We are relaunching Dragon Press as an AI-Driven Design & Innovation Consultancy in the next month or so. My late husband David Hartwell died suddenly in 2016 and Dragon Press has been dormant since then, though Kevin Maroney's Burrowing Wombat Press has continued to publish The New York Review of Science Fiction and sell back issues.
Yesterday's spray-painting exercise was to see if I could do stencil prints from photos of my Svart Höna, solid black melanistic chickens, a heritage breed from Sweden. The trick was to see if I could get their facial features to read even though they are pure black. (Even their bones and the insides of their mouths are black.)
And a hen:
Spray paint on paper. Self-portrait based on a photo by Emma Dodge Hanson.
Produced in an edition of 8.
A self portrait: Stencil , spraypaint on pizzabox. (Getting the hang of cutting stencils for portraiture.)
And a rooster: I think you can probably tell I really loved this rooster.
I have been playing with Peter Stoyko's SystemViz iconography.
SystemViz is a research project by Peter Stoyko exploring how visuals can enhance systems thinking, especially as it relates to inter-disciplinary, collaborative design. Findings are expressed as visual codexes and other applied tools.
Today marks my first product release after finishing an OCAD Master of Design degree, and it also happens to be the day the OCAD University Senate confers my degree: Mantra and See to It earrings from Wild Moon.
During quarantine in May, I bought a 3D printer for Pandemic Post: Retrofuturist Mail Art.
I got to talking to Asia Clarke, one of my OCAD classmates, via text message over the summer about the jewelry design possibilities. We ended up doing a jewelry design collaboration via text, and the two different designs launched today on her Wild Moon Jewelry website. Asia described to me the approximate dimensions of an earring and I used a technique I had been playing with for picture frames to integrate text into a hoop earring. And Asia took it from there to do her jewelry magic. The results are amazing.
Photography by Anothony Gebrehlwot.
100% of proceeds will go to supporting the Black Legal Action Centre, a non-profit community legal clinic that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario.
100% of proceeds will go to supporting the Free Black University, a radical educational institution that exists to transform and to hold a space for the creation of radical knowledge that pertains to our collective freedom and healing.
My OCAD University Major Research Project, entitled, A Thousand Futures: A Search for Scenario Space, is now available on the OCAD website.
Although both science fiction and professional foresight work both are engaged with what the future might look like, they operate mostly independently from one another. A literature search reveals the characteristics of written science fiction and foresight, seeking ways these practices could be successfully combined. Concepts are explored through the example of agriculture and agricultural technology as well as technologies for constructing narrative semantics. Approaches are outlined for generating foresight scenarios and for creating a semantic tagging system for generating a semantic space for scenarios using intellectual technologies from science fiction.
agriculture, agroecology, animals, apples, bibliography, books, category theory, climate change, chickens, computational narrative, computational thinking, design fiction, dystopia, farming, fiction, folktales, foresight, foxes, futures, genre, history, landscape, language, metaphor, motifs, nationalism, ontology, orchardry, organic farming, pattern language, patents, pigs, publishing, retrofuturism, rewilding, scenarios, science fiction, semantics, speculative design, speculative fiction, tagging, technology, transrealism, utopia, wolves, workshops, writing
I saw Tenet in a theater in Toronto with fancy seats that vibrate and tilt along with the action. I don’t think the seat’s enthusiasm contributed much, but I did enjoy the show. I went to see it for two reasons: One is that science fiction films flood the cultural discourse and change narratives, and this one is playing partly in what I consider my space, so I felt like I needed to know what is in it. The second is that I just finished writing something long and my brain needs a break from rehearsing and reworking my own prose; it helped to clear my head.
Before I went, I read reviews and internet takes. Most people who had seen it were concerned with trying to figure out what is going on in the film, because it has scenes in which time flows both forwards and backwards. After reading the article in the Washington Post about their decision not to review the film because Christopher Nolan gave reviewers no choice except to see it in a theater with other people, I considered whether to skip it. But in the end, I went. I would not make the same decision two weeks from now, because I expect the incidence of the virus to spike up once schools are open. Having seen it as the director intended, unless you are really excited by watching stuff blow up, there is no particular reason to see it in a theater. Inasmuch as the film is good, it won’t lose much if seen instead on a big screen TV.
I am waiting out the pandemic in a house overlooking Dovercourt Park in Toronto, doing a lot of art. Here is an example.
I will begin posting more about this in the near term future.
I just awoke from this horrible dream that David Hartwell, my husband, had fallen down the stairs and died. And now that I am fully awake, it is still true, and I am still a widow.
It is something that cannot be true. It is as though one of the seasons, or one of the directions, up or down, has died. It lacks grammatical sense. Winter cannot die. Up cannot die. David cannot die. He just is.
A few days ago, I was sitting where I am sitting now and I heard a big crash and I ran down the hall yelling “David, are you OK?” And he said yes, he was OK, and the big scary noise was just that he had dropped one of the of Globe Werneke barrister bookcase sections that he was carrying up the stairs from the basement. He added that though he had dropped it, the glass of the door didn’t break. I went back to my book and coffee.
That day, or the next, he noticed that on Facebook he could no longer see my new posts. I spent an hour or so trying to troubleshoot this without success. It was really bothering him. I assured him that I had not blocked him or put him on some kind of restricted list.
The idiom to “lose” one’s husband has in the past seemed to me so euphemistic, but I feel it’s reality right now. It’s like I’ve lost my car keys or my wallet. He’s here somewhere, if I just look for him. He’s got to be here.
Fourteen years ago when Peleg, our favorite cat, had stroke and died abruptly on the basement floor when David and our (then) young son Peter were out running errands, our other cat (who had seen the corpse) spent all day frantically searching for him. I feel like that now.
His car is in my driveway. His books are in my basement. His jacket is over one of my dining room chairs. His glasses and cell phone are on my coffee table. There is a paper bag from the wine store next to the mail on the table containing the ginger brandy he just bought for our trip down to the city to take Liz see the Night Vale live show this weekend. The brandy is a bribe for me so I will sit and talk with him.
He’s here. He’s got to be here.
There are arcing skid marks from his hiking boots on the wood-panelled wall of my staircase. His blood is on the steps. There is a brown stain on the blue carpet at the bottom of the steps. There are unfamiliar bits of debris—velcro things—left behind by the EMTs. He is not here. He will never be here again. This is impossible. It makes no sense.
Tuesday, I had taken Peter to an appointment in Plattsburgh and afterwards we had stopped at Tractor Supply to buy chicken supplies for my baby chicks, and then we had stopped in at Michael’s, the art supply store, to get a few things for Peter to take back to college for his second semester.
My cell phone rang. My daughter said, “Daddy fell down the stars. He’s hurt. A book case fell on him.” I told her to call 911. She said the EMTs were already there. She put my friend Shira, one of the EMTs, on the phone. Shira said, “I need to ask you a question. Does David have a DNR order in place?”
“NO!” I said in a voice that was much too loud.
My friend Heather texted me moments later that she had heard about an accident at my house over the police scanner. Should she go there? Yes, I texted back. Please go take care of Elizabeth. I’m 45 minutes away.
David and I had been working on what’s called a collaborative divorce for about four years, and had worked a lot of things out. (We are still married.) I was expecting to be able to live down the street from my good friend David—at just the right distance—for the next twenty years. His house is in the center of town overlooking the lake. Mine is at the orchard with a view of the Adirondacks.
And instead he has had the audacity to die.
Tuesday, at 3:53 PM, he texted me Now at Orchard with Liz. … Moving some bookcase units.
Liz was making herself lunch. She heard a horrible crash. David had lost his balance and fallen down the stairs backwards from the top step. He was sprawled on the steps snoring and bleeding out one of his ears. There was a Globe Wernike section on top of him.
An artery in his brain had blown out, causing a massive brain bleed. He never regained consciousness. The glass of the door didn’t break.
While I was at the hospital yesterday signing dreadful papers, Heather and her husband Jason and the kids took down the Christmas tree. Heather washed all the dishes.
David, the living room is all clean and vacuumed. You can come home now. Please.
Come home. We miss you.