Ishi’s Brain + Despair Vol. 1

On May 16, Institute 193 hosted the release party for J.T. Dockery’s new publication Despair Vol. 1. Institute 193 collaborated with Dockery on his book Spud Crazy in 2011, and we were thrilled to work with him again on this project. Despair Vol. 1 includes two main graphic narratives, rendered in Dockery’s distinctive illustration style, that display his penchant for dark, non-linear story-lines, as well as a series of drawings inspired by the 19th century poet Stephen Crane. The book also features work by the artist Chris Wright and end-pages designed by Julia Gfrörer.

You can purchase a copy of Despair Vol. 1 here.

During the release party, the Baltimore artists Eamon Epsey and Lisa Krause performed “Ishi’s Brain,” a multi-media puppet show based on a portion of Epsey’s graphic novel Songs of the Abyss. The narrative of the show was inspired by the story of Ishi, the last member of the Yahi tribe in California, who died in 1911. Because he lived most of his life removed from Western culture, he was popularly known as the “last wild Indian.” Epsey and Krause’s version employs marionettes, large scale masks, intricate shadow puppets, and innovative lighting designs to tell the story of an alien shaman leading a spirit to the afterlife.

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