Hyperallergic on Digital Collagist Hilary Faye


(click to animate)

Now that we’ve experimented with text/image collages, you might want to explore working with GIFs to create animated collages (I know at least one of you has mentioned GIFs in the project proposals).

The online arts magazine Hyperallergic has an interesting article about Hilary Faye, a Melbourne-based animator, who makes “GIFs pulled from materials she’s found online and animated through collage.”

Where to begin?  Check out this simple tutorial.  And here is a servicable online GIF maker.


Oct 30, 4:30pm: “A Letter to Your Younger Self” Writing Workshop with James Lescene


Tyler Clementi Center + Writers House Collaboration
“A Letter to Your Younger Self” Writing Workshop with James Lescene
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
4:30 to 7:00 pm
Tyler Clementi Center (390 George Street, 6th Floor)
Refreshments will be served
Open to ALL undergraduate students. LIMITED SPACE: Reserve your spot by emailing rick.lee@rutgers.edu by Friday, October 25.

During this hands-on writing workshop with James Lescene, author of several young-adult titles and one of the founders of The Trevor Project, participants will explore the question: What is it you wish you had known about yourself when you were twelve, seven, or five years old–and can you tell him or her that thing? Even those with the most rudimentary writing skills can bang out a note or a letter–thus tapping into that compassionate side of themselves for themselves and revealing surprising abilities and sure-fire revelations.

Workshop participants will have the option to have their work considered for presentation at “The Letter Q at R.U.,” a public reading scheduled for Sunday, November 3, at 1 pm. In addition to workshop participants sharing their “notes,” the reading event will also feature James Clementi reading his “Letters to My Brother,” which were written to honor his younger sibling’s memory. The reading is followed by the formal unveiling and dedication of “Rivera Blue Macchia Chartreuse Lip Wrap” (2007) by artist Dale Chihuly, a gift donated by Michael Sodomick in honor of The Trevor Project and in memory of Tyler Clementi.

Guest Post: Travis Macdonald on BAR/koans


Around the time Michael Leong and I first met at Sarah Lawrence College, I was beginning my study of zen buddhism and the various poetic traditions that have accompanied this particular religious practice. I became especially engaged with the koan tradition and its inherent accretions of commentary and response. In many ways, I suspect this process intentionally mirrors the gradual growth of language itself from the representational to the metaphorical (and back to representational)…the way, within and between each generation, meanings shift and open language to re-interpretation.

Part riddle, part poem, part teaching, part text, each koan is an accumulation of layers resulting from the edits and additions made by subsequent zen masters over the centuries. With BAR/koans, I was attempting to both continue that tradition of poetic accretion and simultaneously strip away the layers to expose the core moment of human realization at the center of each passage.

I did so with a curious eye toward the digital signatures we are all so busy creating in our daily lives. What will they mean to future generations? How will civilizations-to-come encounter the fragments we leave behind minus the context that the passage of time inevitably erodes? The human mind is capable of great leaps of faith and logic. There is perhaps no better example of this capacity than the koan. But without the context of the zen tradition to frame its hidden meanings, what is left? More importantly, WHO is left to reconstruct that context?

The answer is, to me at least, obvious: Robots.

Or, at the very least, the cybernetic simulacra of humanity we seem so obsessed with evolving into. So BAR/koans started as an attempt to translate the core phrases and realizations of each koan into a language better suited to the electronic contexts and constructs I suspect will replace what we call human consciousness in the relatively near future. What better vessel than that ubiquitous symbol of mechanized capitalism, the bar code?

Using an online bar code generator, I translated the core phrases from each koan and rearranged them into a new narrative of sorts. I published a small portion of the original manuscript in a simple black and white format with bar codes over text. Then, when Erg Arts agreed to publish the collection as a whole, I worked closely with the amazing graphic designer John Moore Williams to create a more varied and visually pleasing (to the human eye, at least) form. Truth be told, Mr. Williams deserves the greatest share of the credit there. I had originally envisioned a more illustrative style that incorporated each bar code into a larger drawing but, in the end, I think his minimalist typographic treatment and arrangement was the perfect vessel for this series.

The final product is, in my opinion, a fitting representation that successfully balances the information gathering needs of both humans and machines.

Guest Post: Afton Wilky on Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea


Hi all. I’m really excited that you’re participating in a multimedia “writing” workshop—there are tons of possibilities and I know you all are going to make amazing pieces. I wanted to share some thoughts and questions about process which began my book project—a project I like to call a material narrative / a narrative of material.

One of the most invigorating things for me about contemporary writing and art is the attention to process (a.k.a. praxis). When we consider the way something is made as part of the content, a very different narrative becomes important.

This narrative of material and the artist/writer and the way it parallels the kind of narrative you’re used to seeing in a novel, movie, or TV-show was one of the things I was able to explore through my project, Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea. But of course I didn’t know I was doing that at the beginning at all. I had all sorts of ideas about collage and even taking photographs of miniature vignettes I’d construct. Most importantly, I was making things and asking “what if I did this.”

Because I didn’t know how the shift would change the project I was developing, I can’t even tell you exactly how I got from collaging, where you’re cutting up and adding material to a surface to the cutout poems, where I’d cut material out of something that was already seen as complete. The process is basically a variation of erasures, but the main difference is apparent when we start seeing the process used to make these poems in a narrative or significant way.

If we start articulating what’s going on in the two processes, erasure and cutout, we can read the differences in what’s being done to the material.

• Erasure marks out words and letters by adding ink or paint on top of what’s there while cutout detaches and removes parts.
• Erasure leaves the original page whole while cutout makes the page very fragile.
• Both erasure and cutout indicate the position of what has been taken away in the way a map does. In this way they both reveal their process.
• Both change the original significance of the text.
So recognizing these differences of process, actually gives us a lot of information about what we mean by “erasing.” When we start to put words to what we see happening then a whole level of significance emerges. More importantly, we can see another space of possibility for our work to explore.

The other important thing to remember is that we’re not just experimenting on inanimate material—the actions we perform as writers and artists are manipulations of our bodies. And text too, what happens when I start manipulating pronouns by cutting the “s” out of “she” in order to make “_he.” That’s not the same as “he” at all, is it?

And aren’t pronouns themselves a kind of erasing of the body? They take away the particulars—almost anyone can step into the position set up by a pronoun. It’s a kind of echo chamber in which anything might occur and accrue.

What happens when we start to think of social and linguistic erasures where the trace of erasing is wiped out and lost?
What happens when we make the thing we want to talk about, call attention to, and/or understand?

What happens when we take the thing we thought we wanted to throw away and make it something?

As you can see, to start a project you don’t need any complex system or insightful idea. You can just start making things and as you go along you ask yourself “what if” questions about what your doing. Or questions like “how am I getting from point A to point B.” If you’re doing something like this, the project gets complex and really interesting gradually. You get to know your material, start asking even more interesting questions, and make really interesting observations that compound each other, etc.

After reading this, I hope you want to try to develop your own method of erasure. What are you going to erase with? How are you going to erase? What are you going to erase? Why are you going to erase from it / all of it / out of it? Will we be able to tell what’s been done?

As a sort of inversion of the process of erasure, here’s additional / alternative prompt:

Go someplace you’ve never been before and stay there for at least 20 minutes.
OR Go someplace you’ve been to with your car using an alternative mode of transportation.
OR Go someplace you’ve been to with your car and get out of the car and stay there for at least 20 minutes.
Record your experiences and thoughts in some way.

Guest Post: Billy Cancel on “You Beat All Round the Bush for Electronic Crop”

YBARTBFEC is a folkloric post-industrial sonic compound–lots of jumps between voice, tone & time-frames–so it’s well suited to experiment with & re-present as a multimedia piece.

Before undertaking the multimedia work the poem itself had already been learnt & performed at readings; this meant I was very familiar with the sounds & scansion of the work & I had already expanded & implemented ideas regarding the poem’s performance.

I use a Zoom digital recorder & try to find interesting places to record outside. This piece was recorded at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, which is extremely spacious and windy with the Brooklyn Queens Expressway rumbling away close by.

I then frazzle the recording with an archaic sound editing program [Fostex Audioclean]. I prefer not to have a defined idea as to how I will manipulate the sounds at first, but riff & tweak the recording often stretching or splicing parts & changing pitches.

For the visuals I google each line of the poem then scoop any interesting resultant images which I then fry into near-abstraction using Photoshop or Lunapic then put together into sequences. This process leaves much too chance so often brings up interesting surprises.

I use this noise-poem vid format to present my work as the visible words & images allow me to be more flexible with the sonics of the piece (for example dipping in & out of sound poetry or noise) while visibly maintaining the poem’s coherent path.