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At Zero Part II
Editorsâ€™ Notes Changming Yuan
The Death of a Chinese Widow Partner Perspective
Sarah and Joseph Belknap
Fox River Derivatives
Solder and Wire
Nine Ways to Cross a Railway
Minus One, Plus One or, The Geogrpahy of Clipping
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Welcome to YoYoMagazine's At Zero: Part II
YoYoMagazine is a journal built around a conversation: each issue begins with a podcast of a discussion among the editors on a given theme. Part I (we like to think of it as the initial Yo) is crafted from artists and writers invited to respond to the discussion. Part II (the second Yo in YoYo) is selected from submissions inspired by or related to the first Yo. Think 'call and response--and call again" and you're in the right territory. Our inaugural theme was, fittingly enough, At Zero. We awaited submissions for Part II with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety--what linkages would fire the synapses of our readers’ minds? Would people ‘get it’? It was both a thrill and a relief to see the range of submissions. Some exhibited a very clear connection to Part I: Emily Severance’s poem Geophagia is a direct response to J.J. McCracken’s Hunger Project: Philadelphia, though in a different form: a cross-genre pollination we are proud to enable. Hideous Beast’s Survival School is clearly related to Bonnie Fortune’s Living Structures--but the two dwell at opposite ends of a spectrum; whereas Bonnie explores an optimistic approach to sustainable living, Hideous Beast’s is about fear-driven preparation for catastrophe. This second Yo also engages in more subtle connections to previous pieces, as well as creating new explorations of the concept At Zero. Sarah and Joseph Belknap’s Action Stars plays on a literal interpretation of zero gravity while at the same time recalling Greta Holt’s To Do from Part I, as both depict mundane activities in an off-kilter world. The theme of loss, so poignantly touched on by Eileen Favorite in the first Yo, resurfaces here in more poems, and echoes through this iteration in images and essays capturing the spare beauty of the Midwestern landscape. We hope you find these words and images as intriguing as we did and share them with others. Be on the lookout for the beginning of our next conversation! Amber, Kristin & Rebecca
Two Poems Changming Yuan
The Death of a Chinese Widow (for my grandma Li Juying) in a remote Chinese village on a forgotten winter night a 38-year-old woman tried to sit up noiselessly put aside rather than on her padded clothes crawled out of her frameless bed and resolutely drowned herself in a broken wide-brimmed water jug like a snowflake melting into the Long River years later, her only son told me the woman chose to drown herself almost naked because she hoped her children could find a bit more warmth by wearing those clothes her only legacy
Partner Perspective when we were younger my wife and I used to look at each other as true equals since we were both 1.64 meter tall no matter where we stood now we are newly old she begins to look down on me I have been shrinking in every way she can conceive
Sarah and Joseph Belkamp
Survival School Hideous Beast
If you visit the website of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a University of Chicago-based organization born in 1945 of participants in the Manhattan project with the self-stated purpose of informing the public about “threats to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences,” you can follow a timeline of the Doomsday Clock – a metaphoric clock which illustrates how close the world might be to Midnight, or “catastrophic destruction.” Since the clock’s inception in 1947, the farthest we have been from the “apocalypse” is 17 minutes when in 1991 the Cold War had officially ended. On January 14 of this year, 2010 the bulletin announced we had gained a minute since 2007, with positive political shifts in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and ambitious goals to limit carbon emissions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. With 6 minutes ostensibly representing an imminent apocalyptic reality to our insulated Middle-American experience and numerous other rumors of threats to civilization, what interests us is the subject of preparedness – a state of readiness. Survivalist culture’s emphasis on planning and self-reliance resembles higher education’s promise of increased employment qualifications and financial stability. Given the recent economic downturn and accompanying increase in unemployment, education appears to provide the means to subsist in a situation of scarcity. It is not surprising that fear is an incentive to prepare, but the difficulty lies in understanding the prevalence of this practice among seemingly disparate ideologies.
Liberal arts students, NRA members, investment bankers, hurricane survivors, most world religions â€“ all are bound by traditions and practices that attempt to insure a future world. The form these rituals take thoroughly shapes both the context in which we live and our future. To understand the present situation we must understand the formal and aesthetic qualities of preparation tactics. Mimicking Minimalismâ€™s method of paring down form to implicate perception and the body we have created an installation and series of events that use the gallery as an existential framework for investigating preparedness. These experiments serve as creative interpretations of survivalist activities. They are attempts to understand how the character of preparation can structure future actions and how aesthetics can provide a flexible engagement with an unpredictable world.  http://www.thebulletin.org  http://www.state.gov/t/isn/18535.htm  http://unfccc.int/2860.php
Click image for video documentation
Geophagia Emily Severance
A poem inspired by “Hunger Project: Philadelphia”
I smell yesteryear’s rot in my palm feel gravity’s pressure to lay down— add a layer above the earth I ingest, become a blanket for dinosaurs.
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The Bridge Gary Justis
I was intrigued by the idea of a house that could fly. I heard a story about horses that walked in a circle down by the Chicago River. People in the oldest part of Chicago told me about these horses, who lived and worked on the river in the early part of the 20th century. They were powerfully bred, trained and shod for sustained exertion. I wasn’t sure why there would have been horses by the river. An old Polish woman, whom I had met on 18th Street one afternoon in 1977, told me about them. “Those draft horses were strong. They made a house fly. It came up above the trees, and the children laughed…they still laugh…even after the horses are gone.” She was smiling to herself. I thought she might be a bit off. Before she could continue, the bus came. She boarded and waved to me through the dirty back window as the bus drove away.
From my studio, I could walk to
most destinations in the city. I loved to walk, especially in the mornings, while shopkeepers swept the soiled concrete in front of their businesses. Working people would pass, cradling their morning coffee, trading gossip and nodding at each other with a smile.
When I crossed a vacant lot adjacent to my studio one morning, I saw a group of neighborhood children standing in a small clearing. They were surrounded on several sides by tall trees and shorter prairie shrubs. The children were shouting and jumping. Some were dressed in uniforms for school, so I knew they traveled as a group As they saw me enter the lot, several of them pointed and shrieked in delighted bursts, trying to direct my attention to the tops of the trees. I looked up, and my astonishment turned the children's commotion to hysterical laughter. Above the tops of the trees, some distance away, I saw a house rising up. It stopped its ascent, hovered, with its bottom area partially obscured by leaves and branches, then slowly slipped down from view. In that instant the children, wildly laughing and jumping, ran around the trees, across the lot, and onto Canal Street. I followed at a slower run, trying hard not to look like I was chasing them. I caught up as one of them pointed towards the river. â€œLook, mister! Cool.â€?
There before us
sat a giant of engineering. A rare vertical lift bridge. This was a monster from the early 20th Century. It had two massive steel and limestone towers supporting a long, horizontal span. Smack in the center of that span, a small house was attached. The bridge had been lifting and lowering this house for over three generations.
Later, I discovered I could walk down
into the bridge's main restricted area, the Amtrak general yards. Sometimes I would cross the bridge on foot over the Chicago River, taking a path on the southern end on the unused prairie between 18th Street and Downtown. This was a peaceful area. I'd heard that in the 1960's, neighborhood boys used to hunt pheasant in the meadows below the bridges. It was difficult to imagine the cops ignoring boys with shotguns. I finally discovered the bridge control house held the electrical switches for the great bridge. Charles, the bridge operator, had an old stray dog, who lived in the control house most of the time. “What's the dog's name?” We always searched for things to talk about. “Horse, and I know you’re gonna ask me why…” Charles turned to his radio and said something in some strange railroad code, then looked at me, waiting for my curiosity to rise. “Okay, why?” “Well, when this bridge was built, there was a turnstile and two giant draft horses. When a river barge was going under, the horses pulled the works around to raise the bridge. They were named Horse 1 and Horse 2.” “Okay. And the dog…is?”
“Horse 3, but we shortened it to Horse.” We both chuckled, then fell silent, Charles looked at me as if he was waiting for me to tell him something. “Some Polish street lady told me about this bridge.” “What did she tell you?” Charles seemed to already know something. “She told me about horses making a house fly.” “That's Elizabeth, and she’s no street person. She's the mother of a big-time landlord in this area. You probably rent from her son. Do you live around here? ” “Yeah, on 18th and Jefferson. In the old creamery.” “She lives above you! ”
During the first snowfall that year, I
decided to take my usual bridge route to the downtown area. I had Alex, my dog, with me. When we reached the mid-point of the bridge, I noticed Alex had stopped. She was gazing down at the water below us. I looked down. The water was getting farther away. Across the Amtrak yards to the East, I could see the angles of the buildings changing.
Without a sound or any apparent
mechanical movement, we were getting higher and higher. The action was smooth, with no creaking and no shaking, only the water moving continually away. I felt gravity pulling my feet and legs. We quickly rose to over a hundred feet. It seemed like a thousand feet, straight up. A gigantic, silent river barge slipped under us. The bridge control house looked so small. I saw Charles and Horse 3 leave the small structure and set off on the chalky access road. I wondered if they knew we were high above them.
After a few minutes, as I watched the barge disappear into the whiteness, the bridge began to lowerâ€Ś I thought of giant horses, lifting their great backs, floating us gently down.
Fox River Derivatives Peter Hoffman
These Fox River images are the result of serendipity - there is no compositing. I made photographs on a 6x9 camera along the Fox River and then set fire to the negatives after coating them in gasoline.
Then they were doused in water and soaked to get rid of the gasoline. The remains of the burned negative is scanned, and aside from some cropping and mild attempts at neutralizing color shift, the images are the raw scans of the burnt negatives.
Now phone and then the
and it will be
Click here to watch the author reading her poem
Solder and Wire Bonnie MacAllister
We are traveling Unraveling the soil, Stitching together components, Boarding up what we cannot finish Leaving it for the rainy season. Were I made of solder and wire I would fashion my own type keys, Pick out the thinnest font Grip it at the melting point And hammer out our good-byes.
Nine Ways to Cross a Railway Youngwook Nam
Nine Ways to Cross a Railway responds to a Times of India article describing an accident in which a speeding train mowed down seven elephants at a go-slow zone in September 2010. The work is crafted from a careful rearrangement of the words from the article and is intended as a guidebook for elephants who need to cross a train track.
MINUS ONE, PLUS ONE OR, THE GEOGRAPHY OF CLIPPING [ ABRIDGED VERSION] BY EDWARD BREITWEISER 2011
This is a Product of the United States of America
PREFACE [HELLO] This document and the components (text, digital images) contained herein were collected and assembled by THE AUTHOR during the month of March 2011. I have abridged the contents for publication. Thank you.
E.W.B. July 2011 60626 Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
I. [INTRODUCTION] At the northeastern end of Chicago (see below), the Rogers Park neighborhood is defined as the area and residents contained within the following five
(5) limits: Limit 1. Limit 2. Limit 3. Limit 4. Limit 5.
Devon Avenue (to the South); West Ridge Avenue (to the West); Howard Street (to the North); Juneway Terrace (to the North); Lake Michigan (to the East).
It is worth emphasizing that Rogers Park […] should not be confused with one (1) Mr. Roger Park, who is not the aforementioned neighborhood and will not be pursued here. Near the southern end of Loyola Park, located at the easternmost edge of the Rogers Park neighborhood, about fifty (50) meters north of the pier that leads to the lighthouse, and about thirty (30) meters west of the westernmost part of this same pier, is a collection of five (5) park benches that face every direction except for the due-cardinals. We will refer to this collection of benches as “The Demilitarized Zone”, or alternately as “the DMZ” (see Appendix, Figure A-1). […] The five (5) benches that comprise The Demilitarized Zone are contrasted with the rest of the benches found in Loyola Park by the distinguishing physical feature that they do not directly face Lake Michigan. One (1) of these five (5) benches is located along the southern side of the pedestrian path that extends southeastward from (or northwestward to) the southeastern end of Morse Avenue (see Appendix, Figure A-2). The other four (4) benches are found to the south-southeast of this northernly bench, forming peaks and troughs undulating along a hypothetical northwest-to-southeast (or vice-versa) zero-point. This collection of benches falls in between the two (2) latitudinal frontiers of Loyola Park, both of which are demarcated by discrete rows of benches (either made of poured concrete or a combination of painted wood and poured concrete); both of these border rows face Lake Michigan, which is located to the east of Loyola Park. […] [Section removed. – Ed.] In other words, the grassy area containing The Demilitarized Zone is the area in between the westernmost and easternmost borders (as demarked by the two 
distinct bench-lined pedestrian paths) of Loyola Park. […] [Section removed. – Ed.] It is worth emphasizing that, apart from the fact that its benches do not face Lake Michigan, The Demilitarized Zone is benchedly unique because it [contains] the only collection of benches in Loyola Park that falls outside of any row of benches that [could be construed] as a [sonic] border.
II. [PROCEDURE] (The following assertions assume that the actions taken by the individual occurred under the following condition: The day must not be particularly noisy, in terms of excessive noise created by the following: Potential Noise Source 1. Traffic [automotive, pedestrian, aero- or sea-craft, &c.]; Potential Noise Source 2. Canines [feral or domesticated]; Potential Noise Source 3. Waves [liquid or non-]; Potential Noise Source 4. Birds [feral or domesticated]; Potential Noise Source 5. Fireworks [legal or il-]; Potential Noise Source 6. Boomboxes/music; Potential Noise Source 7. Alexi Giannoulias rallies [pro- or anti-]; Potential Noise Source 8. &c. For this reason, THE AUTHOR recommends executing the actions under the following conditions: Condition 1.
Condition 2. Condition 3.
Early morning to mid-afternoon, for late afternoon will ensure interruption by gregarious youth,and evening-through-dawn may put the individual into unnecessarily precarious contact with hoodlums and their various methods of hoodlumry; Ideally on a Saturday or Sunday; On a mild winter day, such that the individual will not be unnecessarily cold but will be unique amongst his/her peers in his/her decision to go to a beach-front park; If on a mild winter day, bring a hat [or at least a hood to cover the ears], gloves and/or mittens, and appropriate footwear, for the day will be cold.
Further, the individual may be alone or with no more than two  relatively quiet companions, including [but not limited to] animals [preferably domesticated, but the choice is up to the individual]. – Ed.)
[Section removed. – Ed]
The individual ought to situate his-/herself on the benches, described in section I.3, that form the The Demilitarized Zone. [Section removed. - Ed]
III. [CONCLUSION(S)] If an individual sits on the benches that form the westernmost border of Loyola Park (+1), that individual will notice that it is difficult to hear Lake Michigan over the din of the city. If an individual sits on the benches that form the easternmost border of Loyola Park (-1), that individual will notice that it is difficult to hear the city over the din of Lake Michigan. If an individual sits on the benches that form the The Demilitarized Zone (as defined above), that individual will notice that it is possible to hear: the city and its constituent sounds (cars, the El, Chicagoans, &c.); Lake Michigan and its constituent sounds (waves, the wind that forms the waves, &c.); various aero- and sea-craft; birds in the trees overhead; various canines; &c, all of which constitute a fluctuating stereoscopic image of a zone that falls between two (2) political extremes (+1 and -1) and that rarely exhibits all the characteristics of either pole. Seated at the threshold, the individual is the transient; the individual is at the zero (0) point and all tends toward him/her.
FIGURE A-1 â€“ The Demilitarized Zone, as observed from neutral airspace. (Image courtesy Google Maps)
FIGURE A-2 â€“ The northernmost bench included in the collection of five (5) benches that constitute The Demilitarized Zone, as observed from the pedestrian path that extends southeastward from (or northwestward to) the southeastern end of Morse Avenue.
Unless otherwise noted, all content copyright THE AUTHOR, 2011.
Bonnie MacAllister Bonnie MacAllister is a multimedia performance artist. She has performed at the New York Foundation of Arts and the Cat Cat Club in Paris, and her plays have been staged at the Shubin Theatre, Adrienne Theatre, and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Her artwork has been exhibited internationally including in Galeria 6 in Mexico, the Utopia Library in Italy, and the Delaware Art Museum. She curates the multimedia label Certain Circuits Media (www.certaincircuits.org) which is currently accepting submissions.
Changming Yuan Changming Yuan, author of Chansons of a Chinaman (Leaf Garden, 2009) and coauthor of Three Poets: Voices from the West Coast (Goldfish, 2011), is a three-time Pushcart nominee who grew up in rural China and published several monographs before moving to Canada. Currently Yuan teaches writing in Vancouver and has poems appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine and nearly 380 other literary magazines / anthologies in 16 countries.
Edward Breitweiser Edward Breitweiser is a Chicago-based artist, musician, and writer. Notably, his works have been displayed or performed at Festival MusicAlp (Courchevel, France), the Illinois State University Galleries (Normal, IL, USA), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, USA), Schubertiade Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Salle Cortot (Paris, France), threewalls (Chicago), and the Giorgio Cini Foundation (Venice, Italy). Recent collaborations include Project Cabrini Green (2011), a public light installation led by Czech artist Jan Tichy, and New Atlantis (2011), an online virtual sonic environment developed by artists from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, lâ€™Ecole des Beaux-Arts dâ€™Aix-en-Provence, and Locus Sonus.
Emily Severance Emily Severance strives to balance her three loves: writing poetry, making art, and teaching elementary special education. She has a BA from The Residential College of The University of Michigan and an MFA in studio art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Literary Magazine, Defenestration, Drunken Boat, qarrtsiluni, Sisyphus, and Switched-on Gutenberg. Her artwork has been exhibited at Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey, The Contemporary Museum in Baltimore and the Terra Museum of Art in Chicago. She lives in New Mexico.
Gary Justis Gary Justis earned His Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1979. He has developed his work professionally in the area of sculpture for the last 32 years. He lived and worked in Chicago from 1977 to 1999. He currently resides in Bloomington Illinois where he continues his work in sculpture, printmaking and writing. He holds an Associate Professorship at Illinois State University. He has exhibited work at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Phillip Morris, NY, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. He has also exhibited work in numerous exhibitions at private galleries in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. Gary Justisâ€™ work is included in various collections throughout the country; most notably: The Museum of Modern Art Library, The New York City Library (special collections), The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Artistâ€™s Books Collection.
Hideous Beast Hideous Beast is a collaborative effort between two artists, Josh Ippel and Charles Roderick. Since 2004 they have worked organizing structured participatory events, publishing how-to manuals and most recently creating interactive sculptures and installations that examine survival culture. Currently Hideous Beast operate out of Chicago, IL. Primarily working with non-commercial art spaces, Hideous Beast has exhibited their work with a variety artist-run spaces, galleries, museums and festivals nationally and internationally. Documentation of our work can be found at http://hideousbeast.com
Peter Hoffman Peter Hoffman (1984) is a human being that makes images. He is based in nowheresville/everywheresville suburbia near Chicago where he works on both personal and commissioned editorial assignment work. His first serious pictures were made while spending six months exploring New Zealand's beautiful coastal areas with friends. These friends were acquired while joining him in a desperate search for a roof to stay under, after they had all arrived to the country without housing. (They found a beach house in a little bohemian South Island town called Sumner, and paid less in rent than you would in rural Nebraska). Peter holds an M.A. from the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University and is an adjunct instructor at Harrington College of Design in Chicago. Some of his recent editorial clients include The New York Times, The Guardian Sunday Magazine (London) and Monocle.
Rhonda Ward Biographic information coming soon.
Sarah and Joseph Belknap Sarah Belknap was born in 1983 in Chicago, Illinois. She received her B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Joseph Belknap was born in 1979 in New Philadelphia, Ohio. He received his B.A. from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and his M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Their work has been shown in Chicago at Zolla Lieberman, Betty Rymer Gallery, Sullivan Galleries, The Chicago Cultural Center, OhNoDOOM! and the Revolving Door Gallery. As well as RAID Projects in Los Angeles and Flux Space, Nexus Gallery and Penrose Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sarah and Joseph have been Artists in Residence at OxBow School of Art, Harold Arts and Cliff Dwellers. Currently Sarah and Joseph teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and are Chicago Artist Coalition Bolt residents.
Youngwook (Jamie) Nam Currently living in Chicago, Youngwook (Jamie) Nam is a graphic designer originally from Seoul, South Korea. She is a first year in MFA program in Visual Communication Design at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She works across various media: from books and posters to videos and environmental design. Jamie studied Pre-Medicine at University of Notre Dame, IN. In a dream of being a dentist, she took science classes, conducted researches, and worked at dentistsâ€™ offices during college years, and through these experiences she gained research skills and analytic thinking. Meanwhile, she took art classes by chance, and she was fascinated by how an everyday element becomes a serious source of study and inspiration. She felt alive every moment in the acts of creation and made the deliberate decision to pursue graphic design.
This issue is in response to At Zero at YoYoMagazine.org. At Zero II is the Yo in YoYo.