Letter from the Editor

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It’s a weird moment to be editing a literary journal dedicated to the intersection of art and technology, as journalistic hot takes on The Future of Writing proliferate in the wake of ChatGPT-4’s release, and technologists offer sweeping societal predictions both overwhelming and hair-raising.

But it’s probably always a weird moment as far as this intersection is concerned. The roots of the very word “technology,” after all, are bound up in artistic production. While “art and technology” is often shorthand in the art world for particular genre encounters, in truth it’s difficult to envision one of these things without the other. And as we all know, intimate relationships are complicated. That’s one reason we like writing about them.

The occasion for this writing is the third issue of Shift Space, a digital publication produced by United States Artists that is itself made up of two things: on the one hand it offers disparate reflections on the field, and on the other it celebrates a new cohort of the Knight Foundation’s Arts + Tech Fellows. This year we congratulate American Artist, in writing by Zoé Samudzi; Leo Castañeda, in writing by Phillip Penix-Tadsen; Kara Güt, in writing by McKenzie Wark; the Institute of Queer Ecology, in writing by Yuri Tuma; and Marlena Myles, in writing by Xiaowei Wang. And we welcome essays, poems, personal reflections, and short stories by Lex Brown, Paul Chan, Heman Chong, Elizabeth Robinson, and Julian Talamantez Brolaski.

More complicated relationships: between the interviewer and her subject, the artist and his creation, the writers and their editor. More forms of knowledge production. And more encounters.

My gratitude to the terrific USA staff, most particularly the unceasingly patient and thoughtful Managing Editor Allie Linn; to Copy Editor David DeWitt, for his fine eye; to the 2023 fellows, for their generosity with their time and feedback; and to the writers, who made this editor’s job easy and pleasurable. And to you, for finding your way here.

— clr

A white woman with wavy brown hair and hazel eyes looks up towards the camera, her head slightly tilted. She wears a black top, dangly wooden earrings, and sunglasses on her head.

Claudia La Rocco is the author of Drive By (Smooth Friend), Certain Things (Afternoon Editions), Quartet (Ugly Duckling Presse), petit cadeau, (The Chocolate Factory), and The Best Most Useless Dress (Badlands Unlimited). With musician/composer Phillip Greenlief she is animals & giraffes, an experiment in interdisciplinary improvisation that has released the albums July (Edgetone Records) and Landlocked Beach (Creative Sources). She has been a columnist for Artforum, a cultural critic for WNYC New York Public Radio, and from 2005–2015 was a critic and reporter for The New York Times. From 2016–2021 La Rocco was editorial director of Open Space, and she currently edits The Back Room, a Small Press Traffic publishing project.


Photo by Thomas Cobb