Welcome to the AltSalt sneak peek!
Wow! It’s been a whirlwind few years. I can hardly believe this is happening, yet here we are, debuting AltSalt publicly for the first time. If you're new here, I suggest checking out the About page first to get oriented.
With that said, in this post, I thought I'd give more context around the history of AltSalt and this sneak peek launch!
The Beginnings of AltSalt
Back in March 2019, I remember sitting in a second-floor Starbucks overlooking Union Square here in New York, chatting with Sandy Enriquez, when the initial idea for AltSalt dawned on me.
At the time, I’d been researching my Peruvian background, trying to figure out who the heck I am (as one does, y’know?), and I was finding it incredibly difficult.
Andean myths and legends? Disparate and hard to find good sources. Any Andean representation at all? Also possible to find, but way harder than it should've been, especially in the age of the internet.
In fact, I was researching full time for several months, diving into archives at the New York Public Library, taking classes with the Ayni Institute and the Quechua Collective, and only after much effort did I begin to get an inkling of what my Andean cultural inheritance meant to me. (And of course, this is still an ongoing journey!)
But when Sandy mentioned that she’d been running into similar challenges finding Quechua zines… something clicked. I realized, Oh my god, how many people are researching, trying to find content that speaks to them? And how many people, like me, are finding this way too difficult when the entire lore of Game of Thrones is literally a simple Google search away? What if there were a website that helped make this discovery easier?
I filed the idea away until March 2020, when I finally had the time to research it. And behold! Not only were folks searching for this content, creators were finding challenges connecting with audiences too.
So being a web developer, I set to work! And voila, ! built the site! (As one does). It only took a bajillion hours.
In all seriousness though, I’m so grateful that I’ve had the time, resources, and skills to invest in the first iteration of this idea.
In particular, I’m grateful to all the folks who have provided their feedback — including Sandy Enriquez, Luisa Ulhoa, Shirley Coenen, Charles Huang, Jamie San Andres, Jonathan Morales, and many others who are not on AltSalt (yet!) — and especially to my family who have endured me talking endlessly about this site for the past 10 months.
I’m also grateful to Rimay Raiz for entrusting AltSalt with showcasing the fantastic work they’ve been doing to create representation of the Andean diaspora. I’m stoked to have their zines here as a part of this sneak peek release!
Through its memory keeping, the Ayni Institute has also given me the self-knowledge that has rooted AltSalt in Andean notions of reciprocity.
And with so many possibilities ahead, I’m excited to be here at this beginning as we open this platform to creators, and eventually everyone, so we can start new dialogues around our stories and experiences.
What’s in Store
With this sneak peek, we hope to start getting feedback on what’s working and not with this site. This is in preparation for a full launch later this month, January 2021!
In anticipation of that official launch, if you’re a creator, I encourage you to submit. We’re currently brainstorming ways to build this resource, in particular thinking through how we might collaborate with folks to showcase their work. If this sounds interesting to you, we look forward to seeing your creations!
Feel free also to share this sneak peek URL — https://frontend.altsalt.com — with anyone who may be interested in seeing Rimay Raiz’s content or submitting their own.
Ideas for future site features include collections, commenting, community creative challenges, and more! There are so many possibilities.
Lastly, if you have suggestions on how to promote this resource or build this community, I’m grateful for feedback. You can reach me at artemio [at] altsalt.com
And with that, thank you so much for tuning in. Enjoy checking out Rimay Raiz’s work! I look forward to hearing your ideas, seeing your submissions, and developing further as we work towards an official release!
Alternative voices, alternative formats. This is AltSalt.