Dax, a new magazine from students at UChicago, looks to fill a void in campus publications with experimental art and writing that would not normally be featured in other student-run media.
“I’m just surprised we didn’t have something like it before,” said first-year Angela Zhang, one of Dax’s founding editors. She and her fellow editors—first-years Jackson Roth, Ben Goldner, and Jake Elkin—hope that the magazine will provide a new outlet for students interested in expressing themselves using alternative art, photography, and writing.
Described by its editors as aiming to be “The New Yorker on acid,” the magazine’s mission is very broad in scope, yet its purpose is clear in the minds of its creators. It seeks to find a place for the misplaced, a forum for art which, for whatever reason, did not fit within other venues and for artists who do not fall into the usual artistic crowd.
The title itself is drawn from a pool of nonsense used for word association experiments in linguistics. “It has no meaning; it is more about attaching meaning to other things. Dax is about exploring the meaning of art and the meaning of writing,” Zhang said. The editors hope that this theme will carry over to the pieces within Dax itself, challenging conventional ideas of meaning in art.
“We can provide that outlet for people who want to try weird things or format weirdly, or do things that might seem pointless but might have a really cool message,” Zhang said.
However, it was not this mission, but a mutual love of reading and writing, which initially brought together Dax’s four founding editors. “We all bring a different side of literature to the table,” Goldner said, “We’re all interested in different authors and different writing styles, and I think that conglomeration of forms is going to help produce something really cool. We push each other to write more.”
Dax is still very much in its infancy, having only recently gained status as a Registered Student Organization at the University. Armed with only a WordPress page and boundless creative energy, the editors now face the task of gaining both the funds and the student material with which to build the magazine. However, bolstered by a fast influx of submissions and student interest, the editors have very high hopes and expectations for how far their project can go in the future.
“It has the potential to be something that stays well beyond our stays at this school,” Zhang said, on the group’s vision for Dax. “We’re definitely planning on expanding as much as possible,” Goldner added.
Currently, the editors hope to release Dax’s inaugural print issue in the fall or winter quarter of next year, with a new issue coming out every subsequent quarter. They are excited to tap the deep undercurrent of creativity which they believe lies dormant at the school. “We want people to experiment,” Goldner said. “It’s so obvious that everybody here has something to say.”