Arachne is a webzine that explores the themes of labour, gender and technology, focusing on:
[the] explorations of the landscape upon which ideas of self, society, public, community, and craft, are constructed online today, using the myth of the spider as a starting point.
⤷ from arachne’s hello world
The project was initiated by Dorothy Howard, who, on Summer 2015, asked on the Immaterial Digital Labor facebook group if anybody was up to help her out with making a zine on the web. I replied “YES!”, and after a couple of months we began to work on it.
Central to me was to make a website which would give the impression of being something alive. Building a general feeling of the interface as a living, reacting and pulsing thing. Designing a zine for the screen and for / on / by the internet were great reasons to experiment with this idea.
Moreover, since the beginning Dorothy suggested not to use a CMS to build the website, but instead relying solely on hand-coded HTML pages. I liked the idea and agreed.
Though this requires a bit more of extra work (but using
markdown makes the process smoother), this approach let us decide how to design every single article, if necessary.
One of the reasons I like this approach, is that it brings the zine closer to a DIY ethos in terms of process and production; in addition, converting an issue from the source files in
markdown into an
epub file is pretty easy and makes me feel to be closer to a typographer, typesetting and converting each issue into different media, than anything else.
We had a good start during the first two weeks, with articles talking about the launch of the zine published on:
- DIS Magazine—“Arachne | Dorothy Howard”
- Newhive—“THIS WEEK IN NET ART”.
- Frontpage e-flux conversations—“Manuel Arturo Abreu on ‘online imagined Black English’ in Arachne”.