Current Projects Recent Work Workshops Publications Arts Writing Other Writing

Current Projects

Recent work

    Reading at DiverseWorks Art Spacediverseworks_reading.jpg
  • Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    From the program: "The DiverseWorks Artist Board has organized a reading by Houston area writers David A. Feil and John Pluecker. We asked writers and scribblers to contribute to the festivities by reading a few of their own words about Franklin Evans' exhibition houstontohouston, and its ideas, or one of the pictures or texts it refers to. We discovered two innovative writers who responded to and even resisted the tenuous parallels to Evans' exhibition. Some of the key themes include personal archiving, bridging artistic worlds between cities, keeping records, digital and paper photography, and much more."

    I created my contribution using a piece of software I developed for the WriteClick suite that looks at the word-sequence patterns in an original source text. In this case, I typed up the underlined text featured throughout the houstontohouston exhibit to serve as the source.

    "How It's Done To Who It's In" full text (txt)
    The Wind
  • This is a rough sketch based on the idea of incorporating "weather" into the generation/presentation of text. Here the individual letters in a given text are moved from left to right, but only when the resulting combinations of letters taken three at a time are statistically likely. What results is mostly gibberish, but definitely English-ish gibberish. Two-word phrases that start with the word "the" are highlighted within the shifting flow of letters, hinting at the possibility of sense still arising. I plan to use this mechanism as part of a more coherent project, but I am enjoying the new visual stimulus so far.

    Performance for They, Who Soundheshe.png
  • Monday, November 19, 2012

    They, Who Sound is the series in Houston for experimental sound-making, improvised music, free jazz, underground noise, noises, electro-acoustics, psychedelia, the projection of light, improvised dance, the performance of art, and musique brut…

    Inspired by the experience of the hour-long readings of "The" for the Texas Contemporary Art Fair, I created a set of companion texts generated using a similar method. From the 2500+ poems compiled in my database, I wrote a query to look through each, alternately looking for an arbitrary-but-not-random instance of either the word "he" or the word "she" plus the word following immediately after. Because there is not as much of a guarantee that either of these two pronouns will appear in a poem as there was with the article "the", the resultant text was much shorter, taking only about 15 minutes to read. A second text was created by searching alternately for the pronouns "I" and "you" instead of "he" and "she." For the performance, I read the "He/She" text, accompanying myself with an improvisation on guitar. Although presented as a solo performance, I had privately invited a trio of other voices to join mine towards the end of the piece as a sort of surprise chorus, reading sections from the "I/You" text. Many thanks to those readers: Carrie Schneider, Patrick Dougherty, and Rebecca Novak. Video by Pete Gershon. The audio and still shots are taken from the video.

    "He/She (I/You)" audio (m4a)
    "He/She" full text (txt)
    "I/You" full text (txt)
    Reading at the Texas Contemporary Art Fairdavid_tree.jpg
  • Friday, October 19 through Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Press Release: "Engaging local musicians and poets to perform and read to native plants, the immersive Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center booth installation at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair plays with the framework that positions both audience and performer in the context of contemporary art."

    Because of the special circumstances of the art fair environment, I chose a text with no seeming beginning or end but with a clearly defined form and rhythm. The text, here called "The" for the sake of brevity, was originally composed in August of 2012. Using a database of 2500+ poems compiled over the summer of 2012, I was able to write a query that returned an arbitrary-but-not-random instance from each of the word "the" and the word following immediately after. The resultant text took roughly a full hour to read on each of the three occasions I had to perform during the art fair. Even if only heard in short sections, the text's flowing list of nouns functions as the skeleton of a poem, a story, or memory inescapably fleshed out further in each individual's imagination.

    "The" full text (txt)


    Collaborative Writing Workshopmeca.jpg
  • led by Patrick Daugherty, David Feil, Rebecca Novak, Dawn Pendergast, and Stalina Villarreal

    Participants will engage with one another and with professional writers from throughout the city to create poetry together and to explore everything from language-based visual art and spoken word recordings to computer-generated writing, bookmaking, and live performance. While words are traditionally taught to us to be a vehicle of self-expression, this class will focus on opening up language to all kinds of uses, from playful games to scientific investigations, from multi-vocal scores to be performed to documentation of our experiences together. In this way, we believe writing becomes something that can contain the dynamic energy of a whole group. From the written traditions, we find inspiration in sound poetry, conceptual poetry, constrained writing, erasure, collage, cut-ups, polyglottism, and computational linguistics. Along the way, we will wade (and dive) deep into the strange world of grammatical structure, literary devices, poetic forms, slang and dialectology, etymology, and more. Our goal is for participants to engage in a transcendent experience where language and sound are encountered as both endless fields and infinitely small grains of sand.

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  • About MECA

    MECA began in 1977, growing out of the St. Joseph Fun 'n Food Fest, the first citywide celebration of the various cultural groups that lived in inner-city Houston. St. Joseph's Catholic Church in the Old Sixth Ward led the festival; the church's pastor, Father Sam Rosales, asked MECA's founder and executive director, Alice E. Valdez, to build upon the spirit of community created by the festival by developing a program that would provide alternative arts activities for the city's youth and families. MECA received 501(c)(3) status and was incorporated in 1979; in 1993, MECA moved to its current home in the historic Dow School building in the Old Sixth Ward. Built in 1912 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the school is currently undergoing restoration through MECA's Dow School Rehabilitation Project; Phase I exterior restoration was completed in 2010.

    MECA programs are nationally recognized for producing talented student artists. Such recognition includes being designated a Point of Light by President George H. W. Bush and being named a four-time semi-finalist for the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities Coming Up Taller Award. Student ensembles and artists also are known for their talent and achievements; recently, the National Endowment named the advanced Mariachi ensemble an American Masterpieces Touring Ensemble for the Arts.


    Right Click! Write Click! Write Clique!writeclique.png
  • led by David Feil, Dawn Pendergast, and Patrick Dougherty

    Right Click! Write Click! Write Clique! Workshop for writers, artists, and tinkerers interested in new approaches to the art of placing words together. Each week, our meeting revolved around a different computer-assisted approach to creating and manipulating text. Concerns included the aesthetic/conceptual consequences of such approaches, variation in usage and application, historical literary precedents, and, more pragmatically, ease of use. Attendees were encouraged to write and share what they are able to produce through the applications.

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    ¡Copy Paste!copypaste.jpg
  • led by John Pluecker

    A ten-week temporary workspace for the exploration of generative practices in contemporary experimental writing. The goal of the space was two-fold: 1. To read, discuss and debate contemporary approaches to experimental writing. 2. To produce new work in innovative ways that engage with contemporary strategies of appropriation, erasure, recycling, remixing, framing, stealing, copying, pasting, recovery, documentation, translation, transversions, constraint-based writing, collaboration, ekphrastics, book objects, investigation and more.

    copypaste.jpg allponies.png patrick.png


    The (A Cycle of 3,401 Objects)theview.jpg
  • Audio recording and broadside print

    The following query accessed a database of poems collected from the poets.org website:

    SELECT REPLACE( GROUP_CONCAT( CONCAT( ' the ', SUBSTRING_INDEX( SUBSTRING_INDEX( SUBSTRING_INDEX( text, ' the ', -1 * MOD( id, ( LENGTH( text ) - LENGTH( REPLACE( text, " the ", "" ) ) ) / 5 ) ), "\r", 1 ), " ", 1 ) ) SEPARATOR "" ), "the ", "" ) FROM poems

    The query returns an arbitrary-but-not-random instance from each poem of the word "the" and the word following immediately after.

    An edition of 25 cassettes were dubbed by Teflon Beast Records. Each cassette includes a folded broadside print as its liner notes. An additional 15 broadside uncut prints were also made.

    Purchase digital audio from Teflon Beast Records
    thebroadside.png thesquares.png theview.png
    Let The Ponies Have Plenty of Roomponiestitle.png
  • This book was made by .

    Beginning in the Fall of 2011, we, a group of seven intrepid writers / artists / poets / baristas united to play with contemporary generative practices of experimental writing. This workgroup was called ¡Copy Paste! and we met at Project Row Houses. The members of the workgroup were enthused by collaborative writing practices. We decided to keep meeting in 2012. We have met until now. We Google Doc'd. We cut and pasted. We Photoshopped and Photoshared. We debated the intricacies of meaning-making and aesthetic chaos. Some drifted away; some lingered.

    We worked to produce this book collectively at all of our houses and at Antena Books/Libros Antena at Project Row Houses during the months of April and May 2012.

    The text of this book is copied and pasted from: Ananse: The Web of Life in Africa by John Biggers, The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Le Thi Diem Thuy, a private memorandum by Walt Andrus, Alligators in Texas: Rules, Regulations and General Information by Texas Parks and Wildlife, "Bombing on the Bayou: Riverside Terrace and Jack Caesar."

    Let the Ponies Have Plenty of Room was published as "Ephemera #01" for subscribers to the Little Red Leaves Textile Series.


    poniesbooks.png poniescover.png poniestitle.png clouds.png poniestraffic.png poniespd.png
    The Will Of Odysseus In His Sleep Is Doomodysseusbook.png
  • This text is a retelling of the section of Homer's Odyssey where Odysseus is escorted home by the Phaeacians, during which voyage he sleeps, guiding the boat with his mind. When he awakes, the Phaeacians have left and the land around him appears unfamiliar and foreign. Switching between interior monologue, dream sequences, and external narration, the story focuses on the fear of being unable to account for one's own life and one's responsibility for and complicity in violence.

arts writing

    achoumar12.pngArts+Culture Houston
  • March 2013, print (read online)
    Art Review: John Cage at Hiram Butler Gallery
  • March 2013, print (read online)
    Art Review: Gunilla Klingberg's Wheel of Everyday Life at Rice Gallery
  • November 2012, print (read online)
    Theater Review: Body Awareness at Stark Naked Theatre Company
  • November 2012, print (read online)
    Art Review: Strange Eggs at the Menil Collection
  • October 2012, print (read online)
    Theater Review: Miss Julie at Classical Theatre Company
  • July/August 2012, print (read online)
    Art Review: Oscar Muñoz at Sicardi Gallery
  • June 2012, print (read online)
    Theater Review: American Falls at Catastrophic Theatre
  • June 2012, print (read online)
    Theater Review: King Hedley II at The Ensemble Theatre
  • May 2012, print (read online)
    Art Review: Contemporary Asian Art: Texas Connections at Asia Society Texas Center
  • April 2012, print (read online)
    Theater Review: Anthony Barilla's Apocalypse Town at DiverseWorks Art Space
  • April 2012, print (read online)
    Art Review: Amy Blakemore's New Pictures at Inman Gallery
  • March 2012, print (read online)
    Art Review: Luminous at Box 13 ArtSpace
  • March 2012, print (read online)
    Theater Review: Dinner With Friends at Stark Naked Theatre Company
  • February 2012, print (read online)
    Theater Review: Voyage at Main Street Theater
  • July 2010, (read online)
    Theater Review: Hunter Gatherers at Catastrophic Theatre
  • May 2010, (read online)
    Theater Review: The Designated Mourner at Catastrophic Theatre
  • March 2010, (read online)
    Theater Review: Fault Lines at Horse Head Theatre

other writing