Our first themed volume [LooseLeaf Volume 4] was all about food — an intuitive threshold into the Pan-Asian experience. The magazine was an invitation to the table of community, and food was a way of navigating inclusions and exclusions.
For this volume, we explore a different web of connections: Labour. As people of many diasporas, as immigrants and displaced peoples, we are communities that are always in the act of producing; we are always labouring.
Naming labour asks us to consider our positions within capitalist, social, political systems where our value is inextricable from our economic possibilities. It also considers the act of production in other ways: creative, emotional, communal. Critically engaging with labour inserts the possibility of disruption and radical re-imagination, and the potentiality for recognition, healing and understanding.
Volume 6 is fraught with labour in a variety of ways. From considerations of familial relationships and responsibilities, our existences within systems of production, to the labour of art as process and as product, artists respond in nuanced ways through a multiplicity of mediums.
I am particularly aware that every LooseLeaf emerging into the world is also a critical act of labour. The final volume comes into being after it is formatted and laid out by our editorial team; after it is proofread and curated by our editing teams; after it is written and submitted by our contributors. In the persistent passing of time, these labours come together and weave new dialogues and communities.
As we round out three years of our magazine’s operations, our actions continue to gain weight. What we do is important. How we do it is equally important. Why we do it is a mediation that relentlessly pushes us. “Why all this labour?” is a question that we perhaps spend our whole lives answering. I hope that the many voices in this volume are comforting companions we can take with us on this long journey.
Masthead for Volume 6
Managing Editors: Jasmine Gui, Abby Ho
Poetry: Natalie Wee, Isabelle Zhu, Elise Yoon
Fiction: Elliott Jun, Victoria Liao, Elizabeth Ching
Visual Art: Amanda Low, Philip Ocampo, Rose Ho
Photography: Lucy Lu
Layout: Anna Kwan
COVER ART BY CAROL CHEONG
Digital Portrait, lino block print, 2018
Digital Portrait recalls the familiar desktop layout, file icons and media that can paint the portrait of the computer user. The screen holds the ability to detail the works, drafts and process that ultimately led to the finals and documentation. It shares the interest and memories of any user; a digital archive of influences and life’s work. All the fruits of one’s labour can be encapsulated, compressed and found in an icon as small as 16×16 pixels. Digital Portrait is an acknowledgment of such growing dependence and an ode to technology’s power in reflecting humanity.
Carol Cheong is a Chinese Toronto-born emerging interdisciplinary artist. Her most recent work takes on the idea of one’s being as a participant in the world; the spaces we occupy and information we choose to communicate. To Cheong, visual imagery is only the start of a narrative, opportunities to form interpretation and conversation.
More information and works at www.cyacheong.com