Winner of the Third Annual MU Undergraduate Writing Competition

We are excited to announce that Annalee Roustio is the winner of the 3rd Annual MU Undergraduate LED Writing competition!

Annalee is a Senior majoring in English and French. She’s interned with Persea Books since last Fall and is crossing her fingers that she’ll get to earn her MFA in creative writing sooner rather than later.

Our judges, Grace Gardiner and Lindsay Fowler, selected Annalee’s emotionally-charged poem, “Worried, Sick” for publication on our scrolling LED display.

You can hear Annalee read “Worried, Sick” at on January 28th, at 5:00 p.m. in the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, and you can read it yourself starting tomorrow, December 9th on our LED display outside the gallery.

Thank you to all the MU students who shared your writing with us, and to the instructors who encouraged your students to do so. We are grateful for the support from our collaborators in the MU English Department and School of Visual Studies.

Winner of the 2nd Annual MU Undergraduate Writing Competition

We are proud to announce that Annalee Roustio is the winner of the 2nd Annual MU Undergraduate LED Writing competition!

Annalee is in her third year at MU, where she studies English and plans to declare a second major in French. She’s a tutor and outreach representative for the campus Writing Center, a copywriter at Marketing by Emma, and an intern for the poetry division of Persea Books. In terms of future plans, beyond traveling to AWP this spring with Persea Books and hopefully studying abroad this summer, Annalee has begun exploring MFA programs. She should probably complete her personal website. Until then, feel free to add her on LinkedIn; her brief (and with luck, ever-growing!) smattering of publications and prizes can be found there. Special thanks to Rebecca Pelky for her helpful feedback and encouragement.

Our judge, Jeff Wasserboehr, selected Annalee’s moving, contemplative poem, “Ether” for publication on our scrolling LED display.

You can hear Annalee read “Ether” at on December 5th, at 5:00 p.m. in the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, and you can read it yourself anytime in December on the display outside the gallery.

We’re very grateful to all the MU students who shared their writing with us as well as the instructors who encouraged their students to do so. Thank you!

LEDs in Artists’ Books

When we aren’t uploading literature to LED displays, you can find us making artists’ books. In fact, this contrast was part of the initial inspiration behind Literature Emitting Diodes. We were curious about how directly a work could be presented to the public, given the amount of work that can go into the production of an experimental publication. In fact, that term “publication” may be inappropriate since none of that work actually guarantees that the work will make it to the public – hence our interest in the direct appeal of the LED display.

Yet, in all this time, we never tried to marry the two interests. That’s why we were excited to see that the wonderfully talented book artist, Susan Lowdermilk, is doing just that — and teaching other people how to do it, too! Check out her upcoming workshop at the Oregon College of Art and Craft to see more. It’s called Shadow and Light: The LED Pop-Up Artist’s Book. The workshop runs from Friday, February 24 to Sunday, February 26. There are still spots available and you can register using the link above.

We can’t wait to see what everyone makes! No doubt this will continue to be a rich area for exploration in book arts. There is certainly a rich overlap in mindset and skillset that makes bookbinding and circuitry a perfect pair. We’re grateful that artists like Lowdermilk and organizations like OCAC so forcefully demonstrate the evolving relevance of craft in the 21st Century.

LED Hacktivism

Literature Emitting Diodes is about reclaiming a medium of communication. Our point of departure was advertising, but there is another prominent use of LED signage, one that aims to modify viewers’ behavior even more directly than advertising: road signage. This type of direct, imperative language is ripe for appropriation, as seen in this recent case of hacktivism in Chicago. The Chicago Sun Times article below also cites previous actions along the same lines.

Art in Odd Places: Race

We want to share a very cool project that shares a kindred spirit with LED. Furthermore, we heard about this project because it was one of the works featured in this year’s recent Art in Odd Places in NYC, which is also very much up our alley. From October 6-9, AiOP activated 14th St. with installations, performances, and all sorts of projects centered on this year’s theme: Race.

Race is also the title of the piece we’re posting about, by artist Lee Nutbean. Nutbean’s piece is an LED display that spells the word “race” and, like LED, travels to different storefronts throughout the area. Nutbean’s twist is that the sign is connected to social media, and only turns off when online mentions of the word race cease. You can read more about it here. The simple, powerful sign is evocative whether or not a viewers knows about its clever online connection. It shifts between verb and noun, playing into and off of its surroundings, interpreted differently by each viewer passing by.

We hope you look into AiOP and enjoy their mission as much as we do. It’s well worth getting acquainted with the participating artists. We’re newly inspired to continue with LED in the future, though we’re not yet sure what form it will take next. As their curators state, their work “requires openness to chance and vulnerability amid chaos” and that is exactly what has made working on LED so meaningful and enjoyable.

Photos courtesy of Art in Odd Places and Hyperallergic.

“How to Drape a Sari” at Krispyfringe

Here are a few photos from our first evening at Krispyfringe Vintage. As usual, the installation will be up for a few weeks, so stop by to read Harnidh Kaur’s excellent poem, How to Drape a Sari.

If you visit during business hours, mention LED when you make a purchase and you’ll receive a 10% discount (thanks Krispyfringe)!

Their hours are:
Monday -Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday – Friday: 12pm to 7pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11am to 6pm

Krispyfringe is located in West Town at 2130 W. Chicago Ave.

May Installation at Hyde Park Records

We are pleased to announce that our next installation, Lampyridae by Kelsey Hoff, will be at Hyde Park Records, at

Hyde Park Records is open from 11-8 every day, so if you’re into music (and books) you should stop by during business hours. As always, you’ll be able to read our display 24/7.

Stay tuned for updates and photos.


Installing “Cables” at RoscoeBooks

Here are a few images from this morning’s installation at RoscoeBooks (including Carley entering the ultra-top-secret password into our display).

We carefully gaffed our extension cord over the bookcases, which took longer than it should have because we kept getting distracted by all the books in front of us. If you like literature, then you’ll definitely want to stop by and browse for yourself!

We’ll be sharing more photos of the Caroline S. Knickmeier’s poem, Cables, soon, so check back.