Call for Proposals

Issue # 1 : FLAT

For every mountain, a prairie; for every boss, a worker; for every server, a peer; for every body, a screen. Nearly every sector of our lives has a continuum with one end marked, if only through analogy, as flat. The list of the not-flat is nearly endless—sharp, bumpy, irregular, striated, hierarchical, shallow, unbalanced, dynamic, askew, lumpy. These terms play out in discussions about the distributed web and the future of the internet, best practices in interface design, the organization of political movements and companies, and our lived experience with a ubiquity of two dimensional screens. For thinkers like Hiroki Azuma, the flat (or hyperflat as he would have it) refers “to a characteristic that is thoroughly planar and yet transcends the plane. The hyperflat world, represented by the computer screen, is flat and at the same time lines up what exists beyond it in a parallel layer.” While for some, the flat is a paradise, a goal towards which we ought to strive, for others it represents everything that could go wrong. Either way, flat is always an absolute, always an extreme. The journal’s inaugural issue, Flat, will unpack these associations and ask how and where flatness lies in our world, functionally or dysfunctionally, shaping (or is it unshaping?) everything from visual culture, to politics, economics, and technological topologies.

What does it mean to be Flat? What is the not-flat? How flat is too flat? Where do the flat and the not-flat collide? What are the political expressions of flatness? How does flatness inform and influence design and art in both a contemporary and art historical context? What technological structures and forms of media question, deploy, ignore, or take advantage of flatness, and to what ends?

We invite proposals that specifically, broadly, or abstractly, address the theme of “flat”

FLAT Journal uses a rolling submission process. We are still accepting submissions for issue one, Flat, through October 31, 2019.

The following types of original, new or previously published writing are welcome: works of theory, criticism, scholarly research, interviews, and reviews of or relating to the intersection of visual and conceptual art, technology, and/or media. Works of fiction and poetry will also be considered, but will not be the majority of accepted content. The following content types and corresponding word lengths are recommended:

  • Short Critical Essays - 1200 - 1500 words
  • Long Form Feature - 2500 - 10,000 words
  • Column / interview / review - under 1200 words

Other content types may be accepted. Direct questions to designmediaarts@ucla.edu with subject line “FLAT JOURNAL INQUIRY”.

Final Submissions should include:

  • Abstract (100 - 500 words)
  • Full plain text document (.rtf, .doc, .html, or google doc are preferred)
  • Author’s CV
  • Links to author’s site or other published relevant works
  • Any useful supporting images / media