"I Like to Think of This Publication as a Gallery."
Dane Cardiel is the founding director/owner of Manor House Quarterly, "an international art and literary magazine that cultivates the cross pollination of between visual and written media."
Interview by Lisa Hanson
I understand that MHQ is named after an actual house in San Diego, which was a kind of creative breeding ground for many people involved in the magazine. Could you tell us more about the "Manor House"? How many former residents are actively involved in the editorial work of the magazine? I'd love to see a photo.
“The Manor” was one of those places where everyone felt compelled to contribute something. It was a community in the sense that the physical place became a destination for our collective imagination. In no way did we have the hubris that our activity was groundbreaking in anyway; we simply enjoyed what it was for the time that it was. Within that mindset, anything became a possibility.
Manor House Quarterly was certainly not the only project happening and in no way was the community isolated to the residence of the house itself. Many of us were graduates of a nearby university and had various ties with the San Diego community at large (including the literary, visual art, music, and farming communities, as well as various local nonprofits dedicated to social programming). We were all working toward something. The birth of Manor House Quarterly was my desire to put these persons and activities together.
In terms of the editorial work, although no former roommate is directly involved with the project, they are all incredibly supportive and often contribute their time and energy to my random phone calls and text messages. I am always grateful for their insight.
Where are you based?
I am currently based in Nashville, Tennessee.
What's the work flow of the magazine like? How much do you and your co-editors confer? Do you all work in the same space?
Right now, busy busy busy. We are currently reading through submissions for our summer issue and organizing two release parties in Nashville and San Diego for our spring issue. Much of the workflow is divided quarterly. Depending on scheduling and reading periods, our conferring takes place across every platform imaginable: phone, text message, Skype, Instagram, Facebook, Gmail, Submittable, etc.
Because our operation is entirely mobile, I have to trust that the people working on this project are completely capable of their responsibilities. Fortunately, I have a great team.
What were the last three stories you accepted and why did you accept them?
What is unique about Manor House Quarterly is that we are doing the work of representing the mircomovements taking place across all contemporary genres. This includes, traditionally, creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and visual art. However, we are also making aggressive strides within the contemporary art gallery and museum circuit, as well as periphery fields such as screen writing, music composition, and curatorship. Surprisingly, few publications are doing this work in providing mainstream audiences a thoughtful convergence of contemporary art.
Taking a few examples from our current issue themed POST- and understanding the idea of “story” broadly, three works we recently accepted were “Letters, in case I die.” by author Melissa Difatta, “I AM NOT A HIPSTER” by filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton, and “Room for Five” a collaboration between visual artist Anna Schuleit and four composers from the Eastman School of Music.
Author Melissa Difatta, age 21, passed away in 2010 after battling Hodgkin’s disease for six years. Nour Abdelghani, a dear friend of Melissa’s, submitted “Letters, in case I die.” on her behalf. I was immediately overwhelmed by the implications of everything at hand. The piece so precisely cuts to the core of the idea of POST-, through its autobiographical and poetic rationalization of a life that is near its end. It is wise, humorous, and mournfully inescapable. I was humbled by the beautiful care between friends exemplified in Abdelghani and in an effort to cherish the author’s memory I was honored to publish the work. My gratitude goes to the Difatta family for allowing us this opportunity.
Destin Daniel Cretton
Filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton – the recent Grand Jury and Audience Award winner at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival – provided an excerpt from his 2012 film “I AM NOT A HIPSTER” for publication. This film was an official selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. On the surface, the film contributes to the conversation around young creatives seemingly relegated to a particular identity. However, for the main character of the film, we watch as his psychology unfolds into the drama of managing life circumstances. The specific scene chosen for publication highlights a key moment in the film that propels us into his development as he slowly comes to terms with himself and his situation. It’s a powerful film and to successfully reproduce it in print is something that I am particularly proud of.
Visual artist Anna Schuleit – 2006 MacArthur Fellow – provided us the delightful conversation that took place between herself and four composers from the Eastman School of Music. “Room for Five,” in relation to our theme, speaks toward the notion of how future creations by artists will increasingly be the product of thoughtful interdisciplinary collaborations. This was an opportunity for us to speak to that notion, while also being insightful about process, outcome, and co-authorship.
Taken together, each of these contributions presents an acute perspective to our theme and offers a depth of commentary through their particular engagement.
Do you solicit material for the magazine?
Yes, we do. I like to think of this publication as a gallery, of sorts. Much like a gallery, we put forth a great deal of precision to effectively convey an overarching experience. To do so, we can’t rely solely on a submission-based model. I believe this is one of the points that classify MHQ as an actual “art” and literary magazine.
Because the contemporary art world is structured much differently than the literary world, we have to be incredibly active in searching for artists to publish. Fortunately, that part is a lot of fun.
Altogether, I would say we solicit about 70-80% of each issue.
Where can copies be purchased?
Our issues are available on our website (free shipping) and on newsstands in select cities around the US and Canada. We have a circulation of 1,500 – 2,000.
We also just released an app three weeks ago that can be found on the Apple Newsstand under the “Arts & Photography” category. Digital readers can also find us in the “Pocketmags” app on Google Play and Kindle Fire.
In three weeks, with little promotion, we have already received over 3,200 downloads. This is an incredible (and somewhat unexpected) figure that will be really insightful to how we position our product to new audiences around the world in the coming months.
What's on your personal book shelves these days?
I am currently reading through the current issues of Artforum and Zoetrope: All-Story, “Lighthead” by Terrance Hayes, a book of essays, poems, and prose by one of our featured authors Mark Wallace titled “Haze,” and “Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing” by Hélène Cixous.