The Society of Smallness

Underachieving since 2012

Summer is here…and so are flies!

by societyofsmallness

Saint George and the Dragon

Saint George and the Dragon
Bernat Martorell
Spanish, about 1400–1452

We’re not here to incite any violence against flies (or dragons). This image merely shows the presence of flies in art (look along the bottom edge to see one that’s landed on a bone).

In Soledades. Galeríar. Otros Poemas (1907) Antonio Machado offers an endearing and philosophical take on the pestiferous insect.

by Antonio Machado

Old familiar flies,
greedy, unavoidable,
plain flies of everyday,
you bring back everything.

Old flies with appetites
as keen as April bees,
or running those tickly legs
over my infant scalp.

Flies of my first tedium
in the parlor of our house
on bright summer afternoons
when I first began to dream.

And in the hated schoolroom,
funny zooming flies,
hounded from sheer delight
in everything that flew
(flying is all that counts),
buzzing, bumping windowpanes
on autumn days…

Flies at every stage—
babyhood and teenage,
golden days of youth,
and now this second innocence
with nothing to believe in,
always flies…

Plain old things,
you’ll never find your singer—
you’re far too commonplace:
I know that you’ve alighted
on the charmed plaything,
on the shut schoolbook,
on the love letter,
and on the rigid lids
of the dead.

Greedy, unavoidable,
you never work like bees,
nor glitter like a butterfly,
you tiny little gadabouts,
you’re old friends just the same
and bring back everything.


To a populace hungry for documents, the clerks at Documents Bureau bring hearty sustenance.

by Micromanager


Winter-weary Chicago: what issue(s) do you want to put in official language? Check all that apply.

Amidst the objectionable weather of February, Documents Bureau returned to 2nd Floor Rear. Our hearty clerks aided the public in producing over 150 documents some quietly attesting to personal convictions and others bellowing defiant statements against life’s annoyances.

New this year was The Climatic Cathartic Confessions Desk. Behind our red curtain we offered intensive therapies to help visitors shake off seasonal affective disorder. Fortunes were invoked by Miss Annie and her famous W.A.S.P. divinations and Remedios served as spiritual guide rousing weary winter travelers to revolt against “dibs” and other winter iniquities.

Special thanks to I Am Logan Square gallery.

Here are the fabulous clerks and guests who were on hand:

  • Clerks: Lissette Bustamante, Caitlin Devitt, Paul Durica, Bryant Godinez, David Gries, Henry Harris, Marianne Joyce, Karolina Kowalczyk, Jeff Michalski, Chris Molina, Lili Mugnier, Allison Muscolino, Daniela Perez, Jennifer Pham, Kat Seno, Matt Stone, and Georgina Valverde
  • Special Guests: Perry Cowdery playing melodica, Miss Annie (a.k.a. Annie Morse) giving W.A.S.P. Divinations, Marcos Herrera at the CCC Desk, and Captain Chicago who signed autographs and formed our security detail

Documents Bureau: The Climatic Cathartic Confessions Desk

by Micromanager

We’re at it again: The Society of Smallness will be at 2nd Floor Rear Festival!

by societyofsmallness


We’re busiest when it’s freezing! This will be our third year participating in 2nd Floor Rear Festival, the 24-hour celebration of Chicago’s vibrant community of alternative and DIY art spaces. The festival has been key in our development. In 2013 we presented Unsuspicious Activity Around an Attended Package, a roaming, improvised performance that included carrying Clutch on the El, picketing against bigness, and carrying a typewriter. Typing in public places became a thing. While lunching at Penny’s Noodles in Wicker Park, we typed a pardon for a worker who broke a glass. This, and other clerkish gestures since, have laid the groundwork for Documents Bureau, an interactive performance using bureaucracy to playfully co-create with audiences.

Bundle up and come get documented! We’ll be spewing red tape at I Am Logan Square Gallery. Here’s the skinny:

Documents Bureau

February 7, 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm
February 7, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
February 8, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
February 8, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Society of Smallness at the Annual Bughouse Square Debates

by societyofsmallness

The People (of Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival) Demand ‘Steak Week’ and Bureaucracy Delivers.

by Micromanager


Our bureaucrats presided over marriages, name changes, resignations, and declared new holidays. Each document has been scanned and entered into the SoS archives.

“Documents Bureau” is a rambunctious, interactive performance that takes the boredom and bewilderment out of bureaucracy to achieve a creative and convivial experience. In a gallery space at the festival, unwitting passerbys were given the opportunity to take agency over the smaller aspects of life: to get a permit for their beard or resolve to go small with a minifesto. Our clerks, junior assistants, yesmen, and redundant pencil pushers logged a personal best of 123 documents at the 2014 Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (MAAF) in Logan Square (Chicago).

All weekend Clutch Gallery was on hand showing “Nuts” by Scott Wolniak and the RIT Dye Cabinet exhibited “Never Say Dye, Say Buy!” by Nicole Seisler.

Here are the inconvenient dates and times “Documents Bureau” was open and those who were on hand:

Friday June 27, 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

  • Clerks: Marcos Herrera, Kat Seno, Matt Stone, Andrea Torres, Bettina Valverde, and Georgina Valverde
  • Special Guests: Perry Cowdery playing melodica and Miss Annie (a.k.a. Annie Morse) giving W.A.S.P. Divinations.
  • Friday night also featured the delights of the Sledgehammer Keyboard by Taylor Hokanson.

Saturday June 28, 4:007:00 p.m.

  • Clerks: Paul Durica, Henry Harris, Marcos Herrera, Noel Jones, Kat Seno, Matt Stone, and Georgina Valverde
  • Special Guests: Tom Conway on guitar

Sunday June 29, 2:005:00 p.m.

  • Clerks: Carl Boyd, Marianne Joyce, Elizabeth Murphy, Kat Seno, Matt Stone, and Georgina Valverde
  • Special Guests: Perry Cowdery playing melodica and Miss Annie (a.k.a. Annie Morse) giving W.A.S.P. Divinations

Documents Bureau: Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival

by Micromanager

Gateway to Hobohemia: The Clerking and the Conjuring

by Micromanager

Gateway to Hobohemia: A Traveling Band of Clairvoyant Clerks

by Micromanager

Anarchists, hobos, flappers, & practitioners of ‘free love’ it’s time for another 2FR Festival!

by Micromanager


SOS’s Roving Séance™ relies not on newfangeled gadgetry, but on technology that works.

Block out February 1 on your calendar because Society of Smallness is once again taking part in 2FR — the Blue-Line-hugging winter alternative arts and performance festival.

Our Roving Séance™, Gateway to Hobohemia will be conjuring up 1920s Chicago and cultural hotspot The Dil Pickle. The SOS will travel with a coterie of clerks whose steadfast commitment to keeping the bureaucracy intact will summon spirits from the jazz-era.

We plan to infiltrate five different 2FR venues with our 15 minute performance. The following times are firm but a few locations are yet to be determined.

Featured artists (in no particular order): Kevin L. Burrows (aka the Mayor of Bucktown), Annie Morse, Will Clinger, Marianne Joyce, Jeff Michalski, Henry Harris, Bryant Abraham Godinez, Matthew Stone, Georgina Valverde, Tom Conway, Lissette Bustamante, Marcos Herrera (aka Captain Morely Miniscule), and others.

February 1 Events Lineup:

12:00 p.m.
SOS will participate in the Preambulatory Parade
Departs from the Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square

1:00 p.m.
South Logan Arts Coalition
3020 West Bloomingdale Avenue

4:00 p.m.
These Roads Close in Winter
3118 W Palmer Square / Exhibition

8:00 p.m.
Autotelic Studios
2959 North Springfield Avenue

9:45 p.m.
An ectoplasm-soaked introduction to Pocket Guide to Hell‘s The Dil Pickle Club “Then/Now”
At the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 North Milwaukee, 3rd Floor