Join us for the launch of SUBLEVEL Issue Two: The Speculative with an evening of poetry by Will Alexander, and a screening of work by artist Nicole Miller followed a conversation between Miller and writer Tisa Bryant.
SUBLEVEL is an online literary magazine devoted to the nexus of literature, poetics, art, criticism, philosophy, culture, and politics. Based in the CalArts MFA Creative Writing Program, an innovative and interdisciplinary environment dedicated to the experimental impulse in writing and thinking, SUBLEVEL is a literary publication immersed in the world of art without being in service to it.
The Speculative issue includes a roundtable with Kelly Akashi, FICTILIS, Margaret Killjoy, & Ann VanderMeer; a review of wall-text by Aria Dean; a letter from Ultra Red; a conversation between Martine Syms & Jenna Wortham; a new piece by Will Alexander; a script by Charles Yu; ‘recommendations’ by Adrienne maree brown as well as artworks by 57C, Sascha Braunig, Loretta Fahrenholz, Kiki Kogelnik, Nicole Miller, Christina Quarles & Tiger Tateishi.
Issue 2: The Speculative was edited by Thomas Aguila, Ian Kappos, Noah Lemelson, Hannah Rubin, Jessica Wolford and Lauren Mackler (managing editor). The print publication was designed by Jacob Shpall.
A note from the editors of The Speculative issue:
This is our Speculative issue. As we see it, to speculate is to call into question not only what could be, but: what is, might be, or might have been. Within the eight features of our magazine, we will explore: the defamiliarizing of the familiar as a crucial tactic for investigating reality; how science fiction, fantasy, and horror not only pervade media but influence collective political and social efforts; the ways in which new technologies are pushing us toward a slippage of communication, dislodging language from reality; the space that the speculative and speculation provide for an intersection of academics and autodidacts alike; how speculation has shaped, and continues to shape, the current economic climate, specifically in relation to Los Angeles.
Myths, folktales, “what ifs,” and ideas of the unreal have informed our understandings of ourselves throughout our history. The vastness of speculation draws us in, causes confusion that feels intoxicating and creates a space for hyperbole and fantasy that feel less and less unfamiliar. It is through this very interrogation—of the impossible—that we continue to discover what is, in fact, possible. In this issue, we are not offering solutions, or at least not solutions that make sense. We are observing the impact, use, and character of the imagination on culture and, as a result, on our own psyches. When we think of the speculative, not only are we thinking about what could be—we’re questioning the validity of what’s happening now. We create new shapes, imagine hidden doors. Its potency is in its relevance.
Will Alexander Poet, aphorist, playwright, essayist, philosopher, visual artist, and pianist Will Alexander is a native of Los Angeles. The author of nearly thirty books, his awards and honors include a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001, a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award in 2007, and an American Book Award in 2013 for Singing In Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose, Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture. In 2016 he was awarded the prestigious Jackson Prize for poetry.
Tisa Bryant Tisa Bryant Tisa Bryant is the author of Unexplained Presence, a collection of fiction-essays on black presences in film, literature and visual arts; co-editor, with Ernest Hardy, of War Diaries, an anthology of Black male desire and survival in the age of AIDS, and co-editor of the cross-referenced literary journal, The Encyclopedia Project, which will release its final book, Encyclopedia Vol. 3 L-Z, September 2017. She was a commissioned writer/researcher for Radio Imagination, Clockshop’s year-long Los Angeles celebration of science fiction writer Octavia Butler, in collaboration with the Huntington Library in Pasadena. In addition to recent conference presentations and live film narrations the Black female gaze and on Prince at the Los Angeles Public Library’s ALOUD series and the Nonfiction Now conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Body Forms: Queer Writing and the Essay; Flesh; Lana Turner;* Letters to the Future: Black Women Experimental Writers, and in *Sam Durant: The Meeting House/Build Therefore Your Own World. With Ernest Hardy, she presented The Black Book, a love letter-anthology of film, video, literature, visual art and music that critically celebrated Black aesthetics, politics and culture. She is working on The Curator, a novel of Black female subjectivity and imagined cinema, and on Residual, writings on grief, longing, desire and archival research, forthcoming from Nightboat Books. Tisa Bryant is Program Director of the MFA in Creative Writing at CalArts, where she teaches fiction, nonfiction and experimental forms.
Nicole Miller Nicole Miller received her M.F.A. from the Roski School of the Arts, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions of her work include: Athens, California, California African American Museum, Los Angeles; The Borrowers, Koenig & Clinton, New York; Artists’ Film International: Nicole Miller, Ballroom Marfa; The Conductor, High Line Channel 22, New York; Believing is Seeing, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Death of a School, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneve; Every Word Said: History Lessons from Athens and Tucson, MoCA Tucson; and The Conductor, LAXART, Los Angeles. Miller has also participated in prominent group exhibitions such as: Los Angeles-A Fiction, MAC Lyon (2017) and Astrup Fearnley Museet (2016), Oslo; The Campaign for Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016); Portraits and Other Likenesses, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2015); Made in L.A. biennial, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); Dallas Biennale, Dallas Contemporary (2012); and The Bearden Project, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2011). Miller has been the recipient of the: John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Award (2018), Rome Prize (2016), William H. Johnson Prize (2015), Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant (2013), Artadia Award (2013), Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award (2012), among others. Miller currently holds the position of assistant professor in the department of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego. The artist lives and works in Southern California.
Image credits: Kiki Kogelnik, Hanging, 1970. Acrylic, sheet vinyl, and chromed steel hangers on canvas. Courtesy Kiki Kogelnik Foundation.