Shifter 10 : Transparent White – deadline 1 March 2007

Shifter 10 : Transparent White
A call or submissions. Deadline March 1 2007

“Milk is not opaque because it is white, – as if white were something opaque. If ‘white’ is a concept which only refers to a visual surface, why isn’t there a colour concept related to ‘white’ that refers to transparent things?”
-Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Remarks on Colour”

Things that can be imagined but not seen. Things that can be seen but not named. Things that can be imagined but not articulated, nor seen. Things that can be said but not seen or imagined. I think “Transparent White” belongs to the last of these categories.

Of course, I use words loosely here.

But imagine, for instance, contemplating a picture of a Martian landscape. We imagine a place, like a red desert. We look toward its hazy horizon as if we could actually see it. In a way, we imagine the object – the target of our gaze – knowing that we do not (cannot) actually stand on Mars. In fact the only way we can access the object is by seeing it in terms that are imaginable. We look from the wrong context, we are displaced, yet we transpose our horizon onto the picture’s and we see a desert. Desolate but nameable.

Can a word mean without representing something? Or can a word be understood if we do not know or have not seen what it represents?

Shifter’s 9th issue Ruin|Monument focussed on the way in which the empty ruin signifies. Like a vacuum it absorbs everything. Like a mirror it reflects back our pointing fingers. The Monument, it was proposed, is the past (memory) embodied, hurtling backwards towards the future.

If the Ruin is an absence, which is transformed into object by our projections, then Transparent White is fully formed language which does not stick to an object. In a way they are mirror images of each other. While the Monument like the ruin exists physically (it occupies space, we can walk around it, we can photograph it), Transparent White occupies a conceptual site of contention. One is not sure if/ what it could represent. Yet one can imagine using the phrase “Transparent White”, in a poem for instance, and meaning something.

Shifter’s 10th issue “Transparent White” will attempt to engage this untethering of utterances from straightforward representation.

Submissions may be visual and/or textual. The only criterion is that they be static in order to exist on a printable page. Please email submissions to

The deadline is March 1st. For ideas that are likely to take longer to actualize, please send a proposal to the editor or let us know what you are thinking about.

Submissions can be jpegs, pdfs, word files or illustrator files. If you are unsure if we can use a particular format please email us to find out.

Please visit the site to read previous issues of the magazine. Shifter was recently reviewed here:

editor: Sreshta Rit Premnath
associate editor: Gönner Heiliger Von Lügen
critical advisor: Pieter DeHeijde
design + copy: IF Productions