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Florence Huet, YANA
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Florence Huet, YANA

One of the happiest new launches we’ve seen recently is YANA, a magazine about juggling from Stockholm. Editor Florence Huet studied entrepreneurship in Paris, juggling technique in Kiev and graphic design in Stockholm; she brings all three to play in her magazine.

Florence also attended our Flatplan masterclass last year. Here, she share her inspirations, her week ahead, and some insight into the world of juggling and jugglers.

Tell us about your typical Monday journey to work
A fixed schedule isn’t my strong suit, I need change to stay inspired. Until last March I was traveling for performances across the world all the time, so it took me a while to adapt to being solely at home in Stockholm.

I’ve been on a break from juggling and performing but I live a beautiful 10 min bike ride away from the circus hall where I would practice and rehearse. The path follows a lake, wild geese and ducks hanging on the shore and across the lake, a small mountain has ski lifts in the middle but rarely enough snow on the piste for people to ski.

This year has been focused on YANA, starting graphic design studies (after making the magazine, it’s never too late!), and stuff that I would have never done while being always on the move like maintaining a sourdough starter or plants alive.

I start the day with a squeezed lemon, 30 min of yoga, and then homemade bread with butter and honey and Genmaicha get me going.

Then it depends on my brainpower. I work from home when I need art supplies, my hard drives, or a really quiet environment.
I like that my lifestyle allows me to be very flexible, I will work 12 hours a day if deadlines are falling or none if I need a day off. Some days when it seems cold and menacing outside of my cover, I’ll just grab my laptop and work from bed until hunger pulls me out.

If I don’t need to stay home, then I go to work in a café in town and get in the zone to work until they close at 5. I love it because I can go shoot some balls at the pool hall nearby for a couple of hours afterward. People working at both places start to know me and sometimes have been my only contact with humans in person for a whole week, so I am really thankful for them being allowed to be open here.

Creative work either on the mag or on other projects like performance or teaching has room to happen when the inspiration hits, late at night in bed or when I get in a concentration flow. Juggling like pool are this type of slightly physical and highly mentally focused activities that help me find meditative-like states where I can feel in control.

It helps me releasing stress and finding balance. Victor De Bouvère, a french juggler, musician, and plastic artist shares a series of collages (above) and some words about that in our first issue.

Describe the state of your desk and what you can see in your office.
My desk is in a forever transitional phase.

I actually haven’t used it or even had one for years since all my work was physical and I was constantly on the move. Most of YANA’s first issue has been made on couches, beds, theater seats, hotel rooms and airplanes folding tables.

Now that I work from home, I arranged it with cute things that make me feel happy and engaged, art from jugglers, plants and memorabilia from trips or people I love.

A miniature Jagannath temple from Odisha, a framed copy of the first issue of YANA, an Abercube - a moving sculpture designed by Erik Åberg, a shape of glass blown by Sindri Runudde for a performance project (above), and a hat signed by Donald Glover that says ‘balance’ in Japanese, my dad’s student typing machine, a Portuguese beach rock signed by my favorite person, and always a glass of water so I remember to hydrate.

The paperwork and office supplies stay hidden in drawers.

From my desk chair out the window, I have a direct view of the little beach where I swim in the summer (above). Ducks and a couple of swans live there all year long. Most of the time they are too far from me to see but sometimes, someone brings them food and I can see them waddle their way out of the water to gather busily around it.

Until yesterday, everything out of my window was white, it was beautiful. The snow melted overnight and we’re back to green. I love observing the seasons change and especially watching the sunset across the lake.

In the winter days we don’t see the sun behind the clouds and it gets dark very early, whereas in the summer, the sun travels above the lake throughout the day and disappears far away while still lighting up the sky until midnight in midsummer.

Are you feeling optimistic about 2021?
2020 was absolute chaos. A mix of extremes, in good and bad. I survived, grabbed the bull by the horns to institute change in myself and I feel proud and ready for what’s coming next.

My planning used to be set one or two years in advance but with all expectations dropping, 2021 feels quite mysterious. Making the second issue of YANA is the only tangible thing I have control over so I will put all my heart into it.

Which magazine do you first remember?
Pomme d’api, with the O being an apple. It’s a French magazine for kids that contained comics that I still remember, Petit Ours Brun, Ti-Michou et Gros Cachou and Mimi Cracra, a little girl who loved to get chocolate all over her face and jump in puddles.

Which magazine matters to you the most right now?
The one I have on my coffee table now is The Black Explorer. I met the creator, Ella Paradis, at the Flatplan 2020 where we were both freaking out about sending our first issue to print in the next few days. Her mag transports me, got me to daydream about traveling from the bottom of my pink armchair and carried me to new destinations through beautiful writing and photographs. A really nice escape these days. I can’t wait to see the second issue soon!

Another one I’m very excited to receive soon is Gaze, a new magazine that celebrates female perspectives. It’s a bilingual French-English feminist publication, it looks absolutely stunning and the first issue contains a conversation with two choreographers I admire a lot, Germaine Acogny and Lissia Benoufella (Ari De B / Habibitch).

My journey with writing, designing and publishing is a completely new adventure and I tend easily to focus on my lack of experience. Surrounding myself with these publications recently created by women inspires me and gives me strength, I learn a lot from them and feel on some sort of equal foot even when we have very different backgrounds.

I love how broad-minded the world of indie magazines is and I am so grateful for everyone who pushed me to believe in this project, make it become reality and to all who opened YANA with curiosity and interest.

Describe your magazine in three words.
Celebrating emotional juggling

What first drew you to juggling?
When I was 15 I was fascinated by fire. I would light up props and spin them around me to see, hear and smell nothing else than the flames for a moment. Juggling with the intent of object manipulation came a bit later, as my teenage anger had reduced and a friend introduced me to siteswap, a mathematical juggling notation that blew my mind. The nerdy and introspective aspects of juggling have always inspired me. Jugglers are passionate about what they do that it’s contagious. That’s also what led me to create YANA, to share these unique characters and how they see the world.

Over the past 10 years I have been practicing between 9 to 18 hours a week I’d say. Now I don't practice daily anymore, but juggling is still in my hands and brain, in my daily life and in my work with other mediums.

The stories in the issue range from basic practice/advice through to the theoretical and impressionistic. Is your magazine only for jugglers, or can others learn from it?
The first section of the magazine, Outside Eyes, is a platform for non-jugglers to offer their perspective on juggling. I wanted a beginning for people out of our field to challenge their own preconceived ideas and feel welcome right from the start.

Throughout the mag, some writing leans toward the nerdy side, technical or theoretical, but it's always reflections rather than instructions. One thing I’d like to have in each issue, is some kind of DIY to allow the reader to create a prop out of the mag. Whether you know how to cascade 3 objects or not doesn’t matter, just the fact of creating and holding a prop will create juggling, your personal interpretation of what juggling that prop means.

The DIY of the first issue (above) is a compostable firework ball made by Eric Longequel and Neta Oren. Leaves, seeds, eggshells and pieces of wool are tied up together in a way that will release each component slowly, creating a firework effect as you toss it again and again.

Like many other hobby-centered communities, juggling tends to be quite cliquish. We proudly create things ‘by jugglers, for jugglers’ and easily lean towards technical elitism, a conservative approach that I’m less and less interested in. I take juggling as seriously as any other art form like architecture or fashion, and believe we can bring inspiration to many people, acquainted with the practice or not. I took it as a challenge to really make the mag inviting and not specific.

There’s clearly a huge network of dedicated jugglers out there; what does YANA offer them that other channels can’t?
The juggling community is huge, diverse and very lively. Just like the rest of society, it is affected by patriarchy and colonialism. White men have been writing history and defining the terms of excellence as if being an absolute for decades.

Navigating my way towards becoming a professional juggler I often felt off - the only woman around, not juggling the right props, not the right way. One of my first motives to create this magazine was to recognize myself and what I like in a publication.
Putting the focus outside of the usual technique / history / performance reviews / social events combo, using quality papers and design, a team of women from different cultures, are radical choices that make YANA unique.

A very recurring debate in the community is whether juggling is an art or a sport. The reality is that it is neither and both. It exists in so many variants, from braid patterns, mating rituals of exotic birds, mathematics, to skateboarding tricks.

YANA offers a place where juggling isn’t defined. It is a prism to look at movement, patterns, and shapes from an intimate and emotional perspective rather than just performative.

For jugglers, the mag is also a new playground - juggling is normally very much a 3D thing and about motion. Questioning what juggling can be or mean when captured on paper, or what can be expressed about it that hasn’t been said before, feels new and exciting.

Andreas Schönberg Polimenis and Giannis Zazas created a video and a series of photos for the mag, where Andreas juggles green props that are edited in post-prod to create a green-screen effect (above). The clubs then either reveal something or disappear into the background, and let his movement take a whole different meaning. This series of photos would probably not have existed without the magazine, as there is no place or motive for projects like these besides social media.

YANA is also a place for us to meet and break distance and social gaps outside of an online platform.

A project I’m very proud of in the magazine is Gaze, a series of photographic interviews that we created with Misaki Fukuda (above). We sent disposable cameras and a list of questions to 10 jugglers spread out in the world, and got to know them through their answers. Their profiles are very different, some have juggled for 2 years, others for 40, some are students, linguists or engineers, they all come from different continents and yet they all share this weird passion.

A juggler recently called YANA ‘the juggling magazine he didn’t know he needed’ and it confirmed that we took the right direction.

What are you excited about for this coming week?
Contacting possible contributors for our second issue. I’ve got a huge list of people I’d dream to have in our pages and I’m very excited every time I make the first contact with someone I appreciate. We started working with Heba Habib, a freelance journalist, filmmaker, and great friend who lives in Stockholm. Being able to work together and exchange ideas in person is very exciting.

Besides the mag, I’m looking forward to meeting with a work-group questioning gender within the circus field, participating to a magician’s podcast about women in the juggling community and improving my pool technique. I will also be preparing for a workshop I’m supposed to give in France the week after, hoping that new restrictions won’t force me to cancel.

Designer: Misaki Fukuda

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