Issue – 4
Edited by Bryce Armijo

Cosmic Futures

Spring 2022

Cosmic Futures is Femme Salée’s fourth zine issue. It is about the increasing encroachment of the “Metaverse” into our lived realities and everyday lives. As we move from physical to encompassing digital spaces, real-world issues like representation, racism, gendered, and sexual biases could be solved through equitable digital access or be furthered entrenched across the digital and physical divide.

What is the Metaverse?

def: /cosmic/ˈkäzmik/ adj., of or relating to the cosmos, the extraterrestrial vastness, or the universe in contrast to the earth alone.

def: /future/ˈfyo͞oCHər/ n., that is to be specifically, existing after death.

Editor’s Note: Lucia Garzón’s first name is misspelled in the physical zine issue. We regret the error & apologize for the incorrect spelling. 


Bryce Armijo


Welcome to Cosmic Futures.

I drew inspiration for the original name and idea of Cosmic Futures from the book La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race), written and published by Mexican philosopher José Vasconcelos Calderón. In it, Vasconcelos expresses and builds a future wherein a race of people, made up of all races of the world, comes together to disregard Social Darwinist  ideology in order to create a utopia in place of modern society. The work has been argued for and against during its controversial lifetime. Still, the merits of Vasconcelos’ ideas have helped shape Mexico’s own vast and mixed cultural identity and its contemporary intellectual thought. It also inspired my imagination of a not-so-far-off future: a cosmic future that is building in front of us, whether or not we realize it.

The “Metaverse” is an ongoing project of amalgamation, attempting to blend our physical world with a “virtual reality” experience. Yet the idea of the Metaverse is far from its intellectual infancy. While the term has existed since the 1990s, its encroachment into our lives has been seen in community-focused, avatar-forward games like Second Life and IMVU. Within these spaces exist a micro-ecosystem, where players can barter and trade with one another, date, purchase clothing and furniture, and exist within an entirely digital community. The experience offers the users  complete anonymity, but often it is far more common for players to create somewhat realistic representations of themselves in the game.

Since the pandemic has forced us into our own separate spaces, the line between our reality and the built reality of the Metaverse has blurred as years of isolation continue to stretch. Although this shift has been mainly centered around the middle to upper-middle class and the white-collar, managerial class, we all can still most likely recall a life event taking place across a digital platform. 

Whether it’s a Zoom happy hour, a FaceTime birthday party, or a birth announcement over email, the ongoing pandemic has continued to fast track the development of the Metaverse (backed by corporate entities like Facebook and Microsoft) beyond the keyboards and controllers of the gaming class and into the mainstream.

So if we are traveling down the superhighway of progress, what will happen to our lived reality’s social and political critiques? If, in an analog world, we continue to deal with the complicated relationships between ourselves and race, gender, disability status, and other identity markers, how do we translate these lived experiences into the Metaverse? Is this the place to continue these conversations? And what does it mean when the ongoing expansion of the Metaverse is pushed by billion-dollar tech companies, who put corporate profits above all else? 

It was my vision that Cosmic Futures would answer these questions. But as the project continued, it grew beyond simply providing answers. It became a personal conversation about the future and decoding our places within it.

By asking questions like “How do you think you could be or will be seen in the “Metaverse”? and “How would you want to be seen in the “Metaverse”? Do you want to be seen in the “Metaverse” at all?” I made an effort to give agency back to the artists and ourselves. So often, the internet and the apparatuses surrounding it have been used as a means of both personal pleasure and state control. The Metaverse has the potential to be both or neither. By asking the preceding questions, I wanted our artists to reflect and be empowered in their reflection. The vibrancy of an analog life is in the beauty of having agency over how it is lived. I wanted these questions to become a means for us to take these conversations away from the boardroom and back into our personal lives.

It is my hope that these vignettes into the lives of others will help to shape your own vision of what a Metaverse future will look like for you and the communities in which you find yourself. And I hope that in this reflection, we come to understand ourselves a little better. 

Domestic Landscape no. 10, Drew Austin, 2021, Mixed media & collage on hardboard
Domestic Landscape no. 11, Drew Austin, 2021, Mixed media & collage on hardboard
Domestic Landscape no. 12, Drew Austin, 2022, Mixed media & collage on paper

Domestic Landscape no. 10, no. 11, & no. 12

Drew Austin


The tension between the physical and the other will disappear and allow movement between the two to flow like water. Our conscious mind could collapse into access of the unconscious.

One of the beauties of the Metaverse is the ability to be seen when you’d like or disappear when necessary. I think that flexibility and fluidity through physical space will let me control if I am present within the current moment.

Artist Statement

Austin’s work uses a cyclical method of creation to explore the things that we often cannot see or understand. He uses abstraction as a means to create visual representations of the cosmos, quantum events, and biological forms as he understands them in relation to the rest of the universe. 

Portrayed primarily through painting, sculpture, and light-based installation, Austin’s work functions as a conduit for understanding and comprehension of everyday things both large and small in a human-dominated world. 

Artist Biography

Hey there! My name is Drew Austin (he/him) and I am an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Denver, Colorado. I moved here from Montana for school, where I graduated as valedictorian from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. My work changes medium quite often, most likely taking form through sculpture, painting/drawing, and light-based installation work. I like to think of my work as a visual explanation of things that people often overlook or seldom understand, things like the human connection to the natural world, quantum theory, cosmic phenomena, religion, and, especially, love. I love the outdoors and spending long periods of time in nature while things exist around me. I learn through experience and story and am thrilled to be sharing my view of the world through my work.

The bridge between two worlds, Lisa Jungmin Lee, 2022, Drypoint on copper plate & printed on Hahnemühle paper
Moderna Medina, Lisa Jungmin Lee, 2022, Drypoint on copper plate & printed on Hahnemühle paper

The bridge between two worlds & Moderna Medina

Lisa Jungmin Lee


My work and my identity as an artist become more accessible to the broader public through virtual worlds and connect traditional artwork with augmented reality.

I want to be seen as an artist and marketer who can establish a virtual art community within the Metaverse.

Artist Statement

Lisa Jungmin Lee’s work focuses on ephemeral spaces, what happens inside them, and the way people encounter and disappear within them. She is interested in public squares and arcades where the public can freely move around and lots of unexpected events can occur. She has been especially influenced by the design of the Italian piazza, Piazza del Popolo, in Rome. She conceives of these spaces as a nexus of random and fleeting meetings, a place where human life comes together in the space between solid forms. She observes this space both as chaotic, full of chance encounters, and also as nothing. Her visualizations of these spaces gives her an insight into the layers of people, city, time, and life.

A punctuation within the urban fabric.

A space that is utilized by everyone, yet is very personal.

Artist Biography

I am a print-based artist interested in architectural forms and their impacts on our lives and beyond. I explore the relationship between the structures and visual lines we experience in daily life through various shapes and aspects of industrial buildings. I received my MFA in printmaking from Tyler School of Art & Architecture at Temple University and a BFA in printmaking from Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea. I have exhibited my work nationally and internationally, and I teach printmaking and studio art at various institutions across the region.

Sana que Sana, Lucia Garzón, 2021, Hand block printed pattern on wallpaper
Palma, Lucia Garzón, 2021, Digital collage

Sana que Sana & Palma

Lucia Garzón


I often struggle with engaging in digital spaces and find myself focusing on participating and being more physically present with direct communities. My personal experiences through the pandemic have reminded me that the spaces in which I learn and grow the most are non-digital spaces. If I appear in the Metaverse, I would want to be seen as someone who values sharing and making space for my community, family, and friends.

I don’t think my presence in the Metaverse is of any particular interest to me. The heavy investment and involvement that large brands like facebook, instagram, mcdonalds, nike, etc., have taken in the Metaverse to buy virtual space has helped me understand that perhaps it’s a space I may not be interested in inhabiting. I can understand some of the benefits that the Metaverse presents for building various spaces and communities, but a lot of the discourse around the Metaverse feels very inaccessible to me.

Artist Statement

Lucia’s work investigates the intersections between her personal experiences growing up in a largely immigrant family. Through exploration in installation, textiles, wood, and video, Lucia addresses her place as a person that belongs to a multicultural family and the identities that are tied to these places and cultures. Lucia’s work comments on the complexities of trying to honor and navigate the dense histories of her family. Immigration, labor, and personal identity are the main themes in Lucia’s work, which aims to celebrate her family’s resilience and reveal the many futilities of living and working under a capitalist society. 

Artist Biography

I am an interdisciplinary artist working in a range of media including, but not limited to, wood, textiles, print, and video. I graduated from Tyler School of Art in 2018 with a BFA in printmaking. In the summer of 2021, I attended the ACRE residency, was in residence at Grizzly Grizzly gallery, and created a printed publication with the Philadelphia collective FORTUNES. I currently work and reside in Philadelphia.

Upload, Halo Lahnert, 2021, 14" x 11", Colored pencil & marker on Dura-lar film
you! can’t! tab! away!, Halo Lahnert, 2022, 3' x 3', Hand-tufted acrylic yarn

Upload & you! can’t! tab! away!

Halo Lahnert


I think Mark Zuckerberg sees me as a commodity in the Metaverse.

I don’t want to be seen in Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse, but I do want to be seen in digital spaces, as a practitioner of digital mysticism.

Artist Statement

In this series of images, you meet Flung Baby, an avatar of Lahnert as child, as girl, as without control, exploring the virtual, physical, and emotional world. No matter where she is, the worlds she encounters are non-linear, fragmented, and layered atop one another, just as our experiences are. Lahnert imagines Flung Baby thrown endlessly from situation to situation, but she is also strong, flexible, and adventurous. Lahnert uses Flung Baby as a way to explore the ways they feel multiple, virtual, and chaotic.

Lahnert does not have a technical understanding of how the internet works, so they see something of the supernatural or magical in itghosts and glitches in our machines. Their relationship with the internet is enmeshed with their relationship to other kinds of faith: both are driven by mystery and curiosity. By pulling the internet offline and into their hands, Lahnert hopes to make physical representations of the virtual landscapes they trek that allow them to ground themselves while diving into the rabbit holes of faith.

Watch as Flung Baby appears in multiple, discovering herself via Google search, clickbait, and file folders. Join her as she interrogates questions such as: What do we expect the internet to be able to tell us about the world and ourselves? How do we decide to trust online? How do we respond when these tools fail us, surprise us, teach us? 

Artist Biography

I am an artist living and working in Philly. My work explores the intersection of faith and the internet and has been shown in the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the American Mountaineering Museum, and Lighthouse Writers Workshop, among other places.

Grinding Whittles You Down to Nothing, John-Michael Maakestad, 2022, Screen print

Grinding Whittles You Down to Nothing

John-Michael Maakestad


Prolly a gamer. 

A purveyor of trinkets.

Artist Statement

Maakestad enjoys drawing and screen printing on the side while dabbling in painting and other mediums. In his work, he likes to explore notions of modern society and our place within it. Maakestad tends to work with striking color palettes, and enjoys challenging the viewer to continue to unpack his work with repeated viewings and discussion.

Artist Biography

I live and work in Philadelphia with my partner of (almost) 3 years. We live with our cat, Moonee. In my free time, I enjoy drawing, exploring the city, and taking in the vast array of cultures surrounding me. I look forward to graduating from Temple University with my degree in English.

realms and parallels, Jessica Lynne Brown, 2018, Digital illustration

realms and parallels

jessica lynne brown


i am the person on the other 

side of the door that’s rarely open and the one you have never seen. a mythical legend spoken as a folktale, whispered through soft lips around a fire pit with red bricks as a backdrop. all this, while you were sleeping.

she is something you can only envision. for it was a stage to play. and this was make-believe.

Artist Statement

Within brown’s work, the artist investigates the plasticity of the perceived past, and how it can be bent through biases of recollection. She explores themes of identity, play, the make-believe, nostalgia, vulnerability, and intimacy, which, influenced by reoccurring dreams and memories from childhood, are used to investigate the clues of the personal lived experience. Text and drawings serve as the blueprints to larger works of stop-animation and time-based performances in single room installations. These pieces are an unveiling of her own psychoanalysis. They are personal diary entries on existence, forming a personal visual language through the adoption of objects.

Artist Biography

I am a New Orleans based artist from St. Louis, MO. My work adds a metaphysical and ontological perspective to the themes of childhood, vulnerability, and intimacy by using simple line drawings, described by Hyperallergic as, “…achingly kinetic and spindly…,” as blueprints to convey highly personal content involving the unconscious, desire, and the body. Influenced by reoccurring dreams and memories, I use these imaginative references to build large-scale stages and miniature rooms.

DNA Molecule, Keysha Rivera, 2021, Mixed media
The roots of trees that are hidden underneath the ground that have been there for centuries, Keysha Rivera, 2021, Fabric soft sculpture
Where will I be buried, Keysha Rivera, 2021, Clay, fabric, and photo paper

DNA Molecule, The roots of trees that are hidden underneath the ground that have been there for centuries, & Where will I be buried

Keysha Rivera

(all pronouns)

I think I’ll be seen a connector. Artists work with different technologies in their own personal practice. I think that truth would also exist in the Metaverse.

I think I’d like to be seen as a stitch or a pixel in an archive. Exploring textiles at the intersection of technology has taught me that the Metaverse has always existed.

Artist Statement

Keysha’s work focuses on Puerto Rican epistemology by centering on our connection to the land and the body. In DNA Molecule, family photos are printed onto fabric, then sewed and stuffed with polyfill. The round sculptures are sewn into slits of the body or the blue faux fur structure. Her work explores DNA as an organization that transmits data and the connectivity to textiles as a way to archive legacy and history. 

Artist Biography

I am a textile and media artist of Taino Indigenous ancestry living and working on Chitimacha, Houma, and Choctaw land, also known as New Orleans. My work revolves around cultural preservation and the configuration of displaced histories. My familial research acts as a guide for the creation of works. By centering Puerto Rican liberation, my art functions as a contemporary form of resistance to the present-day realities of existing under neocolonialism and U.S occupation.


by Carly Koch


I see myself now and I do not know how to separate the experience from the body 

We have big storms here

acid rain and erosion and the breaking of plates 

Things move so quickly and the sky has been this weird hazy shade of blue

It’s been made of metal and expecting an answer from me without asking a question 

Few things say what I want them to  

Few things say “I want to begin to be alive despite the ways in which the world has stopped”

I speak to a part of me that knows eventually it will be plucked from the ground and thrown into space  

A part of me that speaks in small sounds 

One that once wished to only taste of oil and wine and dirt

and to still be clean

There was a summer where I only drank orange juice and tried to convince myself that I could eat the cherry blossoms for breakfast  

I think I was trying to become a thing people liked to look at while they ate

It made sense

In the same way it made sense when my father said that we loved to live like that 

banging on things 

begging for more

The water boils and I want to boil with it 

A stranger smiles at me and I want to kiss them 

Thank god for a crumb 

a thing to give and take from myself

Thank god for a game to play while I make a list of the things I get to have once I make nice with my body and the things inside of it

A game where the prize is that you get rid of your body   

Every so often my heart gets bloated with what it has juiced from the hearts of everyone I have ever met

and I call for a gathering 

I call for a dance under the drippings

We get giddy with the way the the world works so hard to be against us

We feed on the pieces of meat we have stolen from each others backs

There is a story where all of the main characters are named after comets

It’s the same orange juice summer

It’s also the summer my sister learns to ride her bike so far it feels like she’s tailgating the sun 

The summer mom calls us by opposite names 

stops taking her prozac

and catches the house on fire

I learn to roll my name around in my mouth like a marble until it feels smooth enough to speak to

I see myself later and finally I am allowed to wish for my own kind of skin and shell 

A newborn baby where my heart should be

I finally get on good terms with god

There are sharp things that I do not like to touch 

My new favorite party trick is just repeating 


until people are so drunk that they ask me what I mean by that

or kiss me because of it

and I don’t ever stop saying it 

I let myself walk in circles 

I let myself ride bikes into the sun just because I am jealous

I let myself sit down and cry while nothing gets wet 

My art and my voice are no longer something that I consider to be deeply connected to my physical form. Boundaries can be tested and I can throw my emotions further.

I want to be seen as something that is simultaneously more dense and more palatable. I want for my words to be able to reach more people that feel similarly in their messiness and love for art.

Artist Statement

In most of Carly’s poetry, they focus on self-identity, past trauma, relationship dynamics, love, and all of the things that tend to be sticky and sappy. They aim to bring an honest, thoughtful, and healing take on the reality of the heavier things in life. They believe poetry is something that should be savored, read out loud, screamed, slept with, and cried to. Though they have been writing since they were very small, they have found it to be particularly healing in the midst of a global pandemic. While the world is so often burning around us and we are so often denying it, their work acknowledges the brutal reality we are currently living in while also rejoicing in the tiny joys that are constantly begging to be seen.

Artist Biography

My name is Carly Koch and I live in Denver, where my full-time gig is as a first grade teacher. I have always deeply valued the presence of poetry in my life and have been writing it down since I was eight years old. I believe in expressing myself in vulnerable, messy ways and poetry is the perfect outlet for that. When I’m not writing, I am typically yelling over a glass of wine with my friends. I am a lover of cooking, sleepy park days, playlist making, and doing my best to live in a culture of community healing.

Editor’s Note: Lucia Garzón’s first name is misspelled in the physical zine issue. We regret the error & apologize for the incorrect spelling. 

Artists & Authors: Drew Austin, Jessica Lynne Brown, Lucia Garzón, Carly Koch, Halo Lanhert, Lisa Jungmin Lee, John-Michael Maakestad, & Keysha Rivera.

This zine was published in 2022 by Femme Salée.

© 2022 Femme Salée

Individual artworks & poems © 2022 the author/artist.

Cover: Keysha Rivera, DNA Molecule, 2021, Mixed media © Keysha Rivera.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage and retrieval system, or otherwise without prior permission in writing from publisher.