Thursday, March 31, 2011

Explanation as Composition: Silent Listening Party + Talk


Join UNFO members Harold Abramowitz, Amanda Ackerman, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Teresa Carmody and Kate Durbin for a discussion about the making of the Explanation as Composition audio tours. The discussion will be followed by a (mostly) silent listening party: choose your individual audio experience in a collective environment!

Saturday | 2 April 2011
1-4 p.m.
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE)
6522 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles

Download the audio tours to your own audio device before the event!

Introduction (to all six tours)
[a tour in] STORY
[a tour in] GEOGRAPHY
[a tour in] EKPHRASIS
[a tour in] PROVENANCE
[a tour in] NATURE
[a tour in] CONFESSION

ABOUT: Explanation as Composition explores the ways in which texts—as narratives—operate within and around a gallery space. How does the narrative of an experience affect that experience, and how are narratives “curated”—publicly and privately? Using a combination of collaboratively written texts, appropriated stories and just plain writing, UNFO has created six audio tours of the LACE exhibition space.

Collaborators include: Aimee Bender, Allison Carter, Mark Z. Danielewski, Carribean Fragoza, Veronica Gonzalez, Janice Lee, Harryette Mullen, Janet Sarbanes, Anna Joy Springer, and Stephen Van Dyck.

UNFO, or Unauthorized Narrative Freedom Organization, is a temporary and unofficial coalition of five writers.


April Fools or A Bernadette Mayer Symposium

Modes of Love & Reason:
A Bernadette Mayer Symposium

Friday, April 1st
9am-4pm
at the University of Buffalo
http://english.buffalo.edu/mayersymposium

Featuring:

Lee Ann Brown

CA Conrad

Stephen Cope

Brenda Coultas

Liz Kotz
Dorothea Lasky
Caitlin Newcomer

Deborah Poe

Sam Truitt

Joey Yearous-Algozin

And --
8pm reading by Bernadette Mayer!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

April Fools or An Evening of Conceptual Writing


Friday, April 1st @ 7 p.m.
Kenneth Goldsmith & Vanessa Place

de Young Museum of Fine Art
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, California
free to museum members; $5 for all others

Kenneth Goldsmith is the creator of unique conceptual works, such as The Weather, consisting of verbatim weather transcripts of forecasts for the Northeast for an entire year, and Head Citations, homophonic translations (or simply mishearings) of popular songs ("This is the dawning of the age of malaria"). Founder of UBUWEB, a leading literary website devoted to innovative writing, he lives in New York City.

Vanessa Place is the author of Dies: A Sentence, a full-length noir work consisting entirely of one sentence, the post-conceptual novel La Medusa, and, with Robert Fitterman, the volume of theory, Notes on Conceptualisms. Her book of conceptual poetry, Statement of Facts, has been published in France as Expose des Faits. Co-director of Les Figues, an important publisher of conceptual and proceduralist writing, she lives in Los Angeles.

Both writers lecture and perform internationally.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Featured Fig: Sophie Robinson



Featured Figs” is a new ongoing column featuring Fig Authors and their inclinations. Our Featured Fig for this month is Sophie Robinson, author of a.

1. Tell us a little bit about your aesthetic inclinations?

My training is in the experimental tradition, and that’s where my heart still lies: finding ways to make language new. I’m also very into visual/linguistic crossovers and enjoy experimenting with incorporating photography and video into my work. More recently I’ve been drawn to revisions of traditional forms and features of poetry, specifically innovating traditional poetic form and playing about with the lyric ‘I’, notions of sincerity, emotion and affect.

2. Where did you come from and are you happy that you're no longer there?

I sprung from a large and complex web of family not far from London. They taught me to read poetry, dance around the kitchen drunk and defy expectation, but I wouldn’t go back.

3. What does your work demand? What does it offer?

I think it demands attention, as do I. It offers newness, at times, I hope. Occasionally a kind joke.

4. Where do you do what you do?

Usually I do it at the kitchen table at 2am, or in a notebook on the bus. Recently, however, I’ve been treated to my own studio at the V&A Museum in London, which is a crazy space that lets me make work any time of the day I like. I teach, too, and get an awful lot from that – I find it really energising.

5. If push came to shove...

I’d shove it in.

6. Please tell us about beauty, belief or bawdry. You may begin.

Bawdry! I adore the use of meat imagery in love poems, and enjoy thinking of obscure and disgusting metaphors for the new government and the state of play here in the UK.

7. As Gertrude Stein says "let us why why." Please proceed.

I love repetition for life and am a bit addicted to using and reading it, ‘why why’ being so different and much more melodramatic than ‘why’. I also love the horror and melodrama of Acker’s work, whole pages of ‘no’ repeated.

8. What does art do to you?

It energises me, gives me hope for the future and sometimes turns me on.

9. Who (or what) do you admire?

Frank O’Hara. Patti Smith. Punctual people.

10. What is a good question? What questions do you ask?

“How do you love?”

11.What do you find deeply satisfying?

Cigarettes. An almost-finished poem. Bellyhurt laughing. Re-opening a wound.

12. What are your favorite kinds of figs?

The feeling of not giving a fig, which I wish I could get more of.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dewclaw: Amina Cain & More!

The third issue of Dewclaw was co-edited by Claire Donato, Jeff T. Johnson, and Evelyn Hampton.

CONTRIBUTORS:

Darren Angle

Mark Bibbins

Amina Cain

Emily Carlson

Susan Daitch

Farrah Field

Shelley Jackson

Noelle Kocot

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Hannah Reiff

Damon Tomblin

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Explanation as Composition: Geography #5


Inspired by Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiment “A Line For Every Block,” write a line for every star you pass on the Walk of Fame. You may start anywhere on the walk, but then you must write a line for every subsequent star up to the number 14 (as Mayer’s original approach was 14 blocks). [For More about What This Is]

My sister was known as George Burns

There’s a small piece of blue foil on the ground

That symbol looks like something in a Russian futurist poem

Was count Basie really a count?

Damon stopped and asked me what we’re doing, this is for him.

Ah, it’s that Russian futurist symbol again!

Florian Zabach—playhouse

There’s a crack in the star, and the camera looks like a loaf of old-style bread.

Fred Hit Cock

Please respect our neighbors by exiting quietly

I look at Agnes, and a young woman sitting at Numero Uno looks at me.

This star reminds me of my cat, I wont tell you why.

Blondie, muted, from the inside of the shop.

The stars are red and gold, with white and pink speckles and the tattoo parlor is black and white with flecks of reflection

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Explanation as Composition: Geography #4


Inspired by Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiment “A Line For Every Block,” write a line for every star you pass on the Walk of Fame. You may start anywhere on the walk, but then you must write a line for every subsequent star up to the number 14 (as Mayer’s original approach was 14 blocks). [For More about What This Is]

Lies Slip

Rose Face

Vida Laid

Wart Wood

Flam Fail

Slur Vain

Whim Home

Grid Frig

Null Null

King Dull

Null Null

Sole Less

Bath Rome

Gold Tron

Monday, March 14, 2011

Explanation as Composition: Geography #3


Inspired by Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiment “A Line For Every Block,” write a line for every star you pass on the Walk of Fame. You may start anywhere on the walk, but then you must write a line for every subsequent star up to the number 14 (as Mayer’s original approach was 14 blocks). [For More about What This Is]


  1. I fell on a stone that exploded into a star.
  2. This was in a dream about a mother.
  3. Where a giant tree sprouted from the ground, luminous
  4. I throw a stone to see where it will land
  5. And if it lands well, this being the zone, we can continue
  6. The sky is drearier when the music says so
  7. So when another tree sprouts up, it will be lucky if it gets any sun at all.
  8. The third, still underground only peeking up through a periscope
  9. May never make it out alive, and still be the luckiest
  10. Let’s go! The first beckons the others, lonely, it its height
  11. This began as a dream about my mother but she often fades into the backdrop
  12. Memories, like raindrops on the ground, dissipate too.
  13. So if you can block out the music
  14. “watch where you’re going,” said a long haired girl.

Friday, March 11, 2011

To Art & Profit: performance festival in Chicago


TO ART & PROFIT:
Creative Labor, Collective Action & Conscientious Capitalism

Interdisciplinary performance series
arts-focused dialogues & street spectacles
in Chicago, Illinois

Curated by Links Hall Artistic Associates
Abra Johnson & Meida McNeal
http://toartandprofit.wordpress.com

**MARCH 18-20**
What Is It Good For? Defining Art’s Purpose Now

Collaborating Artists:
Cristal Sabbagh & Roger Noel
J’Sun Howard & Jennifer Karmin with insight by Coya Paz
C.C. Carter, Sage Morgan Hubbard & Keli Stewart

**APRIL 15-17**
Quit Bullshittin’: Recognizing Division
& Building Solidarity in the Arts

Collaborating Artists:
Avery R. Young & BRAT James
In The Spirit & Siete Lunas Nuevas
Boogie McClarin, Nikki Patin & Fathom DJ

**MAY 20-22**
Come As You Are: Re-Imagining Art with a Conscience

Collaborating Artists:
Silvita Diaz Brown, Nicole Garneau & Lani Montreal
Nicole LeGette
The Ladies Ring Shout & Ayako Kato

PERFORMANCES
8pm Fridays & Saturdays
at Links Hall, 3435 N.Sheffield

COMMUNITY SPECTACLES & DISCUSSIONS
2pm Sundays in Chicago neighborhoods
see festival website for details

FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER
8pm-12am Friday, March 25th
at Defibrillator, 1136 N.Milwaukee

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Explanation as Composition: Confession #1


Confess your most embarrassing story involving a gallery, museum or other place-of-art. It could be a true anecdote involving yourself, something embarrassing you overheard while at a gallery or museum, a story of a friend’s shame-inducing art experience, or a completely made up story involving you or a stranger. You needn’t specify which of the above options you have chosen. Please sign your story with a pen name, such as “Embarrassed Emily.” You may write more than one story.


Four Short Ones, written by UNFO + Collaborators


In the MOMA there is a Duchamp sculpture made out of glass that was cracked during transport. I took a picture of a woman peering through it from the opposite side. She looks mad in the picture.


I read this on CNN once: a woman’s high heel broke and she fell into a famous painting and tore through it. Another time, a wrecking ball went through the wall of a room that hadn’t been fully vacated, tearing through a large-scale painting by a Flemish master. Isn’t that part of what makes art beautiful, that possibility that it might never be experienced or considered again?


I don’t know how to network properly. Once I introduced myself to the lady who is in charge of LACE, hoping I could learn more about how to submit a proposal to curate an event or exhibition. She quickly led me over to her staff. They began the process of signing me up as a student intern.


When I was a child we visited the tomb of Ramses II in Abu Simbel, Egypt. I found it embarrassing to see, carved into the pillars, hearts with the initials of lovers, followed by the date of their visit. Heart shape: S & J, Feb Two, 1889. C and E, July 22, 1901.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

364 Days for Men and 1 International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women's Day and if you haven't already read Eileen Myles' essay, "Being Female," then read it today. The essay (originally published @ The AWL, see below) is in response to "The Count," conducted and published by VIDA (Women in the Literary Arts), which shows that mainstream literary publications publish and review far more work by men than by women. Also recommended: "The Gatekeepers and the Glass Ceiling, Notes Toward an Essay on The Count" on Lemonhound.

More Articles on The Count
--http://vidaweb.org/category/the-count


1.) The Lack of Female Bylines in Magazines Is Old News - Katha Pollitt @ Slate
-- http://www.slate.com/id/2284680/

2.) Being Female -- Eileen Myles @ The Awl [note: Myles' essay originally published here]
-- http://www.theawl.com/2011/02/being-female#more-71928

3.) How To Publish Women Writers: A Letter to Publishers about the VIDA Count -- Annie Finch @ Her Circle
--http://www.hercircleezine.com/2011/02/10/how-to-publish-women-writers-a-letter-to-publishers-about-the-vida-count/

4.) 'Numbers don't lie': Addressing the gender gap in literary publishing -- Jessa Crispin @ PBS
-- http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/voices/numbers-dont-lie-addressing-the-gender-gap-in-literary-publishing/7161/

5.) On breaking the literary glass ceiling -- Jessa Crispin and Michael Schaub @ PBS
--http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/voices/vida-pt-2/7383/

6.) Why There's Gender Bias in Media-and What We Can Do About It -- Margot Magowan @ MS. Magazine
--http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/02/10/why-theres-gender-bias-in-media-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/

7.) Women in Publishing: What's the Real Story? -- Kjerstin Johnson @ Bitch Magazine
--http://bitchmagazine.org/post/women-in-publishing

8.) Women Get Published and Reviewed Less Than Men in Big Magazines, Say Red-and-Blue Pie Charts -- Jim Behrle @ The Hairpin
--http://thehairpin.com/2011/02/women-get-published-and-reviewed-less-than-men-in-big-magazines-say-red-and-blue-pie-charts/

9.) Bitches Be Trippin' -- Roxane Gay @ HTML Giant
--http://htmlgiant.com/random/bitches-be-trippin/

10.) The Sorry State Of Women At Top Magazines -- Anna North @ Jezebel
--http://jezebel.com/5750239/the-sorry-state-of-women-at-top-magazines

11.) Gender, publishing, and Poetry magazine -- Christian Wiman @ Poetry Foundation
--http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2011/02/gender-publishing-and-poetry-magazine/

12.) VIDA: The Count Roundup @ The Rumpus
--https://therumpus.net/2011/02/vida-the-count-roundup/

13.) Why It Matters That Fewer Women Are Published in Literary Magazines -- Robin Romm @ Double X
--http://www.doublex.com/blog/xxfactor/why-it-matters-fewer-women-are-published-literary-magazines

14.) Women at Work -- Meghan O'Rourke @ Slate
--http://www.slate.com/id/2283605/

15.) The Numbers Speak For Themselves @ Women and Hollywood
--http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/archives/the_numbers_speak_for_themselves/

16.) Do četiri puta manje tekstova žena! -- BROJKE NE LAŽU @ Kultura (in Croatian)
--http://www.tportal.hr/kultura/knjizevnost/109858/Do-cetiri-puta-manje-tekstova-zena.html

17.) Submitting Work: A Woman's Problem? -- Becky Tuch @ Beyond the Margins
--http://beyondthemargins.com/2011/02/submitting-work-a-womans-problem/

18.) On Gender, Numbers, & Submissions -- Rob @ Tin House
--http://www.tinhouse.com/blog/6993/on-gender-numbers-submissions.html

19.) A Literary Glass Ceiling? -- Ruth Franklin @ The New Republic
--http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/82930/VIDA-women-writers-magazines-book-reviews

20.) Research shows male writers still dominate books world -- Benedicte Page @ The Guardian
--http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/feb/04/research-male-writers-dominate-books-world

21.) Gender Balance and Book Reviewing: A New Survey Renews The Debate -- Patricia Cohen @ New York Times Arts Beat
--http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/gender-balance-and-book-reviewing-a-new-survey-renews-the-debate/

22.) Tickets to an Awesome Future Are Free: Gender, Literature, and VIDA’s Count -- Carolyn Zaikowski
--http://monkeypuzzlepress.com/blog/tickets-to-an-awesome-future-are-free/

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 24 in Philly


Feminism/s: An interdisciplinary series exploring how art, criticism, political action, and community building can create structural and cultural solutions to gender hierarchies.

Thursday, March 24th

A Reading & Discussion with Vanessa Place

6pm in the Arts Cafe,
Kelly Writers House
Philadelphia, PA

Feminism/s: An interdisciplinary series that aims to amplify the multiplicity of voices engaged in critique of the gender hierarchy. Feminism/s wants to plant footprints in absence, slit the invisible veins of social construction and learn about activist approaches all at the same time. Most of all it wants to spread girl-germs; induce kaleidoscopic perspective.

Feminism/s: An interdisciplinary series honoring and acknowledging diversity in contemporary feminist voices, Feminism/s aims to give voice and consideration to the (macro) micro that surround contemporary feminisms in all their pluralities. Conversation, analysis, philosophy and community connection related to structural and cultural solutions to the gender hierarchy.

Explanation as Composition: Geography#2

Please note: All material here was written by UNFO + Collaborators. The person shown in the photo above can be counted among that group, but do not assume she is the single author of text below.

Inspired by Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiment “A Line For Every Block,” write a line for every star you pass on the Walk of Fame. You may start anywhere on the walk, but then you must write a line for every subsequent star up to the number 14 (as Mayer’s original approach was 14 blocks). [For More about What This Is]

1. Everyone on Hollywood Blvd has turned into a rabbit.

2. The stars are not tombstones, especially the empty ones.

3. Louise Dresser made hats for starlets and stars, but she wished she had owned a candy shop instead, pulling salt-water taffy.

4. It’s a shame that no one knows who you are or what you did.

5. Frank Sinatra bought a turquoise shirt, and a purple one and then put them into a plastic bag.

6. Welcome to heaven or hell, your choice.

7. I used to own a Jimmy Eat World CD, but then I sold it.

8. Everything will be just fine / Everything

9. The Halloween march is like March in Halstead.

10. A star for every car—a cloud of saffron.

11. Freddy Martin, my father, wore a wig, worked for the FBI, and collected decorative shot glasses.

12. Don’t mess with me, me and my berretta.

13. This fern tree was planted here in 1988 as part of a city beautification project.

14. Getting into my leopard print gloves and smelling a pool of oil and rain, I end on new beginnings.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Explanation as Composition: Geography


The Explanation as Composition audio tours were very popular last night, and yes, they did make people smile. If you didn't make it out last night, there's still time. The tours will run through April 17, 2011. We're also going to have a silent listening party -- details coming soon.

Most of the material for the tours was written during a social collaborative writing event; the writers included: Amanda Ackerman, Harold Abramowitz, Kate Durbin, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum and Teresa Carmody. Event writer collaborators: Aimee Bender, Allison Carter, Mark Z. Danielewski, Carribean Fragoza, Veronica Gonzalez, Janice Lee, Harryette Mullen, Janet Sarbanes, Anna Joy Springer, and Stephen Van Dyck.

Over the next two weeks, we're going to be posting most of the material generated that day. Some of this is included in the audio tours; some isn't. It was written by us, all of us, but have fun trying to guess which particular writer wrote which particular piece. We'll begin with writing from the geography prompt:

Inspired by Bernadette Mayer’s writing experiment “A Line For Every Block,” write a line for every star you pass on the Walk of Fame. You may start anywhere on the walk, but then you must write a line for every subsequent star up to the number 14 (as Mayer’s original approach was 14 blocks).

Geography #1

Gene Autry—What a gallop, a romp, a sunter out and about the crumbly hills

Alfred Hitchcock—heartwarming gruesome like my grandfather

Hank Williams—A lulling strain, bug until it sputters out in the rain

Claude Rains—Something kept in a very hard wooden box for too long is always frightening

Alma Rubens—Soul in a sandwich I will always remember when egg burritos & weenies

Tex Williams—Lay down and die as long as you can bear it.

Andy Griffith—I’ll give you a piece of my mind when I see you. Never mind it’s not worth it.

Mitzi Green—Too many breasts always me make me laugh.

Lucille Ball—Rolling & rolling even when there is no point.

Cantinflas—Who knew you’d institutionalize a revolution? Things stopped being funny, I guess.

Chicago—Too many legs make me feel like getting out of the way.

Lou Costello—Walked on in the rain by families who don’t know you.

Stan Winson—In moments like this, I love my ex boyfriend the most

Don Alvarado—I remember who you used to be even if your mother never told you about it.

Florian Zabach—The rare weed sprouts best around pornography.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Introducing: Explanation as Composition


Part 3 of Not Content officially opens today! Explanation as Composition explores the role of narrative in a gallery setting. Under the auspices of UNFO (Unauthorized Narrative Freedom Organization), writers Amanda Ackerman, Harold Abramowitz, Kate Durbin, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum and Teresa Carmody have created/curated six audio tours of the LACE exhibition space. Most of the material for these tours was written during a collaborative social writing event at LACE on 30 January 2011. The writer collaborators include: Aimee Bender, Allison Carter, Mark Z. Danielewski, Carribean Fragoza, Veronica Gonzalez, Janice Lee, Harryette Mullen, Janet Sarbanes, Anna Joy Springer, and Stephen Van Dyck.

Visitors to LACE will thus be able to choose their narrative experience. Their audio tour options include:
  • Story
  • Geography
  • Ekphrasis
  • Provenance
  • Nature
  • Confession
Here's a sneak-peek-listen to the Introduction for all six audio tours.

Come out tonight for the opening at LACE, and also see On The Line , curated by Cody Trepte, and Grand Pale Maw, a new mural project by Sean Sullivan.

The Explanation as Composition audio tours will be at LACE through 17 April 2011. The project will also continue here, on the Les Figues blog, where we'll be posting the complete audio tours, source texts and other, curated, responses to select narratives.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Dust of Suns in Chicago

The Chicago Poetry Project presents
a staged reading of the play

The Dust of Suns
by Raymond Roussel
Trans. Harry Mathews

March 4-6th
Fri & Sat 8pm; Sun 3pm
All performances are FREE!

at The Charnel House
3421 W. Fullerton Street
Chicago, Illinois
773.871.9046

This script-in-hand performance of Raymond Roussel’s play, directed by John Beer, with design by Caroline Picard, features an array of Chicago writers and artists.

Performers include: James Tadd Alcox, Joshua Corey, Joel Craig, Monica Fambrough, Sara Gothard, Judith Goldman, Samantha Irby, Lisa Janssen, Jennifer Karmin, Jamie Kazay, John Keene, Jacob Knabb, Francesco Levato, Brian Nemtusak, Travis Nichols, Jacob Saenz, Larry Sawyer, Suzanne Scanlon, Jennifer Steele and Nicole Wilson.

French poet, novelist and playwright Raymond Roussel (1877-1933) faced almost universal incomprehension and derision during his lifetime, for works that neglected traditional character and plot development in favor of the construction of elaborate descriptions and anecdotes based on hidden wordplay. While the premieres of his self-financed plays caused near-riots, admirers included Surrealists Andre Breton and Robert Desnos, who called The Dust of Suns (1926) “another incursion into the unknown which you alone are exploring.” Roussel never enjoyed the posthumous fame of his hero Jules Verne, but he has exercised a powerful fascination upon later writers and artists including the French Oulipo group, Marcel Duchamp, John Ashbery, Michel Foucault, and Michael Palmer. New editions of his novels and poetry are forthcoming this year from Princeton and Dalkey Archive.

Like much of Roussel’s writing, The Dust of Suns has a colonial setting. Against the backdrop of fin-de-siecle French Guiana, a convoluted treasure hunt unfolds. Along the way, Roussel fully indulges his penchant for bizarre invention and juxtaposition. The Frenchman Blache seeks his uncle’s inheritance: a cache of gems whose location lies at the end of a chain of clues that includes a sonnet engraved on a skull and the recollections of an albino shepherdess. Meanwhile, his daughter Solange is in love with Jacques—but all Jacques knows of his parentage is a mysterious tattoo on his shoulder...