Eliza Rose (2016 ALTA Mentee)

Eliza Rose (1)Eliza Rose grew up in Brooklyn, New York and has recently made herself at home in the foothills of northeast Los Angeles. She is grateful for the LA Public Library system’s enormous stores of Science Fiction and audiobooks to explore, and likes listening to murder mysteries while driving around Pasadena.

Eliza’s high school teacher left a copy of Bruno Schulz’s story collection Street of Crocodiles on his desk with her name on a post-it note stuck on its cover, and the gift seeded a long-term involvement with Polish literature. She began learning Polish halfway through college, when she saved up her tips from a grueling summer job to spend two weeks in Krakow. She ultimately came back for a year after finishing up her BA at the University of Chicago, thanks to a fellowship from the Kosciuszko Foundation. She worked as a translator at the Galicia Museum, a small museum devoted to the area’s Jewish history. She finally got comfortable with the language by ruthlessly parroting her roommate, who patiently offered herself up as a learning prop and a friend.

In Poland, her interests roved from literature to animation, film and art, as she gravitated towards the intense productivity of Polish artists of the 1970s, who had found themselves some elbowroom within the ideological parameters of their time. A retrospective on Józef Robakowski at Warsaw’s Center for Contemporary Art introduced her to the structural filmmaking and conceptual art of the seventies that brought tropes of the Russian Avant Garde back into circulation, and put Polish artists in conversation with a global community.

With a new palate of interests and questions, she started her PhD in Slavic languages at Columbia University in 2012. The program gave her the time and resources to include Yugoslavia in her area of study, so she has been studying Serbian for the last two years, and has come to love Belgrade, where she clocks as much time as she can manage. She has just started collecting research for her dissertation, which will compare narrative frameworks for representing labor in the visual culture of Poland and Yugoslavia in the seventies.

In Los Angeles, Eliza works as a freelance researcher and writer for film production and multimedia storytelling.  She finds it curious to encounter narrative speculations and visualizations she associates with the Eastern Bloc and its futurist impulses of the sixties and seventies here and now, in a city where Hollywood and the tech industry somewhat gracelessly collide.

She is working on a novel of Science Fiction while she takes up the slow work of writing her dissertation.

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