Triple Canopy is interested in forging connections between books, manuscripts, lectures, performances, and exhibitions, among other forms, and the magazine’s digital publishing practice. We collaborate with contributors to develop projects in the fields of visual art and literature, broadly defined—work that takes into account current discussions and debates but is not bound by them, work that is carefully crafted but not fixated on form.
Proposals for projects from artists and writers are received via two channels: editors actively commissioning new projects and our annual call for proposals, which typically solicits work for an issue of the magazine in development. (While we welcome inquiries at other times, we often are not able to send a personal response.) Editors begin by working with each contributor on a conceptual level, discussing the ideas underlying the project and aesthetic strategies, as well as potential collaborations with other artists, writers, or technologists. Our commitment to in-depth, long-term collaboration ensures contributors can be involved in every aspect of their project’s realization, from research and editing to design and publication.
The application period for our ninth annual call for proposals is now closed. (Applications were due by October 26, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.) Proposals are reviewed in two rounds by the magazine’s editorial staff; successful applicants receive an honorarium of $2,000 as well as artistic, editorial, and technical support over the course of the development of the work, which usually takes eight to twelve months. Commission recipients will be announced in December 2018.
Click “Read more” below to learn about the 2018 call for proposals.
Triple Canopy’s 2018 call for proposals
The magazine invites proposals for new work to be developed by artists and writers in collaboration with Triple Canopy’s editors for inclusion in an upcoming issue devoted to the role of emerging technologies in fostering, reconfiguring, and eroding associations between people, which will launch in early 2019. For this year’s call for proposals, we’re only seeking works of fiction and poetry to be published online; that said, we’re open to hybrid genres, combinations of text and visual media or audio recordings, stories that are generated by or linked to events to be staged by the author, etc. (Unfortunately, we’re not able to consider proposals for works to be written in a language other than English or for translations.)
Triple Canopy’s twenty-sixth issue will assess how digital technologies, which once promised to connect and democratize the world, have instead provided the means to foster division, sow confusion, privatize communication, and enhance control. The issue will consider how the migration of so many cultural and political activities to proprietary online platforms, and the sudden dominance of novel forms of reading, viewing, and socializing, is contributing to the corrosion of democracies. At the same time, the issue will reflect on the bonds that we might form as a result of—and in response to—the circulation and consumption of selves as data (and vice versa).
While the issue will include artworks, essays, and public programs, in this call we invite authors of fiction and poetry to consider the following questions: How might we convey the tension between our favored forms of communication and the thoughts, experiences, and relationships that cannot so easily be captured and quantified? How might we represent ourselves if to do so makes us all the more legible to systems of surveillance and oppression? How might something like public opinion be expressed in the face of data-crunching operations that probe behavior, decipher biology, and manipulate impulses? How might we recognize ourselves in relation to the sentient software that we expect to serve, entertain, record, and know us?
Triple Canopy is looking for writers with coherent proposals for projects that can be realized in one year or less. While we are open to ideas that can be evaluated in relation to completed works, we will prioritize proposals that are accompanied by samples of the writing in progress. We are, as ever, in search of work that makes innovative, persuasive use of its own form and medium. While past publication or experience is not a prerequisite, successful applicants will demonstrate fluency in the genres in which they are writing. We appreciate work that takes into account current discussions and debates but is not bound by them, work that is carefully crafted but not fixated on form. While there is no limit on the length of proposed projects, keep in mind that we rarely publish works that contain more than eight thousand words.
Commission recipients receive:
+ Eight to twelve months of artistic, editorial, and technical support
+ An honorarium of $2,000
+ The possibility of using Triple Canopy’s Manhattan office and venue for an event devoted or related to the work
+ The possibility of publishing a version of—or conversation about—the work on Triple Canopy’s forthcoming podcast
+ Archiving of materials and long-term maintenance of the project by Triple Canopy in partnership with New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections
How do I know if my project is right for Triple Canopy?
The best way to gauge whether or not your submission is appropriate is to read the magazine. That said, Triple Canopy projects often combine artistic and literary work, or confuse the distinctions between them.
Who are past Triple Canopy commission recipients?
Benjamin Krusling will contribute “I Have Too Much to Hide,” a digital collection of poems that considers how poetry might engage the possibilities of post-representational politics, work around representation, or creatively deploy representation to new ends. Through a series of poems interwoven with screenshots, manipulated images, and video clips, Krusling will explore how the anxious, polluted streams of YouTube and Spotify—in which content follows logically from that which the user has already engaged, and is periodically punctuated by algorithmically-triggered commercial messages—have shaped how we experience ourselves and desire others. Krusling is a writer, artist, and lecturer in English at the University of Iowa.
Sara Jaffe ’s “Algorithm” is a short story told from the perspective of a song on a Pandora-like music streaming platform. The song is “captured” by representatives of the company, then processed and classified according to the highly secretive analytics of Pandora’s Music Genome Project. From there, the song undertakes an existential journey as it attempts to understand how and why it’s matched with other songs: does simply sharing “female vocals” mean that two songs have anything in common? What happens to a song’s political context and material value when analytics are based solely on the way it sounds? The song discovers an underground economy of information-trading about the mechanics of the algorithm and learns about artists’ meager financial remuneration. There’s talk of revolt, but what would that look like? Jaffe is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Her first novel, Dryland, was published by Tin House in 2015, and her short fiction and criticism have appeared in Bomb, Noon, Fence, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Offing. She co-edited The Art of Touring (Yeti, 2009), an anthology of writing and visual art by musicians that draws on her experience in the post-punk band Erase Errata.
Jesse Chun is a New York-based visual artist from Seoul, New York, Hong Kong, and Toronto. Her digital project “WORKBOOK” will examine the rhetoric and aesthetic found in English as a Second Language (ESL) education. Drawing from ESL workbooks and online courses, Chun will edit, translate, and reinterpret select grammar and conversation books, online tutorials, audio, and standardized tests. In an attempt to unlearn, “WORKBOOK” will unpack the linguistic hierarchy and conditions of readability that accompany the English language, which continues to be the dominant “common language” of international relations, business, and the internet. Chun’s project asks: Could English ever become secondary? Could visual language come first? Could poetry, or 한글?
Heidi Lau is a founding member of An/other NY and an artist who works with ceramics, drawing, video, hauntology, and Taoist traditions. Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin is an artist and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ruthless Lantern, a Cantonese-style art gossip magazine. Lau and Qin will produce a semifictional performance, “A Court of Ghosts,” which will recreate the theatrical court of the 1993 Taiwanese TV series Justice Pao in Triple Canopy’s space. Justice Pao chronicles the court cases of Pao Cheng, a righteous Song dynasty justice and Chinese cultural symbol who used supernatural powers along with science and logic to seek truth and justice. As in Justice Pao’s court, “A Court of Ghosts” will invoke the supernatural power of ghosts—the embodiment of unresolved resentments—to convene a tribunal on current systemic oppressions, including the gentrification of Manhattan’s Chinatown and sexual harassment within and directed at Asian diasporic communities. Through community engagement and the theater of antics, myth, gossip, and provincial superstition, “A Court of Ghosts” will highlight injustice and disseminate stories of resentment collected from Guangzhou, Macau, and the diasporic communities in New York.
Derica Shields is a writer, editor, and programmer from London. “A Heavy Nonpresence” is an oral history project centering the accounts of black adults and children of their encounters with the contemporary British welfare state. Each interview will be anonymized and exist as both a full-length transcript and a version edited by Shields. The transcripts will live online as a digital archive, while the condensed accounts will circulate in booklets, taking cues from the 1985 book The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain, in which Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie, and Suzanne Scafe use oral testimony to reveal the daily experiences, attitudes, and struggles of black women. “A Heavy Nonpresence” intends to be a space to articulate survival strategies and coping mechanisms that are usually pathologized as unproductive, lacking respectability, “crazy,” or criminal, and to air emotions including but not limited to rage, shame, ingratitude, and resentment. The project refuses the ambient political insistence that the welfare system’s foundational antiblackness can only be addressed once the system has been “saved” from the conservative right. It does not aspire to provide a lexicon for or politicize non-black people; it is rooted in black thinking and feeling about how we can, and already do, address black injury when redress is impossible.
Amy Herzog is a scholar and critic who writes about sound, film, philosophy, pornography, and dioramas. For her Triple Canopy commission, “My Colony,” Herzog will examine new developments in our understanding of the human microbiome, in particular the diverse organisms that populate our digestive systems. Through a public presentation and digital essay, she’ll explore the ways in which contemporary practices of intestinal flora management serve to contain and commodify anxiety, performing as prophylaxes against the dissolution of the self. Recent studies have pointed to the staggering number of bacteria that live on and within us, vastly outnumbering our human cells and influencing our health and behavior. Human beings, this research suggests, are leaky, decentralized systems, at one with (and perhaps governed by) the organisms that comprise them. A carefully curated and monitored microbiome suggests not only the assurance of a disease-free future, but the presence of an ethically sound managerial subject. In this most intimate and invisible of labor, well-being and vanity become indistinguishable.
Andrew Leland hosts and produces The Organist, an arts and culture podcast from KCRW and the Believer magazine, and is a lecturer in English at Smith College. With “Vile Jelly,” Leland will document and examine his experience of vision loss through a hybrid of auditory forms: essay, interview, sound-designed fiction, and documentary. As the rod cells in Leland’s retina degenerate, the world turns to fiction before his eyes: his mangled visual field dismembers bodies, decimates printed language, and ablates his young son into a cubist fug. Gradual blindness creates a sort of double vision, where the double is vision’s absence—seeing things and instantly imagining how they will be when he no longer sees them. “Vile Jelly” will weave the imaginative narrative of his impending sightlessness with the lived reality of his partially blind experience, documenting the degeneration of the visible world while Leland observes (and even celebrates) its passing.
Jon Wang is an artist and filmmaker based in New York. Combining queer erotica, Chinese folklore, and feng shui architecture, “From Its Mouth Came a River of High End Residential Appliances” explores fantasies of bodily transformation and self-mythologization. Through video and performance, Jon Wang will document his transformation into a dragon deity, which revolves around a planned journey through a series of dragon gates: gaping passages in Hong Kong high-rises that are designed to allow dragons to make their way from the mountains to the sea to drink and bathe.
Anjuli Raza Kolb and Jaffer Kolb are siblings working at the intersection of visual and scholarly practice. Anjuli is a professor of English and comparative literature at Williams College and Jaffer is a designer and lecturer at Princeton University’s School of Architecture. For their Triple Canopy commission, the Kolbs will explore the social and architectural history of the Central Park Ramble. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, along with master gardener Ignaz Anton Pilát, designed the thirty-eight-acre Ramble to bring the “mysterious illusion of lush, tropical vegetation” into an otherwise highly rational park. The perfect combination of wildness and density, invisibility and navigability, the Ramble has served as one of the city’s most significant wilds, a space for orgiastic reverie, for community and solidarity, and for refuge and love during the darkest days of the AIDS crisis. The Kolbs’s research will draw upon the library’s Pilát papers and the Gay Activists Alliance records.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed is an artist-archivist whose work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Queens Museum, the Bronx Museum, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Weeksville Heritage Center, among other venues. Rasheed’s project focuses on printed matter, sermons, and religious iconography produced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries within black religious movements in the United States. She will explore how self-anointed black prophets created and sustained post-slavery communities, inspiring a sense of belonging on the part of followers. Her research will involve sermons, song lyrics, proselytizing materials, photographs, FBI investigation files, and ephemera related to the Church of God and Saints of Christ, the Moorish Science Temple of America, and the International Peace Mission, all housed at the New York Public Library’s Schomberg Center. Rasheed will write a sermon for the eve of the twenty-second century that draws on these documents, as well as an essay that includes annotated archival materials and video interviews with contemporary adherents of these movements.
Kieran Daly is a writer and musician from Florida. His recent publications include MCAR (DTL) (Fig. 1) (X. Vol. No. Month. YEAR, 2014), Results (Futow, 2014), and Suspended (of) the formal capacity to sample and thereby preserve such samples according to the conditions from which they appeared (LUMA Foundation, 2014). For his Triple Canopy commission, Daly will present a lecture-performance on Pyrrhonian skepticism and musical systems. (“Music and Pyrrhonism Without Us”)
Primavera De Filippi is a postdoctoral researcher at Pantheon-Assas University of Paris II, and currently a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. Samer Hassan is an activist and assistant professor of computer science at the Complutense University of Madrid. For their Triple Canopy commission, De Filippi and Hassan will create a crowdfunding system for artistic production, implemented as a Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO) within the platform and programming language Ethereum.
Sowon Kwon is an artist working in sculptural and video installations, digital animation, drawing, and printmaking. For her Triple Canopy commission, Kwon will create a digital portfolio, “S as in Samsam,” which takes as its point of departure the coincidence of linguistic slippage between the diminutive of the English/Hebrew proper name “Samuel” and the Korean slang term of respect and affection for “Teacher” (샘). Kwon’s work will explore the professional and personal dimensions of friendship. (“S as in Samsam”)
Timothy Leonido is a writer and musician from Philadelphia. For his Triple Canopy commission, Leonido will create an essay and digital text that focuses on the history of the DARPA TIMIT Corpus, a collection of “phonetically balanced” sentences used to develop automatic speech recognition. (“How to Own a Pool and Like It”)
Frank Pasquale, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, writes on the political economy of law and information. His book, The Black Box Society: The Hidden Algorithms Behind Money and Information, will be published by Harvard University Press in fall 2014. For his Triple Canopy commission, Pasquale will author an article, “Automating the Automators,” on the promise and limits of automation in medicine, law, education, and finance.
Jared Stanley is the author of two collections of poetry and a 2012-2014 Research Fellow at the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art. For his Triple Canopy commission, Stanley will create “Oaths of the Blossoms,” a looseleaf chapbook composed of embossed notary seals, detailing the rights and obligations of ten white wildflowers and affording these species a shadowy “voice” in the debates we undertake on their behalf. (“Oaths of the Blossoms”)
Gillian Walsh is a New York-based choreographer whose work interrogates notions of definitive performance and choreographic mastery. For her Triple Canopy commission, Walsh will use material remnants of her dance-making process—video, photographs, transcribed text, and scores of foot patterns generated by Hasbro’s Twister Dance Rave toy—to create an “online performance” that calls into question commonplace distinctions between process, product, and object of performance.
Rosa Aiello is a writer and video artist. For her Triple Canopy commission, Aiello will create a digital project, exploring the limits of humanness as raised by 3-D animation. (“Cloths and Ladders”)
Shane Anderson is a Berlin-based poet, translator, and editor. For his Triple Canopy commission, Anderson will translate poet Ulf Stolterfoht’s Ammegespräche, or “The Amme Talks,” a linguistic interchange with artist Peter Dittmer’s chatbot installation, Die Amme. (“The Amme Talks”)
Bloopers comprises New York–based artists and musicians Michael Bell-Smith, Sara Magenheimer, and Ben Vida. (“Bloopers #0”)
David Greenspan is a renowned actor and playwright. For his Triple Canopy commission, Greenspan will present a solo performance of three works by Gertrude Stein. (“Composition … Master-Pieces … Identity”)
Irene Lusztig is a filmmaker and Assistant Professor of Film and Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz. For her Triple Canopy commission, Lusztig will mine an extensive archive of 20th-century maternal training and childbirth films to create a mediated essay on the medicalization and institutionalization of childbirth and motherhood in America. (“The Motherhood Archives”)
Dan Phiffer is a computer programmer and artist interested in hackable, inexpensive computer networks. For his Triple Canopy commission, Phiffer will deploy a peer-to-peer network autonomous of the Internet and designed to facilitate open political discussion. (“Occupy.here”)
Matt Sheridan Smith is a Los Angeles-based artist. For his Triple Canopy commission, Sheridan Smith will create an interactive fiction work and text-only computer game navigated using basic commands such as “examine,” “take,” “look,” or “go.” (“You Can’t See Any Such Thing”)
Ada Smailbegović is a poet and critic. For her Triple Canopy commission, Smailbegović will compose “Of the Dense and Rare,” an investigation into the poetics of matter based on experimental procedures drawn from Francis Bacon’s 1623 treatise The History of Dense and Rare. (“Of the Dense and Rare”)
Anna Della Subin is a writer and Bidoun contributing editor. For her Triple Canopy commission, Subin will author an essay on the failed 1935 Cairo production of Tawfiq al-Hakim’s The People of the Cave and the possibility of sleeping through revolution. (“Not Dead but Sleeping”)
Annie Julia Wyman A cultural history of the treadmill, from disciplinary device in British prisons to idol of American fitness.
Danielle Dutton On sculpture and narrative: grids, jellyfish, fathers, failure.
Rebecca Bird A series of animated vignettes about soldiering, the ballad “Danny Boy,” Bikini Atoll, heaven, ancestors, and more. (“Danny Boy”)
Tom Francis and Yasmine Seale An anatomy of the Buraq, the winged steed upon which Mohammed is thought to have ascended to heaven, from a product of a medieval bestiary to the emblem of a Libyan airline.
Genevieve Yue with Liz Sales A deep reading of Theater of the Universe, an eighteenth-century camera obscura within a book, that uncovers hidden relationships between archaic optical devices, the bounds of human knowledge, and our own build-it-yourself universes.
David Auerbach On the laissez faire etiquette and counter-irony of “A-culture.” Documenting those anarchic, anonymous online subcultures that most resist documentation. (“Anonymity as Culture: Treatise”; “Anonymity as Culture: Case Studies”)
Franklin Bruno Inverting the hierarchies of class difference: multimedia analysis of My Fair Lady and its localized parodies. (“Wouldn’t It Be Milchadik?”)
Gabriella Coleman An ethnographic inquiry into the ethics and aesthetics of the hacktivist (anti-)organization Anonymous. (“Our Weirdness Is Free”)
Isabelle Moffat On the history of diagrammatic images of brain function, from the Renaissance to the fMRI. (“This Is Your Brain on Paper”)
Emmanuel Broadus & Ryan Ffrench Aba Okipasyon (Down with the Occupation): the ideological program of the UN in Haiti, as shown through footage shot by the artists. (“Aba Okipasyon”)
Suzanne Snider A profile of rehabilitative tools and therapeutic objects, from the Hug Machine to the multisensory sound and light environments of Snoezelen.
Laura Vitale What does it sound like when an ocean forms? A sonic exploration and performative lecture exploring the properties and valences of gypsum.
Graham T. Beck A Chromatic History: a survey of FS-595, the official color palette of the United States.
Anna Lundh An investigation into a “vision of a vision”: Karl-Birger Blomdahl’s unfinished computer opera, inspired by Hannes Alfvén’s 1966 novel The Tale of the Big Computer. (“The Tale of the Big Computer”)
James Merle Thomas & Meghan O’Hara On its fortieth anniversary, revisiting NASA’s Tektite project, the sci-fi-inspired underwater habitat that provided America with a fleeting vision of technologically oriented utopia. (“Tektite Revisited”)
Matt Wolf “What happened to Jason?” An inquiry into the life of Jason Holliday, the gay black prostitute featured in Shirley Clarke’s 1967 film Portrait of Jason. (“Another Portrait of Jason”)
Alyssa Pheobus & Murad Khan Mumtaz A study of the iconography of Pakistani and American passports and the precarious relationship between personal identification, citizenry, and the state. (“Origin, Departure”)
Eve Sussman & Rufus Corporation A dual-stream thriller randomized in real time; an experimental film noir. (“whiteonwhite”)
Mary Walling Blackburn & A. B. Huber From Joseph O’Donnell’s photographs of the wreckage of Nagasaki to Brueghel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, exploring the relationships between violence, representation, and evolving technologies of vision. (“The Flash Made Flesh”)
Claire Barliant Revisiting Mankato, which in 1862 was the site of the largest mass execution to occur in US history, and questioning the value of manufactured memory. (“The Hanging at Mankato”)
Ilana Halperin A performative lecture on “volcanic field work,” that mines the intersection of archaeology, geology, and visual art. (“Hand Held Lava”)