Literature Emitting Diodes is an unconventional publishing project that is slated to run from July 2015 to July 2016, and hopefully continue on an annual cycle for years following this inaugural run. Literature Emitting Diodes presents poetry and prose by talented writers in commercial venues throughout Chicago. Every month, we will select a prose piece or a poem to be uploaded onto a scrolling LED display sign for about three weeks. The sign will be placed in the window of a local business chosen to coordinate with the piece. Sites will be chosen in consultation with the authors to help them reach a diverse and enthusiastic audience. We will open submissions for July on May 5th and accept work on a rolling basis from then on.
The chosen works will also be published online and in an annual printed anthology. In storefronts, online, and in print, readers will be offered a rich variety of reading experiences for each piece. We will show that reading can be more than a solitary activity, that storefronts can be more than advertisements, and that publishing can reach people beyond the bookstore or library. In a society driven by consumption, people crave creativity and beauty. We will subvert the commercial practice that plays on people’s retinas. We will put literature back in the public sphere where advertising has the authority.
We are simply seeking to restore a balance between culture and commerce. We are partnering with local businesses to show that businesses can be part of the solution, and that there are myriad ways to give back to the community. Not every businesses can host readings or open mic nights like a coffeehouse or bookstore, but there are many other ways to support the arts and we hope our unconventional approach will inspire others to try their own.
Funded by Chicago, IL (June 2015)