HIVES is an ongoing scholarly, artistic, and communal organization dedicated to developing an understanding of the ways in which matter and beings function in interdependent networks. HIVES seeks to create a generative space for conversations on the overlaps of disability studies and animal studies in popular culture. In his book Brilliant Imperfection, Eli Clare emphasizes how “White Western culture goes to extraordinary lengths to deny the vital relationships between water and stone, plant and animal, human and nonhuman, as well as the utter reliance of human upon human” (Clare 136). Clare offers the disability studies framework of interdependence as a way to undo fantastical narratives of independence and the individual. HIVES is an engagement with hiveminds, relationality, and interdependence across and within animal/human divides.
In the summer of 2020, HIVES pursued new ways to engage its community of scholars, larvae, artists, pets, and assorted pals at a distance. Working in the rhythm of stores that were out of necessities, small, hugless outdoor gatherings, and trips and stumbles that came from rolling and strolling in uncertain times, this summer project and its editors limped into the fall. By the time Buzz-Zine finally makes it to print, we’ll have already witnessed multiple snow falls on Michigan State University’s campus, where HIVES is housed.
As editors of a project carried out in crip time, we are excited that this delayed-release artifact is finally being simul-cast in HTML, in a large print .doc, in a .pdf, in a limited print edition, and in a limited braille-embossed edition. When we first imagined the Buzz-Zine, we had hopes of messing with the genre of the zine while taking advantage of some of its qualities. Zines have historically been cheap and easy to produce/circulate increasing the accessibility of this type of independent publishing. However, they’ve often lacked image descriptions and lacked a multiplicity of formats thus limiting accessibility. With the Buzz-Zine, we hope to increase access through digital cross-publishing and attention to multiple modes of engaging with creative and scholarly work. Early zines were a way for fans of science fiction to rank favorite stories, to propagate fan theories, and to form social groups; however, they also served gatekeeping functions, upholding some (white, male) voices and silencing others. In the decades since the first sf zines, new movements and publications have made space for people whose ideas and voices have been suppressed in their subcultures (e.g. Riot Grrrl zines that pushed back against the “male-driven punk world of the past”). In the Buzz-Zine, we’ve gathered a hive of scholarship/poetics/art that challenges the boundaries and definitions of the zine while reimagining accessibility and community.
Drawn from personal experience and out-of-this-world speculation, these stories, poems, commentary, and visual art rethink our notions of the human, question the limits of representation, and embrace the affective and embodied possibilities and pains in the overlaps and tensions of disability studies and animal studies. Our contributors include a child painter who reimagines spasms as laughing aliens, performers who stretch from Athens, Georgia to Davis, California, as well as professors who speculate on squirrels and worms and humans and other animal companions. We are thankful to each and every contributor for the words, images, and imaginaries they bring to the HIVES community.
This zine was made possible through support provided by Michigan State University’s English Department as well as funds received from the Robert L. Decker and Benjamin Muns Friendship Memorial Scholarship. If you are curious about what HIVES is, does, and will do: visit behives.org.
Clare, Eli. Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure. Durham: Duke UP. 2017.