We have been doing this for a half-a-decade, Stephan Michalkow and I started this to discuss a place for a neo-modernist aesthetic that represented an international arts community. We had ambition–we have a volunteer staff and did regular interviews, commissioned work from writers like Douglas Lain–and invited a coterie of people unto the podcast to discuss changes in aesthetics. The archives of our podcast are available on Youtube.
Due to a series of immediate and extended family illnesses, I had to relocate to the US after living abroad for eight years. As I returned home, I also finally had my first book published from Unlikely Press, and did some things there. I also have found my podcasts for Zero books expanding from just regular visits on the main show to incorporating Symptomatic Redness and the Arts and Culture Podcast, Alternatives. I felt like I hadn’t been keeping this up to stuff and was sitting on a ton of unfinished reviews, etc.
Stephan will work with me here at Former People in some capacity as this was as much his child as it is mine, but the demands of his career and the changes of our concerns with the overlap of aesthetics and politics has made this a lower focus, and while our Youtube channel may be updated, we will no longer formally promise regular episodes. Indeed, we have an archive of movie discussions that were hard to release. Stephan will be working on the Youtube page when he can and will take an advisory role. Our production standards when up but I was writing to record portions of the podcast on an iPad in Cairo on unreliable internet. Most of the material was unusable and the bits we could salvage have received a lot of complaints on Youtube comment sections. Douglas Lain, who was a regular contributor, left us to work at Zero Books and later brought me as a reading consultant and podcaster there. The additional volunteer staff largely moved on to other jobs. We thank them.
We are bringing this back in full first. First, J.G. Michael of Parallax Views and Alternatives is coming on a contributing editor for interviews and podcasts, and our mutual podcast Alternatives, while maintaining affiliation with Zero books will also be affiliated with Former People. This will allow us to provide more interviews and a larger audience to the authors who work with us.
Lastly, we will be looking to publish interviews. We would love volunteers to transcribe specific Alternatives episodes for print here.
C. DERICK VARN, MANAGING EDITOR, LITERARY AND DIGITAL ARTS EDITOR, CO-FOUNDER