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Tuesday, August 16, 2022 — Houston, TX

Sleepy Cyborg Galley kicks off semester with virtual exhibit, “Quaranzine”

Channing Wang/Thresher

By Jacob Duff     9/15/20 10:46pm

In a world becoming increasingly dependent on dual-delivery, one has to ask how visual art, a mode of communication previously relegated mostly to the physical, is adapting to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  An example of this dual-delivery form of visual art can be found at the newly renamed, student-run Sleepy Cyborg Gallery in their first exhibition of the year called “quaranzine.” 

“A zine is a self-produced and published publication … that pulls from a DIY idea of what it means to make a booklet of images and words,” Isabel Samperio, director of Sleepy Cyborg Gallery, said. 

Normally, zines are a very physical form of art. They’re meant to be opened and touched and looked at, interactions that are now impossible given the current COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Quaranzine” is located in the small, white room on the bottom floor of Sewall Hall where past iterations of Sleepy Cyborg Gallery — Inferno Gallery and Matchbox  — have also been housed.  

The exhibit consists of approximately 15 student-made booklets displayed on the walls with string and clips. The zines vary from small collections of poems written on copy paper to colorful images of plants and animals on construction paper.  One piece is supposed to be a paper fortune teller, the kind one would make in elementary school, covered in intricate black drawings and small, handwritten fortunes. Each piece has a printed QR code taped underneath that, when scanned, shows a video of a hand on the concrete floor of the space flipping through the booklets to reveal all the sides and pages of the student’s piece.  

Samperio explained that she thought the flexibility of being online was actually a benefit for the gallery.  

“The amount of people that we would be engaged with … would be crazy,” Samperio said. “There’s just so much convenience there and accessibility.”

According to Samperio and Gabrielle Feuillet, the exhibit was intended in part as a statement on the current politicization of the United States Postal Service, as all of the art had been sent through the mail. In fact, in the show there was a small pile of envelopes and stamps encouraging those who viewed the show to send a letter themselves.  Feuillet said that even though the zines started as a way of  connecting with friends that felt much more meaningful than other digital forms of communication.

“Quaranzine” uses the circumstances of social distancing and virtual interaction as an opportunity to juxtapose physical art forms with our new, highly digitized reality while simultaneously making art more remotely accessible. 

You can visit Sleepy Cyborg’s new show “Quaranzine” in person by emailing the director to set up a viewing appointment at sleepycyborggallery@gmail.com, or view their online gallery at matchbox.rice.edu. 

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