We’re so grateful to Belli’s Chicago in Pilsen for hosting our project in their wonderful juicebar and market. We took advantage of the cloudy day to bring you a few photos (posted below) from this morning’s installation. Ruby Figueroa’s piece, Cancer Baby Girl, will be up for the next three weeks right on 18th and Allport.
It’s a new month and that means a new installation! We are grateful that Belli’s Juicebar is partnering with us to share Ruby Figueroa’s writing with her own neighborhood, Pilsen.
Beginning this Saturday, March 5th, you’ll be able to read Ruby’s Cancer Baby Girl while you sip on delicious small batch juices (of course we’ve tried them – what sort of editors would install poetry in a juicebar without checking first?)
Our first installation went as smoothly as we could have hoped, and we even managed to snap a few photos of the process. We devised a portable frame for the LED display so we could take advantage of the storefront’s elevated window and avoid mounting anything in the ceiling. Our friends at Knee Deep Vintage were very accommodating, and the whole process took less than two hours.
Almost all of that time was programming Kanga’s piece, Aubrey Graham, into the display. We did this with a remote control, one letter at a time! Though slow, the process is fitting for Literature Emitting Diodes. The project investigates the impact of constraints on literature, for writers, readers, and publishers alike. Just as the writers are limited to 500 words, and the readers are constrained to the scrolling speed of the display, so are we publishers held to the limitations of the process.
Part of our fascination with limitations in art and literature is with their relative nature. Surely a remote controller is slower than a computer keyboard, but what about other methods still used by small presses? The slow pace and disorienting experience of only seeing a few characters at a time reminded us of setting metal type for letterpress printing. With so many contrasts between these two publishing media, their common ground as a generative constraint is one of the reasons we are so excited to see this project progress!
We are thrilled to share some documentation of our inaugural publication, Aubrey Graham by Surabhi Kanga.
We first photographed our LED display as soon as the text was programmed. Knee Deep Vintage was still bustling with Friday afternoon shoppers and Literature Emitting Diodes was just one among many elements in the storefront. Competing and collaborating with graffiti, posters, reflections and more, LED calls attention to the rich layers of language that inhabit the urban environment.
At dusk, the context changes. The LEDs glow brighter and the writing reads differently though, of course, the text has not changed. The writing scrolls on by, as it will do thousands of times before the end of July, unaware of the constant changes around it. Every reader will have a different experience, as we do each time we return to photograph the installation.
We hope our readers find this as exciting as we do, and we would be happy to share photos and videos taken by our readers as they experience the piece in their own respective ways.