The Coziest Online Zine That Is Breaking Language Barriers
Catalino Gallagher has launched an amazing bilingual project that trascends language barriers. Pajama Party Zine is an online space where English and Spanish speaking creatives can share their work with the world side by side. The zine contains drawings, photos, videos, poetry, prose and music of people from all around the world. Pajama Party is a cozy zine meant to be read among friends and pillows
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to Catalino about the project. Here we have the interview.
Mari: How did you come up with the concept for the zine?
Catalino: Honestly, for a while I’ve been really inspired by the zine projects that people I know have been making. Some zines I’ve been following have been La Liga (of course!), The Coalition Zine, Chiflada Zine, and my good friend Maya’s zine “In a Glittering Fury”, so a lot of my vision for what I could do in the medium came from that. I myself am relatively new to zine-making. I made my first zine last May in Chile, and I really used it to explore a very specific theme: the transmission of language, culture, and art between women across generations. That zine was a pretty small project. It was called Traslape (which roughly means “overlap”), and was done almost entirely in Spanish. In the zine, I wrote a little piece about discovering my grandmother’s poetry, my relationship with language, and how it shapes the way I connect with my family. I also interviewed two Mapuche women artists, Norma Lincognir and Marisol Llanquín, who talked about their processes, how their traditional art forms have evolved, and how their art and their community relationships relate to their use of Mapuzugun and Spanish.
So when i got back to the United States in August, I wanted to continue working with what I had learned during this process! It wasn’t until December that I got the idea for Pajama Party. In contrast to Traslape, the idea didn’t come to me in the form of a clear theme, but more of a mood. Whereas it took forever to find the right name for Traslape, I thought of the name “Pajama Party Zine” before anything else. I liked the openness and lightheartedness of that title. At the time I was itching to take on another project and was in a place in my own writing where it felt like I was spending a lot of time in my head, which felt kind of isolating and not very creatively exciting, so the idea of involving more people really motivated me. I made a call for submissions, and when they started coming in, I began forming a more solid idea of what the zine would be. A friend of mine mentioned that she had been feeling nervous about submitting work anywhere for a while, but that she felt comfortable submitting to Pajama Party, and I was really warmed by that. I realized that I wanted to create a space where people can share work that is vulnerable or lighthearted or personal or whimsical, and be comfortable doing so, a vision which ended up fitting the title pretty well, too.
M: why online as opposed to the more traditional print issues?
C: I chose to do an online version for this zine for a few reasons. First, it made it possible to include a wider range of art, including gifs, videos, and music. Also, it makes it really easy to share! But probably the biggest reason is that I had never taken on a project quite like this before, and an online version was a bit easier to manage logistically than a printed issue, especially with regards to funding and distribution (though it also involved a good amount of trial and error and a huge amount of help from Simon Moushabeck, who made the site).
M: Why did you decide to make it bilingual?
C: Part of it was that at the time, many of the people that I had most recently collaborated with and hoped to continue collaborating with worked primarily in Spanish, like Francisco Molina and Matías Fleischmann, who are currently releasing a really great zine in Spanish and English called “Un pez con mi cara, besándome” - which I’m in! But it’s funny because while on one level it seems like an interesting choice, to be honest, it was a very intuitive one. The momentum that led me to take on the project was so deeply linked to art, experience, relationships, and background in both Spanish and English, and I wanted to ride that momentum forward. I suppose this means that it ended up being a zine that’s ideal for those who speak both English and Spanish, but I also hope that it does some part to bring artists and readers together who might not otherwise find their work sharing spaces (or … overlapping, if you will).
M: Do you have any future plans for the zine?
C: Yes!!! Addressing the language question again, I would love to be able to release an issue where every work is available in both English and Spanish! I have a little translation experience, but for this issue, it was a bit too big of a task to take on. I would also love to release a printed issue sometime in the future. Also, I have this little fantasy of having a big ol’ Pajama Party release party that is also an actual pajama party. Perhaps for a later issue and with some more hands on deck these could be made a reality!