How Arca Stans Became Their Own Creative Force for Good

If we have learned anything this year it’s the sheer power and ability for stan communities to mobilize their forces for the greater good.

K-Pop stans managed to take down a Dallas PD tipline targeting protesters by flooding it with fancams earlier this year and not to mention the ARMY managed to match BTS’ one million dollar donation to Black Lives Matter in just a day. United in a shared love and appreciation of an artist, the communities that pop up often become their own fertile grounds for collaboration and creation takes on a life of its own.

Related | Arca: Embracing the Flux

Earlier this year, nonbinary experimental polymath, Alejandra Ghersi, better known as Arca, founded her own Discord server, Mutants1000000, as a place where fans could interact with her and one another. The virtual space quickly took on a life of its own, branching out in different directions with channels devoted to sharing art, music, dreams, philosophy, book recommendations and more populating the space like a pre-MySpace forum.

Out of this emerged the Mutants Mixtape. A community-driven and curated compilation series released to coincide with Bandcamp Friday in order to raise funds for various organizations that directly benefit POC, queer and trans lives, the project not only quickly garnered Arca’s support but direct contributions in the form of two brand new tracks as well.

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“Mutants Mixtape really started once the death of George Floyd occurred,” Arie, one of the Discord channel’s moderators recounts. “Having a collaborative compilation was already an idea floating around on the main Mutants Discord but never totally fleshed out. I somehow didn’t expect many people to join, but we rapidly reached 100 members by the end of the night. It was really cool to see that many people express interest in what we were doing.”

After getting Arca’s blessing, Arie remembers that the size of the project really snowballed, “By the next day Ale figured out what we had started. She plugged it on her social media, and we instantly jumped to 1,000 members in a matter of a few hours. From there it became obvious that I needed some kind of a plan. My original plan was to have people message me with their submissions, but it didn’t take long for my DMs to blow up with dozens of people that I simply couldn’t keep track of. As a result of that, a mod team was established.”

Having just released their second volume of Mutants Mixtape, titled RIOT, the compilation features a massive 44 tracks, covering a wide breadth of genres — from deconstructed club to techno, drone, synthwave, instrumental hard rock, ambient and experimental electronic. All of it sounds like it fits within the extended Arca cinematic musical universe but given that it is the product of almost 50 different artists, it handily manages to avoid feeling repetitive or monotonous. Coupled with a 26-page booklet with just as many visual artists contributing work, the mixtape has grown into a multi-media document of the Mutant ethos.

“This chat is incredibly diverse, and to see people from different types of backgrounds and creeds unite over injustice gave us a reason to start this project,” Arie says. “We had no excuse to not act. We had thousands of artists and passionate progressive individuals all at our fingertips.”

Over the course of two compilations, the Mutants Mixtape has raised over $5,000 in funds that have been distributed through ActBlue to well over 50 different charities. Hailing from the US, Romania, Columbia, Mexico and Greece, PAPER asked the Mutants Mixtape’s nine curators to better understand what it takes to put on a project like this, how they came to be involved and the importance of giving back to their community.

Demeter Salvia: What drew me to helping work on this project was definitely the community it has since fostered. Having such a diverse group of artists, each brilliantly unique in their style and their process is a really refreshing thing that makes reviewing the submissions a process that required lots of decision-making. I had the privilege of being both a moderator and an artist on the project, and it was incredibly rewarding. Being able to not only support up-and-coming artists that are predominantly queer but also giving back to the community with our earnings really made this project feel worthwhile.

Malvi: I’d like to say that apart from us being from so many different cultures and regions we have managed to turn the prescribed coldness of technology into a tender space for love and learning through the language of ones and zeros, proving once again that no matter how many barriers there will always be a resistance and a rebellious spirit against oppressive forces

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