What makes a stranger strange? With experience, we begin to realize that the subjectivity of stranger has very little to do with strangeness, and everything to do with the insignificant and unpredictable conditions of contact – be it eye, physical, Tinder-match.
This quarter, the SLANT collective sought stories of unfamiliarity in a crowded room, difficult pronunciations of “you are not who I thought you were,” odd Uber driver anecdotes, and relationships founded on the surprising circumstances involving two strangers.
The challenge faced by our particular generation concerns who we label as strangers – our resources allow us to circumvent the anxieties of awkward first-meeting blunders by giving strangers the virtual rotisserie chicken once-over, à la proper Facebook stalk. Are we still strangers if all we lack is the physical meeting? Can emotional intimacy be achieved between distant penpals? How well do we judge a book by its cover? At what point do we realize that an acquaintance is worth the emotional investment into a more serious relationship?
In this issue, an alternative band grapples with contending meanings of “homesickness,” a poet deploys coding language to examine chasms in virtual communication, a choose-your-own- adventure takes you to the far reaches of your mind during your morning routine, a portrait artist curates a gallery of her subjects, from family to celebrities, among other pieces. As with many of our previous issues, our contributors have turned inward, looking at the strangers within themselves as well as those that surround them.
Much gratitude and recognition goes out the artists of Northwestern, whose work we have the honor of showcasing every quarter. It is the contributors’ and our great pleasure to invite you into issue 11: Strangers.