The Happiness Engine, 1 of 7

by Nicholas Rombes

[Editor’s Note: The Happiness Engine consists of seven pieces, ranging in size from approximately 17”x9” to 7”x5”. The materials are acrylic, charcoal, ink, and typewritten text on old paper, consisting of vintage scavenged letterhead, stationery, and endpapers salvaged from damaged and discarded books. The compressed narrative&#8212 from 1 through 7&#8212sketches the story of a character named Ephraim in the labyrinth of underground USA tunnels as he searches for his disappeared sister. We will be publishing one piece per week, from Feb 15 – March 28. Please click on the file below to view it full-size.]

In 2010-11, Nicholas Rombes was Visiting Artist and Scholar at The University of Waterloo’s Critical Media lab, where he launched the DO NOT SCREEN project (which was featured at HiLobrow). He is the author of three books: Cinema in the Digital Age, A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982, and Ramones (part of the 33 1/3 series). He is also a contributor to The Believer, The Oxford American, WigLeaf, The Rumpus, Filmmaker Magazine (where he serves as a Contributing Editor), and other places. He teaches at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan.

For this project, the distillation of text and images, both created and found, is key to the narrative momentum. The gaps—which allow viewers and readers to insert themselves into The Happiness Engine story—are absolutely essential. For it is in the gaps, the absences, that the imagination roams free, constructing the architecture of the story itself. Hints are thus more meaningful than exposition. Compression and constraint as a form of liberation.

This entry was posted in Rombes, Nicholas and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.