Beside the Edge of the World

Dana Johnson
Our Endless Ongoing

Dana Johnson’s short story “Our Endless Ongoing” imagines Delilah Beasley’s life in early 20th-century California. Delilah Leontium Beasley (1867-1934), an American historian and columnist for the Oakland Tribune, was one of the first African-American women to be published regularly in a major metropolitan newspaper. As a writer, she also became the first person to document the history of California’s Black pioneers, in “Slavery in California” (1918) and “The Negro Trailblazers of California” (1919). Johnson’s short story will be published, along with an essay on Beasley’s life, in a limited-edition publication.

Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark. She is also the author of Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Elsewhere, California. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.

Nina Katchadourian
Strange Creature, sculpture installation

Nina Katchadourian’s sculpture, “Strange Creature,” is inspired by the Huntington’s collection of 16th- and 17th-century maps and texts. Katchadourian was intrigued by the odd creatures lurking in the uncharted seas of many of these maps. They challenged her to ask: How much have we really seen of the world and how well do we really know it? For her project, Katchadourian imagined a creature, somewhat familiar but also strange, slowly surfacing in the Chinese Garden lake. Strange Creature suggests there is more around us than we can see or perceive—literally, and perhaps also in an otherworldly sense.

Nina Katchadourian is an interdisciplinary artist whose work includes video, performance, sound, sculpture, photography, and public projects. Her projects often make a case for closer scrutiny of our everyday surroundings by creating situations that attempt to provoke and awaken a viewer’s curiosity.

Robin Coste Lewis
Inhabitants and Visitors

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau published his now canonical “Walden.” Regarded for its exploration of 19th-century subsistence living, the book also included a chapter that explored the community of free Blacks living in and around Walden Pond long before he arrived. He titled this chapter “Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors.” For Robin Coste Lewis this chapter contained a hidden call to the rediscovery of African American histories. For her poem, “Inhabitants and Visitors,” Lewis extended Thoreau’s experiment by erasing much of the text of his chapter and rearranging and reimagining the lines to emphasize, lyrically, the free Black community that once lived there. The poem will be published in a limited edition chapbook.

Robin Coste Lewis is Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles She won the National Book award in 2015 for her poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz
Laurel Sabino y Jagüilla, video and audio

Laurel Sabino y Jagüilla is the common name of a species of magnolia native to the artist’s birthplace and home on the island of Puerto Rico. Magnolia splendens is from an ancient genus that dates back 20 million years. While this flowering plant has survived ice ages, mountain formation, and continental drift, it is now endangered by logging, wood harvesting, and climate change. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz’s film is a formal and conceptual experiment in thinking alongside this specific life-form. Filmed in the rain forest of Puerto Rico and in the Botanical Gardens of The Huntington, the work imagines the relationship of Magnolia splendens to utopia, photography, soil, vision, and time.

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is an artist whose expanded moving image work is entangled with Boalian theater, experimental ethnography, and feminist thought. Her recent work is on the sensorial unconscious of anti-colonial movements and everyday poetic work in the Caribbean. She has received the Herb Alpert Arts Award, a USA Ford Fellowship, and a 2015 Creative Capital Visual Artist Grant.

Rosten Woo
Another World Lies Beyond, 5 audio essays, installation in the gallery including an animated film and display

Rosten Woo’s Another World Lies Beyond, a series of nested stories told through audio, image, and artifact, add an interpretative layer to the Huntington’s gardens that give visitors a chance to use this walled space for political reflection. The narrative throughline is the life and work of Robert Hine (1921-2015), a scholar of utopian communities in California whose archives are housed at the Huntington. In each story, we glimpse an idea of the perfect state, and the world just beyond it.

Rosten Woo is an artist, designer, and writer living in Los Angeles. His projects aim to help people understand complex systems, re-orient themselves to places, and participate in group decision-making. He is co-founder and former executive director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), winner of the 2016 National Design Award for institutional achievement. His book “Street Value” about race and retail urban development was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2009