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Work Samples

Krall Krall

"Krall Krall" follows two scientists with the same name as they investigate consciousness and its logical corollary, suffering. They work in different times and places: the first in pre-World War I Germany, the second in the living laboratory of the American-occupied South Pacific after World War II. Both are driven by a fascination with animal minds that alienates them from humanity. Both face political consequences for advocating radical new forms of thought and feeling. A series of interconnected historical fragments, the text incorporates fictional laboratory journals, appropriated archival material, poetry, and a short play. A polyvocal narrative emerges from these fragments, modeling the theory of distributed consciousness that both attracts and dissolves its actors.

These intertwined stories trace a historical trajectory from a period of openness and potentiality to the “closed world” of the Cold War. Karl Krall becomes a constellation of scattered voices, an impossible figure of sympathy and danger.

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Views from the National Forests

The poems in Views from the National Forests are an excavation of the American landscape. They unearth a particular set of values inscribed on the land by western expansion and tourism, linking the early-twentieth-century preservation movement with the process of suburbanization. Seen through the eyes of real and fictional characters, the ambitious infrastructure projects of the Progressive era become invisible and succumb to decay beneath the veneer of the American suburban pastoral.

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Dictionary of Nonverbal Communication

The Dictionary of Nonverbal Communication includes scenes from a breakfast-food apocalypse, nightmares set in newspaper comic strips, meditations on deep time, case studies in evolutionary psychotherapy, and insights on building strong client relationships. A collection of poems adapted from sources in applied psychology, it is a tool for those who seek to become "transparent, searchable, and utterly known."

Excerpts from the Dictionary were displayed at Current Space in September of 2019 with fabric wall hangings illustrating its contents, as part of a group show curated by Andy Bertell.

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About Alicia

Baltimore City

Alicia Puglionesi's picture
Alicia Puglionesi is a writer and historian in Baltimore. She experiments with communication.

Krall Krall

CAR Press, Baltimore, 2013
Krall Krall follows two scientists with the same name as they investigate consciousness, suffering, and animal behavior. The first works in pre-World War I Germany, the second in the living laboratory of the American-occupied South Pacific after World War II. Both are driven by a fascination with animal minds that alienates them from humanity. Both face political consequences for advocating radical new forms of thought and feeling. Organized as a series of interconnected historical fragments, the text incorporates fictional laboratory journals, appropriated archival material, poetry, and a short play. A polyvocal narrative emerges from these fragments, modeling the theory of distributed consciousness that attracts and ultimately dooms the central characters.

Views from the National Forests

Poetry chapbook, Furniture Press, Baltimore, 2014
The poems in Views are an excavation of the American landscape. They unearth a particular set of values inscribed on the land by western expansion and tourism, linking the early-twentieth-century preservation movement with the process of suburbanization. Seen through the eyes of real and fictional characters, the ambitious infrastructure projects of the Progressive era become invisible and succumb to decay beneath the veneer of the American suburban pastoral.

Dictionary of Nonverbal Communication

The Dictionary of Nonverbal Communication includes scenes from a breakfast-food apocalypse, nightmares set in newspaper comic strips, meditations on deep time, case studies in evolutionary psychotherapy, and insights on building strong client relationships. Adapted from sources in applied psychology, it is a tool for those who hope to be "transparent, searchable, and utterly known."
Excerpts from the Dictionary were displayed at Current Space in September of 2019 with fabric wall hangings illustrating its contents, as part of a group show curated by Andy Bertell.

Census of hallucinations

A series of presentations in which audience members are called upon to read aloud descriptions of dreams and abnormal psychical experiences culled from 19th- and early-20th-century archival sources. These experiences are then interpreted and set in context with corresponding images.

Expert Panel

Short play about the existential perils of expertise, produced for the 2012 Un Saddest Factory 10 Minute Play Festival, Baltimore.

Directed by Alex Gilwit

Live Actors: Evan Moritz & Kris Hanrahan

Taped Actors: Sam Shea, Gina Denton, Tom McCarth, Josh Van Horne

Props: Eirik Schmertmann (sidekick), Haleigh Buck and Alexandra Gilwit

Shot by Tom Kessler

Essays

Essays on topics of niche interest, often historical in nature.

  • Way of Control

    See article at: http://thisrecording.com/today/2012/2/16/in-which-the-dalkon-shield-has-a-paralyzing-effect.html "Hugh Davis was obsessed with inventing things. By the time he landed a job at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he had already created thirty pioneering laparoscopic instruments (used to operate inside the body through a single small incision), establishing the type of minimally-invasive surgery that patients expect today. He had worked with the best doctors and surgeons in the world. They reported that he was a real whiz-kid with an ego of troubling proportions."
  • Lascivious Material

    See article at: http://thisrecording.com/today/2012/1/13/in-which-we-explore-these-feminine-products.html "Contraception was a private female problem before it was a big business."
  • How To Live Forever By Being Mostly Dead

    See article at: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/how-to-live-forever-by-being-mostly-dead
  • Big Game Goes to Washington

    See articles here: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/in-which-big-game-and-eugenics-go-to-washington-or-environmentalism-is-born And here: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/it-s-dark-in-those-woods-tracing-environmentalism-to-eugenics-part-two
  • A Well-Poised Observer

    See article at: http://thisrecording.com/today/2013/7/26/in-which-we-stand-between-the-awe-and-wonder.html
  • This Creature

    See article at: http://thisrecording.com/today/2015/7/31/in-which-we-accept-margery-kempe-as-a-holy-person.html
  • The Dream of a World Without Pain

    See article at: http://thisrecording.com/today/2012/5/11/in-which-it-hurts-in-isolation-or-with-others.html
  • Lone Female at Home

    See article at: http://thisrecording.com/today/2012/3/1/in-which-we-entertain-the-opinion-of-the-inventor.html
  • Smile if it Hurts

    See article at: http://thisrecording.com/today/2012/6/26/in-which-they-stand-at-the-vanishing-point.html
  • The Manmade Marvel of the Baltimore Sewers

    See article at: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-manmade-marvel-of-the-baltimore-sewers

Essays, continued

More essays.

  • The world but the map and the map the world

    Essay for Issue 2 of Schematic Quarterly, produced by Ingrid Burrington, Baltimore. This was a nonfiction piece about magnetism, models, metaphors, and the crafting of alternate worlds in the context of the 17th-century "scientific revolution". A performance and slideshow accompanied the magazine release.
  • The tedium of psychical research

    "Instead, amateur participation appears, in the archive, as excessive and unruly, overflowing the forms designed to contain it and producing an “inchoate accumulation” rather than a system of scientific facts." See article at: http://forbiddenhistories.com/2014/06/27/amateurs-empiricism-and-the-tedium-of-psychical-research-guest-post-by-alicia-puglionesi/
  • Proving it: The American Provers’ Union documents certain ill effects

    "Among the many novelties unleashed upon the world by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, perhaps the most striking is the spectacle of dignified nineteenth-century physicians carefully imbibing graduated amounts of cannabis and attempting to record its effects upon their mental and physical states.
  • The Lost Mushroom Masterpiece Unearthed in a Dusty Drawer: How an obscure woman mycologist left her mark on fungi

    To her neighbors in 19th century Baltimore, the mycologist Mary Banning was a witch-like “toadstool lady”, known for boarding trolley cars with her arms full of slimy, putrid-smelling specimens. Many Americans once regarded mushrooms as unsightly and uniformly poisonous. Mycology—the study of fungi—was no pastime for a woman. http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-lost-mushroom-masterpiece-unearthed-in-a-dusty-drawer
  • In 1926, Houdini Spent 4 Days Shaming Congress for Being in Thrall to Fortune-Tellers

    Harry Houdini, testifying before a subcommittee of the United States Congress in 1926, brandished a sealed telegram and demanded that someone in the audience tell him the contents of the message inside.
  • How Counting Horses and Reading Dogs Convinced Us Animals Could Think

    Although metro-riding beavers, militarized dolphins, and their canny ilk seem to pop up almost weekly now, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that psychologists and the general public began seriously considering whether animals had consciousness, emotions, and intelligence.
  • The 19th Century ‘Show Caves’ That Became America’s First Tourist Traps

    A cave is a perfect mystery: dark, dangerous, and filled with pristine evidence. The caves underneath western Virginia attest to million-year geological transformations, but they also harbor intrigue on a human scale. The discovery of these subterranean wonders in the 1800s spawned a genre of local lore and popular fiction–call it “the romance of the cave”–in which crystal caverns became theaters for passion and politics. Many cave romances were European fantasies of ancient North America, featuring stereotyped Indians as well as mythical races like Phoenicians and lost tribes of Israel.
  • How a Midwestern Potato Farm Became the World’s First Nuclear Waste Site

    It’s abundantly clear from their 1962 newsletter that the employees of the Mallinckrodt Chemical Company’s Uranium Division were proud of their work. On the division’s 20th anniversary, they produced a cheerful tribute to “growth and progress in research, in management, in human relations–and in the total reputation of the organization.” The newsletter circulated through office mailboxes and break-rooms in a bustling, cutting-edge facility on the suburban fringes of St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Psychic Archeology, Or How to Dig Up the Dead With Their Own Advice

    Frederick Bligh Bond resorted to psychic archeology because he didn’t have permission to dig up the ruins of England’s legendary Glastonbury Abbey. At least this was his explanation for why, on a November day in 1907, he made contact with the spirit of a medieval monk named Johannes. Over the course of nearly 70 seances, Bond sketched detailed plans of the Abbey, relayed by Johannes, that turned out to be largely accurate.

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