[-empyre-] Welcome to November, 2016 -Overcoming Technique:Multi-Media, Dialectics or Synthesis

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Wed Nov 2 00:10:05 AEDT 2016



Welcome to November, 2016 on –empyre soft-skinned space:

Overcoming Technique: Multi-Media, Dialectics or Synthesis? 

Moderated by Murat Nemet-Nejat (TURKEY, US) with invited discussants Peter Valente (US), Mustafa Ziyalan (TURKEY, US), Adeena Karasick (CANADA, US),  Alan Sondheim (US), Michael Boughn (CANADA), Jerome Sala (US), Chris Funkhauser (US).


November 1h           Week 1: Peter Valente (US), Mustafa Ziyalan (TURKEY, US)

November 8th          Week 2: Adeena Karasick (CANADA, US), Alan Sondheim (US)

November 15th        Week 3: Michael Boughn (CANADA), Jerome Sala (US) 

November 22nd       Week 4: Chris Funkhauser (US), Sally Silvers (US), Bruce Andrews (US)


The computer is now a fact of our life, and in the last decade or so its dark underside has become visible. In the virtual world a lie is no different than truth—that is mathematically and epistemologically (and politically) equal to each other. In the world of digital art, infinite (i.e. algorithmic) openings are potentially overwhelming and equal to no choice at all. Infinity seductively mutates to paralysis (or into the positive virtual sealed reality of a loopgamespace). That beauty is achieved where there is friction. Friction is the pod of desire, creating what is humanly infinite.


The above statement is only a working hypothesis—based on this moderator's belief that technology is first of all about the posession of power. In the arts (as in society), it may easily become an "easier," seductively efficient weapon suppressing expression. Of course, one may agree or disagree with this point of view. The next question has to do with the idea of truth. In the sense Martin Heidegger uses in his essay "The Question Concerning Technology," to what extent does (or doesn't) digital technology lead to the revelation of "the truth" in the arts? The third question has to do with the concept of multi-media. Is the goal of multi-media progressive to achieve an ideal Wagnerian synthesis or is it more dialectical—each acting on the other reflectively (as is the case in a translation) revealing the other's nature and limits, the gap separating them as powerful and relevant as the desire for union. These are all open questions.


The guests this month all work both within and outside the digital world and are intensely conscious of the questions raised above. Peter Valente creating his filmic and photographic images uses oppositional techniques to bypass the cooked perfection and colors of photoshop images. Mustafa Ziyalan, on the other hand, uses the cellphone, including the manipulation of colors, to depict the chaos he sees around himself. Alan Sondheim, in his multi-media work of recent years, often contrasts in the same work a text subjected to digital procedures with a piece of acoustic music performed on a single musical instrument. Adeena Karasick reverses technology's relationship to power, wresting it back by creating a poetics based on 12th century Kabbalah principles. In performances, the poems culminate in ecstatic, erotic-mystical sequences—what the critic Maria Damon calls "the wall of sound"—where words—often neologisms or word combinations invented by the poet—richochet against each other. The poems may use visual and audio digital effects, but always words and the poet's body performing them is at the center. Along with the controversial poet Kent Johnson, Michael Boughn is the founder of the blog Dispatches whose basic goal is to archive texts and elicit discussions that go against the grain of contemporary artistic, literary or political opinion. Jerome Sala is interested "in the poetics of corporate and digital jargon and the new subjectivities to which these languages give rise." His forthcoming book of poetry is Corporations Are People, Too! Chris Funkhauser explores digital poetry as a new, independant form with unique pssibilities where the verbal, visual and aural achieve a fluid sysnthesis and potentially infinite versions of a work coexist simultaneously, depending on the reader's/player' choices.


This month of November, 2016 I invite the –empyre subscriber list to discuss these issues in our soft-skinned space with our distinguished group of weekly guests.





<empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>










Murat Nemet-Nejat (TURKEY, US) is a poet, essayist, translator from Turkish poetry and editor. He is presently working on his poem "Camels and Weasels." His recent publications include his translation from the Turkish poet Ece Ayhan, A Blind Cat Black and Orthodoxies (1997, new edition 2015), his poems  The Spiritual Life of Replicants (2011) and Animals of Dawn (2016), and the essays "Holiness and Jewish Rebellion: 'Questions of Accent' Twenty Years Afterwards," Languages of Modern Jewish Cultures: Comparative Pers[ectives (University of Michigan Press, 2016), "Dear Charles. Letters from a Turk: Mayan Letters, Herman Melvile and Eda," Letters for Olson, gathered and ed. Benjamin Hollander (Spuyden Duyvil, 2016), and "A Dialogue with Olga," Drawing Papers 129, Olga Chernysheva Vague Accent (The Drawing Center, 2016). He is also the editor of Eda: An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry (Talisman Publishers, 2004).


Weekly Guests:

PETER VALENTE is the author of A Boy Asleep Under the Sun: Versions of Sandro Penna  (Punctum Books, 2014), which was nominated for a Lambda award, The Artaud Variations (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014), Let the Games Begin: Five Roman Writers (Talisman House, 2015), a book of photography, Street Level (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016), and the chapbook, Forge of Words a Forest (Jensen Daniels, 1998). He is the co-translator of the chapbook, Selected Late Letters of Antonin Artaud, 1945-1947 (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2014), which includes six of Artaud’s letters, and has translated the work of Luis Cernuda, Gérard de Nerval, Cesare Viviani, Pierre Lepori, and Pier Paolo Pasolini, as well as numerous Ancient Greek and Latin authors. Forthcoming is a second book of photography entitled Blue (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016), and a translation of Nanni Balestrini’s Blackout (Commune Editions, 2017). In 2019. City Lights will publish all 33 of Artaud’s late letters with an introduction by Stephen Barber. Valente has also written two experimental sci-fi novellas and two books of music, one on the improvised music scene and the other on the Northern Soul movement. Presently, he is at work translating Guillaume Dustan’s Nicolas Pages for Semiotext(e). In 2010, he turned to filmmaking and has completed 60 shorts to date, 24 of which were screened at Anthology Film Archives.


MUSTAFA ZIYALAN was born at the Black Sea coast of Turkey. He worked as
a general practitioner and coroner in a rural Anatolian village. Now he
lives and practices psychiatry in New York. He has worked with torture
victims, prison inmates, children abusing volatile substances,
pathological gamblers, and persons with AIDS. His poetry, short fiction,
and essays have appeared in many literary periodicals, anthologies and
in book form in Turkey. He poetry appears in English in Eda: An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry.


Cited as the Kabbalah Kohenet (High Priestess), ADEENA KARASICK is a New York based poet, performer, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of seven books of poetry and poetics. Writing at the intersection of post-Language Conceptualism and neo-Fluxus performatics, her urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) "a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick's signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin). Most recently is This Poem (Talonbooks, 2012) and The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan (NeoPoiesis Press, 2014). She teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Dept. at Pratt Institute, co-founding Director of the KlezKanada Poetry Festival and Retreat, and a 2016 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award recipient. The “Adeena Karasick Archive” has just been established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University.


ALAN SONDHEIM is a Providence-based new media artist, musician, writer, and performer concerned with issues of virtuality, and the stake that the real world has in the virtual. He has worked with his partner, Azur Carter and the performer/choreographer Foofwa d'Imobilite. Sondheim is interested in examining the grounds of the virtual and how the body is inhabited. He performs in virtual, real, and cross-over worlds; his virtual work is known for its highly complex and mobile architectures. He has used altered motion-capture technology extensively for examining and creating new lexicons of behavior. His current work is centered around notions of gamespace, 'edgespace' (the border areas of gamespace) and 'blankness,' projections around edgespace. His current music is based on the impossibility of time reversal, on fast improvisation, and anti- gestural approaches to playing.


MICHAEL BOUGHN's publications include 12 books of poetry (most recently City -- a poem from the end of the world (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016)), a mystery novel, and multiple essays with a common interest in postmodern developments in writing, film, and architecture. In April, 2016, along with poet Kent Johnson, he launched Dispatches from the Poetry Wars, an online pirate poetry website of often satirical resistance to both the official verse culture and its Professional Avant-Garde doppelganger. It dreams of becoming a non-central centre for a shifting gathering of like-minded and not so like-minded people to be in common in a way that unfolds into surprise. 


JEROME SALA is a poet, independent scholar and essayist, who, for most of his life, has earned a living writing direct response advertising, both digital and print. His books of poetry include cult classics such as Spaz Attack, I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent, The Trip, Raw Deal, Look Slimmer Instantly, and The Cheapskates. His essays and poems have appeared widely in publications such as The Nation, the Brooklyn Rail and Rolling Stone. Before moving to New York in the 80s, Sala and his spouse, poet Elaine Equi, did numerous readings together, helping to create Chicago’s lively performance poetry scene. His blog, on “poetry, pop culture and everyday life,” is espresso bongo: http://www.espressobongo.typepad.com : http://www.espressobongo.typepad.com. His forthcoming book of poems, Corporations Are People, Too!, features a series of “Corporate Sonnets” constructed from “business speak” and the clichés of digital marketing and entrepreneurial self-help, towards their new subjectivity.


Multimedia artist and writer CHRISTOPHER FUNKHAUSER is author of Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archeology of Forms, 1959-1995, New Directions in Digital Poetry, Whereis Mineral: Selected Adventures in MOO, the chapbooks pressAgain, Subsoil Lutes, Electro Þerdix, and LambdaMOO_Sessions. He was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Multimedia University (Malaysia) in 2006. In 2009, the Associated Press commissioned him to prepare digital poems for the occasion of Barack Obama’s inauguration. Funk’s SoundBox 2012, nominated for a 2013 Digital Humanities award, interactively unites more than 400 recordings he produced. In 2016, he was a featured presenter at the Whitney Museum of American Art's Open Plan: Cecil Taylor exhibition. Funkhouser is Professor and Director of the Communication and Media program at New Jersey Institute of Technology, a Contributing Editor at PennSound, and hosts POET RAY’D YO on WGXC in Hudson.















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