Understories – the CreaTures Zine

Concept: Cristina Ampatzidou, Jaz Hee-jeong Choi
Editors: Cristina Ampatzidou, Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Estela Cepeda
Visual Design: Super Eclectic
Print: BRAMONA Impressió Digital – Barcelona, Spain

Contributors: Cristina Ampatzidou, Isabel Beavers, Andrea Botero, Kit Braybrooke, Ruth Catlow, Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Markéta Dolejšová, W. Liebrecht Fick, Felipe Gonzales, Juliette Grossmann, Amira Hanafi, Anab Jain, Ann Light, Miranda Marcus, Tuuli Mattelmäki, Lydia Nicholas, Angela María Osorio Méndez, Anton Poikolainen Rosén, Jana Putrle Srdić, Genevieve Rudd, Tara Smeenk, Cassie Thornton, Kirsikka Vaajakallio, Iryna Zamuruieva, Klelija Zhivkovikj

Special thanks to: Lara Houston, Ana Tiquia, all members of the CreaTures project, family, friends and random interlocutors, and Chewie.

About Understories

Zine editorial by Cristina Ampatzidou & Jaz Hee-jeong Choi

Understories is a zine that reveals the worlds beneath the canopy of the CreaTures project or what’s mostly seen from the outside. It presents lively conversations, uncurated thoughts, and chance encounters that have nourished and grounded our project exploring the power of creative practices to move the worlds towards more sustainable eco-social futures. Rainforests are generally made of four layers or storeys: At the very top is the emergent layer, most exposed to the sun, rain, and wind. Just below it is the canopy, with abundance of sun, food, and animals but less exposed to weatherly harshness. At the bottom is the forest floor, dark, covered with what’s fallen from above, turning that into nutrients that feed the forest. Between those two is the understory. The understory is a diverse mixture of seedlings and samplings of the canopy trees, other bushes, shrubs and herbs. It provides shelter and resources for many different animals, including humans. It is adaptive, accessible, familiar, and yet incredibly complex and important in the everyday lives of different creatures in the forest.

Like the understory, CreaTures has been a complex and exciting project to be part of. It has an ambitious goal of identifying and explaining the aspects of creative practices that contribute to positive eco-social transformation; It has an equally ambitious approach of working closely with multiple creative practices, ideas, projects, and people through direct engagement and co-creation. As a zine emerging from a transdisciplinary, practice-based research project it serves multiple goals: Understories is an outlet for ideas that are not fully formed, that are intuitive but perhaps not yet substantiated, or for different reasons, that could not be developed further into conventional research outputs like scholarly papers. It’s messy and informal. We hope that it also acknowledges the many ways engagement can happen, help draw attention to entanglements that occur through many forms of coming togethers – for example, conversation, exchange, and play with and through uncertainty, and as such, a medium to reach people from all walks of life beyond those immediately connected to CreaTures.

Understories is for anyone wishing to engage with CreaTures, looking to find out more about how engagements are imagined, practiced, and understood in and around creative practices that strive to move worlds towards eco-socially transformational futures. Remaining true to the messiness and entangled way we have been working with CreaTures, Understories invites the readers to explore and re-create the content in non-linear ways, to create their own stories and connect parts that make sense together.