Letter from the Editors
As we enter our eleventh month of a (semi-)virtual Yale School of Architecture, we’re no longer just thinking reactively but also looking to a future that requires even more endurance and patience. This is a future we find difficult to plan for amidst constantly fluctuating restrictions, provisional schedules, and uncertain access. For us, as the coordinating editors of Paprika! this semester, planning for the future begins with confronting the “now” within a long, slow pandemic. Working within a compressed semester schedule and at a distance from many of our peers, we hope to continue fostering thoughtful discussion and action within our school and beyond by grounding the Spring 2021 installment of Paprika! Volume 6 in the ideas of slowness and compounding conversations.
Recognizing the psychological endurance required amidst an ongoing pandemic, we see slowness as a guiding principle for our work, allowing us to mirror the change in pace we’ve experienced over the past few months and expect we will continue to experience. By slowing down, we hope to offer editors, contributors, and readers more time to think, respond, and write—in contrast with the typically fast-paced nature of Paprika!. We believe slowness is an opportunity to look back and look forward, to act and imagine with intention.
In pursuit of this slowness, we are reducing the number of issues we will publish this semester and introducing a new format—the dispatch—that will be interspersed between issues. We envision the dispatch as a platform that compounds and prompts dialogues not only between issues, but also between contributors and readers. Each dispatch will be a curated collection including diverse formats (such as article responses, op-ed pieces, images, and videos) that hopefully captures thoughts and conversations that might fall outside the thematic boundaries of issues. As a complement to the issues we publish, dispatches will provide an opportunity for readers to review Paprika! retrospectively and re-examine its role within our school and beyond.
We also recognize the simultaneous exhaustion and opportunity that the physical scattering of our student body and subsequent multiplication of communication modes have created. As coordinating editors of a typically print-based publication, we are looking at creative ways to work within the print medium while also introducing new ways for discourse to be generated through Paprika!. We hope to use these platforms to engage our readership by not only looking outward beyond our institution but also by including and valuing our own students’ varying localities and networks, which have become increasingly palpable for many during these times.
This semester, we’re hoping to compound the conversations that happen amongst the student body and within the articles we publish in a few ways. Although we’re reducing the number of traditional issues we’re printing, we are introducing dispatches as a place to collect analyses, critiques, and responses to current events and past Paprika! content. By introducing a publication platform not restricted by the conceptual edges of a theme or topic, we hope that contributors will have more liberty to investigate and comment on the things they find most interesting and urgent. We are also continuing the “In the Pit” podcast series as a way to engage students, practitioners, and experts from both inside and outside the architectural discipline. Our intention is that these dispatches and podcast episodes will be a fertile ground for the debates and discussions that are critical to the spirit of pedagogical pluralism at YSoA.
Our vision for the Spring 2021 installment of Paprika! is to further the publication’s aims of addressing ongoing issues in the school and within the wider contexts of a profession, an academy, and a planet. We see this semester as a chance to slow down and reflect, respond, and invent with empathy, criticality, retrospection, and imagination—to consider how we can use Paprika! to facilitate a rethinking of design practice, education, and what it means to be at YSoA. We’re excited to be working towards this goal with a fantastic team of issue editors, dispatch editors, graphic designers, publishers, producers, and archivists this semester, and we hope that you, our reader, will join us in this adventure.
We are excited about the forthcoming Paprika! dispatches, issues, and podcasts this semester, and hope you’ll enjoy reading, listening to, and thinking about these ideas and conversations.
Gina Jiang, Jerry Chow, and Will Beck