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

Info & Submission Guidelines ︎

Pandemic Publishing ︎

  1. Call for Submissions, SOS Edition
  2. 3.29.20 Irina V. Wang
  3. Let Yourself Be Lifted Jackie Scott
  4. Art Is Everything Jen Liese
  5. Two Poems Ella Rosenblatt
  6. Living Room Dance Party Ariel Wills
  7. On Walking When Walking Is Advised Against Keavy Handley-Byrne
  8. Untitled Cita Devlin
  9. Ads in Corona Hannah Oatman
  10. COVID-19 and Communitas Elaine Lopez
  11. A Time for Pie Elizabeth Burmann
  12. How to Stay Motivated When You’re Stuck at Home Clarisse Angkasa
  13. Coerced Harmony (A Tour) Hammad Abid
  14. Zooming In and Out Tongji Philip Qian
  15. [Form] Ciara Carlyle
  16. Hi.txt Dan Luo
  17. A poem about boredom, a composite Maixx Culver-Hagins
  18. Eyewitness News Tristram Lansdowne
  19. Distance Maps Marcus Peabody
  20. Therapeutic Suggestion Maria Aliberti Lubertazzi
  21. Keep Your Heart Six Feet Away From Mine (and other moments) Arielle Eisen
  22. Twenty Instructions for COVID-19 Charlott Isobel Dazan
  23. Cuerno 1 y 2 Yan Diego Estrella Wilson
  24. A Monolith of Grief Regarding the Absence of Touches, or Letter to a Future Lover García Sinclair
  25. Coronavirus by the Thousands Drew Dodge
  26. Two Poems Kathryn Li
  27. Beds Are Burning Aleks Dawson
  28. Still Lifes Yidan Wang
  29. Fragments of Seva Jagdeep Raina
  30. Packing Up and Staying Woojin Kim
  31. Chronic Pain and Fermentation Ralph Davis
  32. Quarantine Letters Hannah Moore
  33. Sounds of Silence: An Isolation Soundscape Dara Benno
  34. 14 Day Detox for Designers Erica Silver

Winter 2020

  1. From the Editors
  2. The Phantom Audience, or How to “Really Do It” Asher White
  3. Some Dry Season(ing) / 5 Tales in an Embryo Room Yuqing Liu
  4. Throwing Salt, Constructing the Homeland Ariel Wills
  5. Infinity Balloon Man Jack Zhou
  6. Texas Triptych Ali Dipp
  7. Phenomenology of Bones Chris Shen
  8. Erlking Yiqun Zhou
  9. Trouble in Reality Elena Foraker
  10. Family Stories Gina Vestuti
  11. Treasure Reilly Blum

Fall 2019
  1. From the Editors
  2. Architecture and Its Ghosts Xuan Liu
  3. Fit/O!de Jeff Katz
  4. Desde La Chinaca y La China Poblana Ariel Wills
  5. Ballast Tiger Dingsun
  6. Love Letters Brenda Rodriguez
  7. The Anxieties of Plant-sitting Carol Demick
  8. Zadie & Teju Ariel Wills
  9. Smooth Stones Ali Dipp 
  10. Kantha’s Melodies Michelle Dixon
  11. Glory West Megan Solis
  12. The 50 Best Albums of the 2010s Asher White

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

Concrete Mixer Drum Solo


One summer day, the kind where music joyously blares from every open car window, I was riding my bike down the length of a street cutting straight through the University of Toronto campus. Cruising past the students and landscaped planters that lined the sidewalks, I began hearing a repetitive thump ... thump ... thump-ing sound in the distance ahead of me. This rhythmic noise was likely coming from the Bahen Centre construction site, where all manner of loud and abrasive sounds could be heard between sunrise and sunset that year. While clangy and metallic sounding, there was something intriguingly human about its rhythm, differentiating it from anything produced by machine alone. As I drew closer to the construction site, the thumping grew louder and I finally saw its source: a construction worker repeatedly heaving a sledgehammer against the hollow steel barrel of a portable concrete mixer: thump ... thump ... thump ...

The sound, sight, and movement of the worker’s drumming felt replete with musical significance. Steady, deep, and primal, each thump was like the bass drum that drives rock and techno music alike. Though as basic as a metronome, there was an inexplicable musicality to the rhythm, eliciting a deep empathy within my body. Though spare and unrelenting, it was tolerable, even catchy, to my ears. Ultimately, what made this rhythm so captivating was the measure of the negative space between each thump. These charged pauses were a precise function of the man’s body retracting, reloading, and redelivering the next blow of the sledgehammer against the concrete mixer drum. A perfect expression of ergonomics and human scale, the rhythm generated by this labor was the only possible outcome of this particular man’s physical measurements and motor capabilities. Thump ... (reload) … thump … (reload) … thump …

The rhythm evoked similar exertions made vocal and overtly musical in Sam Cooke’s 1960 Working on a Chain Gang, a quaint rendition of the singin’/moanin’ of incarceration and forced labor. Recall the song’s guttural “Hooh … aah … Hooh … aah …” introduction and chorus, interspliced with percussive metal-on-metal clanks. The Pretenders would later ape this motif as backing vocals on 1984’s Back on the Chain Gang: Hooh … (clank) … aah … (clank) … Hooh … (clank) … aah …(clank) …

Was the streetscape’s backbeat rhythm a Maximum Rock ‘n’ Rollresponse to the cry for “More cowbell!” made famous in the SNLsketch? (Or rather, “More concrete mixer drum!”) No, this incidental music’s affinities were with minimal techno, with its pared down repetition of percussive elements. Interviewed in Danceflorensics, seminal German techno producer Wolfgang Voight declares, “I believe in the signal of the bass drum. It is the heartbeat of my life.” Ultimately, life is meted out as an ongoing thump … thump … thump. The simplicity also recalled German producer and artist Thomas Brinkmann’s altered vinyl records. Using a knife, Brinkmann incised lines directly into vinyl records, perpendicular to the orientation of their grooves. Light scratches emulated a high-hat, while deeper cuts produced a bass drum, augmenting the compositions he had had pressed into vinyl. At regular intervals, in a multiplication factor of 33⅓ revolutions per minute, the needle would thump …… thump …… thump over these incisions.

What separates good techno from bad techno is incremental change across the duration of a repetitive track, preventing listening fatigue. As Brinkmann’s incised records spin, the needle moves slowly closer to the center of the disc’s tightening spiral of near-concentric circles, incrementally increasing the tempo of the percussive incisions. The result is a geometric rather than arithmetic progression, whose complexity is greater than the sum of its few parts. Similarly, as my bicycle continued rolling toward then past the concrete mixer thumping, its volume peaked while its sound waves shifted in frequency and wavelength in accord with the Doppler effect. This is the sound commonly heard on city streets as the uncanny change in the pitch of a song heard playing in a passing car—like music smeared along linear streets: thump ......... thump …... thump … thhhhhhuuuuuummmppp ...

Alongside the musicality of the worker’s unintentional performance, his figure and movement suggested art-historical references. Standing apart from its surrounds like concrete statuary, the whole scene was a matte monochrome grey as everything was dusted with concrete powder, from the worker’s skin and clothing to the tools and ground beneath him. His total concentration on the task at hand illustrated the ideals of absorption that art critic Michael Fried noted in 18th-century French painting. In Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot, Fried cites Jean-François Millet’s The Gleaners as exemplary in its depiction of agricultural workers tending their crops. The Toronto construction worker’s economy of movement belied countless hours perfecting this basic chore, evoking the task-oriented, Minimalist, and process-based choreography developed at the Judson Church in the 1960s. This same New York milieu gave rise to the first Minimalist sculptures, created by Robert Morris in 1961 as props for a Judson Church performance.

But the intimate relationship between body, labor, and Minimalist aesthetics evident in this construction worker’s gesture most closely recalled the German sculptor Ulrich Rückriem’s 1971 Steel Plate Center. Unceremoniously installed on the floor, where it could easily have been made, this three-foot square steel plate has been struck hundreds of times with a ballpeen hammer across a 20-inch diameter circular area at its center. The action has caused the square plate to assume a slight concavity, lifting its perimeter a few inches up off the floor—an indexical record of Rückriem’s body circling around the steel plate, repeatedly slamming a hammer down at the limits of his reach. In Rückriem’s sculpture, labor and the sound of its making are palpable even in the maker’s absence. Thud … thud … thud ...

The city is a cacophony of sound and movement that produces complex spatial and temporal relationships between bodies in motion and/or at rest. For the short duration of my engagement with the sound and sight of the Toronto construction worker, probably less than two minutes, this thump … thump … thumping on the concrete drum continually alerted me to the present moment, awakening a hyper vigilance of sense perception. Time was elongated by the tension and anticipation that the system of body, hammer, and steel concrete drum generated, and was further conflated by my own movement through the scene. The incident continues to replay in my mind, like a dream sequence set in slow motion, a 45 rpm single played at 33⅓: thhhhhhuuuuuummmppp … thhhhhhuuuuuummmppp … thhhhhhuuuuuummmppp …

My trusty bike with me at Documenta ... standing over Walter De Maria's "Vertical Earth Kilometer."