v.1 is RISD’s student–led publication. Its form and content change from year to year (it’s always “volume 1”).

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Spring 2019

  1. From the Editors
  2. A Room without a View: Reflections on Studio Practice from a Privileged Poor Chantal Feitosa
  3. Between the Battlements Jeremy Wolin

  4. Accessing Color: Dissecting the Harvard Art Museum’s Forbes Pigment Collection Makoto Kumasaka
  5. British Club Tattoos Nasser Alzayani
  6. Making Space: Creativity and Resilience in War-Time Sri Lanka Elizabeth Dean Hermann
  7. How to Become Trans: A Proposal for the Modern-Day Gender-Agnostic Asher White
  8. Making It Up: A Conversation with Kent Kleinman Wen Zhuang
  9. “In Peace”: A Conversation with Matthew Shenoda Mays Albaik
  10. Suburbia_hours.mov Nora Mayer
  11. Negative Spaces Emily Wright
  12. Centerfold: Urgency Lab
  13. Rise Up: The Sunrise Movement Takes Root in Rhode Island Irina V. Wang
  14. After Strand Nafis White and García Sinclair
  15. Soldiers of Love? Karen Schiff
  16. Decoding Ghosts Molly Hastings
  17. An Annotated Bibliography Eli Backer
  18. Jesus, Marilyn, and Britney: Relationships between Religion and Celebrity Culture Nina Yuchi
  19. The Social (Antique) Network: Empathy in the Age of Digital Antiquing Zola Anderson
  20. My Little Episodes Michael Brandes
  21. Seeking Fair Game on Hidden Fields Reilly Blum
  22. The Should Be Here Is Not Here Joss Liao
  23. Index of Agency Sophie Chien
  24. Don’t Eat the Models Barbara Stehle
  25. Hypothetical Drink Personality Test: Who Said What, and When? Eliza Chen
  26. Dear Arabic Mohammed Nassem


Fall 2018 

  1. From the Editors
  2. How to Make a Person: A Recipe Mays Albaik
  3. Providence Votes Marcus Peabody
  4. Encounters with the Codex: Redefining Forms of Publication June Yoon
  5. How to Encounter a Puddle Anny Li
  6. A Brief List of Premises from a Maker Stuck with Paper, Politics, and Performance Yasi Alipour
  7. Art Writing and the Place of the “I” Randy Kennedy
  8. Written in Stone: Lineage, Legacy, and Letterforms Irina V. Wang
  9. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being (a Graphic Designer) Tiger Dingsun
  10. Colliers/Necklaces Théïa Flynn
  11. When One Door Closes: Examining Issues of Space and Student Curation on Campus Wen Zhuang
  12. Addressing the Empty Plinth: Lessons from Gallery Shows and Public Art Jeremy Wolin
  13. Modern Usage: In Conversation with Remeike Forbes Eliza Chen and Tiger Dingsun
  14. Dangling Threads: Remaining Unclear in Capital Everett Epstein
  15. A Vagabond Viking Voyage and Midsummer Daydream Mike Fink
  16. Everything is Interdependent Angela Dufresne
  17. La Bolita Elaine Lopez
  18. Bread Day Olive B. Godlee
  19. Against the Archive Satpreet Kahlon


2017 - 2018 
  1. Birds, Bees, and Beyond: The Nature Lab Evolves
  2. Concrete Mixer Drum Solo
  3. Negative Spaces
  4. “Printer Prosthetics” at NYABF
  5. On Writing: Nader Tehrani and Katie Faulkner
  6. On Writing: Marie Law Adams and Dan Adams
  7. On Writing: Kunlé Adeyemi
  8. Connecting Food and Design
  9. Remixing Architectural Discourse
  10. Genesis : 1: Beret Shit
  11. “No voy a actuar en el mundo antes de entenderlo”: Una conversación con Alfredo Jaar
  12. “I Will Not Act in the World Before Understanding the World”: A Conversation with Alfredo Jaar
  13. Imagining Irmgard
  14. Afterwords: Bite
  15. Afterwords: Portals
  16. Afterwords: Calendar
  17. Seeking Drafts
Mark

British Club Tattoos

Nasser Alzayani (MFA GL 2019)




My first encounter with tattoos was at the British Club in Adliya. I used to go there on weekends with my uncle Khalil and my cousins Abdulla and Jawaher. My uncle would head to the gym while my cousins and I hung around and played billiards in the bar by the pool. I find it funny now that kids were left in a bar, alone, in the late morning. There was always the occasional expat who had come in early for a pint. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

I recently watched a stand-up routine on abbreviations. The comedian was explaining how every U.S. state ended up getting a two-letter abbreviation, and that the people tasked with the job thought it would be simple. It was—until they came to Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Missouri. Daunted by all those states beginning with MI, they sent for a professional. Here was a guy who had some experience, who brought us classics such as “o’clock.”

Back at the bar, it was still 10 o’clock (formerly known as “of the clock”). My cousins and I would rack up the balls and attempt to sink them into one of the six holes on the table. Sometimes men at the bar would watch us, laughing at our lack of skill, and offer advice. They always smelled of beer and chlorine, a mixture of scents found almost exclusively in hotels with a pool bar. That was where I first met Shirley Temple. The drink, not the actress. We weren’t allowed alcohol, but I am pretty sure I would not have preferred its taste over a delicious glass of Sprite and grenadine anyway. I did not, and still do not, like maraschino cherries.

Later, I would visit the British Club with my mother and my sisters to swim. The weekends were busy, the club full of British expats lazing by the pool. I remember huge men with tattoos on their shoulders, chests, and arms. Shields and crests with the cross of St. George mingled among dragons and tigers and the occasional indecipherable Chinese character. I asked my mother what they were, and she told me that they were something you get when you join the military. For the longest time, I thought tattoos were a sort of initiation ritual, something you had to earn. I always wondered if and how you chose the images, or whether it was predetermined.

I thought about these things as we played games in the kiddie pool. My mom would throw 100 fils coins into the water while we each covered our eyes with our palms. The winner was the diver who came up with the most gold and silver coins. There was always a brief moment of calm before the frenzy. We dove in as soon as we caught a glint refracting through the surface of the water, creating little tsunamis that wreaked havoc on the nearby sunbathers. Sometimes it would be a failed dive, spurred on by a misleading, glistening tile embedded in the pool floor. Like a diver clutching an elusive pearl, I would emerge triumphant to the surface with my coin in hand, further soaking what remained of our annoyed audience. I find it amusing now, how culturally appropriate that game was.



My great, great (great?) grandfather was a pearl merchant. That is what I’m told. An ongoing dispute involves two families, a French jeweler, and a famous photograph. Taken in the early 20th century, it captures Jacques Cartier, son of the founder and heir to the Cartier empire, seated with a group of local merchants. Cartier had traveled to Bahrain in search of the perfect pearl.



I’ve heard this story and seen this photograph so many times, yet I’m not even sure if the man in question is to the right or left of Monsieur Cartier. One of these notable merchants is either an Alzayani or a Mattar. The Alzayanis and the Mattars are related, and each family claims this man as their ancestor—the man who introduced Jacques to the perfect pearl. The man who, allegedly, rejected the idea of the Frenchman courting his sister, or daughter, or niece, or whoever. My aunts would say, when retelling this story, that we could have owned a palace in Paris! Sorry, I meant to say a “palais.”

When you’ve had your passport stamped and proceed to customs at Bahrain International Airport, you will pass by a big red banner listing prohibited and restricted goods. Underneath “All kinds of harmful drugs,” which depicts a rolled joint, is an illustration of pearls labelled “cultured pearls.” We take this seriously. But how seriously?



The Hague was cold. I had been regretting my decision to not pack my heaviest jacket ever since my arrival in the Netherlands a week ago. We stopped at Starbucks at the train station to get coffee and WiFi. The barista had an Arabic name, and she asked me how I got mine.

Salma and I split from the group to make our way to the Mauritshuis museum. A small portion of one street had coins embedded in the asphalt. I joked that a parking meter must have exploded on the day the road was being redone.

The museum had a deceptive entrance. You walked up to a historical façade before being directed to the left down a flight of stairs that circled a glass elevator. In the warmth of the basement we bought our tickets and stuffed our coats in a locker that was too small. The Mauritshuis, I think, is a great museum. Not too many things and not too few. You know exactly what you are there for, but you will still be surprised by the other things you find. It’s not too crowded and you can get up close to the paintings, close enough to see the cracks.

The wall text to the right of Girl with a Pearl Earring reads:

Girl with a Pearl Earring is Vermeer’s most famous painting. It is not a portrait, but a “tronie”—a painting of an imaginary figure. Tronies depict a certain type of character, in this case a girl in exotic dress, wearing an oriental turban and an improbably large pearl in her ear. Johannes Vermeer was the master of light. This is shown here in the softness of the girl’s face and the glimmers of light on her moist lips. And of course, the shining pearl.

This is when I call Salma over and read out the sentence before last, emphasizing the word “moist” by making an elaborate kissing sound at the beginning of the word. “Mmmmoist.” It’s such a slimy word.

I forgot to moisten my lips.


Nasser Alzayani is trying to remember details from his childhood and failing tremendously. Pseudo-fictional, false remembrances make more interesting stories.