Letter from the Editor
ong days quickly turn to nights in the studio while we turn our visions into our own reality. Models changing, makeup brushes swiftly moving, clothes flying everywhere while we finish styling each look. Someone volunteers to run to the store up the street for everyone’s favorite snacks and coffee of course, lots of coffee. The studio is filled with laughter and equal focus, while the camera flashes every few seconds. Music fills any lapse in noise, spanning across a wide range of genres. Destiny’s Child is a staple artist, with grunge bands like The Killers to follow. We dance and sing along, sometimes whining about other stuff going on in our lives or stressing about the shoot at hand. Eventually, everyone smiles in awe at the one moment it all comes together. The model perfects their pose, the photographer catches it and all of the elements come together at once. We watch with excitement as each image the photographer snaps appears on the computer screen. Everyone has had their own unique part in getting us to this point. The vision is never replicated completely as we may have imagined, but it’s ours and it’s special. It is with great excitement that we introduce to you our Spring 2022 issue: “Chaos as Beauty.“ When it came to brainstorming for this issue, we wanted to go with something avant garde, that we hadn’t yet seen before.The punk movement initially came to mind when discussing chaos. As Emma Bhatt explains on page 1, punk capitalized on freedom of expression and social consciousness - ideas that continue to persist today. Ohio University Professor and Author, Dr. Kevin Mattson, elaborates upon the idea that punk is a mindset, an attitude, something that cannot be bought or sold, (page 55). In the spirit of punk’s Do-it-Yourself mentality, we wanted to represent chaotic looks made out of abnormal materials. We also drew inspiration from local artist Dumpster Score, who upcycles their designs out of sustainably sourced materials. In the issue, you’ll find looks comprised of ramen packets, plastic straws, green tea wrappers, and trash bags on page 23. Our photostory, “Fashion in Unexpected Places” aimed to create beautifully chaotic scenes by inserting high fashion looks into typically mundane locations, (page 33). In parallel, and with the help of Tony’s Tavern in uptown Athens, we were able to explore the chaos of a night out. We wanted to capture the hectic Athens bar scene. This shoot was chaotic enough in itself as we ran around the bar trying to get shots of the action. I think it’s accurate to say that this issue captures the energy of VARIANT, as a publication and as a group of people. We strive to be apart from the norm – to explore difficult, sometimes even uncomfortable topics. There are so many unique perspectives that strengthen and form each issue. This group has a strong passion for what our publication stands for and the drive to put it into motion. Watching it all come together is chaotic and beautiful all at once. Sincerely,
Jordan Schmitt Editor in Chief
VARIANT MAGAZINE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JORDAN SCHMITT EXECUTIVE EDITOR ELLIE ROBERTO ASSOCIATE EDITOR MARGAUX AUGIER CREATIVE DIRECTOR NAILA LATHAM CHIEF OF PHOTOGRAPHY ELLIOTT MAGENHEIM PHOTOGRAPHERS EMMA FRIEND, CHERI MARSHALL, NAILA LATHAM, CHLOE CHALLACOMBE, TUNDE NELSON, PEYTON FARRELL, EVIE SEARS, ELLIOTT MAGENHEIM, HARLEY WINCE PHOTO EDITOR CHERI MARSHALL WEB EDITOR MADISON KOPP HEAD OF DIGITAL TECH EVIE SEARS PUBLICATION DESIGN DIRECTOR OLIVIA DUTKEWYCH PUBLICATION DESIGN ASSOCIATE EMMA DENGLER DESIGNERS NAILA LATHAM, ABIGAIL LINDLEY, RACHEL SIVY, MADDIE JAMES, LAUREN ADAMS, DREW FOLLMER, CHLOE CHALLACOMBE, REEBHA CHETTY CO-HEAD OF MAKEUP CYDNEE LIVINGSTON CO-HEAD OF MAKEUP HANNAH MAZANEC MAKEUP ARTISTS JACK WILBURN, JONAI SPATES, TOMMI HENSLER, EMILIE BURCH, CHLOE CHALLACOMBE, CHERI MARSHALL TREASURER NICK GRANATA WRITERS AMANDA WHITE, TAYLOR STRNAD, JORJA BUTT, SARAH OSTERLE, JACK WILBURN, EMMA BHATT, DR. KEVIN MATTSON
COPY CHIEF ANNA BIRK HEAD OF VIDEOGRAPHY COLE KOVALCHIK VIDEOGRAPHERS NICK THOMPSON, MACY BOYUK, MIMI CALHOUN, OLIVIA LUTZ, MEG REES, EVIE SEARS, ELLIOTT MAGENHEIM HEAD OF STYLING KAYLA EDWARDS STYLISTS OLIVIA LUTZ, MADISON BAILEY, JACK WILBURN, BLAIR FORRESTER, KAYLA NGUYEN, CIARA HILVERDING, TOMMI HENSLER, CHLOE CHALLACOMBE, EMILIE BURCH, RACHEL SIVY, BRYNNA POPE HEAD OF EVENT PLANNING ERICA TRAPASSO EVENT PLANNERS LEXY DRAY, BELLA PIUNNO, BRYNNA POPE, CARLY ROSEN, ERICA TRAPASSO HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS EMILIE BURCH PUBLIC RELATIONS ASSOCIATE ASHLEIGH BUBLINEC PUBLIC RELATIONS TAYLOR STRNAD, ADDY O’ROURKE, ANNIE SPIES, EMILY SQUANCE, KATIE JOHNSON, LEXY DRAY, SAMANTHA SCHIMMOLLER, RAYA FALL, JONAI SPATES, MADDIE JAMES, LAUREN ADAMS
MODELS MARGAUX AUGIER, JACK WILBURN, JILLIAN LEWIS, GRANT ROSENBERGER, LAUREN ADAMS, NICK THOMPSON, NIVI CHAWDA, RAYA FALL, CHLOE CHALLACOMBE, MICKEY SERBIA, KAYLA EDWARDS, WIL HOFFMAN, OLIVIA DUTKEWYCH, CYDNEE LIVINGSTON, LAURA KAMPER, JORJA BUTT, TURNER BURTON, NAILA LATHAM, MARIA WELCH, EVERS BRANDT, JORDAN SCHMITT, SOPHIA ALMANZA, CARMEN SZUKAITIS, SIMON DISABATO, DESTINY REYNOLDS, EMILY ALLEN, JONAI SPATES, SARAH OSTERLE, MAKENZIE PRICE, AKINTUNDE NELSON, EMILIE BURCH, TAYLOR STRNAD, MORGAN SPEHAR, KAYLA NGUYEN, REEBHA CHETTY
STAY CONNECTED WITH US! VRNTMAGAZINE.COM / @VRNTMAGAZINE
Jordan Schmitt Editor in Chief
Naila Latham Creative Director
Kayla Edwards Head of Styling
Publication Design Director
Publication Design Associate
Nick Granata Treasurer
Head of Event Planning
Ellie Roberto Executive Editor
Margaux Augier Associate Editor
Head of Digital Tech
Head of Video
Head of Public Relations
Cydnee Livingston Co-Head of Makeup
Public Relations Associate
Hannah Mazanec Co-Head of Makeup
Table of Contents
From the Streets to the Stars
Clean Plate, Clean Planet
Queen of Punk: Vivienne Westwood
33 43 49 55
Fashion in Unexpected Places
The Wild Ride
Chaos in the Clouds
A Brief hiSToRy of puNK WRITTEN BY EMMA BHATT PHOTOS BY CHLOE CHALLACOMBE
he year is 1975. The Vietnam War has just ended. A loaf of bread costs thirtythree cents. The world is changing, and you are, too. But here, moshing in the pit of a Sex Pistols concert, surrounded by people who are just as discontented with the world as you are, things
make sense. Like most countercultural movements, punk found its roots in feelings of unrest. By the time the term “punk” first entered the public lexicon, United States troops had been in Vietnam for a decade and a half. The popularization of mass media began to 2
breed a growing culture of consumerism, cultivating a public psyche drawn to the bright and the flashy. The civil rights movement spurred change for Black Americans, but also forced white Americans to look at the corruption festering in the American populace since the country’s origins. By 1973, President Richard Nixon faced impeachment, and
public trust in the government reached an all-time low. While the burgeoning hippie movement, characterized by a commitment to peace, provided solace for some, not everyone was convinced. Like the hippies, many believed in the power of the youth and felt dissatisfied with the state of the world they lived
in. However, the aesthetics and ideology of the movement found criticism from individuals who believed themselves to present a bit more hardcore. Enter, punk. With its name lifted from prison slang, the subculture of “punk” was defined by its gritty music, fashion and ideology. In a world moving increasingly toward consumerism, punk allowed the power of creation to lie in the hands of the people. A lack of musical training didn’t mean
you couldn’t make music; you could cut up your own T-shirt, rip your own jeans, revel in your own thoughts. Perhaps this DIY nature of punk is what allowed the movement to appear so enticing, especially for youth. Bands from both the United Kingdom and the United States dominated the scene —The Ramones, The Clash, and even, controversially, Blondie. As subgroups within the movement formed, the options for personal 4
expression expanded. Prompted by bands such as the New York Dolls, glam punk embraced the drama of it all. Androgynous clothing choices distinguished the style, along with brighter colors and prints. Meanwhile, horror punk included elements of another subculture, goth. Think spiked boots, spiked hair, spiked jewelry, etc. Still, at its core, punk’s celebration of the city unified the movement; the loud, the angry, the messy, were not only accepted but welcomed. Instead of trying to ignore or even fix the chaos, punk embraced it. The punks of the seventies didn’t just find beauty in the chaos; the beauty was the chaos. By 1979, however, after the death of Sex Pistol’s bassist Sid Vicious, many claimed that punk was dead. And perhaps for some, it was. For others, though, punk was alive and well. The punk scene was and is far from perfect. From swastikas on Vivienne Westwood T-shirts to the National Front using the movement to call for “white power” in Britain, white supremacist ideologies infected the scene. Aside from outright hateful behaviors within the punk movement, white men dominated the scene as a whole. The movement thought of itself as countercultural, but 5
how countercultural can you really be as a member of the demographic who gatekeeps culture? This exclusionary culture led to the creation of other subcultures within the movement. Led by bands such as Bikini Kill and Bratmobile, the Riot Grrrl scene of the nineties made space for women in punk. Here, music could be used to engage with issues women faced, such as sexual assault, sexuality and patriarchy. In an effort to reclaim aspects of sexuality which she believed male violence stripped from her, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill often performed in a bra, the word “slut” scrawled in big letters across her stomach. Other members of the movement took a different approach to reclamation, instead sporting hyperfeminine looks embellished with hearts and sequins in an attempt to re-embrace girlhood. Nevertheless, even the Riot Grrrl movement posed problems, latent with racist and transphobic sentiments. Black punk spaces also used music and fashion as a vehicle for reclamation. Spurred by the release of Jame Spooner’s 6
2003 documentary Afropunk, which explored the experiences of Black members of the predominantly white punk scene, the Afropunk festival has served and continues to serve as a space to celebrate Black punk culture. Notable looks from the festival range from leather pants printed with tribally-significant designs to suits adorned with roses. Whether a celebration of tradition or an attempt to shed preconceived notions of Black masculinity, the fashion of Afropunk acts as a means to explore identity through punk’s subversive nature. So, has punk managed to evade death even in the current day? With the resurgence of brands such as Vivienne Westwood and Dr.
Martens, coupled with the popularization of second-hand shopping, elements of punk style certainly remain visible. Even the 2013 Met Gala paid homage to the movement with its theme “Punk: Chaos to Couture.” Additionally, the political turmoil of the seventies mirrors the modern day in many ways, both harboring rising waves of social consciousness and, conversely, conservatism. Thus, a punk movement in the current day makes sense. This time, though, we gain a chance to do things differently. We must acknowledge the exclusionary and even
outright white-supremacist ideologies of the early punk scene. Yet, we can also leave them in the past, replacing those ideologies with a culture of diversity, a celebration of the outcast, as opposed to the mainstream. Because, really, what’s more punk than that?
Clean Plate, Clean Planet WRITTEN BY JORJA BUTT PHOTOGRAPHED BY EMMA FRIEND
magine 1.5 billion elephants sitting in a landfill. Their combined weight equates to the pounds of food wasted in the United States alone each year.
The food wasted by restaurants, grocery stores, and producers could go toward a better cause than sitting in a trash can. While there are areas where the surplus of food leads to waste, there are impoverished communities that don’t know where their next meals are coming from. In developed nations, 40% of food loss happens at retail or consumer level, whereas in developing countries, 40% of food loss occurs during harvesting or processing level. Thirty-eight million Americans face hunger, which approximates to the entire population of Canada. Human life is more important than profit prices, a concept that many corporate businesses fail to recognize. Instead of
donating excess food, many businesses simply throw it away. Local Athens organizations are fighting back on the war on food waste and providing a start to the solution. Food waste on the macro scale seems like a daunting task that may never be solved; however, the small steps taken to start reducing food waste are often what make the biggest difference. Whether located in a big city or a small town, you can find food pantries and composting sites nearly everywhere. Donations to food pantries, recycling on a daily basis and composting are all a good place to start when it comes to reducing food waste on a small scale. Chloe Challacombe, a specialized study student at Ohio University, realized the importance of recycling and composting after researching the negative effects
that waste has on the Earth. Challacombe began working at campus recycling in 2018 to remedy the excessive amount of waste on campus and encourage those around her to get involved. “Our goal at campus recycling is to defer as much waste as possible from landfills,” Challacombe said. To encourage students and Athens residents to become educated about recycling, campus recycling has created programs to combat the waste problem. 13
OU created Campus Race to Zero Waste to motivate students to place their waste in the proper bins, recycle or landfill, during sporting games and to teach more about what can and can’t be recycled. Campus recycling representatives sift through waste bins and sort through waste to ensure anything that can be composted doesn’t end up in the landfill. For the 2021 fiscal year, campus recycling saved 449,090 pounds of food waste from various campus buildings.
Campus recycling is becoming more creative with its new programs that plan to launch on a bigger scale in the upcoming years. A limited number of residence halls around the university are now offered a compost bin alongside the recycling and trash bins provided in rooms. In hopes to further reduce food waste, campus recycling representatives are working toward a zero waste campus and aim to spread the word to other residence halls.
“We have participation from the administration who encourage composting, which is the biggest hurdle. So, the largest challenge we have now is student participation,” Challacombe said. “One person recycling can’t combat corporate waste but it is important to educate yourself and figure out how you can live responsibly.” Food waste starts at the individual level, but some smaller organizations are getting innovative with new 14
ways to reduce food waste from larger corporations and businesses.
it affordable to those across the world.
Too Good To Go, a certified B-corporation, is bringing in a new wave of food sustainability and doing its part to better the environment. Originating in 2016, the non-profit app-based company combats food waste by giving businesses the opportunity to sell their leftover unsold meals at a lower price to consumers. While combating food waste, Too Good To Go offers meals for a reasonable price and makes
68,443 restaurants across Europe have joined Too Good To Go in hopes to slow down their food waste and contribute to a healthier planet. Gaining momentum since its launch, Too Good To Go has expanded its services to many large cities in the United States in late 2021. However, its journey is far from over. The world-wide company focuses heavily on restaurant, bakery, hotel, and supermarket
waste, but aims to expand into households and schools in the near future. Whether it be local or global efforts, the world is finally recognizing that food waste is increasingly detrimental to the health of the planet. New organizations and age-old practices alike are beneficial ways to begin a non-waste lifestyle.
QUEEN OF PUNK:
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD WRITTEN BY AMANDA WHITE PHOTOGRAPHED BY AKINTUNDE NELSON
ex, according to Oxford Languages, is informally defined as, “to present something in a more interesting or lively way.” Vivienne Isabel Westwood not only embodies the informal definition of sex but of fearlessness, unequivocally and unapologetically dumping her soul out into the world. Westwood, a miraculously talented businesswoman and fashion designer, reshaped the fashion industry and continues to do so. Westwood taught herself allthings fashion and designing in 1965, at only 24 years old. Soon after, she met and began a relationship with Malcolm McLaren, a multi-faceted man who connected with Westwood in their interest in changing the Hippie fashion movement of the 70s.
“ Vivienne Isabel Westwood
not only embodies the informal definition of sex but of fearlessness, unequivocally and unapologetically dumping her soul out into the world.
Together, Westwood and McLaren star ted several fashion stores together, their first called Let It Rock, a 50s inspired thrift store. McLaren had great influence in what designs Westwood would create, including vintage clothing with rips and T-shir ts that expressed their differing ideals from the rest of Britain. Their clothing would often showcase those expressions and anti patriarchal sayings, such as the pieces she featured in the AW19 runway show displaying pieces saying, “Politicians
R Criminals / Press R Jokers.” Other clothing items she creates present naked bodies of both men and women. Sex, one of their most popular stores, displayed the same style of clothing, but added some more pieces including bondage and pornography. They also had T-shirts exhibiting Peter Samuel Cook, also known as the Cambridge Rapist, for breaking into women’s homes and raping them. After renaming and rebranding the store several times, they fully took on the punk and chaotic personas
we know them to be today. Westwood and McLaren’s Sex store enraged the public in Britain. Specifically, the model who stood outside the shop, Pamela Rooke, more commonly known as Jordan, became the face for Sex. Westwood, even following the split from McLaren, continued to mock the norms of society, challenging the views of the public. In 1989, Westwood posed on the cover of Tatler Magazine, poking fun at former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in an identically styled pantsuit.
The magazine headline: “This woman was once a Punk,” to which Thatcher then exclaimed how Westwood damaged the world. Today, Westwood, now known as Dame Vivienne Westwood since she serves as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, still stuns people in her fashion and business choices. In November of 2011, Westwood began creating her newest collection, AW12. The collection wasn’t created in a typical factory though, and instead manufactured in
Kenya, where Westwood hired over 200 people to design and make those clothing pieces. She had an extraordinary impact on the Kenyan community. According to the Ethical Fashion Initiative, the workers’ incomes had increased “by over 200%,” which, in turn, allowed for a healthier lifestyle for those people and their families. The women who were hired were then also empowered to apply for loans and buy properties, actions largely considered atypical or unacceptable for women in Kenya.
Westwood considered those things, not as charity but as work; she saw charity as pity, and saw everyone as equal, regardless of their background. Westwood used that same dynamic in her other areas of work. She continues to exhibit progressiveness in her fashion, especially in the displaying of political fashion statements. Even today, Westwood demonstrates the impor tance of using ethical labor standards, using one’s voice, and never being shut down by the norms of society. 20
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ELLIOTT MAGENHEIM WRITTEN BY TAYLOR STRNAD
e’ve all heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but for Annabelle Heart, the creator and owner of Dumpster Score, it could not be more true. Dumpster Score is a clothing brand that creates pieces of clothing using unique materials that Heart finds or is given. Heart’s journey of creation started long before Dumpster Score. They have been creating and selling things to make money for as long as they can remember. It started out when they were younger, Heart recalls selling items to her neighbors so that they could buy candy and sandwiches at the local shop. Even as Heart reached their teens, they were still creating and selling. When Heart fell on hard times and was homeless for ten years, all they had was a small backpack and the clothes on their back. Those clothes were made from items they found in dumpsters. “And the cool thing about a dumpster score is it’s like a treasure hunt,” Heart said. “When you’re looking around, you’re gonna hit 10 dumpsters that are empty, nothing in them. But you find that one score that is life changing sometimes and that’s the difference between getting to get to the next day or not.” It wasn’t until 2019 when Heart decided to quit their job in construction and make Dumpster Score their full time work, running it solo, designing, sewing and all things operations. For most, this would be a giant risk to take. But for Heart, they have been taking risks their whole life, so this wasn’t any different. Heart’s dumpster diving allows them to take discarded materials and repurpose them into highend couture fashion pieces. They take materials that would be thrown into the dump, and then transform them into one of a kind pieces of art: “I just wanted to stay true to my roots. 26
Everything is upcycled. Everything that I get, all the materials that I use, is all things that I’ve found or have sourced.” Hear t said designing comes naturally. They get inspiration for designs everywhere and when they have an idea they’ll draw it out. “[I] pull inspiration from movies, my environment, birds, flowers, and it’s really cool,” Heart said. “One of the last designs I just did was based on a picnic blanket… It was Valentine’s Day, so I incorporated hearts.” Heart started out hand sewing each individual article of clothing that they made. It wasn’t until they were given a sewing machine that they started using that to make the items. Getting this machine made their work more efficient and saved them time. “I got my first sewing machine. I was like, well, I’m gonna have to learn how to use this thing” Heart said. “[It’s] just a lot of trial and error, and not giving up.” While the sewing machine is convenient, Heart still sews some items by hand and has become quite savvy on the sewing machine. Heart has also learned it’s not easy to build a business. “Every ounce of my being has gone into making this a reality for myself and I get discouraged sometimes, because it’s really hard running your own business,” Heart said, “especially as somebody who doesn’t ‘meet the criteria for a successful person.’ ” Despite this, Heart keeps themselves
busy growing their business. In the warmer months, Heart would go to vendors and make sales that way. During the winter months, however, they have spent their time building connections with other small businesses and learning from them. They have also spent time branding themselves, including the creation of their own website. “I’m trying to kind of build a portfolio [online] to make it so that people can see the full range of what I do, instead of going to this website and there’s some stuff here and some stuff there…” Heart takes items that some people would see as garbage and serve no purpose. But through these unwanted pieces of fabric and unique items, they are able to make one-of-a-kind, hand created pieces of clothing. Heart implements fabric that would otherwise end up in the landfill or the ocean and is able to make products for people that they will love and cherish. Dumpster score is a freedom of expression. To Heart, it’s not being afraid to be who you are, it’s going for what you believe in. But, Dumpster Score will mean something different to everyone. “I’m burying my heart. This is my heart and soul, and that is really hard to do, just put myself out there and hope that people resonate with it,” Heart said. But that’s the thing about Dumpster Score, you search and search for that one piece in the dumpster… and for Heart, this is their treasure.
the thing about Dumpster Score, you search and search for that one piece in the dumpster… and for Heart, this is their treasure.
Dumpster Score Photos courtesy of Dumpster Score. Scan the QR code to learn more about their brand.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY EVIE SEARS & PEYTON FARRELL
THE WILD RIDE . THE BEST NIGHTS ARE UNEXPECTED. WRITTEN BY SARAH OSTERLE PHOTOGRAPHED BY CHERI MARSHALL & NAILA LATHAM
ne week at college can have two effects on you: “I’m a boss, this week is mine!” or “God, I can’t wait for the weekend.” Typically, I fall into the second category. Col-
lege, in many ways, can feel like hell on Earth, but after your four years are up, it’s like a long lost dream that you can’t get back. It also has a mysterious way of putting you on your perfect path, which sometimes feels like a roller coaster getting there. The initial incline is often your college admission and your first friend group. Then, there is a sudden drop. You start to have the fear of missing out (FOMO) or stress over getting that dreadful essay done. Then, without warning, the coaster rises again, and you feel like the picturesque college student. The cycle repeats. Like a rollercoaster, it moves fast but geez, it’s a fun ride.
I find that my peaks on the college coaster are typically the weekend. It varies from self care nights, complete with $5 wine and, “10 Things I Hate About You,” to getting dolled up and heading uptown with my friends for dinner and drinks. I’m perfectly happy with either, and often daydream about it during class. Then comes the school days, or the bottom of the coaster, which entails more anxieties than the last and the fear of long restless nights. The weekends tend to be the only time that I, and many others, feel sane. College chaos never stops, but there is always a way to find comfort in that chaos yourself. Each day is filled with hectic classes, clubs and social events so it’s important to find a routine, which can prove quite difficult due to events out of your control (for example, COVID-19).
I found it hard to establish a routine my freshman year because of the pandemic, but having a routine solely for yourself can help you go through the chaos of college – no matter if you can control those disasters. College fashion is one piece of chaos that is ever changing. During a typical week at OU, most students wear athleisure to class. People care less about what you look like on the weekdays, but the weekends are totally different. People go all out on their hair, makeup, and of course, the clothes. I personally love to do a small shirt and baggy jean look complete with some fresh kicks! On the weekend, almost everyone wants to feel like a 10 (I’m definitely guilty of that). But, it is not just all looks. The actual act of getting ready to go out with your friends is an addicting feeling. It’s laughing off that guy that ghosted you or getting excited to wear your bestie’s top. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The weekends at college are the time to be yourself physically and mentally.
College is chaotic and hectic. Yet through all that you can always find something beautiful: friendships, memories, passions, and most of all yourself. I discovered my passion for teaching from simply sitting in my old nursing classes and thinking, “I do not belong here.” The leap was scary but I did it, and I’m so much happier with my college experience. “The weekends at college are the time to be yourself physically and mentally.”
On the college roller coaster, you find yourself in many situations, good or bad. Each time you get to the climax of the ride and you think you finally have a handle on things, you go plummeting down. Yet every time, you find yourself more knowledgeable than the last. That’s why college is the epitome of beauty in chaos. Some people explained their thoughts
on the statement “College is the epitome of beauty in chaos.” Mark Goggin, a sophomore at Penn State University described it as “planning out a whole day to do one thing, then end up doing the complete opposite, and end up having a great time. The best nights are always unexpected.” Rhiya Godhania, a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh said, “College is an extremely hectic and chaotic time in a person’s life; however, it’s beautiful because the mistakes made here will help mold you into the person you will be for your whole life, which is chaotic.” Each day, week, month, and year you find distinct experiences. College has taught me many lessons and will teach me many more, and that’s the beauty of it. Being able to learn and grow is one of the many aspects of college that people love. Through all the hardships, twists and turns come beautiful memories that you will crave to relive again. College is scary, beautiful, and free.
College is chaotic and hectic
PHOTOGRAPHED BY HARLEY WINCE WRITTEN BY JACK WILBURN
Chaos in the Clouds
taring up at the sky, with the springtime sun shining on my face, I marvel at the simultaneous improbability and predictability of the clouds gently floating above my head. The weather was one of the first real-world applications of Chaos Theory, a principle officially discovered by meteorologist Edward Lorenz at MIT and has vast applications beyond the clouds. According to Ohio University’s Todd Young, a professor of mathematics and an expert on Chaos Theory, “we can predict what the weather will be like pretty well for two days, ok for the third and fourth day, and by the fifth day our ability to predict has become very questionable.” That pattern and growing unpredictability make Chaos Theory so enticing and have caused its study for many decades. Lorenz’s background in meteorology and the rise of the supercomputer functioned as the two primary factors in Chaos Theory’s discovery. Scientists at the time saw supercomputers as calculators that could pinpoint the arrival of a natural disaster before it struck. The computers’ prophetic power only extended to a certain temporal end, and unpredictable chaos filled the space beyond the narrow time frame. The void of unpredictability birthed Chaos Theory. Dr. Young defines Chaos Theory as, “how physical, mathematical, and other systems have a particular property, and 51
that property is, if you start the system from two very close by points, and if you let the system go long enough, the points will eventually drift away from each other and become totally separate from one another.” In other words, if you observe anything that changes over time, something unpredictable will transpire at some point. That explains why the patterns of weather predictability follow that mathematical path. Over time, the calculable points drift away, so the further away a certain point in time is, the less likely we can know what will happen at that point. In turn, Chaos Theory also relates to the more widely known butterfly effect, which simply describes how Chaos Theory operates. The system starts with a butterfly flapping its wings, and over the course of time, a tornado could occur because of that one small action. Dr. Young claims that, “because of the density of air this situation is highly unlikely,” but nevertheless the improbability makes the example ever more fascinating. Right along with the astounding nature of Chaos Theory exists a clear mathematical explanation of beauty. When asked if we could define beauty using math, Dr. Young responded, “Yes, I think beauty is something hardwired in the human brain, and you know it when you see it.” That idea takes form in nature, in which throughout human history people have seen flowers and landscapes and gaped at the symmetrical and orderly
design. That is the paradigmatic understanding of beauty, the way in which all people are able to conceive it. Mathematical symmetry and harmony are the ways beauty manifests in fashion and design procured by humans as well. Mathematical concepts like the golden ratio and the fibonacci sequence provide clear examples of systematic beauty. The golden ratio, 1.61803…, follows an arc that mirrors the path of things that are visually pleasing in nature. The closely related Fibonacci sequence is an endless series of numbers, each the sum of the previous two, and we can observe its spiral pattern in the growth of flowers, trees, and other beauties in nature. Chaos Theory expresses just as much beauty as those two aforementioned, tangible concepts, but it requires you to dive into an introspective observation of beauty. Within Chaos Theory there appears a great duality. Unpredictability and definite laws do not seem like they could coexist under the same concept, but according to Dr. Young, “if something you prove mathematically doesn’t fit your intuition, then you need to adjust your intuition.” So while Chaos Theory seems a paradoxical concept, it becomes our obligation to internalize its factuality. That personal interpretation of Chaos Theory, and its consequent concept, chaos, are precisely why people marvel at its mathematical mystery. The internalization of Chaos Theory as a concept, however, may develop
a different sort of chaos. If we are to accept Chaos Theory, we must also accept that disaster lurks in every system. Chaos Theory perpetuates the aspect of an unknown future, and in some cases that lack of predictability carries gravitas. The most obvious example of that serious unpredictability, according to Dr. Young, takes shape in climate change. The math we have forms estimations and possible outcomes, but under the tenants of Chaos Theory, the situation can always become worse. If the circumstances of the concept are so dire, then fear ought to be the natural response. In a world with Chaos Theory, we should also expect the clamor of each individual’s interpretation of possible disastrous consequences. Chaos Theory also, however, implies that a situation can become better, because the outcome is chaotic, which only has meaning when applied through a human lens. As such, all individuals can take the concept of Chaos Theory and apply it as they see fit. Chaos Theory invites you to live in the present, and to take moments for what they are, because the flap of a butterfly’s wings in one moment can cause a hurricane in the next. After our conversation, Dr. Young left me with a Norwegian folk saying: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes,” indicating to me that we must take in our surroundings as they are handed to us, and wear beautiful garments while doing so. 52
IN M DR. KEV
Kevin Mattson, Ph.D., teaches American history at Ohio University. He is an author, most recently of “We’re Not Here to Entertain.”
irst and foremost, the essence of punk rock is Do-It-Yourself (DIY). Reject what the entertainment industry says you should consume, reject all advertising that tells you what to do for your entertainment. Think: Says who that you haven’t mastered your instrument or your basement recording space? Jump in and create your own music, artwork, shows, films, and zines… All of them, DIY. If there are any artistic principles found within punk expression, they’d be defacement, erasure, and deconstruction. A few times, when I was a young punk riding the D.C. Metrorail, I defaced a Marlboro Cigarette advertisement – one that showed a western cowboy lighting up – by writing with a big Magic Marker, “Cancer is macho.” Following the Situationist International, a group of avant-garde artists most popular in the 1960s, I was taking part in a process of “détournement”: say what the ad really implies and do so with a sense of irony. My small act was not alone. A self-proclaimed “Punk Art Show” in 1982 Los Angeles renewed the famous “ready-mades” that the Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp displayed in art galleries – most famously a men’s urinal. But the punk show went one step further by including a television set that had been physically trashed with the words “Kick Me” scrawled on it. Again, reject what’s being advertised to you and make that itself a work of art. If there’s any performance ethics for punk rock, it’s a rejection of spectacle and gigantism. It’s a middle finger to “Arena Rock,” a phenomenon that started in hippie rock festivals during the late 1960s then moved to huge athletic complexes throughout the 1970s. The ploy here: Cram as many spectators into a large space to drain their wallets. If it turned ugly – like when the Who played in Riverfront Coliseum in
Cincinnati in 1979, where numerous fans were trampled to death – such is the price (more recently Travis Scott at the Houston Astroworld repeated this tragedy). Punk rock instead embraces smaller venues and shows organized by those who will be attending (DIY). Consider the phenomenon known as “slamdancing” (what some now call a mosh pit): pressed bodies together, but in a bouncy way, not a suffocating way. Bodies would zing this and then that way; and often, there being only a small scalable stage, kids would dance on stage with the performers, suggesting the audience had a role to play as much as the musicians. No more passive spectatorship – jump in, create your own culture. Shows became places where kids swapped records, controlling the price of the product (sometimes explicitly by putting “Pay No More Than” on a cover), or more likely traded zines, small xeroxed publications with cut out letters and reports about upcoming shows and, sometimes, future rallies protesting whatever stupid policy the government had engaged in. This was direct, personal communication between equals for pocket change or trading, similar to what some Native Americans did during a potlatch. One thing for sure, punk is or was not a fashion or a style. It is not something you buy looking through a department store window or today on the Internet. It’s not a commodity nor a spectacle. It’s more of an attitude and sensibility that makes you see the world in a different way. In a more creative way. In essence, punk creates its own culture – one that the big corporate music industry (slick magazines or a fetish of celebrity) cannot provide. So, go DIY…
Farewell... You never really know what you’re looking for until you find it. I blink and see myself four years ago, wandering around Athens like every other freshman, trying to find other people like me. I don’t think there’s a way to describe what exactly it is that you want. You just have to feel it, that niche, that place where you can be your authentic self, free of judgment. I remember walking into a VARIANT meeting and getting that sense that this is where I was meant to be. I was still shy as all hell, so I doubt I really put myself out there, but I could feel the creative energy in the room. I don’t know specifically if it was the people, with their funky hairstyles and interesting outfits that no one else in my classes were wearing, the indie music playing in the background, or the conversation with the shared beliefs and opinions that I was searching for - probably a combination of all of it. Throughout the years, this group brought me some of my best friends. From pre-shoot and meeting coffee runs, to late night drinks after a long night in the studio. It also gave me so much confidence, as I began to share my thoughts and ideas, and eventually implement them. I never would’ve imagined being the person speaking in the front of the room. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real, that I get to help represent such a unique group, and have a hand in the works of art that we create together. Because I blink and see that freshman again, sitting in the back of the room, but beyond thrilled to be there. No one ever feels ready to say goodbye, so I’ll just say thank you.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be…” next semester. For the longest time, I thought I was way too basic to lead such a wildly talented group of creatives, but the 2021-22 executive board showed me exactly why that’s just not true. Variant, thank you for making my ideas heard, for being my creative outlet. Thank you for giving me wonderful friendships, providing me unique experiences, and to the heads team, for granting me the best female leaders that I aspire to one day be. This isn’t a goodbye, but a see you later. Yours Truly, Margaux Augier 2021-2022 Associate Editor
Jordan Schmitt 2021-2022 Editor in Chief
I never thought the girl crying on a bench in front of the fourth-floor studio at her first shoot would become the Creative Director of that same magazine. I sometimes struggled to find my place in Variant Magazine, but I always knew it was still home and could eventually become my baby. I worked hard as a publication designer and it will continue to be my first love because of Variant. I grew in my confidence and creativity. I opened my mind to more possibilities and how far you can push your thoughts and ideas. Variant pushed me out of my comfort zone and I will forever be thankful for that. But the greatest gift Variant has given me is the 2021-2022 Exec Team because I have found some of my best friends and I am most grateful for them. Thank you Variant! ~ Peace Up, A-Town Down, Naila (Nai) Latham 2021-2022 Creative Director
It has been a long and rewarding four years at VARIANT. Reminiscing back to my freshman year, I remember experiencing the pressure to join a student organization that would push me above and beyond my Scripps peers. I gave a few publications a try but when I sat down at my first VRNT meeting, I knew it was for me. The people were welcoming, funny, and passionate about what they were accomplishing. Jordan and I started VRNT at the same time, and I vividly remember turning and waving to her behind me at the first meeting I ever attended. I would never have guessed that the both of us would make it this far. Throughout our time at VRNT, Jordan and I always had big and bold ideas for the magazine, and this year I believe we accomplished our dreams. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this year’s team. Ellie Roberto 2021-2022 Executive Editor
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