Wor(l)ds in Collision


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This exhibition concentrates on Wittgenstein’s insistence in his later writings on the usefulness of the concept of ‘games’ for thinking about language. There is no one quality that unites all the things we think of as games, and to play a game requires not only rules, but the possibility of testing, breaking, revising those rules. Rejecting the idea that language has one essential purpose, or that meaning is something fixed and transparent, the artworks here are engaged in various forms of play, translation or reconfiguration. Language is physical as well as symbolic. Our experiences lay claim to the traditions and practices that give them meaning, but can be turned back thereon to question and confuse what we might otherwise take for granted. We come to points where ordinary language seems inadequate, but this is not because we lack an adequately nuanced set of concepts, or because we need a better ‘theory’ of language, but because we have not paid enough attention to the particular and the familiar. What frameworks support our observations and convictions? The artwork here in some ways mimics the incompleteness of Wittgenstein’s writing, the unendingness of his philosophical project. Variously they show art as a process of discarding and reassembling, of repetition with variation, of careful attention to presentation and nested meanings, to the balance between authorial control and emergence, between understanding and opacity.

We are delighted to welcome you to this playful collaboration between poets, artists and philosophers, where the boundaries between words and images, meanings and material are plucked, strummed, exalted and trammelled.

The death of conceptualism?

“Conceptualism is probably over now, even in its newest iterations. The generative energy has gone out of procedural work and gestures of appropriation, retranslation, transcribing, and other methods of production that take an idea as a point of departure and carry out its terms to whatever affectless effect can be realized.” Johanna Drucker.

“Johanna Drucker has suggested that Conceptual Literature has begun to enter the twilight of its eminence, on the verge of becoming yet another one of the exhausted movements in the history of the avant-garde. While I am happy to see Conceptual Literature discussed within the context of its historical precedents (even if only to suggest that such writing has merely rehashed the techniques of its more noteworthy precursors), I feel that Drucker might be underemphasizing the degree to which her own observations about the “death” of Conceptual Literature might be recycling historical complaints, no less “unoriginal,” no less “uncreative,” in their obituaries, which declare the death of a genre, long before its generative potentials have been fully explored or fully absorbed….” Christian Bök.

Hidden Agendas: Unreported Poetics

Hidden Agendas: Unreported Poetics is now online in a PDF format at issuu.com/litteraria. It contains a slection of writings on Edwin Denby, Mark Hyatt, Bern Porter, Asa Benveniste, Lukáš Tomin, William Bronk, Gilbert Sorrentino, Robbie Walker, Bob Cobbing, Paddy Roe, Philip Whalen, Loop Poetics, Cyberpoetics, Flarf and other poets and poetics from the 1960s to the present that/who might be considered ”neglected” in some way. Contributors: Ali Alizadeh, Louis Armand, Livio Beloi, Jeremy Davies, Stephan Delbos, Michel Delville, Johanna Drucker, Michael Farrel, Allen Fisher, Vincent Katz, Stephen Muecke, Jena Osman, Michael Rothenberg, Lou Rowan, Kyle Schlesinger, Robert Shepperd, Stephanie Strickland, John Wilkinson. Can also be got in hardcopy from the publisher, Litteraria Pragensia Books in Prague.

Via Vlak Magazine