“Subtitles”, a series of projects inspired by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, Doris Lessing and Roald Dahl, begins Friday the 21st with “Doves and Crocodiles”. Participating artists, Robert Ladislas Derr, Jac Jemc, Ryan Dunn and Joseph Kramer, will present work influenced by Edgar Allen Poe’s body of work. Poe is most known as the father of the detective story, the master of horror and the voice of “The Raven”, but he also wrote hoaxes as news, comedic works, satire, parodies, sketches and experimental stories.
“To Helen” by Robert Ladislas Derr is a psycho geographical walk (wearing four video cameras) through Providence, RI at midnight. Loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s poem To Helen. Beginning at the Athenaeum where Poe was known to write, Derr traced the footsteps that Poe might have taken while creating this poem written to his beloved Helen Whitman, resident of Providence. Dressed in white, reminiscent of Poe’s remembrance of Helen "clad in white upon a violet bank", Derr moves through the dark night on historic Benefit Street toward the First Baptist Meeting House, then down Meeting Street to Waterplace Park. Continuing on the Riverwalk, and back to Benefit Street. Upon the John Brown and Nightingale Brown houses, Derr looked for the roses that Poe says "grew in an enchanted garden". From there, he continues on Benefit Street until the Point Street Bridge, where he meets in Poe’s words "the mossy banks and the meandering paths".
In "The Dreaded Miscellany," Jac Jemc will try her hand at the Gothic - the genre for which Poe is perhaps most famous. A miscellany is gifted the narrator by an intellectually curious uncle who has met an untimely end. On a daily walk, the life of a stumbled-upon fruit bat slips away without explanation. The book calls to the narrator, drawing him away from his own livelihood, and asking him to believe the content of its pages despite his most common sense.
Ryan Dunn and Joseph Kramer will take on Poe the trickster in this fake news broadcast. In 1844's "The Balloon Hoax", Poe created an entirely fictitious story of a balloon crossing the Atlantic in three days, and published it in the New York Sun, ostensibly as fact. Here, Dunn and Kramer subvert traditional notions of fact and fiction through obscured language and varying levels of intelligibility, while simultaneously questioning that which should be viewed as an authoritative broadcaster of information.