Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Body in Fibers

I stumbled the work of Emily Barletta online and really fell in love. I don't know/come across too many contemporary sculptors, let alone fiber artists (outside of the ones I know personally, from school) so this was a nice change.

                                                          Emily Barletta - 2008    

                                                            Padorina Cell 

All of her work is knit, some using a few different mediums, including clay, but all colorful and displaying incredible craftsmanship and control of her process. The pieces I find the most interesting are reminiscent of cellular structures within the body, or otherwise. Or some type of sea creature; vibrant, detailed and beautiful.

I both love and hate looking at them. On one hand they're pleasantly fascinating and on the other they're quite gross, producing a feeling akin to that of looking at microscopic images of a disease or cancer.
My stomach squirms.  

Check out more by Emily Barletta on her website.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Just Want to Shower, pt 2

There once was a clog in my drain
So perverse we could scarcely explain.
But with tub set to "bath,"
Had to awkwardly laugh
At a reason so painfully plain.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Just Want to Shower

Still watching this blackening puddle defy
The draino, the acid, the sedentary lye
And brew in my tub. Though the workers implore;
"Have you ever seen anything like this before?"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I would say this. And they would quote me on it.

Here, I am featured speaking about the new BFAW Program on the SAIC website...

"Both Cooling-Mallard and Martinez benefited from the program’s interdisciplinary focus, but Martinez also sees problems with the program. Because the writing workshops are open to students from any department, not everyone is as interested in writing as she is. According to Martinez, some of her classmates “have no experience with writing, but are just getting the Humanities credit.”

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

does everyone see things like this sometimes?

or is it just me?

check out Petra Cortright out of Berlin (b. California!)

GIllian Fry

Also, the photos of my work were taken by my photographer friend, Gillian Fry. She has a really great portfolio, my favorites are the clean and elegant studio portraits. And I couldn't have asked for better photos of my work. Check her out -

Some New Works (on paper)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The New Inquiry

Check out this awesome new blog that I'm contributing to:

Your internet resource for all things interesting and smart.

Friday, November 27, 2009

" have treated the arts as the cherry on the cake; it needs to be the yeast."

I really enjoyed this video. Mallika Sarabhai is an amazing speaker, largely due to her performance background, and is adamantly dealing with a subject we are all plagued with in this globalized society. There are things we know and dislike about the world; statistics, images, stories; these problems that we know must change together. To help people, to help ourselves. She suggests that art is the platform for this transformation and thus calls for placement in the forefront of humanity's plans for positive and effective change. I think very highly of what she is doing; making an active decision to be the change she wants to see take place. Taking ultimate responsibility for her dissatisfaction in our world.
But what about the artists, like myself, who don't deal with overtly political subjects in their work? This video made me confront myself and my work - if art aims to be and is the "yeast" or progressive ingredient for change, what do my images and words contribute? What is important for me to propagate, and how can I do this in a subtle yet effective way? Really, what am I fundamentally dissatisfied with in our world?
True, we need to be the change we want to see, and yes, art is the platform, however, I think as an artists/writer it is important that we make a conscious decision as far as the battles that we approach. We need to find our appropriate level of involvement, so as not to be overwhelmed with this huge world we're dealing with - which as we know is not an unlikely or uncommon occurrence. I guess this video most importantly urges us, as artist of any type of work, to remind ourselves of this power we potentially possess. Lest we forget.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dan Beachy-Quick on Parenthood

A short reflection on parenthood by one of the people I greatly admire in this world. Published in the NY Times, last summer in the 'Modern Love' section. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

this treehouse

the tops of church
steeples, vertical hidden
by the breath of clouds, things
move slower moving through them.
things move in familiar.

for weeks, i sat up
before bed after
bed. and i finally
realized what it means
that we each
have our own life.

and the dishes
sit unclean amongst
the foodscraps, fruitflies
the compost bin is full.

and thousands flew out of it outside.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nathan Redwood

I saw the work of the painter Nathan Redwood, in an e-mail I received from re-title; I really love it. It's very loose and layered and graphic. The patterns and colors sold me. He's an SAIC alum.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wallace Stevens Revisited

“Individual poets, whatever their imperfections may be, are driven all their lives by that inner companion of the conscience which is, after all, the genius of poetry in their hearts and minds. I speak of a companion of the conscience because to every faithful poet, the faithful poem is an act of conscience.”

Many of us, myself included until recently, want to believe that our work, poetry and visual art especially, can somehow avoid the personal. Our individuality is sterilized to keep the skill and intellectualism intact; a necessary distance to us artists afraid of triteness and confessionality. But more and more I realize that this is what makes the poem my own. We must learn the discretion through skill, and then we are no longer required to censor in the way we never did in our high school journaling. We must trust ourselves.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Holy Sh*t: Super-Kamiokande

The Super-Kamiokande is a Cherenkov detector. I'm not really even sure what this is used for honestly; the science is very much above my head. But it is beautiful.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pleasure to Arrest at the Castle

This is at We Play Music my band's first show that we organized at the Castle. We are called Pleasure to Arrest. The first song is an original titled Don't Tell Me, the second you will recognize as Can't Stand Losing You by the Police. More shows to come. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

on African American autobiographies and self-discovery

"The discovery of self usually occurs in savage or at best inhospitable surroundings. The self is under attack and responds by taking up the most silent and self-reflective habit of them all: reading. This sets the stage for classic motifs of the genre—movement (literal or metaphorical) and literacy, meaning the very ability to read or the first recognition of one’s own experiences in the mirror of the printed word."

from Autobiographical Fire and Obama’s Creation of Self

by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Doctor: You look so…

Patient: What do you mean?

Doctor: I didn’t mean anything by it.

Patient: So what your saying, is, nothing?

Doctor: Essentially, yes. Don’t take it the wrong way.

Patient: Well I have to. Nothing is never taken in the right way.

Doctor: I’m sorry then.

Patient: For what?

Doctor: For what I said before.

Patient: I thought you never said anything?

Doctor: Then I’m sorry for that.

Patient: For nothing?

Doctor: For anything.

Patient: I guess that’s it then?

Doctor: Yes, I’ll see you again next week. Goodbye!

(exit Doctor)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

possible new play

On stage, center. Stage dark except for a spotlight in which Scientist stands. Tall in lab coat. One hand rested on the patient table on his left side, other hand running through his hair. There is also some kind of meter to the left of him, measuring Patient, and on the other side of that, a small table with his operation tools.

Scientist: (to self) To begin the surgery is to begin the science experiment. (to audience) I am no doctor; I am a scientist. I have each tool neatly placed beside the patient. She suffers from (pause, thoughtfully) an incomprehensible delusion, (pause, then continued as if startled) nausea and vomiting, lack of menstruation, lack of appetite, lack of insight, and so on. She was placed in my care, beside these tools only ten minutes ago. Her vital signs are normal. There is no physical cause for the ailments, at least not one we can tell. But look. Look at the way her body lays beautifully on the table. She is etherized upon the table, skin slack and she is prepared for incision. I am her, the one who cuts into her. To cure, (drawn out) something. Do we know what to do? (shakes head) No. Oh no, we have no clue, well it could be any number of things, you see, and I am just an experimenter, we can only plan so far, guess so much. (takes scalpel into his hand, daintily, draws it through the air over her body, as if looking for specific spot) (now more to himself) A cure for isolation. To end it. Oh, but where to begin?

Friday, August 7, 2009

TED Talks: Olafur Eliasson

"...experience is about responsibility. Having an experience is about taking part in the world. And taking part in the world is really about sharing responsibility."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

in my adult body

between us touching
little fingers grazing
lightly, I've noticed lately
the sentence between us

in my adult body:

the lower abdominals
the way they slither down to the pubic hairs' end
the small bunch of skin that gathers above
the crease the bra indents on the back
the boney, veiny, slender feet
the hair
the way it grows out
the way the shape of the face changes
as it grows out
and its shape
the first tattoo bleeding to illegibility
of the blackened ankle skin

we continue to look at ourselves
the body changing/changed

something behind all things
that makes it flat, the three-dimensional
crowded forward the optical illusion illusioned

the world infinite bc
only living things can die
only endings can end.

we become small scale duties
----I clean the kitchen after every meal
the nervous habits accrued
----my back is beginning to curve
----up top the vertebrae clicking each
----time, everytime I get a chance
----I remember
----I, still, want straight(er) posture

we are the impossible sentences we compose
that we then must abandon
alright, the spoken speech is inexplicit

I asked you if I could rest on your lap
but didn't

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Holy Shit: The cooperative principle

In pragmatics, which is the studies of the meaning of language that falls outside of semantic theory (word and sentence definition, word order etc), there is a system of maxims defined by American philosopher Paul Grice, which govern the rules by which we can understand each other. These are under the umbrella of the cooperative principle for the reason that people generally want to understand what another is saying, so naturally we adhere to some basic principles that allow us to do so.

1. Maxim of quantity - give the correct amount of information; not too little, not too much.
i.e. What are you reading?
no - A book. (although many people do this for comedic effect, or to be difficult)
no - A book, A Tale of Two Cities, which I checked out from the library on August 21st, 2008 at 12:30 pm, from the literature section of the Pilsen library in Chicago... etc (this is of course if they do not ask for more information)
yes - A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.

2. Maxim of quality - give correct information; don't blatantly lie.
i.e. What is in that bowl on the table? (Spaghetti)
no - Corn (of course, this is also subject to jest/sarcasm)
yes - Spaghetti.

3. Maxim of relevance - giving a reply which fits or fulfills the question.
i.e. Where did you get that sweater?
no - There's a new issue of Superman coming out tomorrow.
yes - From the clearance rack at the Gap.

4. Maxim of manner - speak with clarity and order, which may otherwise confuse the listener.
i.e. no - I fell asleep and we talked about language after we ate dinner.
yes - After we ate dinner, we talked about language and then I fell asleep.

So these rules from first glance are extremely simple, common sense that we all possess and use without thought. However, the interesting part is breaking these rules.
We are so set in these principles and so trusting that people follow them, that when the maxims are broken we as language users assume information from or importance in these words.
The book that I'm reading gives an apt example:
"For example, if someone said: 'What's for supper?' and the reply was the superficially irrelevant one: 'Billy fell downstairs', the hearer is likely to assume that the information about Billy was somehow important, and will fill in the gaps with assumptions such as 'Since Billy was supposed to cook the supper, and he's fallen downstairs, I assume that there isn't any supper ready'."

So this is fascinating to me, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the explanation of how we can understand what we do from what is said, when it is not completely explicit (conversational spoken language is inherently inexplicit) is quite amazing. Secondly, I'd like to further explore the other intentional forms of rules breaking, such as sarcasm and humor, in which people break language rules to reach some end.
Poetry and metaphor even have their ways of confusing the systems of linguistics, especially in concern to the 'impossible sentence' in semantic theory.

Wow, who ever thought I was this much of a nerd.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Holy Shit

Porpita porpita (Chondrophore)

This is a colony of living organisms, measuring 1-in in diameter, all working on their own specific task to help the whole. The gas-filled center keeps the colony afloat. Learn more at Visual Complexity by clicking above, or at wiki

(image copyrighted to
NOAA - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Thanks!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Back in the Habit: A's Reads

I'm trying to get back in the habit of blogging more often. I decided to add a new section to the blog called A's Reads. Recently a few people have asked me to tell them about the poetry and lit that I'm reading, because they themselves don't know of contemporary poets etc. So this is an attempt to expose those who are interested to contemporary poetry, text art and literature in general by sharing what I myself am reading.

please refer to these current inspirations:

Jenny Holzer: Truisms
I recently remembered that I saw this piece in the Rhona Hoffman gallery last summer.
Jenny Holzer is one of my favorite artists, and the reasons why are clearly demonstrated in
this piece. The piece consists of about 8 framed pieces of paper, with this text printed on
them in alphabetical order. It may have been a different version than what's listed here, but
the same idea is conveyed. These are invented truisms. Representing - Simplicity. Clarity.
Profundity. So clear in fact that although the statement itself is new, it presents nothing
new. There are new truism. Language at its best.

Tyler Sherman: Happenstance
Tyler shared this poem with me recently. I'm not sure if this the exact edit that I saw, but
this is a fine fine example of a long poem. It continues the precision of a short poem, but
allows the tightness of the poem to be complimented by the looseness of the subject. This
poem so importantly let's things in that may seen rationally tangential, but are emotionally
relevant. It is witty, intelligent and notably vulnerable. Something that can be so hard to
balance in creative work, but which strengthens the work in a successful execution.

Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot
So although this is admittedly not contemporary (the play premiered in 1953) I wanted to
note how much this work affected me. I stumbled upon it in the library. Waiting for Godot is
the type of work that makes me wish I one day could write something as this play (or do
anything as good as this for that matter). It's a quick read. I had to own the play, so I bought
the bilingual copy, as it was originally written in French. I highly suggest reading this.

Information on the new Summer 2k9 In Preparation coming soon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An video installation that I saw a few weeks back:

Arend Helfer-deGryuter, goes to SAIC, I think he's a really great artist.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nonsource Supported Links

I have been doing lots of research lately on artist's/writer's groups/spaces/sites lately and have added many of these to the Nonsource Supported Links. Take a look!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A monologue from How to Speak to the Dead, 2007-2008

Do you believe in the multiple worlds [theory]? If you do, then I can meet you in the past. But you will be scared because I am from the future, and you will be surprised at my age. I will not be the daughter you know but instead the daughter you would never know. I cannot save your life, because I am no scientist, but maybe we can get dinner and we can talk.
I will tell you, I am a time traveler. I will not tell you that you will die, because that would make you scared. I will try not to be upset at the sight of you, because after I explained my story, you would know something was wrong. You would know that you had died in the time I come from. I do not want you to know when you will die. I will instead act as if my excitement is due to the fact that I can travel to the past; that my time travel has worked. You will be proud of my achievements.

Friday, May 8, 2009


these colors are soo wrong.
but nonetheless...

The Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to present a reading by the second class of graduating BFA Writing Program students.

Patrick Anderson
Halle Butler
Zack Eliasz
Alyssa Martinez
Samuel Nigrosh
Sean O'Connell
William E. Porter
Marit Rogne

Taking place May 15th from 1:30-4 PM
in Theater 2 in the Gene Siskel at 164 N State St
All are welcome to come.
Reception to follow.
I look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Holy Shit: Klaus Nomi

As time goes by, it seems more difficult to stumble across/hear about someone you've never heard of, but is truly amazing. However, this makes the discovery even more remarkable. I present to you Klaus Nomi.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It is Again Today

The smoke rising off
the tops of buildings;
this air is warmer than
our air and denser.

The cars curl with
the curve in the street
from the outline of the state
on the lake like lights
in mammoth veins.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

After (con't)

Then we began crying.
Theses tears, psychic tears,
result synaptic flood,
cannot pinpoint origin,
all encompassing,

the brain counters
through inhibition. The entire body
crying entity then desensitized receptor.

In attempt to equalize ability to weep is lost.

the ears search sensitive.
The range of audible sound,
the range of inaudible
sound and all are interruptions.

All senses require a relearning;
A laugh cracks unfocused silence.
a recognition;
Those people are laughing too loud.
and a comprehension;
How are they laughing at all?

There are three types
of dying breaths; yours
shallow half breath, body
breathing itself when the brain
stops when the heart stops.

Eyes barely open.

It is uneven breathing
uneasy. We are unaccustomed
to such strangeness, a new concentration
on our breath to vicariously
right yours.

Eyes uncloseable.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

After (work in progress)

For those who read this, I'm sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Here is a new addition to my thesis. When it is finished, it will be the longest poem I've ever written.
Thanks for reading.


The bed, your eyes almost
wandered, nerve tissue and cells under flesh
decomposed, the fleshy matter terminated
uncontrolled. Festering belly. A wave
of your hand because you could not
speak, whispered raspy, I love yous.

Experts on death suggest the body
attaches to pain.

A grey lightness to things
which are changed;

The sheets covered
like limpid paper, a body lingers
hollowed in bed.

Dad, there was nothing else,
what else was there
to say. We were exhausted.

If we measured in hours,
the hours became capsular cavities,
hollowed by capsular minutes and so on
down to stillness itself, until barely
anything. Division slowed the brain.
I thought,

I am the gridded picture window
outlining the portrait of the front yard.
I am this couch I sit on.

But I am the smallest unit,
hollow atom creating something larger.
Inconstant quantums making empty electrons.
We were barely anything at all.

Your smell was something rotting.
Your room, sterile chemicals from a bottle
from a box.
We were the disgust we were ashamed of.
Your body an alien, belly protruding and painful,
impossible to hold.

The mind, it thinks nothing.

Vital organ functions taking place
in the nervous system, in the spine;
poorly the stomach acid circling.
The solid stomach no longer finite.
We are no longer eating.

Daily activities assigned to more primitive
parts of the brain; the body walks itself.
The impression of floating.

Even feelings are soma.
Passive branches the brain in waves.
A largeness.

We wonder what it is like
not to feel this, the body growing
another layer, tree-like spiral.
We are covered in loss.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


moments that pass quietly invisible
systems the quiet hum
of the bus on the ride
to where I left this morning

I am hundreds of heartbeats

molecular apparitions of all
that happens inside me there
is no pause between breaths

but the breath that is happening now

each person a small piece
looking at myself out the window
inside at a book or paper

each a reflection hearts beating
fingers pressing cell phone
buttons eyes back and forth
forced across the quickly
moving sky outside

a snow covered lake

a river covered in ice
on which we cannot stand in which
we cannot swim

a full breath