“If you think about this soup of culture we find ourselves in, everyone wants to identify with and grasp at something clear. I think that social media has made it so that we yearn for that,” says Lydia Pang. “We want to be tagged into [something] or a part of a tribe or an aesthetic or a movement. It feels safe, those contrasted binary pockets, because I think we then feel like we have identity in them.”
The first zine from her creative strategy studio Mørning, which she co-founded with Sam Jackson after leaving Nike several years ago, asks us to resist clean categorisation. Instead, we’re invited to embrace multitudes and tensions, because “that is where the most interesting interactions, connections, creative fruits are happening”, she says. The zine is a kind of trends report-meets-manifesto, which posits that “we exist in neither hell or heaven, doom or dream”, and that “actual useful creative progress requires something deeper and darker than black or white, denial or optimism, it requires straddling doom and dream in one single stinky breath”, according to Pang’s introduction.
Titled Burn Book, it’s an evolution of its Substack, Burn After Reading (for good measure, the zine comes with matches so you can indeed burn it after reading). It comes two and a half years into Mørning’s journey and encapsulates two of its founding principles: running headfirst into difficult conversations and forging a “new day”. “We are definitely the optimistic nerds that see the sunny side of the digital hellscape that we all call home,” Pang explains.