relationship with nature and how we connect to the spaces around us. With some particularly poignant mentions of city life during the last year, seeking out ‘Green noise’ to get away from the noise of a neighbour. He also speaks about the lines across our landscapes, how they differ and how that affects us. I have been fascinated by these ideas of late and there are plenty of pieces in this issue that connect to these ideas of landscape and place. It’s funny how things can find us at the right time to help us organise our thoughts or at least echo them.
Ever since first looking at this, I have found myself navigating back to it and looking at the images by Viktor Hübner from his travels. There is something in their colouring, subject matter and composition that makes them somewhat hypnotic for me. Perhaps it is because they are all places I have never been and I am craving snapshots of things that feel other and disconnected from my space and place.
Something like this quickly becomes a ‘bookmark’ for me to return to and keep an eye on. A little online library. These kinds of documents are the start of a treasure hunt. The artist’s, photographers and writers all become people to find on social media or through their websites to discover other things they have done. Books added to my ‘to be read’ pile. I want to figure out why I liked something, why other things may not have been for me.
I really enjoyed the experience of going through this. As I said, I have found it difficult to find these kinds of things in the grand expanse of the internet. I now vow to find more like it. They are great spaces for ‘testing’ your tastes. Trying out a type of media or work that you don’t normally give your time to or can’t seem to stumble across. It’s a great chance to connect with things that aren’t part of your curated piece of the internet or what the ole’ algorithm is serving you. The broad spectrum of what is on offer here will give you many chances to expand and perhaps find something at the right time.
You can read the latest issue of The Signal House Edition here.