Folding and Unfolding: Graphics, Human Nature and Surprise: A Conversation

On Thursday, October 26th at 7pm cartoonist Anders Nilsen will be joined in conversation by Nadine Nakanishi and Nick Butcher of Sonnenzimmer for the release of two books: Nilsen’s Tongues Chapter One and Sonnenzimmer’s Café Avatar. The artists will each present their own new works and interview one another about the intersections of graphic design, book-making, human life and expression, and the particular strangeness of getting ideas across with pictures. Nilsen and Sonnenzimmer are each unusual exemplars of their mutual disciplines: both are at once highly respected practitioners in their chosen fields, as well as being noted iconoclasts and experimentalists. The conversation will be structured as a kind of game of reveals, injecting some of the unpredictability and surprise the artists have all fostered in their own work. Doors open at 6:30 pm. This event is free.

About the artists:

Cartoonist and artist Anders Nilsen is the author of nine books including Dogs and WaterThe EndDon’t Go Where I Can’t Follow and the multiple award-winning Big Questions. His comics have been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Reader, Medium, Kramer’s Ergot and elsewhere. His work has been widely translated and exhibited internationally. After thirteen years in Chicago Nilsen currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Sonnenzimmer is the collective work of artists Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. Their collaborative practice was established in 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Initially recognized for their idiosyncratic commissioned screen-printed posters, their practice has since morphed into an interdisciplinary toolshed spanning multiple platforms, including exhibitions, publishing, performance, graphic design, and exhibition design. Equal parts balancing act between art and design and radical reclamation of all aspects of visual expression, the studio is grounded in the lasting potential of the graphic arts, while exploring the physical and conceptual friction between abstraction and communication.

About the books:

After a number of more experimental ventures in comics and visual storytelling Nilsen’s new book Tongues marks a return to the more traditional comics form he last explored in Big Questions. Nilsen’s first book in full, lushly rendered color, Tongues is at once an adventure story with roots in ancient greek mythology and an exploration of human nature, language and evolution. Set in the contemporary middle east the book is a meditation on our present fraught historical moment.

Sonnenzimmer’s new book Café Avatar explores the folding graphic fabric of humanity. Through text and illustration, Sonnenzimmer posit the current age as a graphic-centric plane. As humanity enters a new skin, how will we remember our physical selves…or are we becoming computational mochas? Co-published with Perfectly Acceptable Press and released on the occasion of the exhibition Café Avatar at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the artist book functions as a meta-catalog and a stand alone work.

Alain Jugnon + Artaud in Amerika

On Friday, October 27th at 7pm Alain Jugnon, Nathanaël, Patrick Durgin and Alison James will give a reading. Following the reading will be a discussion on and around Artaud’s essays Postscript from Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society and Conclusion from To Have Done with the Judgment of God. Please contact (Devin at Sector.2337) for copies of the text.Doors open at 6:30 pm. This event is free.

Alain Jugnon has written for the theatre and has published essays and articles on Nietzsche, Artaud, and Bataille. He is the editor of Cahiers Artaud and the political and poetic journal La contre-attaque.

Nathanaël is the author of more than a score of books written in English or in French. Her translations include works by Danielle Collobert, Édouard Glissant, Hervé Guibert, and Catherine Mavrikakis.

Patrick Durgin is a poet-critic and co-curator of the annual Festival of Poets Theater. His most recent book is PQRS: A Poets Theater Script.

Alison James is associate professor of French at the University of Chicago. She has published a book on Georges Perec and articles on the Oulipo, contemporary French fiction, documentary writing, and connections between literature and philosophy.

Faith Wilding + Robin Deacon

On Saturday, November 11th at 7pm, Faith Wilding and Robin Deacon will give readings and have a conversation. Doors open at 6:30 pm. This event is free.

Faith Wilding is an intermedia artist, writer, and educator, deeply engaged with teaching and learning, and the intersections of feminism, social justice, cyberfeminism, biotechnology, radical pedagogy, and eco-feminism.

Robin Deacon is a British artist, writer, filmmaker, and educator. His work has explored questions of memory, absence and fiction in performance, through a constant reconfiguration of his role as an artist – as a journalist and biographer, operator and technician, imposter and stooge. His recent research projects have explored histories of video documentation and outmoded media formats, as well as the practice and ethics of performance reenactment. His live and screen based work has been extensively presented in Europe, the US, and Asia. Robin is Associate Professor and Chair of Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Alan Felsenthal, Geoffrey Hilsabeck, + Jennifer Nelson

On Friday, November 17th at 7pm, Alan Felsenthal, Geoffrey Hilsabeck and Jennifer Nelson will give readings. Doors open at 6:30 pm. This event is free.


Alan Felsenthal runs a small press called The Song Cave. With Ben Estes, he edited A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind: The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton. His writing has appeared in BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, Critical Quarterly, Fence, jubilat, and Harper’s. Lowly, published by Ugly Duckling Presse, is his first collection of poems.

Geoffrey Hilsabeck is the author of the chapbooks The Keepers of Secrets and Vaudeville. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Seneca Review, 6X6, Bomb, Wax, The Chronicle of Higher Ed, and the Poetry Foundation. He teaches at West Virginia University and lives in Morgantown, WV. His first collection of poems, Riddles, Etc., is forthcoming from The Song Cave.

Jennifer Nelson is an assistant professor in the department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is also the author of two books of poems: Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife (UDP, 2015) and Civilization Makes Me Lonely (Ahsahta, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in BathHouse, LIT, Make: A Literary Magazine, Palimpsest, Pinwheel, and Versal.