The Operating System

The Long Mission


The OPERATING SYSTEM is a question, not an answer.

 THIS is not a fixed entity. It is an ongoing experiment in resilient creative practice which necessarily morphs as its conditions and collaborators change. It is not a magazine, or a website, but rather an ongoing dialogue ABOUT the act of publishing on and offline: it is an exercise in the use and design of both of these things and their role in our shifting cultural landscape, explored THROUGH these things.


 Whether on or offline, all publishing produced by the The OS can be most accurately described as documentation: an archive of creative production and process. But… WHY PUBLISH? to exemplify a belief that people everywhere can train themselves to use self(or community)-documentation as the lifeblood of a resilient, independent, successful creative practice.
If you pay attention to the entrepreneurial winds that blow, you may have noticed that “storytelling” has stopped whispering in the sidelines, from TED and The Moth and all the outlier early social media folk, coming front and center to bellow that it is the NEXT BIG THING in …marketing and business.

Wait, what? You may ask, Why are we talking about BUSINESS? I’m an artist/poet/musician/creator, and I hate focusing on money, I want to focus on my ART! Same… and that’s exactly why we’re talking about business. So you can do your art, better prepared to continue doing so successfully.

YES: The Operating System, always, offers a platform for mutual expression, appreciation, collaboration, dialogue, interdisciplinary exploration — and a place to celebrate the growing relationship between digital and print media. But in so doing, The Operating System is ultimately an exercise in the self-actualization of viable models  for growing value.

I want you to not only MAKE, I want you to THRIVE. One often finds, however, that the available ways of SUPPORTING our expression, without having to lead double lives in other jobs or being destitute, are often non sustainable. What if we could shift our bad habits, and model new ones for ourselves and each other?

This experiment is meant to be copied – to be an open source/p2p life hack, in which creative people can practice and observe new ways to create, collaborate, document, publish — and, importantly, enter a space of independent commercial viability — via learning to go beyond our disciplinary comfort zones; to reach a new, shared audience; and to self-publish/promote in a range of media. You, as a creative person, may find yourself an “Accidental Entrepreneur”™, and I want to help you remove the accidental from that phrase: to help you find intentionality in a desire, and plan, to thrive.

The name “THE OPERATING SYSTEM” is meant to speak to an understanding of the self as a constantly evolving organism, which just like any other system needs to learn to adapt if it is to survive. Just like your computer, you need to be “updating your software” frequently, as your patterns and habits no longer serve you.

This online home offers exclusive online content from artists, filmmakers, musicians, performers, and writers, as well as in depth profiles of the Awesome Creators who make up our global community, across a wide range of disciplines. This content aims to explore the processes that inform and facilitate creative production, valuating and documenting models for further dialogue, exploration, and co-collaborative discovery on and offline. It is meant as an archive, not a newspaper – this content remains searchable and viable for personal and public use from its inception, and it is hoped that it can become a teaching tool both for institutional use and autodidacts alike.

All print media produced is always in direct dialogue with this online publication, with each of these platforms seen equally as a document of community process and experimentation more than “product.”  Print media focuses on explorations of the page, and intentionally address the imagination landscape of that particular form of “information”: how typography, layout, mixing of media, and design vocabularies play a role in the expression and receipt of both creative and apparently “empirical” content.

All community members and contributors are invited to play and participate in collaboratory process both in the interest of building connections and co-creating work as well as in the collective production of content for each issue. This includes collaboration with offsite contributors via correspondence and other forms of digital connection, focusing on creating new models for engagement between contributors via a range of disciplinary experimentation, eschewing labels that delimit our forms or concepts of craft-identity.

Our intentions above all are empowerment and unsilencing, encouraging creators of all ages and colors and genders and backgrounds and disciplines to reclaim the rights to cultural storytelling, and in so doing to the historical record of our times and lives.

Bob Holman once told me I was “scene agnostic” and I took this as the highest compliment: indeed, I seek work and seek to make and promote work that will endure and transcend tastes and trends, making important and asserting value rather than being told was has and has not.

The OS has evolved in quite a short time from an idea to a growing force for change and possibility: in a span of 5 years, from 2013-2017, we will have pub- lished more than 40 volumes from a hugely diverse group of contributors, and solicited and curated thousands of pieces online, collaborating with artists, com- posers, choreographers, scientists, futurists, and so many more. You’ll also find partnerships with cultural organizations modelling the value of archival process documentation.

Beginning in 2016, our new series :: “Glossarium: Unsilenced Texts and Modern Translations”, will bring on Ariel Resnikoff, Stephen Ross, and Mona Kareem as contributing editors, and have as its first volume a dual language translation of Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh’s “Instructions Within,” translated by Mona Kareem, which will be published later this year, with all proceeds going to support Fayadh’s ongoing case and imprisonment in Saudi Arabia.
There is ample room here for you to expand and grow your practice …and your possibility. Join us.

.                                                                                          – Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Founder and Managing Editor