Antenna welcomes artist Sarah Shotland, the January 2021 Paper Machine artist in resident. Sarah Shotland is the author of the novel Junkette, and a playwright whose work has been produced in theaters nationally and internationally. She is cofounder and program director of Words Without Walls, which brings creative writing to jails, prisons, and drug treatment facilities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is currently at work on a book about art as a tool for prison abolition, and her work about the topic has been published in The Iowa Review, Creative Nonfiction, Baltimore Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Heinz Endowments. She teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chatham University and is thrilled to be in New Orleans while it’s snowing in Pittsburgh.
In her time at The Paper Machine, Sarah is interested in writing about two broad topics: the function of letters in prison, and the architecture of surveillance. She plans to incorporate letters from currently and formerly incarcerated writers into a chapbook that invites readers to reply through a series of letter writing prompts that can be sent directly to the incarcerated writers. She’ll also continue working on a long essay about surveillance that explores question of whether it’s possible to bear witness to incarceration without also becoming part of the surveillance machine. She’s thrilled to be learning about various printing processes and hopes that her project will change as she learns about the material components involved in bookmaking.
Check the Antenna Facebook page for virtual public events about this project during the month of January!