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The Office of Oceanic Feeling

Artists holding book in front of their face

Introducing the latest artists-in-residence Lydia Diemer and Riley Hanick for The Office of Oceanic Feeling.

The Office of Oceanic Feeling seeks different ways to ask and answer the question of how we locate and experience the ocean as both a place and a myth, a concept and a history, an origin and an affect. The artists work literally and less literally across different media, in an attempt to both outline and enact the reality that oceans function not only as barriers but as binding agents. Oceanic feeling may mean, among other things, a capacity to sense and create by attending to the entanglement of human and non-human beings, of a self with everything surrounding it.

Through a combination of print, drawing, writing, photography, and installation, we want disparate but related histories to interpenetrate: fossil records and psychoanalytic disputes, artificial islands and shipping corridors, bathyspheres and cyanotypes.

OPEN STUDIOS HOURS with Lydia & Riley

Visit the Bubbler and immerse yourself in explorations and activities with The Office of Oceanic Feeling.

Mondays: 5:00-7:00pm - May 6, 20 & June 3, 10, 17, 24
Come view and contribute to an ongoing project mapping participants’ questions and discoveries as they migrate from the walls to a tabletop diorama. A seating area and separate bathysphere lounge, along with a selection of print and digital resources will support discussions, reading, writing, paper craft, collage, and drawing for families and all ages


Paper Construction & Collage Exploration: Minerals, Liquids, and Mimicry
Saturday, May 25th, 1:00-3:00pm - REGISTER (ages 7-14)

What does a landlubber know of the sea? In this workshop, simple methods of paper construction, drawing, and collage will be used to engage with and wonder at our inland surroundings and its connection to the geologic record and the history of the sea. Together we will mimic, approximate, transform and/or disguise our observations as paper crystals, hyperbolic flatworms, imagined coral reefs, and other aqueous creations, building our own imagined habitat.

Inland Seas: Local Water and Lorine Niedecker
Wednesday, May 29th, 6:00-8:00pm - 
REGISTER (ages 15+)
This generative workshop will introduce some of the practices and traditions associated with documentary poetics through the work of Lorine Niedecker, with a focus on her poem Lake Superior.  We will pay attention to how Niedecker drew from her own research into specific cultural and geologic histories for her composition before beginning to draft or brainstorm possibilities for our own projects in poetry or prose.

Cyanotype Workshop: Shadow Ocean
Saturday, June 8th*, 1:00-3:00pm - 
REGISTER (families & all ages)
Let’s explore how traces of light, translucent seaweed, the color blue, and Anna Atkins changed history. Collectively, we will view examples and discuss the history of camera-less photograms. Then, each participant will prepare a composition (using drawing, writing, found materials) to create a cyanotype. Bring in your own objects, small and available plant specimens, written texts, rummage around your backpack or use the items on hand in the Bubbler.
*Rain Date: Saturday, June 15th, 1-3 p.m.

Art & Writing Workshop: Writing the Waves
Wednesday, June 12th, 6:00-8:00pm - 
REGISTER (ages 15+)
This workshop will use the practice of ekphrasis — in which a piece of writing responds to another work of art — to explore oceanic concepts and themes.  We will consider exemplary work in this genre written both in prose (Michelle Cliff’s essay “Oblique Brilliance,” a reflection upon and dialogue with the visual art of Ellen Gallagher) and poetry (Howard Moss’ “Painting A Wave”) before undertaking our own experiments.


Lydia Diemer works in print media and installation. In 2005, she received an MFA in printmaking from the University of Iowa. She has received travel and research grants from several organizations, including the Iowa Arts Council, University of Iowa, and Arrowhead Regional Art Council. She was awarded residencies at Anchor Graphics (2007) and the Center for Book and Paper Arts (2014) at Columbia College in Chicago. She has exhibited at EFA Project Space (New York), The Soap Factory (Minneapolis, MN), Des Moines Art Center Downtown (Des Moines, IA), and the Bemis Underground, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (Omaha, NE). She lives and works in Iowa City, IA.

Riley Hanick is a writer and graduate student in library science at the University of Iowa. He is the author of a book-length essay, Three Kinds of Motion (Sarabande Books, 2015) and the lead author of a collaborative guide to creative writing programming in libraries, Mapping the Imaginary (ALA Editions, 2019). His essays, journalism, and translations have been published in Seneca Review, Sonora Review, eyeshot, Labor World, and No Depression. His work has been included among the notable essays for the Best American series and supported by grants from the Jentel and McKnight foundations.

May 14, 2019