Lauren Otis' Alchemical Projects is a web site, blog, and business centered on innovative media and artistic content. Creativity in multiple disciplines, and discourse on that creativity, is paramount.
Author Archive

Unknown Pleasures

In early 2015, I was approached by Krystal Knapp to write about the arts and creativity in Trenton for her web site PlanetTrenton.org. Out of our discussions was born a weekly column, Unknown Pleasures. It was good to be writing again, about something I knew and loved. Most if not all of these pieces are...
Unchained sound piece

Unchained sound piece

Sound piece April 8, 2013 16 minutes, 46 seconds Listen: Ride from my house to Artworks                                                                               ...
Cell Phone/Pay Phone

Cell Phone/Pay Phone

Pay phones. They are ubiquitous in the built environment, some still functional. But more often, broken, ripped out, non-functional. The housings still stand, urban detritus, sculpture, sign post, a bit of all three. Something we walk past without noticing. I’ve started noticing them. An added poignancy, irony comes through documenting them using the device that...
Roebling, New Jersey

Roebling, New Jersey

I have lived in Trenton for 24 years but never made it to the town of Roebling, the factory and company town built by the Roeblings in the early 20th Century, barely 10 miles south of Trenton. I remedied this omission recently, on a beautiful spring day. Rode my bike to the River Line light...
Susan Philipsz sound art

Susan Philipsz sound art

  Susan Philipsz is thoughtful, unassuming, understated. Her art is unique, a remarkable blend of the personal, the technical, the historical, the culturally relevant, the ethereal, the cerebral. As they say in the UK, her sound pieces are “magic.” I knew of Lowlands, her recording of herself singing a sailors lament, overlayed three times and...
South Carolina, and wine

South Carolina, and wine

Wine and place, the place for wine – I was thinking about these on a recent trip to South Carolina, visiting my son at Clemson University to celebrate his birthday. Accompanied by my daughter, the three of us made excursions into the beautiful, and yes deep-South-rustic, countryside of the upcountry part of the state. We...
Less Is More

Less Is More

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s assertion has resonance far beyond the worlds of design and architecture. In poetry in general, and specifically the poetry of Japan, “less is more” are words to live by. In a world of 140 character Tweets and cell phone texting aphorisms, perhaps haiku and other short-form poetry will lead this...
Memory

Memory

The mists rise over The still pools of Asuka. Memory does not Pass away so easily. – Akahito I was on a mission in search of Japanese whisky recently (far harder to find than I expected), which led me improbably to my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, to a small store near Brooklyn Brewery named The...
Trenton where we live

Trenton where we live

Trenton where we live from Lauren Otis on Vimeo. In the 1990s, I was a relatively recent transplant to Trenton. I was a young father, and during the week I had a long commute to my work in Hoboken. But on weekends, to unwind, I would take my camera and explore the neighborhoods of the...
Ferment

Ferment

A number of weeks ago I visited with the assistant winemaker at the New Jersey winery I used to be affiliated with. It was a bitter cold night and we did what we have so often done in the past, talk with glasses in hand as he tapped the cold contents of the silent tanks...
Roebling decay

Roebling decay

On one side of South Clinton Avenue in Trenton, former John A. Roebling Sons Co. buildings have been converted into offices and a retail marketplace. Once a year, in June, the adjacent Roebling Wire Works machine shop building plays host to Art All Night, Artworks’ 24-hour free art extravaganza. Across the street, on the other...
Learn to type

Learn to type

Word art inspired by old “Touch Typing Made Simple” manuals.