In 2012, I participated in a pilot program for artist residencies at Arts@Renaissance, located in a former hospital and shelter in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, next to the Barbara Kleinman Shelter for homeless men and the Red Shed Community Garden.
As the space literally was layered with history, I decided to photograph my residency; I hung some photos on the walls and mounted others on small, wooden blocks, placing them on a shelf that I found when moving in.

My photograph of a vase with flowers that I brought to the studio - and accidentally broke when moving out.

I combined my visual work with a Literacy Service, and invited Michael Wilson (whom I had met the previous year, when I placed an open call in the shelter next to Arts@Renaissance) to visit my residency space. Here, we attempted to make sense of one another's spelling and approach to language, and I summarized the experience in eight points that could serve as a guideline for others.
Red Shed Community Garden
I organized for Jonathan Velardi's Flamingo Parade wall to go up in the nearby Red Shed garden and invited gardeners to come visit my studio.
Our collaboration became part of the exhibition, Brother, Can You Spare a Stack, curated by Yulia Tikhonova at The Center for Book Arts, NYC.

Brother, Can You Spare a Stack presents thirteen art projects that re-imagine the library as a force for social change. Each project constructs a micro library of sorts that serves specific economic or social needs within the community.

A Hard Read: Personal Library, collaboration with Michael Wilson
2013

A Hard Read, the Personal Library - a collaboration between artists Anna Lise Jensen and Michael Wilson - explores literacies, social space and social anxiety. Private shelves are combined with a selection of literature on literacy and social practice, books borrowed from a public library and renewed online - and the making of an artist book, ed. 10.

The selection is a result of their methodology, that includes: reflections on personal experience, active listening and elements of Gregory Bateson’s Metalogues. The resulting library is a dialogue between personal history, hybrid expression and collective learning.


Structure of collaboration:
Anna Lise Jensen: concept, organizer, transcribing, editing, photography, scanning and printing.
Michael Wilson: story, drawings & watercolors and book binding



My print of the chair and small desk of Michael's porter job, where he does some of his writing and drawings.

First reader of A Hard Read, Vol. 1: a pregnant Keliy Anderson-Staley.
Online renewal of the public library books for the exhibition library.
Public Reading, The Center of Book Arts

Michael and I each read one paragraph and then invited members of audience to come forward, to do readings of their own from A Hard Read.