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MURRMUR: SIT(UATION) Workshop with Riley Hooker, Nov 17, 2022. (photograph by Keisha Eugene)

Misread Unread Read Re-read Misread Unread Re-read (MURRMUR) is a nine-month exhibition series expanding how we think about reading, publishing, and distributing art, books, and ideas. A research framework developed in conversation with participating artists and educators, MURRMUR opens up traditional forms of education into collective, self-publishing environments, in which reading becomes a non-linear act.

MURRMUR suggests that an act of reading—which may include misreading, unreading, re-reading, and so on—is always an active experience in which our understanding continually changes. The title may also evoke the muffled utterance of a “murmur,” or maybe even a flock of starlings gathered in a “murmuration” to create communal, swirling patterns in the sky.

Artists invited into MURRMUR look at references and models that unfix and disperse knowledge authorship. We look at the book form and scale up all its components into space, so that the book becomes an experimental learning environment. MURRMUR features a series of prototypes, projects, publications, and presentations by artists, designers, writers, poets, and publishers, including Rafael Domenech, nicole killian, Riley Hooker, and Sam Taylor.

MURRMUR, on view February 24–July 16, 2023 in the ICA Shop + Cafe, presents an installation of research, references, and a materials library designed by Sam Taylor. Taylor provides clues and prompts for visitors to “forage” and encounter information through AR technology.

nicole killian’s between a book and a soft place, on view April 21–July 16, 2023, is a vivacious learning environment on the ICA’s second-floor landing and terrace. In this playground for language, visitors are invited to consider the different ways language may be carried, embodied, and perhaps “queered”: we wear the language, we dance the language with our bodies, and we hold the language in our hands.

This new commission is a study for killian’s ongoing research questions around queering design education. “How can we understand designers as bodies in space, with agency, instead of simply ‘creatives’? And how can we understand bodies of text as living things that produce difficult conversations, instead of simply ‘content’?” The public is invited to live in and respond to these questions, leaving traces of their presence over time.

Artist Riley Hooker and architect Nick Meehan’s SIT(UATION), on view April 21–July 16, 2023, is a mutable seating and display system that situates people in a media-rich environment to center the body in the act of reading. The design pulls from 1960s radical architecture, post-modern seating design a-la Peter Opsvik and Terje Ekstrøm, educational methods developed for neurodivergent students, embodiment and mindfulness practices, and anarchic political theories.

The form of this system is derived from the Tangle, a fidget toy developed to help neurodivergent children focus in a classroom setting. The artists hope the system will provoke a behavior inspired by the common slime mold, a colony of single-cell organisms that can live freely as individuals or congregate and move as one body when food is scarce. This behavior is the core metaphor behind SIT(UATION), a place where, communing with others, you consume narratives that are in short supply.

nicole killian is a designer, artist, and educator based in Richmond, VA. killian’s practice oscillates between digital and analog modes for testing publishing projects. Their work has been exhibited at Sediment in Richmond, CAVE in Detroit, Arcadia Missa in London, Present Works in Milwaukee, Little Berlin in Philadelphia, Embassy in Los Angeles, Sadie Halie Projects in Brooklyn, Nomade Gallery in Hangzhou, and Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art for Lorna Mills’s Ways of Something. killian’s expanded approach to publishing considers objects as containers for language—language that gets activated when read, passed, held, and handled.

Riley Hooker is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York. Their work with artist collective House of LaDosha was featured in Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon at the New Museum in New York in 2018. The artist’s first solo show, SPECIATION, was at Knulp in Sydney in 2019, and they were in the group exhibition Love Mussel curated by Water McBeer in 2020. In 2015, Hooker founded Façadomy, an intersectional publishing project focused on paradox and desire. Hooker’s work puts a distorted lens on reality by positioning elements of design, architecture, and popular culture in various states of transition, bringing forward the unstable subject and mutable nature of reality.

Sam Taylor is a product strategist and designer at Manhattan Hydraulics (, as well as, Community Steward at Index ( Sam’s practice centers facilitating conversations and holding space on topics that intersect rest, literacy, community care, radical imagination, and food sovereignty. He is Richmond, VA resident whose past work activates libraries, community centers, public streets, and galleries. Overall, he is invested in weaving the abstract ideas of theory that exist in less accessible academic spaces/texts into an earnest dialogue that brings communities together in tangible ways.

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