NOVEL: a living installation

habitats

At 9pm on May 7th, 2005, three novelists were enclosed within three individual habitats designed and constructed by three teams of architect/artists. For thirty days, this was their reality. Nightly, they dined together (courtesy of a revolving cast of chefs). Public readings of the novels-in-progress were held every Saturday evening, with viewing hours throughout the week. On June 4th, each writer emerged from his or her habitat, having completed a novel.

The three habitats were constructed during months of collaboration between the writers and architects. This process was designed to address complex issues of design, desire, and space (or lack thereof). NOVEL took the isolation of the writer to a rather extreme conclusion in order to investigate what would be produced under those conditions. But, just as writing is solitary, it is also a performance. The writer, sitting alone, is always conscious of an audience, whoever that may be. NOVEL combined the private and public aspects of writing in a striking way. The goal for NOVEL was to facilitate the production of quality fiction and explore the act of writing itself as a performance, installation, and kinetic, living sculpture.

The experiment lasted from May 7th to June 4th, 2005.

Click on the image above to view pictures from the show (it will take a minute to load, please bear with us). Click on the construction image to view pictures from the installation process. Click on Tubby to view the outtakes.

Novel in Process

the OUTTAKES Artistic Personnel For Novel

Writers

Laurie Stone is author of Starting with Serge (Doubleday, 1990), Close to the Bone (Grove, 1997), and Laughing in the Dark (Ecco, 1997). A longtime writer for the Village Voice (1975-99), she has been theater critic for The Nation, critic-at-large on NPR’s Fresh Air, and a regular writer for Ms., New York Woman, and Viva. She has received grants from NYFA, The Kittredge Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, Poets & Writers, and in 1996 she won the Nona Balakian prize in excellence in criticism from the National Book Critics Circle.

Ranbir Sidhu is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize in fiction and his work has appeared in The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, Zyzzyva, Other Voices, Press and a Houghton-Mifflin college reader among other publications. Trained as an archaeologist, he has worked in California, Nevada, Israel and France. One of his finds, a 3,000-year-old woman, made cover skeleton of Biblical Archaeology Review. Most recently, he worked for the United Nations in Sri Lanka as a communications consultant.

Grant Bailie is a Cleveland-based writer and artist. A contributor to McSweeney’s and Zygote in My Coffee among others, Grant’s novel Cloud 8 was published in 2003 by Ig Publishing. His work was selected for honors by the Writer’s & Poets League of Greater Cleveland and he had been a featured speaker and reader at book events in the US and Canada. His paintings have been exhibited at William Busta Gallery and Joyce Porcelli Gallery.

Read his exclusive before-the-box interview with Night Train’s Tom Jackson here.

Architect-Artists

Salazar Davis Architects, founded in 1998 by Mauricio Salazar and Paul Davis, is a full-service Manhattan-based architecture and design firm. Salazar Davis entered the Queens Museum of Art Design Competition in 2001 and was chosen as one of five finalists from among several hundred entrants. Now in design phases on projects ranging from a Williamsburg restaurant to NYC broadcast studios for a national talk radio network, the office is also active in California.

Tricky ink. is a collaboration between Kwi-Hae Kim and Mitch McEwen, two artist/designers pursuing a Masters of Architecture degree at Columbia. Kwi-Hae entered architecture through sculpture and set-design at RISD where she received a BFA in Sculpture. Mitch entered architecture through political economy and painting at Harvard. Tricky ink. focuses on materials, performance, and temporality as design problems. Recently, they co-produced a hoax real estate development company, complete with website and project plans for a temporary skyscraper. (See www.newamericansprawl.org)

Ian Montgomery received a B.A. in Studio Arts at Bard College in 2003 and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Lacoste School of the Arts in 2002. Trained as a Carpenter and furniture maker, his current work combines found materials with organic patterns and processes. NOVEL will be his first NYC gallery show.

Guest Artists

Myla Goldberg: Guest Curator for Writers
Myla Goldberg’s first novel, Bee Season, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000, and the winner of the Ribalow Prize and the Borders New Voices Prize. It is being made into a major motion picture and has been translated into nine languages. Myla has written book reviews for the New York Times and Bookforum. Her short stories have appeared in Harper’s, failbetter, and McSweeney’s. She is most recently the author of Time’s Magpie, a book of essays about Prague. Her next novel, Wickett’s Remedy, will be published by Doubleday in October 2005.

Alexander Briseño & 306090: Architectural Consultant
Alexander Briseño holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan and runs Sohbr Studio, and architectural/design firm. He has also attended the Swiss program of the Southern California Institute of Architecture, located in Vico Morcote. Alex is Series Editor and Publisher of 306090>Architecture Journal, was a designer for Dimensions Volume 15 and has held instructor positions in theory/writing and drawing at the University of Michigan and Pratt Institute. He recently completed travels as a Booth Fellow throughout northern Italy. Alex has worked for several award-winning architecture firms throughout the United States and has thus gained a wide range of project experience. He is a registered Architect in the State of New York, a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Guest lecturers

Tom Bissell’s criticism, fiction, and journalism have appeared in Harper’s, Men’s Journal, Esquire, McSweeney’s, The Boston Review, and Best American Travel Writing 2003, among other publications. He is the author of Chasing the Sea (Pantheon, 2003) and is currently writing a book about Vietnam scheduled for publication by Pantheon in 2006.

J.M. Tyree was a Keasbey Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: Best of the McSweeney’s Humor Category (Knopf), New England Review, Discover, and The Believer.

Flux Factory and the NOVEL crew would like to express ultimate gratitude to the following
for their culinary support:

H&D Bagels, El Shater, Carri Skoczek, Melanie Cohn, Miwa Koizumi,
Gianna Chachere, Cafe Bar, La Vuelta, Ariyoshi, Cavo Cup and Lounge, Sage cooking,
Dazie’s, La Vuelta, Dan Spicer, Jen Sotham, Lil Bistro 33, Diane Campbell, Ten 63

This program was supported in part by Material for the Arts, Tekserve, and public funds from
the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

You can find the Old Town Review’s blog portal on Novel here.