Collaborations

A few…

Crafting the Bonds: I designed the opera narrative and wrote the libretto for this two-act opera set to music by composer Elena Ruehr. Based on the rediscovery of the first known novel by an African American woman (The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts/Bond), the opera fuses past with present to ask larger questions about the lives and afterlives of stories. My research and writing were supported thanks to fellowships from the John Carter Brown Fellowship at Brown University, the C.V. Starr Center at Washington College, the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University, and the William A. Elwood Fellowship in Civil Rights and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia. A grant from Opera America supported a public reading performance in June 2017 at MIT. Special thanks to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Harvard), Hollis Robbins (Johns Hopkins), and Gregg Hecimovich (Winthrop University) for their years of scholarly research on Hannah Crafts/Bond and for attending the performance. (They are pictured below, along with soloists Farah Darliette (Author) and Stephen Salter (Historian), composer Elena Ruehr, conductor Amelia LeClaire, and myself.) More about the project here and here and here.

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Cassandra in the Temples: I designed the opera narrative and wrote the libretto for a chamber opera (an ecological adaptation of the apocalyptic myth) for MIT Guggenheim-winning composer, Elena Ruehr, and the NY Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth. The premier performance occurred at MIT in Fall 2014, thanks to support from MIT’s Center for Art, Science, and Technology, which also hosted our artist residency that included work with classes across disciplines. In 2015, a staged version of the opera premiered in Boston in two performances by Cappella Clausura under the direction of Amelia LeClaire. My libretto and photographs from Greece were published as a 40-page special feature in Western Humanities Review in 2016. Thanks to a grant from the NEH that allowed me to travel to Greece and spend four weeks studying classics and visiting archaeological sites related to this project.

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Unstitched States“: a collaborative quilt on the art of inclusivity and diversity with my former students from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, co-curated with Allison Dalton, professor at the Art Center College of Design. Background about the project can be found at The Kenyon Review, and an interview with a participant and former student Sarah Minor can be found at The Ohio University Forum.

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Four colleagues at Georgetown and I received an ITEL Grant from Georgetown University’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship for our collaborative pedagogy investigation called “The Pilgrimage Project” during the 2015-2016 academic year across the fields of English/Creative Writing, Communication, Culture, & Technology, Art and Museum Studies, and Special Collections.

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“A Forest of Flights”: an exhibition essay around the work of the artist, Sanda Iliescu, an associate professor at the University of Virginia and former Fellow at the American Academy of Rome, in conjunction with an exhibit at Gallery Molly Krom in New York. Exhibition poster:

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Also with Sanda Iliescu, an ongoing collaboration of text and image exchanges and engagements entitled Correspondences.

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Sixteen Songs from Marvellous Things (an artists’ book interpretation by Ellen Sheffield of my “traditional” book, On Marvellous Things Heard, through the lens of John Cage’s Sontatas and Interludes, a composition for prepared piano), performed at Brandi Recital Hall the Kenyon College on 06/17/2013 (also selected for juried exhibitions, including the College Book Art Association 2014 on “Presentation / Publication / Installation”):

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Cistern: a video by the installation artist, Claudia Esslinger, is a collaboration with the dancer, Kora Radella, and my text (some from The House Enters the Street), selected for Ohio Shorts Festival at the Wexner Center for the Arts @ Ohio State University, among other exhibitions:

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At Harvard, while I was a Research Fellow at MetaLAB, I collaborated with other Research Fellows on a MetaCatalogue to think about issues of curation in the digital age.

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At MIT (where I was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow) and at other universities, I have collaborated with librarians for research and teaching, as mentioned in this edition of “Bibliotech” (MIT Libraries newsletter), along with other outreach projects, like this curated open house with Rare Books Manager, Stephen Skuce, for an MIT symposium on “Unbound: Speculations on the Future of the Book,” which I co-planned with fellow postdoc, Amaranth Borsuk.

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My talk on collaboration titled “‘Can You Here Us Now?’: 13 Notes Toward Listening” was part of a panel on “Dancing about Architecture: Writing at the Intersection of Language, Art, and Music” at the AWP Conference in Boston, MA (March 2013), thanks to Michael Mejia:

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At the Boston Center for the Arts, I led a workshop on “Writing Movement/Moving Words” with the dancer, Mariah Steele, as part of her dance residency.

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The following video “snapshot” captures an exhibition in Kenyon College’s Special Collections, where students in Ellen Sheffield’s class in Book Arts deformed the material of the published book, Galerie de Difformité:

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More collaborations with the Galerie de Difformité can be found here. The project’s library of collaborative chapbooks can be found here. The published book was exhibited in a national juried competition sponsored by the College Book Arts Association called “BiblioTech” at the San Francisco Public Library (January 5, 2012 – March 11, 2012), also featured in the exhibition of “Pulp to Pixels: Artists Books Respond to E-Books” at Hampshire College, MA (November 5-16, 2012), and is popping up in other grassroots exhibitions.

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The Brooklyn-based Writhing Society at Proteus Gowanus and their publishing arm, Proteotypes, has involved some fun collaborations, including work for this volume titled Cryptozoo. Thanks to Erik Schurink, Tom La Farge, Wendy Walker, & other Writhers for engaging me in their Oulipian-based society.

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A few broadsides (with artists Lyle Salmi and Elizabeth Terhune, thanks to Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies / Red Dragonfly Press, and Broadsided):

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[Click on the image of “Wreckage” above to enlarge/access a PDF broadside.]

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Thanks to the University of Missouri’s Collaborative Research Fellowship and Center for Arts and Humanities, Gretchen also collaborated with a Chair/Professor of Health Sciences, Dr. Brick Johnstone, on a project related to art history, disability studies, and health care.

More coming…

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