Do I Have Anything Valuable To Say

Does the world need my words
Or do I just want to be heard

Do I have a passion
Or do I just want attention
Does my brain work
In an unique enough way
For me to have something to say

But wait
All throughout history
People just like me
Have been the ones aloud
To speak

Not the women
But the white
And anyone not like us
Is killed with a knife

Maybe this shouldn’t be my time

But I’ve had all these dreams
Sense I was a child
Before I knew about the wrongfully exiled
Before I knew about the American culture
And all the pain that comes with color

My voice has been built on bones
On blood
On workers dying in the mud

I want it to be fair

But for now it’s not
So is it worth it
To take a shot

I don’t know what to do
Or what to pursue

Maybe I’m reading to much into this


We are very pleased to announce that In Letter Form has been signed to Metropolis Records. We couldn’t ask for a more supportive label to call home to our forthcoming release:

Fracture. Repair. Repeat.
Release date: May 20th, 2016

Please come join us in celebration at our next show, tomorrow, February 6th at Brick & Mortar Music Hall.

100% of our earnings will be donated to San Francisco’s awesome non-profit Coalition on Homelessness.

We’ll make a Northwest and East Coast tour announcement soon, so stay tuned and thank you all for your unwavering love and support.

In Letter Form

Cover by E. Miranda
Taken at The @exploratorium, San Francisco, Ca.

Some of the 10,000 copies of the newspaper from our newest Temporary Services project, MARKET. These are waiting for you to take at the exhibition Living As Form, organized by Creative Time, in the Historic Essex Street Market on New York City’s Lower East Side. Come by and say hello on Saturday, 9/24/2011. We’ll be there from 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM. And if you want a hard copy but won’t be in New York, we’ll have them available through Half Letter Press soon.


“Between activism, art, and bureaucracy.” (the snip-it to take home if you don’t have time to read more)

It’s been very busy these past weeks, and it shows no sign of letting up. But when I woke up this morning and realized that it is 11/1/11 and that I hadn’t written a second post about Living as Form, I decided to take a moment with my morning coffee to write.

I have been thinking about the migration of forms between activist, artistic, and bureaucratic realms. In part, this was inspired by the installation at Living as Form, which used metal shelving to present the documentation and visual aids of social art projects. Social art has, as Claire Bishop suggested this summer, an “anomic” relationship to the visual or aesthetic realm, that is a disoriented or undetermined relation. On the one hand, social art practitioners might reject the bourgeois art object and aesthetics in favor of the social value of their work, and yet, on the other hand, compared with “real” social work, social art is, well, art-y and often funded through cultural organizations. Whatever the relationship, many artists use photography, video, text, and infographics to “represent” or communicate about their social art projects. They often engaged in extensive research during the process, producing more paper weight. Exhibitions of social art that do not re-activate projects but intend to record previous or ongoing projects are essentially presentations of the documentary materials, collected in binders, folders, stacks, slide shows, videos, and posters. These are the same materials you would find in almost every office environment with the dutiful paper-pushers laboring through reams of paper in their cubicles.

If these presentational strategies relate to bureaucratic realms so too does the durational experience. I spent 3 hours in the exhibition and engaged with about 20 projects. To take in the exhibition as a whole, which included over 100 projects, would require around 16 hours. Social art projects propose a spectatorial experience antithetical to Kantian aesthetic immediacy. They implore viewers to slow down. You learn about the place, problem, participants, context, and collaboration that led to the gradual evolution and execution of the project, which in many cases is never finished. At its roots, bureaucracy was the hierarchical reorganization of public administration to modernize it, a corollary to assembly line efficiency. When we talk of bureaucracy today, we refers to painfully slow processes, red tape, and seemingly antiquated, arbitrary rules, holdovers from an earlier era. But, is there not something positive about this temporality? About the slow digestion of paper in the bowels of socialist governments as opposed to the decisiveness of renegade and fascist presidents? Might the emphasis on process as opposed to outcome be valuable in a “bottom-line” and “end result” culture?

I can’t remember the last time I spent 3 hours in a single exhibition and still felt like I needed more time to delve in. It’s an overwhelming feeling in our busy lives. I often feel torn between digestible, twitter-sized culture (articles, news, meals, recipes, etc.) and indigestible profundity (dissertations, slow foods, marriage, etc.). The duration of social art, both the projects themselves and the engagement by a secondary audience, is partly a result of its engagement with and use of bureaucracy and is one of its greatest assets.

PS (a real practice in patience): When I had almost finished this post, I accidentally hit the close tab key and lost all the text. I relished expending another 20 minutes to reconstruct it.

Above: Photos of Living as Form exhibition, Creative Time, NYC, October 2011

REVIEW // Art as Social Practice
External image

Living As Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011
edited by Nato Thomson
Creative Time Books / MIT Press - 2012
Reviewed by Mark Gardner

“Everyone is an Artist.”  –Joseph Beuys

The social practice of art is moving from the gallery to the street. Nato Thompson, Chief Curator of Creative Time, has edited Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011to address this shift. The book surveys a large and diverse cross-section of Artists, Art Groups, Community Groups, and Social Generators, each and every one an Activist. The works in Living As Form are varied in their different approaches to public interaction and are, more importantly, very timely.

Keep reading

there is a difference between critiquing the expectation of forming heterosexual family units and critiquing romantic units as in implying that people who are romantically involved are perpetuating this construct… both ace/aro and queer ppl suffer under the expectation to find a heterosexual partner so check your language. we are on the same side.  if i have to hear about how romantic love is the root of all evil one more time i’m going to lose my shit, as if literally living with my girlfriend and forming a committed team of love and respect and mutual understanding isn’t a radical act against heteronormativity in and off itself


The Blacklist - Favorite Relationships
└ Raymond Reddington & Aram Mojtabai  

“There are…foundational elements in our lives: people that form the brick and mortar of who we are. People that are so deeply embedded, we take their existence for granted until…suddenly, they’re not there, and we collapse into rubble.

I’ve stood over the open grave of someone I’ve loved…too often. Once for my mother, and then…the others… I needed to recall this feeling, because…I’d be staring at another body right now if not for you, Aram.

It wasn’t weakness that prevented you from watching your friend die today. It was hope, and thank heavens you were in a hopeful mood. You saved Elizabeth.

I am forever in your debt.

Screening and Talk with Ellen Pau
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ICI Curatorial Hub
401 Broadway, Suite 1620
New York, NY 10013

Co-founder and artistic director of Videotage, Ellen Pau will be giving a special talk at ICI about Videotage Media Art Collection, while discussing some of Videotage’s past projects, and the recent exhibition of ICI / Creative Time’s Living as Form (the nomadic version) presented in Hong Kong. For 27 years, Videotage has served as a non-profit, interdisciplinary artist collective that focuses on new media art, and provides a platform for collaborative time-based projects. It also facilitates the discussion of art and technology in the realm of everyday lives aspiring towards a collaborative and sustainable future, through numerous activities and events, exhibitions, and festivals. This talk is in conjunction with the presentation of Videotage, Hong Kong at the ICI Curatorial Hub @ TEMP.

More info:

More on Videotage’s addition to Living as Form