Beyond the Machine: Analog Sea and Maintaining an Offline Collective

In 2022, a dear friend of mine traveled to Edinburgh in search of something for herself. When she returned home she carried with her two things: an application for her U.K. citizenship and a zine from Analog Sea. I met it with curiosity, excitement and admittedly, after reading their editorial vision, some sadness. Analog Sea is a publication devoted to maintaining a small community of writers who wish to live offline in the digital age. They advocate for the human right to disconnect and have international stockists carry their bulletin for free-taking. It sparked in me the contemplation I had, and still have, about living an offline life, which feels somehow all too surreal.

Analog Sea is rife with stray thoughts, song lyrics, poetry and critical perspective. The last page is a single communication card to order the bulletin for yourself, your lover or your favorite book store (and what’s the difference between the two, really?). They have a bare bones online presence, only a quiet landing page with information on how to contact them. It felt (and still feels) wrong to look them up on Instagram, as though I’m defying a dogma they so wish to uphold. So, instead, I wrote a letter to them.

With a P.O. box in both Germany and Texas, I sent several (English) letters about my excitement and my willingness to be involved. A year passed with no response, which to me felt like a response, until one hot sunny day this August a package arrived at my door. A notebook titled “notes on solitude,” three Analog Sea bulletins, a small story titled Life Beyond the Machine, Leisure as Dissent by Jonathan Simons, laid there for me, and an apology letter for their lateness. They’re a self-funded press, and move at their own speed.

The bulletin is so offline, but I have so many questions I want to ask the editors. Must I be offline, to read you? Or, is there such a thing as a balance between offline and online? and, what the fuck do you do with your spare time? But immediacy and urgency for zine inquiries might be another disposition to ease up on.

I’m not sure of much. But, what I am sure of is the general consensus around social media. When I discuss it with my friends, we sing in unison about how we wish we just weren’t on it and how much it distresses us. This conversation, often followed with a sigh, as though we somehow don’t have a choice. Which is partially true, considering how many job opportunities and social opportunities haunt the little feed in which we scroll, it’s tough to be offline. However, the writers and editors over at Analog Sea do such bravery, everyday. Some anti-robot fodder dances within the pages. Mainly, however, the bulletin encourages you to slow down and make time everyday for contemplation. What a radical thought?

Learn more about Analog Sea on their site: www.analogsea.com

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