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The cover of SEEN issue 5. Three black women wearing long sleeves button up shirts and long pants in an outdoor area. The title SEEN is at the top, the name CAULEEN SMITH is right aligned vertically centered, the Blackstar Logo is in the lower left corner, THE DREAMS ISSUE is in the lower right corner.

Issue 005 Winter 2023 From the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Introducing the Dreams Issue.

By Dessane Lopez Cassell

Cover image: Cauleen Smith, photographed by Widline Cadet, 2022

What do dreams permit? 

Or, as Lou Cornum asks in this issue, “Where do we go when we dream?”

Amid our increasingly bleak mundane, portals of all kinds tend to beckon seductively. But I want to hold space for something beyond escapism here. Something fluid and more complicated, and perhaps more rhizomatic. This issue—our first devoted to a single theme—aims to offer a few exercises: in world-building, speculation, archival sleuthing and mining, portal-hopping, and of course, the exhilarating possibilities of imagining otherwise. 

From Kambole Campbell’s dreams of a postcolonial video game to Clarkisha Kent’s ode to the cosmic worlds of Missy Elliott’s music videos, the writers and artists featured ahead invite you to step into something else for a spell. To “shuffle back and forth” and move “forward, backward, and sideways simultaneously,” as Anaïs Duplan and Cornum urge, respectively. 

As always, a lot of love went into this issue. Endless thanks to our ride-or-die editors Jasmine Weber, Kavita Rajanna, Yasmine Espert, and Shauna Swartz, and to our art director, the inimitable Raquel Hazell. Big thanks and high-fives as well to the thought partners, writers, artists, and designers who nurtured this experiment during its various stages, including Maori Karmael Holmes, Imran Siddiquee, Leo Brooks, Nehad Khader, Farrah Rahaman, Akili Davis, Autumn Faith Valdez, Mariam Dembele, Pablo Alarcon, Jr., Justin Chance, ashley ijoema omoma, and Fafa Nutor.