Haikualizations: There is No Chicken. There is No Road to Cross. There is No Other Side.


Haikualizations: There is No Chicken. There is No Road to Cross. There is No Other Side.


June 18 - July 28, 2013


Emily Waters & Robert Metrick (artists)


“there is no chicken… ” is a series of artworks that celebrate and subvert the haiku form. This project originated 12 years ago, when Metrick kept a kept a “diary” of observations, juxtaposed with fragments of found texts extracted from news media, textbooks, political speeches, fiction, storybooks, philosophical essays, films and operas. Each text was molded into a rigid 3-line framework, rooted in the syllabic structure of haiku, but devoid of the seasonal symbolism of traditional haiku. Metrick emailed one haiku each day to a listserv of subscribers, forming a durational series, “The Lost Years Haiku Project.” More than 600 editions of the Project were published over 2-½ years.

Years later, Metrick sought to expand this work in collaboration with a visual artist who shared his sensibility. Eventually, he rediscovered Emily Waters, a graphic designer in New York whom he had originally met in his freshman dormitory, but that he had not seen nor spoken with in 25 years. Out of nowhere, Metrick sent her hundreds of haiku, without any discussion of concept, context or intent. She responded by selecting 65, which she typographically imprinted into her digital photos via Photoshop. Our collaboration became a conversation we had never actually had. We now refer to this convergence of text and image as “haikualization.”

This exhibition consists of selections from their collaboration, which the artists hope to one day publish as a book.



Robert Metrick is a Chicago-based writer, composer, director. Since 1984, he has created performance works, ranging from solo monologs to fully-staged operatic ensemble productions, in addition to installations, films, videos, audio pieces, personal non-fiction and poetry. Art critic Kathryn Hixson once described his work as a “cross between Beckettinian existentialism and a high school production of Oklahoma!

Metrick’s work has been presented at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Rhinoceros Theater Festival among other performance venues and galleries in Chicago and nationally.  He has been honored with grants from the National Endowment for the Art, Illinois Arts Council and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he was awarded the Ryerson Fellowship.

Emily Waters is a visual artist, originally from Geneva, Illinois. Her work in graphic design, photography and fiber art reflects her fascination with modern signs, symbols and patterns found on streets and highways.

She has designed exhibitions, catalogs, and posters for many art and cultural institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, as well as books with Abrams.  She has worked as Assistant Director of Graphic Design at the Museum of Modern Art, and provides design consultation for nonprofit organizations and community groups.

She currently teaches design at Parsons The New School for Design and Queens College. She studied at the University of Illinois and the Basel School of Design. She now lives in Brooklyn with her husband, 2 children and 2 cats.




Emily Waters & Robert Metrick (artists), “Haikualizations: There is No Chicken. There is No Road to Cross. There is No Other Side.
,” SAIC Flaxman Library & Special Collection Exhibitions, accessed May 27, 2020, https://flaxman.omeka.net/items/show/64.