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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.

News

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period opens March 15, 2019; submit here.

Upcoming

01/21 • Su-Yee Lin
01/23 • Paul-Victor Winters
01/28 • Nathan Long
01/30 • Bailey Cunningham
02/04 • Paul Crenshaw
02/06 • Jennifer Wortman
02/11 • Kevin McLellan
02/13 • Sue Mell
02/18 • Emanuele Pettener
02/20 • Marge Simon
02/25 • Jeff Friedman
02/27 • Heather Bourbeau
03/04 • Dennis Mombauer
03/06 • Robin Moss
03/11 • Jacqueline Doyle
03/13 • Dawn Vogel
03/18 • Tamara Gane
03/20 • Tiff Holland
03/25 • Sara Crowley
03/27 • Hannah van Didden
04/01 • Ian Mahler
04/08 • Cindy Hunter Morgan
04/15 • Mason Binkley