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Vis-à-Vis: 100 Rooms

October 24 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The Vis-à-Vis Society — the scientific-poetic brainchild of Sierra Nelson, Rachel Kessler, and Anne Bradfield — conducts poetic analysis of the everyday. Their debut book, 100 Rooms (from Seattle-based small press Entre Ríos Books), collects 100 poems that resulted from an experiment at the Bridge Motel Art Happening of 2007.

Guests were invited to fill out a survey and then given a key (and a poem) to an imaginary room that best matched their survey once they left a deposit. These 100 poems are full of wit and charm, and the book reproduces a collection of the guests’ deposits in full color – a time capsule of old Metro tickets, concert stubs, scribbled notes, and bubble gum.

Concluding with a transcription of an interview between Vis-à-Vis and Bridge Motel event organizer and artist DK Pan, the book showcases the Seattle performance scene and chronicles gentrification and its effects on artists while revealing the hidden personal through the collective.


Excerpt from the poem “Please & Thank You Room”

Please call me in the morning, 7:00 a.m. bedside phone. Thank you for the paper, USA Today.
Please tell me a joke, 24-hour front desk.
Thank you for the swim, 1-person tub.

Please turn up your TV, arguing neighbors. Thank you for the view, Venetian blinds.
Please don’t worry so much, smoke alarm.
Thank you and goodnight, bleached white pillow.


The Vis-à-Vis Society was founded in a year that felt like 1957 by Drs. Ink and Owning (aka Sierra Nelson and Rachel Kessler, who began collaborating in 1998 as co-founders of literary performance art group The Typing Explosion with Sarah Paul Ocampo). Using a core practice of interactive performances gathering data from live audiences, the Vis-à-Vis Society has performed and created installations across the nation, including at the Frye Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Hedreen Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, Bumbershoot Festival, Lo-Fi Festival at Smoke Farm, Hugo House, NEPO 5K Don’t Run, ARTSparks, Bridge Motel Project, Wave Books Poetry Bus Tour, Sound Transit Capitol Hill Art Wall Project, and Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space.

Their feature-length statistical musicals We Are You and Hello Again Hello were commissioned for Northwest Film Forum’s Live at the Film Forum series. Their books include Desire and Flotation Devices and Who Are We? with 7-inch record, and their collaborative poems and poem-surveys have appeared in Poetry Northwest, Jackstraw Writers Anthology, Pilot Magazine, Drift Magazine, Wanting Is Easier Than Having, and Rivet, among others. Dedicated to the poetic analysis of the everyday, the Vis-à-Vis Society tenderly takes the poetic pulse of every audience it meets.

Find them at facebook.com/VisaVisSociety.