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 BattlementsJeremy 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 GhostsMolly 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

How to Encounter a Puddle

Anny Li

Last summer, the New York–based magazine Triple Canopy held its annual Publication Intensive between two sites: New York and Providence. Twelve participants—a diverse group of artists, writers, graphic designers, coders, performers, and educators—took part in seminars, discussions, site visits, and workshops to mine the history of print and analyze “today’s networked forms of production and circulation.” June Yoon (MFA GD 19) and Maia Chao (MFA GL 17) gathered the writings of fellow participants into a booklet of “reflections on a collective experience.” v.1 chose this piece—developed following the author’s participation in Triple Canopy’s Publication Intensive 2018—to share. Thanks to the author and Triple Canopy for their permission to reprint.

    
Pearl Street (between Wall and Pine). Left to right: September 2017, April 2018, May 2018. Photographs by the author.

About nine months ago I started to notice curious, recurring deposits of fluorescent green liquid in the streets of NYC’s Financial District. One particular patch of sidewalk on my daily commute would regularly accrue a puddle of mysterious liquids that varied in color from day to day. Deep purples, milky pinks, lime greens—(was it antifreeze? Beet juice? Human emissions? These puddles of “city sauce” (as a friend who works in construction affectionately terms it) continued to mystify me, and what began as impulsive photography shifted towards more intentional documentation. In thinking of puddles as more than just temporary accumulations of water, I began to store them as scattered fragments of evidence, documents in and of themselves.

I offer some notes here on the origins, characteristics and peculiarities of the urban puddle.

1. Puddles are documents. As residue or remainder, they are both witnesses to and byproducts of events that may range from things as benign as a rainstorm to more sinister violations such as toxic leakages. But they can be perpetrators too.

2. Puddles are not neutral. If you step in a puddle, you will leave a trail of footsteps behind you. Or, if you are on wheels, there will be a record of that too. Once you enter a puddle you have been implicated by it.



3. As minor bodies of water with no apparent parent source, puddles exist on the fringes. They appear static, yet under constant threat of evaporating and disappearing for good (or until the next rainy day). They are frequently located in the marginal, in-between spaces, framed by a curb and a crosswalk, the sidewalk and the street.



4. Puddles represent transitional states. They are deposited rainclouds waiting patiently to return skywards, or the melted snow or slush after a blizzard. They are both an afterthought and the aftermath (of a storm, of a crime, of the end of a long day’s work).

5. Puddles reproduce the environment around them; they are mirrors, temporary sites of reflection and collection. You can catch a glimpse of the inverted city if their surfaces happen to be still enough.



6. Puddles are cute and playful. They make us pause or prompt us to action: sometimes we splash in them; sometimes we take sloppy leaps over them to avoid getting wet.1 It is hard to take puddles seriously, though they are both a record of and actor on their environment.



7. Puddles thrive where infrastructure fails. They assemble in cracked sidewalks and non-draining curbs. If you pay attention to where they recur, they may indicate leakages or poorly maintained stormwater management systems. They are inconveniencing agents that intrude on our dry ideal. No one likes wet socks.

8. Puddles are biotic containers for precarious ecosystems. Standing bodies of water might become a threat to humans while serving as a haven for other creatures. (The City of New York advises citizens to report chronic puddles, as mosquitos breed in water left standing for more than five days.2) If a puddle outstays its welcome, it becomes a home for new organisms.



9. Puddles are equivocal, promiscuous, shallow, overlooked, ignored. They are undiscriminating infiltrators and will occupy any hole.



10. Puddles don’t exist in isolation, but rather as a decentralized network, flourishing in rogue locations. By documenting them, we archive a city constantly in flux.

What can be learned from the humble puddle? I wonder how they could present new models for publication.3 To this end I think too of Jack Halberstam’s “low theory” in The Queer Art of Failure, where he outlines inroads to non-dominant and resistant modes of being, knowing, and learning, recuperating failure as a practice and locating sites of “more creative, more cooperative, more surprising ways of being in the world.”4 Similarly, the puddle may lead a precarious existence, but it thrives in these very same in-between, overlooked spaces. A puddle infiltrates, interferes, and ultimately vanishes, only to replenish itself anew.

To close this brief meditation, a note on the methodology of documenting urban puddles: It begins in the street. You cannot be afraid to break sidewalk etiquette, block the crosswalk, or interrupt traffic. Stop and look at the puddles—murky waters are deeper than they appear.


1. An aside: “Poodle” is an etymological descendant of “puddle,” as shortened from the German pudelhund or “water dog,” as the dog was likely named since it was used to hunt waterfowl in the 17th century. Pudeln in Low German means “to splash.”
2. www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/2510/standing-water-complaint
3. Laurel Schwulst has written poetically about artist’s websites as puddles (thanks to Willis for pointing me to this): https://thecreativeindependent.com/people/laurel-schwulst-my-website-is-a-shifting-house-next-to-a-river-of-knowledge-what-could-yours-be
4. Jack Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), p.2.



Anny Li lives, writes, and documents in New York.