Thursday, December 12, 2013

cheap art gift guide

If your holiday spirit is enhanced through encouragement and support of the creative spirit, we here at the Center for the Obvious & (Im)Permacultural research invite you to consider the following:

SONIC FABRIC TIES (handmade in New York City from my textile woven from recorded cassette tape) are on sale through the end of the year for $20 off.

ECSTATIC MECHANISM, Julian Mock's latest collection of stunningly beautiful, unconventional compositions for solo guitar. "There is an ecstatic mechanism in birds that makes them fly upwards in spite of worms."- Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 My latest project, just released: a limited-edition book on two decades of life and work at the intersection of art and science. Part catalog of my work, part manifesto on the ways that thinking shapes culture. PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE $40

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

yuletide traditions & the amanita muscaria mushroom

The evidence linking traditions commonly associated with Christmastime to the medicinal and ceremonial use of the Amanita muscaria mushroom by ancient (and modern) shamans is remarkable, yet little-known.


Shamans of Siberia have for many centuries revered the Amanita muscaria mushroom (red with white spots) as a sacred and magical plant. The ceremonial garments of these shamans are traditionally red and white, resembling the typical Santa-style suit.


The sacred mushrooms were gathered in sacks, and hung to dry on the hearth around the fireplace.


Reindeer – the animal allies and spirit guides of the Siberian shamans - are fond of eating Amanita muscaria mushrooms, which grow almost exclusively beneath pine trees.

When the Amanita muscaria mushroom is ingested, it produces a dizzying feeling of floating or weightlessness. When taken at night, it is often accompanied by the sensation of being able to see in the dark. 


I happened upon strings of Santa-head holiday lights at a discount store in Skowhegan, Maine back in 2004. I immediately acquired several strings, and set about creating these giant glowing mushrooms from papier-mache, using the Santa-heads in the caps:

Sunday, December 01, 2013


dear all, as 2013 winds to a close, i'm very pleased to announce that the project i have been excitedly immersed in for most of this year (and which has been in the back of my mind since at least 2001) has at last come to fruition:

as many of you already know, the philosoprops are intended as catalysts for dialog, &/or to illustrate ideas. during my big solo show in nyc back in january, it became amply apparent that the tangible pieces are merely by-products of a process of thought, and that this process is more "the work" than the actual objects themselves. this book is not a catalog that happens to contain images of my work – this is my entire body of work in the form of a book. it takes the objects out of the studio, gallery, or museum and offers the-work-behind-the-work directly to anyone interested.

the 100-page book was beautifully offset printed in an edition of 250 on 100% recycled paper at engelhart printing in wimberley, texas, with over half the edition already spoken for by supporters who secured copies in advance. i'm currently in the process of hand wrapping and addressing over 140 packages – it's such a treat to see so many familiar names, as well as so many whom i have never met. thanks so, so much to each and everyone who helped to make this project possible!!

there are still about 80 print copies available – long excerpts, as well as digital versions, can be found on the philosoprops: a unified field guide dedicated page.

in other news, ecstatic mechanism, my partner julian mock's phenomenal album of unconventional works for solo guitar, was released this fall as well. 

early reports indicate that the book and music work together synergistically.

wishing you and yours a warm and peaceful december,

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

thank you, backers!

 dear everyone,

i'm overwhelmed. thanks to all 169 of you, PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE is 277% funded. half of the edition of 250 books are already spoken for. and i'm able to employ the extra-special printing processes (offset and letterpress) that were only a pipedream at the outset.

the manuscript is in the final phases of editing and layout. i hope to have a link to the pdf version to send out to everyone who contributed within the coming weeks. if all goes smoothly, the books will be on their way to you in late october or early november.

to friends who know my work and have stuck with me through the years: thank you! when i set out to combine art and science, i knew it would take a long time to become a scientist first, then begin working on the art part. this book is the culmination of 24 years of independent research - it's a recap of where i've been, and where i hope this work is headed.

to those who hopped aboard this campaign without knowing me beforehand: thank you for taking a chance on me! if you're curious to know more about the stranger you've trusted with your generosity, please feel free to visit anytime, and have a look around. much of the information contained in this book exists there in one form or another.

please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have...the tangible parts of this project are nowhere near as important as the connections it generates and the conversations it elicits.
PHILOSOPROPS:  A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE has already exceeded my wildest expectations, and its barely begun.

thank you.

with heart,

Saturday, August 31, 2013

max cafard on philosoprops

It is a great honor and delight to have received this stellar endorsement of my upcoming artist's book PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE (acquirable via crowdfunding campaign until September 2) from the preeminent Surregionalist Writer, Pre-Ancientist Philosopher, and Zen Anarchist Max Cafard:

"Alyce Santoro is best known as the inventor of the most creative advance in textiles in the past few millennia. Her Sonic Fabric brought cloth and clothing into an entirely new sensory and indeed ontological realm. Dialectical materialism may have gone out of style in recent times, but Sonic Fabric has assured that dialectical material has a great future. Now, with Philosoprops, Santoro dedicates her impressive creative energies to the cause of making sure that dialectical philosophy, and, indeed, philosophy as a whole, also has an auspicious future. Her new book, Philosoprops is a kind of “Guide for the Unperplexed.” If you fear that you may be lapsing into some kind of dogmatic slumber, Philosoprops will shake you up a bit and render you more creatively perplexed. What is a philosoprop?  It’s a prop, something that helps you philosophize, and it’s also an op, an opportunity to have fun doing it. Santoro says that philosoprops are like philosophical toys. This is one of their most admirable qualities. They help bring play, and maybe even joyfulness, back into philosophy. It’s often been said that the origin of philosophy is in childlike wonder. But has this truth has been taken seriously, or seriously unseriously, enough? Santoro thinks not, and wants to do something about it. Philosoprops is a guide to engaged philosophizing, to doing, and not just thinking about doing. It helps return philosophy to everyday life. Philosoprops takes philosophy out of the hands of the philosopros and philosoprofs and puts it back in the hands of the philosopeeps.  Who knows what will happen when you get hooked on philosoprops? They may help you notice how you notice what you notice! If you do enough philosopropping, you may discover that in the end wisdom is just a mountain to be plucked, or a flower to be climbed, step by step! Whether or not you accept Santoro’s invitation to “choose determinism,”  I certainly hope that you will be determined to get this book!"

Saturday, August 10, 2013


dear friends,

i have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to print copies of my new book PHILOSOPROPS: A UNFIED FIELD GUIDE.

If a scientist-turned-artist wrote an illustrated guide to philosophical implements used to investigate how thinking shapes culture, this would be it.

the amount of funds i am able to raise will determine whether the book is digitally or offset printed in an edition of 100 or 250. if i can exceed the initial goal, the plan is to invest the additional resources into having the cover letterpress printed. the more i can raise, the more beautiful the book will be as a philosoprop in-and-of itself.

i am crowdsourcing not just the means to print the book, but generous friends are already in the process of helping to edit and proof-read the manuscript. i am also seeking thoughts on publicity, and recommendations on appropriate outlets for distribution (thanks so much to everyone who has already offered ideas!). i am attaching the press release below – please feel free to share it with anyone you feel may be interested!

and please don't hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have!

thank you very much to everyone for your ongoing support.

Monday, June 10, 2013


"The Impossible Community" by John P. Clark

dear friends, for the past 4+ months solid, since the close of my "solo" * show and associated dialectic revivals at gasser-grunert gallery in nyc, i have been writing. and writing some more. i have something up my sleeve that i look forward to introducing soon...

meanwhile, i'd like to present the obvious international, a sub-work that has emerged from the larger, still-under-wraps project.

"the obvious international" is an imaginary collective - one joins by imagining oneself a part of it.
the manifesto was published this week in article form at truthout - the precepts are being crowdsourced - all are invited to contribute!

i'd also like to invite you to read my interview with social ecologist john p. clark at loyola university on his excellent new book "the impossible community: realizing communitarian anarchism". here's an excerpt:

"We need to stop demanding the impossible and simply do what is impossible. The strongest evidence for the possibility of something, including the impossible, is its actual existence. So, to begin with, we have to do some serious anarchaeology, uncovering the rich history of free community that lies under layers of domination and the ideology of domination." - John P. Clark

in an effort to support my writing habit, i have made available a brand new edition of OM (recorded with 136.1 Hz) ties in the sonic fabric shop, just in time for father's day! on sale now thru the end of june. OM edition yardage in black is also available - special discount for anyone on this list - please inquire.

all best,

*autonomy is an illusion

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

existence precedes essence: the ashtray teacup philosoprop

Ashtray/Teacups, Glass teacups, ceramic paint, letterpress “EXISTENCE essence” tag, open edition begun circa 1995.

Back during my teenage obsession with the existentialists, in an effort to help me understand what Sartre meant by existence precedes essence, my father (a philosophy buff) used the example of a teacup that is used as an ashtray.  A person (or thing) is not necessarily what he or she (or it) purports to be - we are instead defined by our outward function and actions. If the teacup is used as an ashtray, can it really be considered a teacup, or does it take on a new existence as an ashtray?

The Ashtray/Teacup is perhaps my earliest philosoprop.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

dialectic revival #3: wendy osserman's movement score for sonorous sails

Dialectic Revival #3, January 21, 2013: Site-specific movement score by Wendy Osserman performed by dance company members Lauren Ferguson, Emily Vetsch, Cori Kresge, and Wendy Osserman at Gasser-Grunert Gallery for Alyce Santoro's Sonorous Sails.

The Sonorous Sails (Tell-Tail Thangas After Sandy) are a set of 2 sailboat-sail-like shapes (21' x 10' and 17' x 5') made of Sonic Fabric, a textile woven from cassette tape. The sound collages contained in this edition of fabric include samples collected on and under the streets of New York City during the 5 years immediately following 9/11/2001. The "Between Stations" album is available for free download here:

 Tell-Tail Thangas (After Sandy) were created in December of 2012 especially for the cathedral-like lower gallery at Gasser-Grunert, which was entirely submerged during Hurricane Sandy. The sails, pointing to the heavens, are symbols of resurrection, resilience, reverence, and cooperation with nature.

Friday, February 08, 2013

tell-tail thangkas (after sandy) at gasser-grunert

My solo exhibition Philosoprops & Ontological Apparatus from the Center for the Obvious & (Im)Permacultural Research opened at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery, 524 W19th St, NYC on January 10, and will remain on view until February 16, 2013.

Tell-Tail Thangas (After Sandy) are a set of 2 sailboat sails (21' x 10' and 17' x 5') made of sonic fabric, a textile woven from cassette tape. The recordings contained in this edition of fabric include sound-samples collected on and under the streets of New York City during the 5 years immediately following 9/11/2001. The "Between Stations" album is available for free download. Tell-Tail Thangas (After Sandy) were created in December of 2012 especially for the cathedral-like lower gallery at Gasser-Grunert, which was entirely submerged during Hurricane Sandy. The sails, pointing to the heavens, are symbols of resurrection, resilience, reverence, and cooperation with nature.

Monday, January 07, 2013

dialectic revival series


This month, as part of the Philosoprops & Onotological Apparatus exhibition in NYC at the gallery of Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, we will be hosting a series of focused discussions in the spirit of a Dialectic Revival.

The primary goal of the dialectic method is to pool knowledge and compare and contrast differing viewpoints on a matter for the purpose of deepening overall understanding. Unlike forms of debate in which one side attempts to demonstrate the superiority of a singular view over an opposing one by any means available (including emotional persuasion not based in reason), those willing to engage in a new dialectic favor logic, analytical proof, and rational deduction. Those who participate in dialectic discourse recognize that all conditions are in a continuous state of flux, and therefore definitive resolution may not be possible.

We hope you can join us at 523 W 19th St. for the following discussions:


5pm: "Green Hermeticism and Eco Art"
A discussion on art, science, alchemy, and associated apparatus with Eve Andree Laramee, Linda Weintraub, and Dehlia Hannah


3pm: "In Search Of..."
Killing the Buddha editors Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Nathan Schneider, and Meera Subramanian will invite dialog on quests for the divine, using their own experiences as jumping-off points: searches for the Eden of the past, proof for the existence of God, and an Eden of the future, respectively. Click here for Facebook invite.


6:30pm "Site-Specific Movement Score in Room Submerged During Sandy" Wendy Osserman with dance company members Lauren Ferguson, Emily Vetsch, and Cori Kresge will cite the specific.

7pm: "Trigger Points After the Storm"
In a post-Sandy environment can we layer bioregionalism, environmental justice and intuition for coastal resilience? We will explore how aesthetic tools can trigger healing. Hosted by Aviva Rahmani, with Wendy Osserman.


7pm  "Philosoprops & Ontological Apparatus"
Implements as catalysts for discourse with Nathaniel Katz proprietor of the Pacifist Library, Chris Robbins of Ghana Think Tank, and "Really Literally Literary", a special spontaneous action with Nina Katchadourian and Elizabeth Demaray