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A LETTER FROM THE EDITORS:
The past as a Means for Understanding the Future Glue has always been about commemorating the past, its mission purely retrospective: it takes a look backward at the student work from the previous year and catalogues it, organizes it, re-presents it as an object that exists, much like the book itself, mostly in the past. Glue has always reveled in the past. Yet there is something nascent in the ways that the projects are organized together, the way that ideas begin to interact between themselves on the pages of the book that holds the potential to be more than merely retrospective. In curation, there lies the possibility of a life, a forward-looking dialogue, a set of new ideas, and the possibility that Glue can be more than just a commemorative plaque, a dead thing, an object of the past. The past is an origin for the future just as much as it is the nexus of former life.
Therein lies the mission and organizational schema of this volume: to understand and collect the past as a means to project ourselves into the future, to chart out new lines of inquiry by way of a thorough review of those that we have already had, to look forward at the same time as we look back.
Forwards and backwards. The words themselves suggest, playfully, ways of reinterpreting this text, ways of recontextualizing our own name—itself a kind of mission taken by this journal over a decade ago.
To glue, to bring together, to construct, to look forwards, but also to secure in place, to affix, to look disciplines and scatter them about to fall as they may, thus showing new patterns—unities and disjunctions—so that we can better understand them, this college, and ourselves.
To unglue, to peel apart, to look through the layers of the construction that we have made, the past, so as to better understand its composition, its weaknesses, its points of failure, its opportunities, its hopefulness—perhaps we do so precisely to break down the walls of the college, to show the falseness of the lines that separate discipline from discipline, individual from individual; perhaps instead we do so to make these walls even stronger, more aware of their own faults, their own opportunities, their hidden biases, the other messages that can be read from without; perhaps we do so to suggest that the past is not a mute thing, but a rich text, a living material that might still construct a future, a bedrock that is not immune from erosion, or even from our own prospecting; perhaps we do so for no reason at all other than to frustrate the conventional schema of this very book: the chronological review, a yearbook, a catalogue, a sampler of projects, an hors d’oeuvre for prospective students.
Whatever our reasons, this text is both a significant break with tradition, and a retention of it as a means to uncover the possibilities that lay hidden in every other edition of Glue: the curation of the past in pursuit of a future project, the interpretation of meaning and intention to suggest hidden thrusts and possibilities that might be taken up and onwards. What is suggested is that this volume, for all its discontinuities, is contiguous with the mission of the past; we still look backwards, if only to now look forwards. What is further suggested is that these two actions are in fact irrevocable: to look backwards is to look forwards—they cannot be separated. To move backwards is also to move forwards, and vice versa—it could not be clearer. What lies within these pages is the past, a memory of those things that we have done and have come before us, and also a set of possible futures, new questions, implied paths. It is all here to be uncovered, to look backwards as a means of looking forward, to look forwards as a means of looking back, a review and a preview, retrospect and prospect.
And so here is to the past, the end, and here is to the future, a new beginning.
What remains is for it to be read.