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Alter | Altar II: Sigil, Soma, Score, Salve with ELÆ (Lynne DeSilva-Johnson)

Oct 15, 2019 | 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Six Tuesdays, October 15–November 19

Deconstructing the boundaries of “poetics,” participants will consider and create works that challenge genre, drawing on source texts and media, ephemera, detritus, found language, list-making, and the epistolary form—alongside somatic and social practice. Can this work be a powerful, political act of radical self- and community-building? Of witness? Can it be an act of healing? YES.

We will engage with work that resists categorization, exploring these interstices, and create our own short zine-style hybrid chapbooks. Inspiration for this workshop includes Adrian Piper, Glenn Ligon, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Bhanu Kapil, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Cecilia Vicuña, Brenda Coultas, Frida Kahlo, Clarice Lispector, Anaïs Nin, Penny Arcade, Judy Chicago, Jess, Pauline Oliveros, Susan Sontag, Martha Rosler, Tristan Tzara, Leslie Scalapino, Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy, Diane di Prima, John Cage, Brion Gysin, Sun Ra, Sesshu Foster, Gabriel Pomerand, and many more. Through these resources, we will approach “poetics” as its etymological origin suggests (poiein, from *kwei “to pile up, build, make”): a practice drawing on an arsenal of exploration, documentation, and challenge.


Class Dates:
Tuesday, October 15, 6–8:30pm
Tuesday, October 22, 6–8:30pm
Tuesday, October 29, 6–8:30pm
Tuesday, November 5, 6–8:30pm
Tuesday, November 12, 6–8:30pm
Tuesday, November 19, 6–8:30pm


ELÆ, a.k.a. Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, is a nonbinary queer multimodal creator and performer, cultural scholar, and educator. They are the founder and creative director of The Operating System, a radical open-source arts organization, online platform, and publisher. They have taught in the CUNY system for over 10 years and are currently a visiting assistant professor at the Pratt Institute. They were a featured guest and workshop leader at the Feminist Poetics, Emergent Pedagogies symposium in Los Angeles; designed and led the “Cartographies of Erasure” public workshop at Occidental University (as part of media scholar Alex Juhasz’s “Hard Truths/Fake News” project); and participated in Lambda Literary’s “Queer Women in Writing” at the NYC Department of Education’s Sexuality, Women, and Gender Conference. They have also lectured on “How to Human: Evolutionary Selfhacking for Traumatizing Times” at Books are Magic, and they developed and led the “Building Interpersonal Infrastructures” Workshop at SOHO20 Gallery, where they later participated in “How to Build a Feminist Pop-Up.” Lynne’s creative practice marries text, a variety of two- and three-dimensional visual media (both digital and analog), sound performance, somatics, storytelling, projection and video, book design, and conceptual art and installation, often including and/or drawing from research across a range of disciplines.


Admission $325


Oct 15, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Stanley Kunitz Conference Room, Poets House
10 River Terrace
New York, NY 10282 United States
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