Explanation as Composition: Collaborative Social Writing Event


Part 3 of Not Content officially opens today! Explanation as Composition explores the role of narrative in a gallery setting. Under the auspices of UNFO (Unauthorized Narrative Freedom Organization), writers Amanda Ackerman, Harold Abramowitz, Kate Durbin, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum and Teresa Carmody have created/curated six audio tours of the LACE exhibition space. Most of the material for these tours was written during a collaborative social writing event at LACE on 30 January 2011. The writer collaborators include: Aimee Bender, Allison Carter, Mark Z. Danielewski, Carribean Fragoza, Veronica Gonzalez, Janice Lee, Harryette Mullen, Janet Sarbanes, Anna Joy Springer, and Stephen Van Dyck.

Visitors to LACE will thus be able to choose their narrative experience. Their audio tour options include:

• Story
• Geography
• Ekphrasis
• Provenance
• Nature
• Confession
Here’s a sneak-peek-listen to the Introduction for all six audio tours.

Come out tonight for the opening at LACE, and also see On The Line, curated by Cody Trepte, and Grand Pale Maw, a new mural project by Sean Sullivan.

The Explanation as Composition audio tours will be at LACE through 17 April 2011. The project will also continue here, on the Les Figues blog, where we’ll be posting the complete audio tours, source texts and other, curated, responses to select narratives.


Following is the Provenance narrative, written on January 30, 2011.


Part 1:

We are extremely grateful that the heirs of Alice Lyle Adams have allowed Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions the historic opportunity of sharing this important work with an American public. The story of the work — its creation, its influence, its looting, the discovery of the theft and the legal battle to have the art returned — reads like a sweeping epic of loss and redemption, a tale that spans Edwardian London, the salons of Chicago’s Gold Coast, the darkness of the Holocaust, the drug dens of Berlin, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The story begins with the work’s creation in 1911.

The British artist Nigel Stratton was tolerated by certain members of the Bloomsbury Group but he never succeeded in penetrating its inner circle; some critics argue that this failure is what precipitated his mental collapse and his decision to rechristen himself “Nigel van Eyck,” presumably an allusion to the Early Netherlandish painter. This psychotic break also marked a significant turning point in his development as an artist: He abandoned the delicate portraits and landscapes he had been working on in Cambridge and turned instead to the more radical approach of which this remarkable piece is an early example.

From Nigel Van Eyck’s personal papers, dated April 14, 1911:

There was a hole in the ground that was hungry. The hole in the ground was the size of a hole in the ground, or the size of a dry well. The hole in the ground (b. 1608) wanted to eat the whole world but couldn’t. But there was a painter (d. 1917) who had painted the world; first he had painted the world inside a bubble that dwelled inside the most inside part of his inside body. This had happened because he had fallen in love. The woman had had a swan’s neck. They lived together for a while in a small house by a snaking blue river. They had children. But many years after that she had died, and then many years after that, eventually, he could not remember her all that well. So he decided to paint the world on the outermost part of his body, a canvas. Once he had finished the painting, and declared it decent and lively, or better than that even, he decided to see if he could sell it. Sitting on a beautiful, lithe horse, he made his way into town. The hole in the ground saw him passing by and rumbled. The sound was like wind chimes. Music you would want to eat forever. The hole swallowed the man, the painting, and his horse. But it only wanted the world. With its giant void-tunnel teeth the hole sawed the man apart from the horse, sawed the man apart from the painting. It spit the man and the horse up out of itself and returned them to solid ground. The painting it kept. Then it destroyed. It swallowed the sky first. But before that the sky split open and everyone on that earth could breathe at last. The fruit, the people, the animals, the stones, the bodies of water, the buildings, the farms, the clothes, the instruments, the bottles, the molten core, the vapors, the money became pure ink inside a great nothing or something or belly that could have been shaped like a well. Like the world seeing itself better. And then they became nothing-something, and then entirely flat, but not even. Sated, the hole turned the world, the painting, to mud. Sated, the painting spit out the mud. The beautiful lump of mud flew up out of the hole, and the Dutch painter caught it his hands. It was more beautiful than anything he had ever seen. It was more beautiful than he could describe. Now the world had been digested and created at least twice, and not just by human hands. He could not sell it. He wanted to find the perfect person to whom he could gift the most beautiful creation on earth. But he was no longer in love. He searched the world for years. Finding no one in particular, he finally settled on a dear friend who has at his bedside when he died. The friend, however, was ungrateful and unappreciative. Because this friend thought that all objects were merely possessions only, with no echoes, no vocal chords, no value. The friend would soon sell this artwork at a British auction house for a terrific sum of money.


Part 2:

By 1917, the work had made its way across the Atlantic and into the gallery of up-and-coming American art dealer Bradney Right. When the work showed up in Chicago it brought with it an odor from the storage and the journey. “I picked it up on a Thursday,” the diary of Bradney Right began, “and was alarmed by the stench. How was I going to clean it? How did it come to pass that the work could [accrue these attributes of] decay so quickly?” The odor stuck to the work and when gallery doors opened on Saturday, they closed again soon after. Because who would stay to fall in love with an artwork that reeked of morgue? Right, being a savvy man who knew people well, obtained the services of a skillful cleaner of cowhide who also tidied the finer apartments near the old slaughterhouses. The work was, after a few weeks, effectively rid of the stench, but when Right attempted a second opening, no one showed.

[How do you feel, Mr. Right? I feel like a fool, he replied. How could you feel this way, Mr. Right? I claim to know how to transcend the senses of the face and hands. I claim to deal in the textures and flirtations of the beyond-face, beyond-hand. I claim to deal in that which was of the hand or of the face but is now of the heart. If the heart has a deathlike odor, it should not be the subject of art. Nor the brain, nor the eye. I want the handsome people who love art to open wide, not to fall back into the sofa, into the bed with their mouths closed to air having learned that the heart has an odor of decay. (notes from the inventory)]

The work stayed in the gallery’s storage closet for a long time. It picked up the smell of bleach, the smell of cobwebs.

“It was a beautiful artwork,” stated the Mayor of Chicago, “but I had a previous engagement and could not stay long to admire it.”


Part 3:

In 1922, the work came into the possession of Alice Lyle Adams of Chicago, the former fiancée of Bradney Right. According to the notes of a private investigator retained by Adams:

The work was wrapped lavishly and given as an engagement gift. When the engagement was called off (by her) she refused to return the work, which he claimed to have given her “in good faith.” She displayed it in the foyer of the three-story 1895 mansion she shared with her new husband, a lawyer. On occasion, the work’s former owner would stroll past the house, even though his own home was on the other side of town, in order to look in the window at the work. One afternoon in particular he stood outside for close to an hour, when the light struck the work most intensely, and he gazed at the work with an expression upon his face that had a peculiar quality to it — not quite sadness or devotion, but something in between. That was the last time he visited the work.


Part 4:

Sidebar: Literary Impact of the Work

Alice Adams was a prominent philanthropist and patron of the arts; her home in Chicago served as a Midwestern salon for important artists, writers, and intellectuals of the time. The work was thus seen, presumably, by the many influential thinkers who passed through her home. Among her guests were Katherine Anne Porter and Raymond Chandler, whose respective biographers have noted the presence of the work in their writings.

Porter was apparently thinking of the work in these early sketches from 1931 of the story that would eventually become “Hacienda,” published in 1934.

A little stone trinket dug out of the mud at the edge of the river. Its tiny jade eyes sparkling through the black wet earth. Such a tiny trinket she could hide it easily, clutch in the palm of her hand when she walked to church on Sundays, she could slip it quietly into her cleavage, still not quite a “cleavage,” but rather a large valley between her budding breast mounds. Between the breasts, a place for secrets and valuables. Some coins to pay for the coffee, a letter slipped into a sweaty hand by the boy down the way. It would’ve been a good place maybe for the item, but she liked to feel its dark stone edges, carved little teeth and nostrils flaring. She fingered them quietly in her grip. The work had come into her possession the way so many ancient clay whistles or arrowheads had, as if waiting to speak to her about something from long ago that was not only lost with time, but deliberately smashed and buried right back into the earth.

She kneeled at the river outside the hacienda, ready to wash it over the smoothed rocks.

This girl, Lourdes, lived near a demolished hacienda, burnt to the ground. Her family had set fire to the bushels of corn they had themselves grown. They captured the hacendados, gave themselves permission to hang every single member of that family. The hacendado, the wife, the children. Lourdes saw it. Didn’t ask questions. This was post-revolution central Mexico. The ashes, years buried in the ground still blackened the earth.

Lourdes was not allowed to keep anything, leave everything where it belongs, buried in the ground. Let it rot, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. It belongs to the ghosts and the worms.

But the work, half buried in the mud; its tiny body so precisely cut was too fine, its little eyes and laughing tongue. What a wonderful secret to sweat into the palm of the hand. What a wonderful scratch on the chin with its granite paw. Talk to the little work, such a wise and funny little creature. Laugh with it because it’s so delicious to laugh with it alone in the fields away from everyone. What a sweet thing to keep, such a thing that is not to be kept. To own the ghost and own the worms, withhold death and withhold forgetting. What a mouth! It should not be forgotten! What a laughing to be found at the river. A loud loud laugh drowned out by the waters also laughing. What a stirring thing to pray with this work between her palms. Without knowing how it got there: so many things plundered, so many things haunting from the earth, it didn’t matter.

The work also makes a brief yet pivotal appearance in Raymond Chandler’s supernatural story “The Bronze Door,” his attempt to move beyond the hard-boiled detective stories he had been publishing for nearly a decade in the pulps. “The Bronze Door” was published in November of 1939 in Unknown magazine:
Doctor Harry Lewis left his office at 7:48 P.M. On his way home, he stopped by a Chinese medicine shop to pick up his daughter’s prescription. His daughter, Henrietta, was prone to bouts of anger, rage, strange dreams at night that kept her awake, and stories she would whisper into her father’s ear, her father who couldn’t really listen, a man of practicality, rationality, believing only what he could see and all too ready to give his daughter away to the label of yet another hysteric girl lost to the night. Mrs. Yenwui Wu had something in addition to the prescription that night, a strange box to which was affixed a sealed white envelope. “Open the envelope, but not the box,” she instructed, and before he could ask anything in response, she dismissed herself behind the red curtains, and even Dr. Lewis knew better then to follow her.

When he arrived home, 207 East Antin Street in Leeds, he crept into his office, softly closing the door behind him. If he was heard, he knew Ms. Duchaney, the caretaker, would insist on giving him a day’s report, something he both feared and detested. He opened the envelope, pulling out the letter inside.

Dear Dr. Lewis,
The box which you currently have in your possession contains a very special object. Under any circumstances, do not open the box yourself.
Hide the box in a safe place, and on your daughter’s sixteenth birthday, give this to her as a gift. Tell her it is from you. Ask her to open it in your absence.
Follow these instructions exactly and you will not hear from me again.
A friend

Dr. Lewis was a rational man, and under most circumstances would have regarded such a letter as hodgepodge. He was though, today, in a strange mood, it had started to rain outside, and the letter gripped him with something he had not felt in a very long time.

As far as we know, he followed the instructions exactly. The following is a small portion of the diary entry written by Henrietta on her sixteenth birthday, exactly one year after the doctor received the strange package. Most of the diary was destroyed in a fire, seven months later. Only the following portion remained.

Today I received a strange package from my father. He thrust it upon me as if he was happy to be rid of it, but when I placed my two hands upon it, felt a slight hesitation as he slowly loosened his grip and let me have the “gift.” The box was dusty, and I opened it slowly. Inside, I found THE WORK, a strange object, and I felt the same horror creeping up behind as I felt in my dreams at night, the dark ones lurking behind the shadows, waiting for me to close my eyes, in the dream, so that they could approach. I stared at it, and was mesmerized by the horror seizing my throat. My father found me at suppertime still staring into the box. He didn’t say a word, but forced the box out of my hands. I never saw THE WORK again.


Part 5:

In the early 1930’s, despondent after a series of miscarriages and the early, unexpected death of her husband Edward, Alice Adams began making frequent trips to Austria, where she received treatment at Alfred Adler’s clinic in Vienna. Adler was an early follower of Freud who had broken away from the psychoanalytic movement to establish his Society of Individual Psychology. Intrigued by Adams’ account of the recurring role of the work in her dreams, Adler asked to see the object and Adams agreed, bringing it with her to Vienna at considerable expense in the fall of 1932. In a letter to her mother, she remarked on how incongruous the work looked in Adler’s consulting rooms. Before she was able to return the work to Chicago, however, the Nazis took control of Germany, and Adler’s Austrian clinics were soon closed due to his Jewish heritage, despite the fact that he had converted to Christianity. Adler hastily left Austria for a professorship at the Long Island College of Medicine in New York, and Adams ceased her visits to Vienna.
The exact whereabouts of the work then remained unknown for over a decade, until it resurfaced in the aftermath of World War II.

At the end of the war, the work, which had been disassembled and its constituent parts divided among various Nazi plunderers, was reconstituted by a corps of art experts recruited by the Allied forces. This process of finding and re-assembling the work took several years as the gang of war criminals first had to be hunted and tracked to their various hiding places all over the world. This involved an international team of freelance agents specializing in the kind of secret operation that can be managed without the express orders of government officials. Then each art thief had to be bribed, threatened, or tortured to reveal the location of his or her respective piece of the dismantled art work. Eventually, the work was rounded up and pieced together like a marvelous jig-saw puzzle at the Musée D’Accord with the assistance of well-trained art restorers under the supervision of Professor Bricolage, who exclaimed, “I feel as Isis must have felt when she re-assembled the dismembered body of Osiris.”


Part 6:

Perhaps emboldened by the work’s disappearance during the war, and unaware of its ongoing reassembly at the Musée D’Accord in Paris, a young Italian actress, Anna Maria Massetani, gave an interview in March 1953 to the BBC World Service in which she claimed to be in possession of the work, and announced her intentions to sell it.

My great uncle was a painter. His paintings, some of them, hung in our living room, the living room we never used — a formal area of the house which we seldom entered. The real “living” room, of course, was a different, much smaller room, furnished in lighter tones, not the weighty dark furnishings of the room with the paintings. The paintings, by the time I was fifteen I knew, for I had been repeatedly told, were of my great grandparents, my grandmother’s and great uncle’s parents, one of them on each wall. They were dark colored paintings, with eyes which followed you as you moved about the room. They were terrifying, those paintings, and I avoided entering that space as much as I could. When my grandmother grew ill, in 1950, three years ago, my aunts and uncles began fighting over her belongings. My mother went through her closet one day, when no one else was at home. There was a section of it in which she found eight or nine further canvases — all rolled up — and when she opened them up she recognized some of the people in them, including my grandmother’s sister who had died when she was twelve and my great uncle was barely ten. The girl had been my great uncle’s twin. The paintings were all signed by my great uncle, and so were dear to my mother, though nearly valueless. Still, she decided to take and hide two of them away, including the one of the twin. As she was making her way out of the closet she tripped over the work, and as she bent to right it found the letter Nigel Van Eyck had written my great uncle. It was a love letter. He and my uncle had had a prolonged affair, and the letter, along with the work had been, it seems, hidden away by my grandmother who was protective of my great uncle’s privacy. I have the letter here. I have the object; my great uncle is long since dead. There is no one to protect. My grandmother has just passed away and we, her descendants, have decided to split the value of the work through its sale, while also making public, finally, our great uncle’s affair.

Massetani’s claims to ownership were never substantiated, and she soon changed her name to Lea Massari and began pursuing her film acting career in earnest. She went on to become famous in art cinema circles as the missing girl Anna in Michelangelo Antonioni’s “L’avventura” (1960), and as the mother of a sexually precocious 14-year-old boy in Louis Malle’s “Le Souffle au Coeur”(1971). Meanwhile, at the Musée D’Accord, the painstaking restoration was finally completed.


Part 7:

In 1961, the work momentarily disappeared for a 24-hour period, to the great dismay of the French authorities, who feared a heist or sabotage (or both a heist and sabotage). It had been loaned to the Minneapolis Biennial for an exhibition entitled New Realists/Old Fantasists, which paired works of what would soon come to be called Pop Art (by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Hamilton) with older works seen as historical precursors or provocation. The Minneapolis police were called in to investigate, but were slow to take action in the case. Indeed, the head investigator was quoted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune the following morning as saying, “You mean they made this kind of junk back then too?” Luckily, the drunken songs of the pavilion’s night watchman alerted the Biennial staff to the work’s whereabouts later that evening. They found him in the supply closet with the work balanced on his knees, fondling it and singing, inexplicably, “Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor.” The work was promptly restored to the curators at the Musée D’Accord, who blamed the surrounding Pop paintings and sculptures (though not the work itself), for the watchman’s apparent mental breakdown, and declined to press charges.


Part 8:

At this point the work moved into a rather murky stage of its long journey to Los Angeles. In 1974, an explosion in the gas main at the Musée D’Accord resulted in considerable damage to the neoclassical structure, and with great reluctance the museum’s trustees decided to sell off some of its holdings in order to pay for the extensive repairs. Thus the work entered the private collection of British music producer Ian Applegate.

The work is the third item in an inventory of Ian Applegate’s artworks housed on his estate near Burnham-on-Crouch in southeast England. Applegate had achieved some notoriety as the producer for the first two albums by platinum-selling hard rock artist Wolf Temple. Having purchased his country estate at the end of 1973, Applegate then went about assembling a suitably distinguished art collection. The work was an early acquisition, bought at auction for £9500 on the suggestion of his spiritual advisor, Mara Nooney, who believed that the work was originally commissioned by the descendant of one of Applegate’s past selves. The work was displayed in what had once been the estate’s conservatory, and incurred some minor sun damage while in Applegate’s possession.


Part 9:

It is unclear at what point the work passed from Applegate into the hands of American rock musician and songwriter Wolf Temple, but selections from Temple’s diaries, recently published by Akashic Books, indicate that by 1982 he considered himself its rightful owner.

THE WORK is now in my possession. The question occurs to me, of course. What a waste. Or, rather, why waste? Why the waste, at first? And then why the waste later? It occurs to me that it is all waste. It is all waste. I have wasted my life, but have now obtained THE WORK. I must explain. Or must I explain? It must be explained that I am in love with a certain feeling I get. I wake up in the morning and I am very happy. I was happy this morning. I woke up in a very particular way. And then I think of THE WORK. The ways I view THE WORK. Or, more importantly, perhaps, how THE WORK came into my possession. I am dreaming of living a good life. It is the life I have always desired to lead. I am leading strange and wonderful existences. Or if I have to get out of bed in the morning. I find that I am filled with leisure and the color of the other works in the room makes me feel good. But this is how I know what I know. I wonder what on earth could have happened before. I am in trouble. It is that sort of day. All of my communications have been bad. I don’t do what I used to do. I am out of the woods. I live in the woods and it is dark. But that is only when I am on vacation. I wanted to live in a room and look at beautiful objects. I wanted to say to them that I was on earth for a purpose. But then I belong. I long for the rope. I long to put the rope around my neck. It is 1982, but I have gotten ahead of myself and away from the things I wanted to talk about up to this point. I was waiting for THE WORK to arrive. I was always in such a rush. But that was then. I have to remember that it is 1982. I love that it is 1982. Why such a year? What things can possibly occur. But I will have to wait to explain that. I will have to open and close my heart. I will have to carry my eyes. I am in love with color and with other opportunities. I have obtained THE WORK to this point. I am a caretaker of THE WORK. The way I look when I get up in the morning. And how things have changed. There is a bit of music in the room. I am looking now different. I am older. Things have changed. You have chased me. I have not chased you. But the ways we live. The manner of things. How I have gotten what I wanted. What I would say to future generations is something I think I say all the time. Something I say when I am not thinking at all about it. But there used to be a clock. And there used to be time. THE WORK was stolen once, I think. I think about how things are stolen. I think about the ways in which I take what I need and don’t take what I don’t need. I was using my microwave oven just the other night. It is not often that I indulge myself in thinking about such things. But, as I have said, things have changed. The time is different. This is not yesterday, after all. It is right now. I was going to hang my hat on a stick and then tell the whole world what I thought. I was sitting in a chair and I was wondering what I would do now. Next. I meant to say next. What would I do next? I was wondering that. And then I realized that THE WORK was in my possession. I have obtained THE WORK. This is what I realize. And then and now. And in the middle of the night I wake up and I wonder what it would mean if things were otherwise. A wall or two or ten. And I think about crates. And the way I have to unpack things. It is morning and I am writing in my diary. It is 1982. And I have just obtained the work. I have a picture on my wall. I have a list too. I have a list of all of the things I expect to do. But this does not become you. It does not become you just because you let it be. I can sit here I think, and I can feel all of what I feel. I can tell my diary about everything. There is some much more I can say. I want to sit here all day, but I am concerned. And I am red. And I am establishing all sorts of things. I live by myself. I have very many possessions. I have a tree. I have slow days, and then I have better days. I am on top of the world and then I fall down. It is the rejection I feel the most. However, nothing bothers me. At least. The least of which I can say is that it is today.



Harold Abramowitz is a writer and editor from Los Angeles. His recent publications include Not Blessed (Les Figues Press), House on a Hill, Part 3 (Slash Pine Press), and House on a Hill, Part 1 (Insert Press, Parrot Series #2). Harold co-edits the short-form literary press eohippus labs. He also writes and edits as part of the collaborative projects SAM OR SAMANTHA YAMSUNFO.

Amanda Ackerman lives in Los Angeles where she writes and teaches. She is co-editor of the press eohippus labs. She is also a member of UNFO (The Unauthorized Narrative Freedom Organization) and writes as part of SAM OR SAMANTHA YAMS. Her publications include three chapbooks: Sin is to Celebration (co-author, House Press), the recently-released The Seasons Cemented (Hex Presse), and the forthcoming I Fell in Love with a Monster Truck (Insert Press). Her work can also be found in the current edition of Little Red Leaves and The Encyclopedia Project: Volume F-K.

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she directs the MFA program in writing at the University of California, San Diego. She lives in Los Angeles and was recently named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the New Yorker.

Teresa Carmody is a writer and co-founding director of Les Figues Press. Her works include Requiem (Les Figues), Eye Hole Adore (PS Books) and Your Spiritual Suit of Armor by Katherine Anne (Woodland Editions). The chapbook I Can Feel is forthcoming (Insert Press). Her work appeared in the 2009 &Now Awards: Best of Innovative Writing, and in several literary journals, including: Mandorla, Bombay Gin, Drunken Boat, Luvina, emohippus greeting cards 1-4 and more. She was one of the organizers of the original Ladyfest in Olympia, Washington, and co-organizer of Feminaissance, a colloquium on women, experiments and writing at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles-based writer and performance artist. She is the author of the poetry collections The Ravenous Audience (Akashic Books) and, with Amaranth Borsuk, Excess Exhibit, forthcoming from ZG Press. She has written several chapbooks including Fragments Found in a 1937 Aviator’s Boot (Dancing Girl Press), FASHIONWHORE (Legacy Pictures), The Polished You, as part of Vanessa Place’s Factory Series (oodpress, 2010), and Kept Women, forthcoming from Insert Press. She is founding editor of the journal Gaga Stigmata: Critical Writings and Art About Lady Gaga. Her fashion / text project, Prices Upon Request, can be viewed at ZG Press‘s website. She writes about celebrity style for Hollywood.com.

Aimee Bender is the author of four books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, An Invisible Sign of My Own, Willful Creatures, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which recently won the SCIBA award for best fiction. She teaches creative writing at USC.

Allison Carter is the author of a book, A Fixed, Formal Arrangement, and two chapbooks: Shadows Are Weather and All Bodies Are The Same and They Have The Same Reactions.

Mark Z. Danielewski is the author of four books: House of Leaves, The Whalestoe Letters, The Fifty Year Sword, and Only Revolutions, which was a 2006 National Book Award finalist.

Carribean Fragoza is an interdisciplinary writer and visual artist living and working in Los Angeles and in her hometown, South El Monte. She is a graduate of UCLA and CalArts’ MFA Writing Program. She is currently working on several book projects, is founder of El Monte Arts Collective (aka, the El Monte Art Posse) and teaches writing at CalState University, Long Beach. She has published her work in publications such as Palabra Literary Magazine and Emohippus.

Veronica Gonzalez is the coeditor of Juncture: 25 Very Good Stories and 12 Excellent Drawings and the founder of rockypoint Press, a series of artist-writer collaborations, including books, prints, postcards and a reading series. twin time, her first novel, won her the 2007 Premio Aztlán Literary Prize and was voted best novel of 2007 by Eileen Myles in The Believer book awards

Janice Lee is a writer, artist, editor, and curator. She is the author of KEROTAKIS, a multidisciplinary exploration of cyborgs, brains, and the stakes of consciousness. Her second book, Daughter, is forthcoming in 2011.

Harryette Mullen is the author of Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, Muse & Drudge, Blues Baby, Sleeping with the Dictionary and Recyclopedia. She teaches American poetry, African-American literature and creative writing at UCLA.

Janet Sarbanes is the author of the story collection Army of One and is currently completing a novel titled This Land: The Adventures of the President’s Daughter. She teaches fiction and narrative in the MFA Writing Program at CalArts, and cultural studies in the School of Critical Studies.

Anna Joy Springer is author of the illustrated novella The Birdwisher, and two forthcoming works: The Vicious Red Relic, Love, a fabulist memoir, and In An Egg, a graphic narrative. Formerly a singer in the Bay Area bands, Blatz, The Gr’ups, and Cypher in the Snow, she currently teaches creative writing at UCSD.

Stephen van Dyck is a writer and curator. He is currently complete his first book, People I’ve Met from the Internet, a conceptual writing project, coming out story and field study in the form of a very long annotated list.

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