We certainly found a visible place for Amanda Beekhuizen’s piece. We had to keep our first round of documentation short because of the cold, but not too short to see plenty of passers by slow down on their daily commutes and make some time for literature.
The covered location makes this installation especially easy to read during the day, so we’ll be going back for more photographs soon. In the meantime, we are pleased to know that the phrase “I am a burrito” is streaming across that little screen hundreds of times each day (but you should really come read the rest of it to find out how that fits within a very beautiful poem).
Happy New Year to our readers! We are celebrating the end of 2015 and the start of 2016 with the writing of Amanda Beekhuizen. Her prose poem, A Hug From a Large Man for a Long Time, part VI, will be up and running on January 4th at the H.I. Chicago Hostel.
Amanda Beekhuizen is an artist, bookmaker, and educator based in Tucson, Arizona. She earned an MFA in Craft at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon, in 2015, and a BFA in Studio Art and a BA in English at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, in 2010. She has taught at Yavapai College, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and at the Tucson Community Print Shop.
While she primarily works in the form of the book, she is equally concerned with the content of the books and their physical form. The content is generated through writing (mostly short vignettes about everyday occurrences that gather meaning when grouped together), action and documentation of that action (engaging in repeated action or building sculpture and interacting with it to make photographs and videos that later turn up in books), and a craft-based creative practice (an example of this:How would I embed a rock into a book? What would it mean?). Ultimately, her process is one of creating meaning through making.
We had a blast documenting Lisa Torem’s poem, Packrats, at Laurie’s Planet of Sound. With the sounds of the German-American Fest in the background, we basked in the combined glow of neon and LED and shot video and photos from the bustling sidewalk. The lively scene and curious onlookers confirmed our belief that Literature Emitting Diodes really can bring good writing to an appreciative public in an unexpected way.
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.