ISSUE II

SiennaSolstice

ISSUE II 3

LETTER FROM

THE EDITORS

Dear Reader:

I was first brought onto this project in July of 2019, right as Stephanie and Rukan were

getting the idea off the ground. At the start, we simply had an idea we continued to build

on, and now, a whole year later, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see our cohort

develop into this issue. My personal artistic vision has been shaped by this journal, from

all the artists, writers, and creators who have trusted us with their pieces, to watching

our team develop the many aspects of Sienna Solstice. At the start of this issue timeline

I was reminded of the opening lines from Marge Piercy’s poem To be of use, “The people

I love the best / jump into work head first / without dallying in the shallows”. Despite the

hitches in the road this team has jumped into work headfirst, and I am eager to share

the result with you.

—Lea

When the editorial team was initially developing our journal identity, we didn’t have

many questions answered. We weren’t sure how long this project would last, nor did we

know much about running a journal as complex as Sienna Solstice. Our team of four was

propelled only by our diversified passions, unified by a desire to explore, and ultimately

dissolve, this delineation between the arts and sciences.

Looking back on our 2019 selves, we’ve come a long way, not only developing our mission

and identity, but also our team. As several of you know, we’ve brought on a few

more curious spirits to help us work through Sienna Solstice’s inherent dynamism and

innovation. Expanding our team inspired within us a new commitment to consistently

produce pioneering content within our antidisciplinary niche, and our ISSUE II cohort is

a testament to this promise. We hope their work surprises you as much as it did us.

Among this issue’s themes were beautiful juxtapositions of interconnectedness and solitude,

inception and destruction, and arguably the most striking: love and withdrawal. In

this new life in which cities are burning and the physical divides between us are growing,

we hope this issue reminds you of what once was—and what will be again.

Thank you for celebrating with us this Fall Equinox.

Warmly,

Kate, Lea, Rukan, & Stephanie


TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE 6

yasmeen

Safia Elhillo

An Interview with Safia Elhillo

Sienna Solstice Editors

PAGE 10

The Last September Equinox

Elliott Voorhees

PAGE 12

This Poem Has Already

Forgotten Its Name

Darnell “DeeSoul” Carson

Haptic

Ibuki Kuramochi

PAGE 14

Moving City

Emily Ren

PAGE 16

Dancing in the Demolition

Site of My Childhood Home

Anne Kwok

Peel

Ibuki Kuramochi

PAGE 18

a rant 2... whom

“ma.jo.me” (Matt Mett.)

PAGE 20

ochre solitude

Jackson Forte

after you showed me that video

about gravity

Blake Levario

saltwater

Melissa Skowron

PAGE 22

Flower shopping with

Frida

Emily Ahmed TahaBurt

Plantshoot 1 & 5

Milena Correia

PAGE 24

If a Virus Could Sing

Markus J. Buehler

PAGE 28

summer on the taxi

Esther Kim

See Me in Your Dreams

Geneviève Dumas

Postcards from Portland

Matthew Kaminski

PAGE 30

huevos con tortilla

Andrés González-Bonillas


PAGE 32

Divine Myth

Smiti Mittal

PAGE 34

Alexander Hamilton

Rohit Ghusar

DUM-E: Generalizaton Assembly

based on Human Attention

Justin Lin

PAGE 42

A resistance plan was hastily

drawn up.

S. Cearley

If Only We Could See Past

the Dust

Eric Kwok

PAGE 44

Tigris

Gilare Zada

PAGE 36

Shelf Cloud: a caution

Jasmine Flowers

The Wrath of Poseidon

Eric Huang

PAGE 38

Therapeutic Lantibiotic Delivery

and Functionalized Antimicrobial

Surfaces...

Neil Kadian

untitled

Lisa Yang

Some Things Remain the

Same

Andrea Salvador

Exploring the Performance of

Deep Residual Networks in

Crazyhouse Chess

Gordon Chi

Interconnected

Anashrita Henckel

Developing Coupled Physical-

Biogeochemical Models of

Mesozooplankton...

Patrick Kim

PAGE 46

Your time is coming

Geneviève Dumas

Tonality Spectrum

Ian Fleck

PAGE 40

we need space

&

a coming of age but, irl:

respectability politics

Osadolor Osawemwenze

PAGE 48

The Anatomy

Eva Ojeda F.

Hello My Name Is

Daniel Han

PAGE 50

Artist & Author Biographies


6 SIENNA SOLSTICE

yasmeen

Safia Elhillo

Source: Poetry (July/August 2018)

i was born

at the rupture the root where

i split from my parallel self i split from

the girl i also could have been

& her name / easy / i know the story

all her life / my mother wanted

a girl named for a flower

whose oil scents all

our mothers /

petals wrung

for their perfume

i was planted

land became ocean became land anew

its shape refusing root in my fallow mouth

cleaving my life neatly

& my name / taken from a dead woman

to remember / to fill an aperture with

cut jasmine in a bowl

our longing

our mothers’

wilting

garlands hanging from our necks


ISSUE II 7

An Interview With Safia Elhillo

While you were explaining your poem “yasmeen” in The Poetry Magazine Podcast, we

came to understand the poem as recounting three separate timelines: one where the

speaker is Yasmeen, one where she’s Safia, and one where she has to live with both,

and neither is extricable from her identity. Why did you think a contrapuntal poem was

the best way to present these three timelines?

SAFIA ELHILLO: I was thinking a lot about inherited form, in general, at the time of

writing that poem, and in the case of this particular poem, the form preceded the

content. I’d never written a contrapuntal before, and I’d been reading Olio by Tyehimba

Jess, which is full of these wild contrapuntals that you can read backwards

and upside-down and all sorts of unfair stuff. The summer before, at Cave Canem,

he’d given a talk about his process and walked us through a bunch of his contrapuntals.

I had not been particularly excited about form in that way until I saw him

take such ownership of a form that I think people of color in general—Black people

in particular—have been left out of the conversation about some of those older

forms. So, to see him achieve beyond fluency in the form made me really want to

write a contrapuntal.

I would say that the process of building a poem is measuring out each word and

each line, and [writing a contrapuntal poem] takes that process and magnifies it

because the line not only has to work as a line, it also has to work as half of another

line. So, it really was the longest I’ve ever spent writing such a short poem. So, the

poem was made from scratch in that way, where I had to go into it not knowing what

the poem was going to be and go to meet the form and see what came out.

I was thinking a lot about this idea of an alternate self. There’s a Ladan Osman interview,

where she talks about the particular diasporic experience of always having

to contend with an alternate version of yourself and using that alternate version of

yourself as a metric to measure your actual self against. Like, if I’d only grown up

back home all this stuff I think is wrong with me would not be wrong with me. If I’d

only grown up back home, my ends wouldn’t be split. In hindsight, it is an idea that

makes a lot of sense for the contrapuntal form. I am not generally so “woo-woo”

about the process of making a poem—it’s work. I have to sit and think and do, but

sometimes, there is an element that is beyond something I can language and this

was that—where in hindsight, when the poem was done, I was like, “Oh. Okay, of

course. This is the only poem this could have been.” But at the time, I knew what I

was doing, and also, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was so occupied with fulfilling

the exercise that I almost didn’t notice the poem that was being made.


8 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Earlier, you mentioned how you’re “limited by your particular obsessions”. One of

the things I noticed is you have quite an “obsession” with ampersands, and you

utilize them a lot in your poetry. Could you expand more on your attraction and

utilization of ampersands within your poetry?

SAFIA ELHILLO: On the most basic level, the ampersand is me trying to write

an Aracelis Girmay poem every time and failing. She also has a poem called

“Ode to the Ampersand”, but what I love, just on a technical level, when I am

making a poem, is I’m always trying to use as few words as possible to articulate

the thing. At the end of the day, the ampersand is very economical. It

is one symbol that takes up the space and the meaning that, otherwise, you

would have to have a whole other word in there—three more letters [and] this

much more space on the line. That feels cluttered to me. I like this neat, little

bundle that contains a word in it without going through the trouble of spelling

out a word.

You once said in a previous interview the best advice you ever received was in

the form of a Toni Morisson quote saying “If there’s a book you want to read and it

hasn’t been written yet then you must write it.” What would you say to young writers

entering a world that feels everything has either been written or is too niche

to be read?

SAFIA ELHILLO: I don’t believe anything is too niche. I don’t think there’s such

a thing. Nothing is universal. I think the only thing that is universal is specificity,

so we might as well write [about] our particular situations because

that hasn’t been written before. Even if there was a book that was written by

someone who was not me, whose main character was Safia and she was Sudanese-American

and she was a Sagittarius and 5’3 and born in Maryland. I still

would have something different to say. Because all of that stuff is just identity,

[and] identity is central to a lot of those questions surrounding representation

in literature but it’s not the end of the project. Just because there’s a book with

a Sudani girl in it doesn’t mean that the book is written. I think that’s when

representation politics fails us—when representation is seen as the end of the

project. But it’s not. There are still things that I have experienced, that I have

observed, that I have felt, that intersect with my identity and also intersect with

my geography and my astrological sign and the weather and where I am in my

menstrual cycle. All of that is the alchemy that makes the voice and the story.

It is niche. Everything is niche. Even those old canonical, white men eating

an apple in a forest—that’s niche. That’s a subculture that I’m forced to get to

know because that is literally niche. I’ve never met those types of people. That

does not mirror the culture I grew up in. So, I think there are ways that stories

and cultures and perspectives that are not straight cis, white, old men are

made to feel that they’re niche because they’re not as historically cannonized.

But that really was an oversight on the part of the canon and the cannon is

lucky that we’re trying to correct that.


ISSUE II 9

antidisciplinary

(adjective)

• • •

A rejection of the idea of the “interdisciplinary”,

as disciplines are not only interconnected, but

interdependent.

Wherein no system of thought can contain the

fullness of the human experience.


10 SIENNA SOLSTICE

The Last

September Equinox

Giorgio De Chirico, The Song of Love,

1914. Oil on canvas.

I lean in adobe

archways that cast

vaulted shadows a / cross the pavement,

where you rest your marble

coiffure on humid clay.

unfurling

raucous curls

waving against / the thick sky dripping.

I chisel away

at your pupils / expanding

grey iris eclipsed

with an empty / new moon I need

to fill with silver

until eyelids

sink

lashes brushing wispy clouds

off the horizon

of your cheeks.

My tongue traces your broken lobe

with whispers

Can a person be

an equinox?

Elliott Voorhees

The setting sun spills into

your contours / crisp,

luminous geometry.

Orange cheekbones and crimson lips

relaxing into the dying

afternoon / purpling the desert sky / my dark gaze

on the edge of the world

there’s a runaway train

singing / you to sleep.


ISSUE II

11

Photography by Luis Peña


12

This Poem Has Already

Forgotten Its Name

Darnell “DeeSoul” Carson

It has always been something of an amnesiac.

When this poem wakes up, it stares at the ceiling

until it can remember what it was getting up for.

It takes long showers and thinks it is lost at sea.

A minute from now, it will not even remember

how it began, metaphor or mortality.

Even now the moment is fading,

so it finds the closest conceivable thing

that can still hold its attention:

the condensing shower steam,

the water drop descending down

the plastic curtain, how it

hesitates before joining the

pool at the bottom, how

it knows that the union will

make it so indistinguishable,

so common, so unworthy of

remembering.


13

Haptic

Ibuki Kuramochi

“Under this circumstance, all human relationships

are now concentrated in the

virtual world through the Internet. People’s

thoughts, remarks and lives are

appear in our vision which formed into

photographs, movies, letters, and become

a huge timeline. My work evokes

and awakens the oblivion of the physical

body in the current virtual world.”


14 SIENNA SOLSTICE

MOVING CITY

EMILY REN


ISSUE II 15

How does architecture occupy and alter a space?

Often characterized by its tall skyscrapers, the modern city is multi-faceted and constantly

expanding upwards and outwards. Through the use of intentional space and selective color,

I explore the building of modern cities and its social and physical impacts on society.


16 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Dancing in the

Demolition Site

of My Childhood

Anne Kwok

Home

It was the ground between our shadows that

wanted your touch, something to hold onto that was more

skin-like than summer’s heat. And it was fitting that

I danced like a lonesome ribbon in the living room while our house

cracked open, a mouth to the hurricane. Look how the air

curls around our furniture like a mother’s arm, the curved fall

of willow strands like softened bone, how the roof is blown

into a sundress spilling from our shoulders. The hour

always leaving, always in a hurry to forgive sweat running

down a knife. I can’t feel my feet now that the memory

has wrecked through me like a river.


ISSUE II 17

Peel

Ibuki Kuramochi

“All of these video works were created during the

pandemic. I made these video works almost everyday

like a diary. I featured performance movements

and thoughts of the days. Fear, despair,

impatient feeling with the changing days. Everyone’s

sharing the same feeling at the same time.

The world is shaking a lot. I am a part of this world.”


18 SIENNA SOLSTICE

a rant 2.

a multimed

“ma.jo.me”


ISSUE II 19

.. whom

ia collection

(Matt Mett.)

“The original form of "a rant 2...whom" began as a freestyle

rap recorded at 2 in the morning as I "walked and roam[ed]"...

one of Oahu's "lone-ly road[s]"... "in dimmed lights and temperate

cold."

Flurries of mixed emotions clouded my head as a result of

fallout with a friend: nostalgic, reflective, and longing to return

to the "good ol'" days of shared memories with him. I

shuffled my feet home, ready to transpose and transcribe my

thoughts onto (digital) paper— into what is now a concrete

poem with words slightly revised from the original recording

and a visual arts accompaniment.”

“In the winter

In dimmed lights

And temperate cold

On this lonely road

As you walk

And roam...

A lamb

A lone.”


20 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Ochre Solitude

Jackson Forte

Ochre Solitude is a piece for solo piano, inspired

by the Korean poem An Autumn Day

by Lee Si-young. It attempts to capture the

mysteries of the human subconscious while

being alone, and at the same time harnessing

the feelings of being at peace with oneself.


ISSUE I 21

after you showed me the video about gravity

Blake Levario

nonetheless

well, actually

i know about gravity

what the fuck is gravity

here, fall into my arms

still don’t get it

and if you know

how to love me:

leave me alone

explain it to me again

don’t show me

that youtube video

please.

those pictures of the moon

so blurry and dense

why can’t it

be simple

open your palms show me your pull

the seams of gravity so lovely

god, are you all you imagined are you

all you wanted to be ?

i’m still

all alone

and i’m okay i’ve always been.

but please, show

me that video

one more time.

*Note: astronaut graphic is not part of Salt Water

Salt Water

Melissa Skowron


22 SIENNA SOLSTICE

“I paint flowers so they will not die.” -Frida Kahlo

Well we aren’t really shopping together

it’s just me recognizing her

portrait by the cash register

in the nearby farmer’s market—

well, a parking lot corner with

beachy air, a few gourds and prices marked for “annuals”

(which i learn means flowers that just die by the end of the year never to return)

(i wonder if Frida had annuals and knew to call them “annuals”)

(was it annuals that inspired her to paint them because they always die)

(and she kept them alive)

Thinking what the hell is her portrait doing in this small town market

pale faces everywhere like daisies

or ghosts

if she were here i wouldn’t dare approach her, all

smock and big earrings and tied up hair and perhaps a bag strap across her body

as i’ve met heroes and celebs before, put a foot in my mouth

and kicked myself with it,

still waiting for the right time to message remember me

so we can celeb and collaborate?

(or better yet

someone to approach me) no,

like how my man and i keep each other at arm’s length,

it’s just not the right time,

i’m not who i yet want to be

in this frozen summer

like

should i have thrown something at that man’s car

when two weeks before in the same neighborhood

i walked down the street

like Frida may have through an aisle of annuals

and he screamed

for me

to go back to where i came from 3 times

Flower shoppi

Emily Ahme

should i take a petal out of Frida’s book

and paint flowers and feminism and my Egyptianism

and elephants and doves instead

yet here i am

returning anyway for fruit and flowers

just from a distance

Photography by Milena Correia


ng with Frida

d TahaBurt

ISSUE II 23

***

Maryland is nasty humid

(my first fern still died a few weeks ago)

(ferns are not annuals)

(did Frida’s ferns die and is that why she painted them)

(did she have a spray bottle to humidify ferns too because that’s not working for me)

(or did she leave them in the bathroom while taking a shower

steam painting overtop the mirror and the plant)

(my birthday just passed and i took photos of the bouquet

to paint it and immortalize it forever because i’m reeeally not 22 anymore and

i’m trying

to take photos more because

i can feel it all slip away

and that’s

something i got from her)

Her Baba was German

i tell my Baba in Cairo on the phone later

because he has the utmost respect for her

(he was called a communist freak too)

and he says

Can that be true?

She’s the face of Mexico

i want to ask him if people cut in half

can’t be the face of anything

i look out the window after the call

and the town stares back

blue and conniving

impossible to stay,

difficult to leave,

horrible occurrences can hold a person hostage

***

Milena Correia

Eventually the tourists flow through the market line

just passing through this place

i approach Frida and the counter with a few gourds and onions

i didn’t grab any flowers

one day I too will pass it by

That’s when

I’ll go home

and I’ll paint my flowers there

and I’ll bury them where they were born


24 SIENNA SOLSTICE

IF A

VIRUS

COULD

SING

Markus J. Buehler

Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics

(LAMM), Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Cambridge, MA, United States of America

Proteins are key building blocks of virtually

all life, providing the material foundation of

spider silk, cells, and hair, but also offering

other functions from enzymes to drugs, and

pathogens like viruses. Based on a nanomechanical

analysis of the structure and

motions of atoms and molecules at multiple

scales, we showed that each of the protein’s

building blocks – amino acids – have

a unique frequency spectrum, or tonal quality

once transposed to the audible range,

allowing us to translate protein sequences

into musical patterns [1,2] (Figure 1).

Moreover, the hierarchical structuring of the

protein can be translated to music through

variations of volume, note length,

rhythm, and overlaying melodies

leading to counterpoint [3]

(Figure 2). Using this concept of translating the

hierarchical structure of matter into music – a

method termed materiomusic

– we developed sonified versions

of the coronavirus spike protein

of the pathogen of COVID-19, 2019-nCoV (see

Figure 3). The resulting audio features an

overlay of the vibrational signatures of the

protein’s primary, secondary and higher-order

structures and can be played in either

the innate nanomechanical

tuning of molecules (the amino

acid scale) or mapped into

equal temperament tuning [4] .

Sonification of the Coronavirus

Spike Protein [Amino Acid Scale]

Figure 4: Visual representation of the virus

spike protein (left) interacting with the human

cell receptor (ACE2), on the right. This moment

of infection represents the molecular binding

event that occurs during infection process.

Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus

Spike Protein (2019-nCoV) [equal

temperament tuning, orchestral classical]

The method allows for expressing protein structures

in audible space, offering novel avenues to

represent, analyze and design ar-


ISSUE II 25

chitectural features across lengthand

time-scales. This type of

approach can be broadly utilized

and used for other protein structures,

including as a means to

assess detailed molecular processes.

For example, we applied it

to the moment of infection, when

the virus begins to interact with the human

cell receptor ACE2 (Figure 4). The musical

realization of the moment of infection,

written for piano, provides

a microscope into the details

of molecular motions of attachment

and release.

Reflection of Infection (for piano)

Applications of the approach

may include the development of

de novo antibodies by designing

protein sequences that match,

through melodic counterpoints,

the binding sites in the spike

protein. The musical coding also provides a

powerful dataset for AI applications, where the

coding of protein folding and function can be

used to design de novo proteins, or to evolve

existing proteins into new designs.

Other applications of audible coding

of matter include material

design by manipulating sound,

detecting mutations, and offering

a way to reach out to broader

communities to explain the

physics of proteins. It also forms a physics-based

compositional technique to

create new art, which is akin to finding a

new palette of colors for a painter. Here,

the nanomechanical structure of matter,

reflected in an oscillatory framework,

presents a new palette for sound generation,

and can complement or support

human creativity, transcending scales,

species and manifestations of matter.

Figure 3: Visual representation of the coronavirus spike protein, used for

a musical realization. The protein consists of three chains, interwoven

into a complex hierarchical structure. Musically, the interwoven geometry

is reflected through intersecting melodies. The tip of the spike proteins

interacts with the human cell during the moment of infection.


26 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Figure 1: As reported in [5] , a visual representing of the sonified barcodes of each of the 20

amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Each of these notes can be viewed as a novel type

of building blocks that can be used to generate new art, similar to new colors or new paint

materials or paint strokes (see bottom row for examples). Moreover, the construction of musical

art within the constraint of these sets of vibrations offers an interesting challenge in the design of

novel music, as exemplified in the examples reported in this article.

As an example of multi-protein orchestration, see:

References:

[1] T. Giesa, D.I. Spivak, M.J. Buehler, Reoccurring Patterns in Hierarchical Protein

Materials and Music: The Power of Analogies, Bionanoscience. 1 (2011).

doi:10.1007/s12668-011-0022-5.

[2] Z. Qin, M.J. Buehler, Analysis of the vibrational and sound spectrum of over 100,000 protein

structures and application in sonification, Extrem. Mech. Lett. (2019) 100460.doi:https://doi.

org/10.1016/j.eml.2019.100460.


ISSUE II 27

Figure 2: Comparison of musical structure with protein structures, reflecting a correspondence

between hierarchical features across manifestations from material to sound

and the other way around. Listen to this piece for a audible illustration of the concept:

Hierarchical systems in materials and sound:

[3] S.L. Franjou, M. Milazzo, C.-H. Yu, M.J. Buehler, Sounds interesting: can sonification help us

design new proteins?, Expert Rev. Proteomics. 16 (2019) 875–879.

[4] M.J. Buehler, Nanomechanical sonification of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus spike protein

through a materiomusical approach, (2020). http://arxiv.org/abs/2003.14258 (accessed April 16,

2020).

[5] C.-H. Yu, Z. Qin, F.J. Martin-Martinez, M.J. Buehler, A Self-Consistent Sonification Method to

Translate Amino Acid Sequences into Musical Compositions and Application in Protein Design

Using Artificial Intelligence, ACS Nano. 13 (2019) 7471–7482.


28 SIENNA SOLSTICE

summer on the taxi

Esther Kim

and this late afternoon

heat traces our eyes.

i blink, watch

the sun-ridden apartments and blue

convenience stores

through the window,

like filmstrips—

i never liked film

as in you never wanted to be

filmed, but there’s always

next summer

to let each collected dollar

follow behind us in the wind

as the Han River bows

to us. this is

Seoul you say when the sky

undresses and rain hurtles

into the neon city. at night,

we gather the songs

of cicadas and laugh

into the painted 108

for the last time, before

we arrive at the airport

with the dawn

in our throats, before

we realize there is no goodbye

in the language of this city.


ISSUE II 20

Postcards from Portland

Matthew Kaminski

Art by Geneviève Dumas


30 SIENNA SOLSTICE

huevos

Andrés González-Bonillascon tortilla

Open and I am cooking huevos con tortilla to 25/8 by Bad Bunny

Open and me and Fernie blast Christian Nodal in my dad’s car

Singing to the tears in our eyes

And the sun has set

And we have laughed at the rooftops and their stars

Open and I am going 105 on the highway pumping blood like nitros

I scream and so do my eyes but

I get home safe that night

Open and I am cooking huevos con tortilla to 25/8 by Bad Bunny

And fuck I could use a smoke

And I lose count of the sunsets

Open and my mom is burning sage again

She talks about how the smoke forms

It curls and whisps

And

The corridos in my neighborhood

Sing to the doves on the wires

And they sing back

Open and home is not what I remember

Open and I am cooking huevos con tortil

The maiz yellows and browns

And the eggs need salt

And the salsa hurts my nose sometimes

And the glass plate stays warm

And the sun is up

And I lose track of when it sets

Open and I haven’t called my nana in a m

And she’s not going to the illegal casinos

Or at least not that she’s telling her daugh

Open and the corridos are still singing

And the gray doves sing back

And they eat huevos con tortilla

Left on the patio table

And the sun sets

And there is no need to track it.

Open and I am cooking huevos con tortilla to 25/8 by Bad Bunny

And one of the lights above the stove is out

And I take my nanas apron out of the drawer

Stitched from the same hands that held me

And call me Andresito

And the lines in my hands look like hers

Open and there is no violence in these

Lines and that is where lineage ended

Open to the sunroof

And the streetlights become their own constellations

And

They are not as extravagant as the ones in the sky

But there are what I have now


ISSUE II 31

it to be

la to 25/8 by Bad Bunny

inute

anymore

ters


x

32 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Divine Myth

Smiti Mittal

My mother has never believed in religion.

Not surprising, considering her childhood

was congested with countless trips

to astrologers and healers that her parents

thought might ‘fix’ her younger sister,

who was hard-of-hearing. Doctors

too, along the way, but doctors, like most

scientific professionals, seem too sure of

the truth. A false faith is more comforting.

As a result of her skepticism, I grew up

being taught, Celebrate Diwali, but only

‘culturally’. Visit temples but as feats of

architecture. Learn the Hanuman Chalisa

but because it pleases your grandmother.

Because Faith is ancient and you

are a strong independent woman in the

21st Century. God cannot do anything

for you that you cannot do for yourself.

*

It’s 2012. My sister and I ring the doorbell

and wait as my mother tugs open the

creaking metal gate our grandfather insisted

on installing when we first bought

the place. Inside, wooden floor-paper

peels beside the shoerack. I kick

off my shoes without untying the

laces and cross the cramped six

metres it takes to get to my parents’

bedroom. Documents decorate

the Egyptian-blue sheets as

my father hunches over our family

computer. One of the big boxy

ones that has a separate CPU unit. My

grandfather has been in the hospital, so I

worry. Is this paperwork for some surgery?

Could said surgery be unnecessary, and our

family a victim of the medical fraud committed

by Indian hospitals to meet surgery

targets? At 11, I am already cynical. But at 11

I am still a child. So not wanting to disturb

my father and curious what’s for dinner,

I return to the living room.

*

My mother’s anti-faith often takes the note

of, If god exists why is there so much pain? If

prayer works Why is my sister not okay?

I think this is a reflection of the inherently

transactional nature most religion

tends to take. Prayer ~in exchange~

for favors, for forgiveness, and

for freedom. Prayer as a choice you get

to make as opposed to a stubborn inner

reaching for relief I cannot dismiss.

*


ISSUE II 33

My sister is an appendage of myself I am

constantly aware of. For the following moments,

I cannot remember where in our

living room she stood or what she wore. My

mother has something to tell us. I don’t remember

how she phrases it but I remember

the hollowing out of a pit in my stomach.

I see death scrawled across tan kitchen

tiles and ashes scattered across the

sink. My grandfather is no more. Matter

of fact, but not to me and not at the

age of 12. Was it 11? I’ve lost relatives

before, but this time is different. I feel

before I think, I cry before I feel, I cannot

breathe and I cannot remember

where my sister stood or what she wore.

*

The night my grandfather dies, I recite

the Hanuman Chalisa to myself over

and over again until I can fall asleep.

At some point in the next couple of days, I

learn my grandfather’s cancer always came

with an expiry date. My parents kept this

from me. Towards the end, I was so bitter

because they wouldn’t let me see him (because

a child, however cynical, has no job

smelling death) so when he left, “I will never

see him again” hit stronger than his deathis

too abstract to process.

*

In the aftermath, my first line of thought is

extrapolation. The possibility of any other

loved one spontaneously leaving suddenly

seems overly real. I start to wonder

every time I leave the house -to go

downstairs to play or for tennis lessons

or for a walk - who might be dead the

next time I walk back in. Specific nightmares

start to frequent - my father falling

sick, my sister being chased, my

mother killing herself.

*

I am certain I will never forget the first

three verses of the Hanuman Chalisa.

*

I make up this ritual where I imagine

him on top of a bed of clouds during

the morning prayer at school. I rise,

touch his feet, and ask for his blessings.

This traditional grandparent relationship

isn’t very representative of ours,

but it makes me feel like I’m doing what

I’m supposed to. Like the vast stretches

of time through which the feet-touching

of both elders in the family and God has

been sacred can somehow protect me.

For the first time, faith has come up outside

of an explicit need for hope. Any break

in pattern requires investigation, so I read

about theology to try understanding this

deviation. This is when I learn more about

the transactional nature of most religions.

Despite this broad theme applying to most

faiths, each one tends to establish a

unique give-and-take relationship between

man and God. In Christianity, one

offers prayer in exchange for absolution.

In Hinduism prayer is traded for favors.

In Buddhism, one seeks Nirvana, ultimate

release from the cycle of rebirth. My

prayer feels less like exchange and more

like an external hurling of hope at slippery

walls hoping something will stick.

*

I remember the first day I forgot to think

of him during the morning prayer. I felt

guilty of not missing him any more and

unsettled by the interruption of ritual.

*

In some sense, I agree with my mother.

God cannot do anything for me that I cannot

do for myself. God doesn’t take cash

or card. But in another sense, I don’t because

the illusion of God occupies a space

separate from my mind, so it can hold up

against trauma that I can’t. There are so

many days all I need is a big bright bearhug

from the cosmos. To be able to scream

into the place where all the quantum

probability decisions are made, ‘please

bring back my grandfather,” long after

he is gone. I need to imagine he isn’t gone.

I need to meet him at that place in the

clouds and be able to touch his feet. I

need stories. To be able to tell them and

then come back and read them when the

telling-self is tired or terrified or traumatised.

Maybe that’s all my mother’s

critique of religion is: a story. I’ve had

enough nightmares to know: if I felt helpless

in the face of a lifelong pain my sister

would need to endure, a burden I was

for no explicable reason free from, I too

would tell myself anything that externalised

all of that guilt and pain and sorrow.


34 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Alexander Hamilton

Rohit Ghusar


ISSUE II 35

DUM-E: Generalizaton Assembly

based on Human Attention

Justin Lin

Today an important open question in the field of human-computer

interaction is the capability of robots to autonomously interact

with objects in their environment as well as interface with

humans. In this paper, we explore planning and action representation

through self play and human attention mechanisms

in order to explore approaches towards few-shot learning in an

environment without robust 3D mapping. In previous works, kit

assembly and bin picking can be formulated as a shape matching

problem that establishes geometric relationships between

object surfaces and their target placement locations from visual

input. We explore the ideas of self-play through repeated

assembly and disassembly in a variety of test kit scenarios.

Furthermore, we merge human gaze and pose estimation

in order to build a shape and position representation that best

emulates a human working environment where object interactions

happen between robots and humans. Our self-supervised

data pipeline is obtained through ground truth placement that

emulates the methodology described in Form2Fit (Zakka et. al,

2019). Our resulting system, Dum-E, is able to increase pick and

place strategies by 14% in a variety of test kits and over 7%

in completely new test cases versus simply self-play and other

approaches such as simulation-based reinforcement learning.


36 SIENNA SOLSTICE

a storm rolled in the east;

i only came to warn you.

my lower belly stretched

of crops going on for

miles: red dirt lines

made from sweat.

Shelf Cloud: a caution

Jasmine Flowers

across the sky, cloaking

town as a dry welcome.

people strained to see

my dimpled white unfold.

i admired the gritty faces

& bodies. i traced grids

cotton bolls shook deep

in the fields & soft hairs

stood to greet my wind.

a cautious kiss boiled up

in my maw: an early gift

for those who watched.


ISSUE II 37

The Wrath of Poseidon

Eric Huang


38 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Therapeutic Lantibiotic Delivery and

Functionalized Antimicrobial Surfaces

via Thermostable Degradation-Resistant

Nisin-Adsorbed

Endospores:

Engineering an Alternative to

Antibiotics and Pesticides

Neil Kadian

Antimicrobial peptides (APs) produced by a large number of microorganisms,

plants, and animals hold considerable potential as broad-spectrum

alternatives to traditional antibiotics, pesticides, and therapeutics. However,

their clinical and industrial application is limited by their poor chemical

stability, low specificity, and susceptibility to environmental degradation.

This study sought to improve the stability, delivery, and application of the

model AP nisin by exploting the phenomenal physiological stability of

bacterial endospores for AP delivery. It was hypothesized that nisin adsorbed

to the glycoprotein surface matrix of Bacillus subtilis endospores

would show markedly improved chemical stability, shelf life, and resistance

to protease degradation. Extensive wet lab testing

including spectrophotometric BCA protein assays, broth

microdilutions, and protease digests were used to characterize

nisin-endospore adsorption kinetics, shelf-life, and

bactericidal activity. Nisin-endospore binding conditions

were optimized for maximally efficient loading. After storage

in a liquid format for 2 weeks at 20°C, nisin-adsorbed

endospores retained 80% (pH 7.0) or 40% (pH 10.0) antimicrobial

activity, while free nisin lost all activity by week

one. Following a 1-hour pepsin digest, endospore-adsorbed

nisin retained 65% of antimicrobial activity while free nisin retained

only 7%. This suggests that endospore delivery allows APs to be

administered orally instead of intravenously and stored under non-ideal

conditions using a cheap, environmentally-friendly, biocompatible carrier.

Future applications to be tested include: functionalization of crops, fabrics,

and other surfaces to mitigate microbial growth; co-adsorbing with

proteinaceous ligands to localize APs at target tissues and organisms; and

improved penetration of biofilms. This is the first study reporting the use

of endospores to stabilize APs.


ISSUE II 39

Art by Lisa Yang

passed down like an antique vase or a plot of land

perhaps both, she learns the method of growing:

bones over skin, hair reaching waist, head bending south

Some

Things

Remain

The

Same

Andrea Salvador

coaxed by the whispers of unruly ancestors

she begins to mask appendixes, pull out wisdom

teeth and bury pockets of fear as the film credits roll

her stomach rumbles, but the stove remains unrepaired

so she eats her feelings and yesterday’s

leftovers on a plate that has withstood raised voices and cries

as all spoilage do, beginning to want: to be nice, to be thrown

out then taken back, to be a star, to look at them

unfiltered – no canopy of smog to recognize the similarity

of being: bright, discernible, too good for this world. i am just like

you, she says, and the stars wink back. together, they wait

to be rebirthed.


40 SIENNA SOLSTICE

we need space

Osadolor Osa

"This artwork

lack of auton

During the pa

through July

this piece, ma

struggles, an

came massiv

social media.

trauma and ig

mental health

consumption

sion makes th

up quickly in

autonomy in

ence. Finding

this time crea

passive and a

Black youths

the present s

the frontline f

discourse, an

representing

future. All this

being margin

as angry. Not

figures are sm

emotion was

creative visio

ership of all f

rightful anger

when we cho

These figures

arranged to f

image of spa

The crowded

box black you

have to navig

alism and eu

of beauty, life

such an impr

is essential to

tionalities and

gles black no

so I wanted t

majority of m

used. The foc

is not only a v

with the diffe

also to showc

mity to euroc

sion of black

facing misog


ISSUE II 41

wemwenze

is a look into the

omy for black youth.

st two months (May

2020) of completing

ny different issues,

d oppression beely

consumed on

The erasure of black

norance of black

in regards to mass

of systemic opprese

black youth grow

hopes to gain some

voice and experione’s

voice during

tes liminality in

ssertive resistance.

are the future and

imultaneously, being

orce of dialogue,

d change while also

hope for a brighter

is happening while

alized and “painted”

e how none of the

iling. The lack of

not only done for

n but to take owneelings,

including

to oppression and

ose to express them.

are simple faces

ormulate a bigger

ce or the lack thereof.

ness represents the

th are put in. We

ate white professionrocentric

standards

, and behavior at

essionable age. It

note the intersecadditional

strugn-men

go through,

o have them be the

uses and figures I

us on black non-men

essel to experiment

rent hairstyles, but

ase the non-conforentrism

and expresfemininity

while

ynoir."

a coming of age but, irl:

respectability politics


42 SIENNA SOLSTICE

A resistance plan was

hastily drawn up.

S Cearley


ISSUE II 43

If Only We Could See

Past the Dust

Eric Kwok

towering titan of gold

solar shield made of silver sail

unfurl the winds of this universe

& reduce the moon to an echo.

unclasp the secrets of the sky

pearls of smoke, a billowing

curtain of debris

a storm of cosmic glitter.

if only we could see past the dust,

a galactical nirvana awaits

Elysian Fields, promised lands

with gardens of celestial relics.

run your hand through a belt

of constellations & watch each child

split into hallways of light

your crimson eye unblinking.

unknot the umbilical star &

deliver us back, into time’s womb.


44 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Tigris

Gilare Zada

oh you tigris

i have seen what you have done

upon the rich banks

creeping towards the kurdish shore

as the crescent moon sung solely for you

you snaked your way between nations at arms

a murky serpent charged with crimes churning below

unfazed by the rage that had crossed you before

wars have thrived where your waters sigh

you tigris

you crooning flood of honeydew

i have woken in cold sweat

beads tauntingly mimicking

your sweet droplets that clung to me

i dripped in sugar when i listened to you

you river styx

my people emerged at your brook

but there i crumble in my sleep

drowning in the softness i let go

when my home sank into you

i have learned to hate you

you monster of soft soiled beds

on which i coil and writhe like you

i am beginning to creep away from you

the lonely moon weeps rivers for you

Exploring the

Performance of Deep

Residual Networks in

Crazyhouse Chess

Gordon Chi

Crazyhouse is a chess variant that

incorporates all of the classical chess rules,

but allows users to drop pieces captured

from the opponent as a normal move. Until

2018, all competitive computer engines for

this board game made use of an alpha-beta

pruning algorithm with a hand-crafted evaluation

function for each position. Previous machine

learning-based algorithms for just regular chess,

such as NeuroChess and Giraffe, took hand-crafted

evaluation features as input rather than a raw

board representation. More recent projects, such

as AlphaZero, reached massive success but

required massive computational resources in

order to reach its final strength.

This paper describes the development

of SixtyFour, an engine designed to

compete in the chess variant of Crazyhouse

with limited hardware. This

specific variant poses a multitude of

significant challenges due to its large

branching factor, state-space complexity,

and the multiple move types a

player can make. We propose the novel

creation of a neural network-based

evaluation function for Crazyhouse.

More importantly, we evaluate the effectiveness

of an ensemble model, which

allows the training time and datasets

to be easily distributed on regular CPU

hardware commodity. Early versions of the

network have attained a playing level comparable

to a strong amateur on online servers.


ISSUE II 45

Developing Coupled Physical-Biogeochemical Models of Mesozooplankton

Dynamics in the California Current System

Mesozooplankton play an immense role in the

global ocean. They are intricately intertwined in the

pelagic food web and are major contributors to oceanic

biogeochemical cycling through vertical migrations.

However, much is unknown about the quantitative

distribution and biomass of mesozooplankton

in the ocean. Our limited knowledge impairs the

development of global models, used to understand

interactions of marine resources with functioning of

the earth. In the upwelling system of the California

Current System (CCS) and other productive regions

throughout the ocean, these models are integral in

developing sustainable environmental policy. Here,

we assess ecological dynamics of mesozooplankton

in the CCS and analyze the accuracy of current

simulative models of these dynamics. Using datasets

accessed from MARine Ecosystem DATa and the

World

ical

Patrick Kim

Ocean Atlas, climatolog-

fluctuations of

mesozo-

oplankton biomass, sea surface temperature, chlorophyll

levels, salinity, and photosynthetically active

radiation in the CCS were standardized and synthesized.

These analyses were compared to model

output from a coupling of the Regional Ocean Modeling

System (ROMS), modeling ocean physics, and

Biogeochemical Elemental Cycling (BEC), modeling

biogeochemical dynamics. Observational climatologies

verified the significance of upwelling dynamics

in the CCS. Model outputs underestimated mesozooplankton

biomass during upwelling seasons and

in regions of coastal upwelling. Regions of overestimation

aligned with oligotrophic offshore regions.

Compartmental modifications of ROMS-BEC may

yield more accurate estimations of observed mesozooplankton

dynamics. Especially with increasing

perils of anthropogenic climate change, accurate

models are essential for development of sustainable

fishery management, regulation of wastewater nutrient

outfall, and robust global climate policy.

Interconnected

Anashrita Henckel

“During the first few weeks of lockdown, I created

this piece as a way to capture quarantine life in

Dubai. The first layer features faint drops of

rain on parched Dubai ground. Rain occurs

so rarely here, so when it comes, everyone

revels in the experience despite being

isolated - whether it be taking a photo,

commenting to one another or using

the moment to look up and out from our

confining walls. The second layer is a paper

cutting featuring iconic buildings in

Dubai intermingled with everyday people

in their homes. Diverse peoples celebrating

birthdays, religious holidays like Ramadan

and Easter and living, learning, teaching

and meeting online. I wanted to capture

our interconnectedness and used geometry to

symbolise the order and routine in the seeming

chaos of change and unpredictability. The organic

hexagonal geometric form is inspired by Ernst

Haeckel’s scientific drawings of plants and animals.

I used this to represent the Covid-19 virus which, at the

time, scientists knew little about and was a kind of mystery

to us all overshadowing yet connecting our lives.”


46 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Your time is coming

Geneviève Dumas


ISSUE II 47

T O N A L I T Y

S P E C T R U M

Ian Fleck


48 SIENNA SOLSTICE

Acrylic on canvas,

36 in x 24 in,

2018

The Anatomy is

an acrylic painting

depicting the

skeleton structure

of a contortionist,

comparing

it to their

regular body

through three

triangles, one

showing their

belly, another

their elbow and

a last one showing

one foot and

half of a leg. This

artwork began

from my fascination

with contortionists

and the

possibilities of

the human body.

Besides my BFA,

I practice circus

arts and I have

always had a

very bendy back,

but I am not a

contortionist yet.

I wanted to know

how our spines

work and how

can they get to

be so flexible,

but because

there is no anatomy

textbook

that shows it, I

decided to study

the body and

paint it.

The Anatomy

Eva Ojeda F.


ISSUE II 49

Hello My Name Is

Daniel Han


author & artist

Biographies


Markus J. Buehler is the McAfee Professor of

Engineering at MIT, leads MIT’s Laboratory for

Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics, and a composer

of experimental, classical and electronic

music, with an interest in sonification. His primary

research interests focus on the structure and

mechanical properties of biological and bio-inspired

materials, to characterize, model and create

materials with architectural features from the

nano- to the macro-scale. Using an approach

termed “materiomusic”, his artistic work explores

the creation of new forms of musical expression

- such as those derived from biological materials

and living systems - as a means to better

understand the underlying science and mathematics.

One of his goals is to use musical and

sound design as a way to model, optimize and

create new forms of matter from the bottom up,

and to assess cross-system design relationships.

He is also interested in research to explore relationships

between classical music, mathematics,

and the physical and biological sciences, an in

the mapping of models of consciousness across

systems. In recent work he has developed a new

framework to compose music based on proteins

– the basic molecules of all life, as well as other

physical phenomena such as fracturing, to explore

similarities and differences across species, scales

and between philosophical and physical models.

Darnell “DeeSoul” Carson is a Black queer

poet, performer, and educator from San Diego,

CA, co-director of the award-winning Stanford

Spoken Word Collective, and Editorial Assistant

at the Adroit Journal. A two-time CUPSI finalist,

his work has been featured or forthcoming

on Write About Now Poetry and Button Poetry,

and in The Adroit Journal, The Unified Anthology,

The Oakland Arts Review, and elsewhere.

He is currently pursuing a degree in Cultural/

Social Psychology with a minor in Creative Writing

at Stanford University, where he has also

led two-quarter long poetry workshop courses.

S Cearley has tricked a computer into making

poetry when it thinks it is making art. He is

a former researcher in artificial intelligence and

its use in generative literature, lecturer in philosophy,

and a writer. For many years he has

been creating these poems by tweaking expert

systems, pushing the boundaries of the intended

use of software. In the crisp, elegant world

of mathematics and logic, he injects the fœtid

swamp of human nature. His concrete poems

have been published in many journals both online

and on-paper. He has held classes on concrete

poetry across the US, and many works

have been featured in galleries in North America

and Europe. More at futureanachronism.com.

Gordon Chi is a Stanford sophomore currently

studying Math and Computer Science. His research

interests include the intersectionality of AI

in healthcare, as well as the development of depthsearch

based engines for board game variants.

Since his freshman year, he has been a member

of Dr. Andrew Ng’s AI in Healthcare bootcamp.

Aside from research, Gordon enjoys playing

chess, watching basketball and composing music.

He is also a member of the North American

Computational Linguistics Open Problem

Committee, after having previously competed

in the International Linguistics Olympiad.

Milena Correia is a Brazilian artist, master’s

student in aesthetics and artistic studies in photography

and cinema at Universidade Nova de

Lisboa, researching Brazilian women in documentary

cinema. She studied theater and audiovisual

and is the founder of Rustica Producoes,

where she directs, photographs, edits and produces

mainly films related to music and arts in

general. She worked on music videos by artists

such as Regina Machado and Tom Zé, Maurício

Tagliari and Luedji Luna, Iara Rennó, Laya (in

partnership with the photographer Gal Oppido).

Responsible for editing the medium-length

film “Sangria” by Luiza Romão, a film that was

in several national and international festivals.

Develops social and authorial projects through

photography and film such as the partnership

with Canudos Project, which takes place in

the hinterland of Bahia - BR, and her recently

experimental short film “The black hole and

the blank page”, that flows around loneliness.

Geneviève Dumas is the Montreal based printmaker

artist behind the brand Goldengen. Her

work is an investigation of unexpected representations

that result from the combination of


fragmented materials & feelings through her

printmaking. She’s using collage and screen

printing to build up momentum and stories. She

tries to let her art allow the viewer to question a

lot of things, but mostly how we deal with ourselves

& love and experience moments. She

leaves just enough detail for you to wonder.

Ian Fleck is a 15 year old sophomore at the

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts,

where he is the first chair clarinetist in the orchestra.

He discovered his passion for music

at a very early age, and played several instruments

before deciding to focus on clarinet in

2013. He soon joined the Kadima Conservatory

of Music, where he continues to play yearround.

Ian enjoys many disciplines of music,

including arranging, transcribing, composing,

conducting, and performing. He studies music

from multiple genres such as jazz, classical, and

contemporary. He is the youngest of three children,

and lives in Los Angeles with his family.

Jasmine Flowers is a well-watered poet from

Birmingham, AL. Her favorite flowers should be

jasmines, but she loves peonies too. She received

her BA in English from the University of Alabama.

Currently, she is a poetry editor for Variant Literature

Journal. Her poems are published in Rejection

Letters, River Mouth Review, giallo, Q/A

Poetry, perhappened mag, Versification, and

Mineral Lit Mag. Follow her on Twitter: @jas_flow

Jackson Forte is a 19 year old composer and

multi-instrumentalist from San Clemente, California.

He is currently attending Chapman

University as a sophomore, pursuing a double

major in Music Composition and Keyboard Collaborative

Arts, as well as a minor in film music.

Jackson’s compositional style takes inspiration

from video game soundtracks and impressionist

music, as well as his own half-Korean heritage.

Additionally, he writes music for student

films, and is hoping to pursue a career in film

scoring. As a pianist, he often collaborates with

instrumentalists and vocalists as an accompanist,

playing in concerts and recitals. Aside from

this, Jackson also enjoys expanding his musical

instrument collection, and he hopes to get his

hands on a pair of bagpipes in the near future.

Rohit Ghusar is a 20 year old film student at

CSUN. He was born in Yuba City, California

and has been into photography for about

5 years and is a total camera nerd. Photography

was his introduction into film and holds a

very special place in his heart. Rohit’s dream

is to be a writer/director for film since it encompasses

all of his interests such as photography,

music, and writing. Rohit has won Gold

Key Scholastic Art Awards for his photography.

Andrés González-Bonillas is a Xicano poet,

student, and photographer based in Philadelphia

via Arizona. His work focuses on Latinx

identity, love, ancestral history, and radical

politics. Andrés has been published in

La Vida Magazine and has been a member of

the Excelano Project since 2019. He is pursuing

a BA in English at the University of Pennsylvania,

with a focus in Post-Colonial Lit and

Theory. Follow him on twitter @gonzanillas

Daniel Han is currently studying at the University

of Southern California School of Cinematic

Arts. Inspired by Chazelle, Spielberg, and

so many other legends, Daniel aspires to be

an auteur of his future productions. A people’s

person, Daniel values the human relationship

and character above all else both in his works

and in real life. Consequently, Daniel’s favorites

genre to write and create is a coming of

age story that is sprinkled with small moments

of fantasy, or as people call it, “movie-magic”.

Anashrita Henckel is an emerging artist who

was born in the Caribbean, grew up in London

and now lives and works in Dubai. Primary

school teacher by day and artist by night, she

works in a variety of media including drawing,

painting, paper sculpture and digital art and has

a particular interest in constructing geometric

motifs that add layers and meaning to her artworks.

As a young artist fresh out of university,

Anashrita took part in exhibitions in London and

Staffordshire and has seen many of her artworks

sold to private collectors. She then took time

away from the artworld to raise her two cheeky

sons to teenagehood, but has now resumed creating

and has artwork in several online gallery

collections. Anashrita has plans to exhibit in


galleries and exhibitions once they are safe to

reopen after the Covid 19 pandemic has eased.

Eric Huang is a composer based in Los Angeles,

California who is currently studying music composition

and communications with an emphasis

in business at the University of California, Santa

Barbara. Although he also enjoys composing

concert orchestral pieces, his main focus is

writing music to film. Aside from creating music,

he also enjoys cooking and playing badminton.

Neil Kadian is a senior at Dr. Ronald E. McNair

Academic High School in Jersey City, NJ. He has

spent the last three years improving technologies

for drug delivery in his high school and

local labs, and often takes inspiration from biological

architectures found in nature. He is humbled

to be an ISEF finalist and alumni of several

research programs including the Summer Science

Program, NJGSS, Columbia SHP, and NJ

Governor’s STEM Scholars. Neil’s work reflects

his strong belief in the importance of centering

academic research on altruistic values—originality,

elegance, pragmatism, long-term forethought,

efficient allocation of resources, and

comprhensive consideration of outcomes—and

hopes to echo these principles in the future as

a research- and medicine-focused professional.

Matthew Kaminski studies at Chapman University

in Southern California and writes music

for orchestra, small ensembles, wind ensemble,

and vocalists. He is a ten time first place winner

for the state of Oregon through MTNA and

NFMC, and has been a national finalist three

times in the US. His music has been described

as extremely evocative with large amounts of

imagery and emotion, and covers the genres

of contemporary instrumental to electronic. For

the last six years, Matthew has been a member

of Cascadia Composers, chapter of NACU-

SA, and YCP through fEar No Music. In 2019,

Matthew attended the Brevard Music Center

Summer Institute (NC) where he wrote Hidden

Voices, which he later conducted the premiere

of at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. More

of Matthew’s compositions can be found at

makcomposer.com, or on Spotify/Apple Music.

Esther Kim is a Korean-American writer from

Potomac, Maryland. Her poetry is forthcoming

or published in Diode, Up the Staircase

Quarterly, and SOFTBLOW. In the summer

of 2019, she participated in the Kenyon Review

Young Writers Workshop. A senior in high

school, she has been recognized by the Library

of Congress, the Scholastic Art & Writing

Awards as a National Gold Medalist, The

Atlantic, and the Poetry Society of the UK.

Patrick Kim was born and raised in Los Angeles,

California. Currently in his first year at Stanford

University, he plans to study Earth Systems, Mathematical

and Computational Sciences, or Political

Science. He is broadly interested in the intersections

between climate science, public policy,

and communication. In his free time, he enjoys

hiking, eating hummus, watering his house plants,

and climbing buildings to stargaze on roofs.

Ibuki Kuramochi specializes in artworks for exhibition

(paintings, movies and digital works),

and also specializes in live performances combining

her live painting with her Japanese Butoh

dance. From 2012, Ibuki started exhibiting works

in major cities in Japan, U.S.A.,Taiwan, France,

Italy and Australia. She studied Butoh dance at

the world renown Kazuo Ohno Butoh Dance Studio

in Yokohama in 2016. Through her work, she

pursues the physicality of Butoh’s poetic choreography

and the pursuit of the human body in

anatomy. She visualizes her performance and

body movements as two-dimensional works

and video works. Ibuki explores concepts of the

body, thought and physical resonance, metamorphosis,

the ideal of the Sci-Fi animation

character’s body, and the uterus and fetishism.

Anne Kwok is a National Student Poet Semifinalist

and a Foyle Young Poet. She has been honored

by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers,

National Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Society of

UK, Smith College, 1455 Literary Festival, and

the Apprentice Writer, among others. Her work is

published or forthcoming in Hyphen Magazine,

Oberon Poetry, Eunoia Review, and Half Mystic.

Eric Kwok is a queer, Chinese-American poet

born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate from


New York University, they currently work as an

Electrical Engineer in Southern California. When

not being coerced by capitalism, they spend

their time cooking Chinese soups for their beloveds,

listening to poetry podcasts, reading fiction

that explores the emotional interiority of diasporic

transience, and arguing about fruit. You

can connect with them on Twitter @jooksingzai.

Blake Levario is a Mexican-American writer.

He is currently enrolled in New York University’s

MFA program in Poetry. He reads

poems for the Adroit Journal and is frequently

being sad on Twitter @b_levario. You can

find his words in or forthcoming from Hobart,

Alien Magazine, Pidgeonholes, and elsewhere.

Justin Lin is a senior in high school with research

interests in the foundational science

of deep learning as well as SoTA applications

of computer vision in the context of robotics

and medicine. He’s an incoming researcher at

the Harvard ML Theory Group and Berkman

Klein Center for Internet & Society. Currently

he’s a researcher at the UCLA Visual Machines

Group and USC IPILab with publications

at SPIE and CVPR regarding computer vision

applications. Furthermore, he’s founded RELU

Labs as a part of his research into human-robot

interaction and works on various aspects

of public policy regarding technology. Outside

of academia, Justin loves to play basketball,

scroll through Twitter, and go on biking trips.

​Matt Mettias is a multimedia visual and sound

artist from Stanford University, where he is also

currently studying educational policy and conducting

research in psychology –– which still

nurturing his artistic hobbies and tendencies.

Some of his favorite activities include ocean

diving in Hawaii (his home), playing pickup

basketball with his best friends, and producing

music –– everything from boom-bap rap

and ‘classical trap’ to the blues and reggae.

Smiti Mittal, a rising sophomore at Stanford University,

first started writing in order to process

pain. She has dabbled in slam poetry, creative

non-fiction and play writing over the years. Regardless

of the form, she is most drawn to stories

that investigate the human condition. When not

lost in thought, she can be found reading, running

single cell data analysis or curating playlists.

Reach out to her at smiti06@stanford.edu.

Eva Ojeda F. is a multidisciplinary emerging artist

currently based in the unceded territories of the

Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples,

colloquially called “Vancouver”. She holds

a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art+Design.

She was born and raised in Mexico City and

her background as a WOC sets her practice as

an artist. Eva’s work varies from performance

art to sculpture and painting, exploring the

themes of the body, race, identity and feminism.

Osadolor Osawemwenze is an incoming student

at Stanford University and plans on majoring

in Communications. With his interest being

vast and wide, he also intends on engaging in

courses in Sociology, African and African American

Studies, and Studio Art Practice. His future

aspiration is to become a Creative Director to

develop brands to change the way we see people

in the marketing world. Not only as numbers

or consumers but also people with important

experiences to take into account, to increase

media representation. In his podcast, a coming

of age, but irl, Osadolor comments on all things

concerning today’s youth. Diving into social issues

and tying them back to pop culture, he offers

entertaining insight on trends, while relaying

his experience as a black student at a PWI.

Follow him on his socials, keep up with his podcast,

and check out his art at linktr.ee/osadolor.

Luis Peña is a gifted designer, art director,

Photographer, DP, and Director. His gift lies in

his ability to see the world in the wide-eyed,

holy-shit-this-is-amazing way that mostly

only children do. This sort of purity of vision is

rare indeed, and it allows him to notice things

most people miss - like the small fragments of

truth, beauty, and the unexpected that make

up great film. He also enjoys candy orange

slices, running ultra marathons, and sprinting

blindly along the very thin line between triumph

and disaster - especially if he can film it.

Emily Ren is a college freshman from Plano,


TX passionate about the intersection of business

and law. Her art explores the concept of

the city and alienation from these metropolitan

spaces, with a focus on minimalist design.

When she’s not drawing, you can normally

find her googling movie plot summaries

or running around places in a suit and heels.

Andrea Salvador lives somewhere in Asia,

specifically a country with thousands of islands

and constantly humid weather. She is an

alumna of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship

Program and the Sonorous Writing Workshop,

while her work has been recognized by

the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Columbia College

Chicago, Trinity College - University of Melbourne,

and Interlochen Arts Academy. In her

spare time, she creates lists, watches sci-fi

and horror movies, and rearranges her bookshelf.

Find her on Twitter at @andreawhowrites.

Melissa Skowron was born in Calgary, Alberta

where she received her Bachelor of Fine Art in

Painting from the Alberta University of Art in 2009.

She has participated in many local shows including

the Ignite! 2012 Emerging Artist’s Show, PARK

art show, and as guest designer for Make Fashion.

Emily Ahmed TahaBurt (she/her) grew up in

Cairo, Egypt and Annapolis, Maryland. She is an

emerging writer and this would be her first publication,

though she was a finalist for the Etel Adnan

Poetry Prize in 2019 for her chapbook manuscript

On Distance. On Distance reflects on transnational

relationships and how they inform other

relationships, family histories, and xenophobia

juxtaposed with a variety of twisted myths and

fairytales. You can reach her on Instagram @emilyahmedtb

or at emilytahaburt@hotmail.com.

Elliott Voorhees is a cancerian poet from North

Carolina. They studied English and Art History at

the University of North Carolina at Greensboro,

where they received their BA. From 2019-2020

they were a member of the Leonard Pubantz

Artist Residency Program where they created

a collection of bilingual poetry written in English

and German. This project stemmed from

their love of language, particularly how it can be

broken and reassembled to create new experiences.

Starting in the fall, they will be a part of

the MFA poetry cohort at California College of

the Arts. They can be found on Twitter @_juuliuscaesar

and on Instagram @juuliuscaesar_ .

Lisa Yang is a Taiwanese Canadian multidisciplinary

artist specializing in still life art direction,

photography and prop styling. Her

work focuses on bright and bold colours, textures

and playful compositions. Often playing

with fruits and mundane objects, she

believes in not taking anything too seriously

and to have fun in image creation. She currently

resides and works in Montreal, Canada.

Gilare Zada is a Kurdish-American from San Diego,

California. She is a rising junior at Stanford

University, and plans to major in English with a

minor in Mathematics. Outside of school, she

writes for the Stanford magazine and spends

her free time writing poetry. Among ambitions

to attend law school and live abroad, she

hopes to one day publish her writing and return

to visit Kurdistan with her mother, Berivan.

Kate Hayashi

Editor

Rukan Saif

Editor

Lea Wang-Tomic

Editor

Stephanie Zhang

Editor

Esther Suyoung Moon

Design

Kelthie Truong

Design

Anicia Anjel Miller

Junior Editor

Jisoo Hope Yoon

Poetry Reader

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