Ty Mecozzi Ty writes from 7 in the morning to about noonish. He used to write fiction, and now his life is sort've like fiction, so he just writes what's happening, or what he thinks is happening, and calls it "writing". Currently he's working on a long-letter form inspired by Karl Ove, in which Melinda Noack Melinda is a poet living in Oakland and a writer at an affordable housing nonprofit in San Francisco. He blames himself. Cyrus Armajani Cyrus Armajani teaches reading and creative writing to youth who are incarcerated. He is a Jefferson Award recipient for his literacy work in the juvenile justice system and a Pushcart nominee.
She is the keeper of stories in her family and the resident poet. Anca L. Phase 2. Kundiman Kundiman Northern California presents writings that explore the act of poetry as protest and examine both the internal and external spaces of undoing in our current America. Emily Yamauchi Writer, artist, educator. It's all for the stories. For the past three years, Literary Speakeasy has been taking over Martuni's Piano Bar on the last Thursday of every month. Please join us as we highlight some of our favorite Bay Area performers from those past three years at Martuni's.
We will bring you some of the best poets, writers, and songwriters for the night Moderators James Siegel James J. He hosts and curates the monthly Literary Speakeasy show at Martuni's, always held on the last Thursday of every month, which Jase Peeples Jase Peeples is an award-winning journalist, author, and storyteller. They believe, paraphrasing Dostoevsky, that ballads can save the world. Postcapitalism is excited to be part of Lit Crawl! Joyce Young I'm a poet and writer who loves the sun, the ocean and dark chocolate with almonds. Nomadic Press published my poetry collection "How it Happens" last month.
Feel free to talk with me about space travel, time travel, any portal through which I can escape from the current sociopolitical She uses unabashed honesty and humor to punctuate the complexity of the entire escapade. Hilarity and devastation continue to ensue, and so in turn does she. Authors Matt Gonzalez Matt Gonzalez is a poet, artist, activist, lawyer, and former politician. Jack Hirschman Jack Hirschman is an American poet and social activist who has written more than fifty volumes of poetry and essays.
She wonders where the time goes. Jon Longhi Jon Longhi has published four books of hilarious fiction with Manic D, all having to do with the absurdities of life in San Francisco. Larry-bob Roberts Larry-Bob Roberts has a goal of being a pointer to queer cultural expressions. Mission: Comics and Art Comics, the ninth artform, are a unique blending of literature and sequential art. We'll be hosting comic book writers reading from their works.
Authors Chris L. He currently works as a freelance Nathan Olivarez-Giles Writing, editing, building, launching. Their work is diverse, and there is a strong thread of place as subject. Dan mines memory, music, and roads that have spanned from America to Israel in cadences that similarly span from clipped to rolling. Eliot also has written to give voice to uniquely American longings, with long lines that are nevertheless increasingly compressed.
Judy's lines are shorter—often a carefully constructed pastiche of imagery, dense with reference to Japan, where she studied and worked. All four share mutual respect and humor. Cumulatively, they've got the mojo. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife Her passions include the Moth-style storytelling His publications include American Romance and Westering Angels.
Scholar of women poets of the 20th century. Data Privacy Analyst. MWA Goes Noir. Authors Heather Haven Heather is a story teller by nature and loves the written word. In her career, she's written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book on how to be a successful temp. She was unemployed at the time. Murder is Laurie R. King Laurie R. She is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology. She writes the ownvoices Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories.
Terry Shames Terry grew up in Texas, and her Samuel Craddock series, set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, is based on the fascinating people, landscape, and culture of the small town where her grandparents lived. Sheldon Siegel Sheldon Siegel is the New York Times best-selling author of seven critically acclaimed legal thrillers featuring San Francisco criminal defense attorneys Mike Daley and Rosie Fernandez, two of the most beloved characters in contemporary crime fiction.
He is also the author of the She blogs about graveyards as travel destinations at CemeteryTravel. Laura Rubin Odd Salon Fellow. Expect boundaries blurred, veils lifted, and shade thrown. Being an African-American, queer Sophia Kim. Growing up raised by Filipina mother and Jewish father made her aware of the internal collisions that come with struggling to bridge two different cultures together into one identity He's a MacDowell Fellow and his stories have Red Light Lit We are a collective of writers, musicians and artists who explore love relationships and sexuality through spoken word, art and song.
Authors Peter Bullen Somewhere sandwiched between a novella about a fella, a fleshy bit of flash fiction and a prose poem colliding with a short story lies the work of Peter Bullen. She loves to flirt, laugh, perform, crack corny jokes, and insert Octavia Butler references She is currently recording a new album for a Summer release and her most recent collection of poetry Illuminate Brontez Purnell Brontez Purnell is a zinester , writer, dancer and musician, who now lives in California.
He then relo Riss Rosado Riss is bad with names but still wants to know yours. They write poetry, prose, short stories, and hand-written letters.
But it is telling to see this notion arise again here, around the question of what is due to an undergraduate who wants to study art rather than, as Sokal wisely framed it, what is due in a peer-reviewed journal. Some stories come together rapidly. I always remember how, waking up in the morning, there was often this beautiful snow that sort of sparkled in the sun. The world is against them, all they have is a thousand words to create a universe, and they manage. I wanted to dance too, and maybe I did, shyly, standing off to the side.
Authors Clyde Always Clyde Always, for the promotion of bliss, writes and recites his own blend of tall tales and clever verses. Michael Crabtree Michael Crabtree is a multi-instrumentalists, a singer-songwriter, and the steady rolling musical soul of Rolling Writers. Many people to expect him to burst into stardom at any moment. His humor has appeared dozens of times in lit mags and before barnyard animals in petting zoos everywhere.
Much of his writing Deborah Steinberg Talk to me about speculative fiction, writing for healing, experimental writing, and creative non-fiction! Talk to me about your manuscript if you're looking for an editor; I'm a freelance editor who works with individual writers at any stage of the writing process. Sanctuary City: Voices In The Dark Voices in the Dark is an anthology and reading series featuring poetry, essays and true stories written by immigrants, migrant laborers, and the sons and daughters of immigrants.
She has lived in nine states and two continents. Art is a way for her to traverse seen and unseen geographies. Bonnie's poetry has been published in such journals as The California He was born in the Philippines and came to the U. He earned a B. Berkeley, an M. She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers. Along with composer and musician, Amanda Learn about The Little Man, such as where did he come from, how long he's been around and more. Hear from staff members as they share their biggest grievances and frustrations with a man of such small stature.
One of the most anticipated literary nights of the year, San Francisco's Lit Crawl is a massive, one-night literary pub crawl throughout the city's Mission District. The San Francisco Chronicle is a proud sponsor of Litquake. Attendance is free!! Come for the cocktails, stick around for the roast. There will surely be a lively debate about why there isn't a Little Woman!
He was born in Rhode Island. The Bay Area native has worked at The Chronicle since , and was a Chronicle paperboy from to He reviews movies, television and comedy, covers entertainment, creates Along with his off-the-cuff interviews for the weekly Pop Quiz column, he spends most days shuffling through stacks of new releases and nights at Bay Area concert venues, big and small.
He also reports on emerging trends Small Press Distribution: A Spotlight on the Bay A Spotlight on the Bay: is a celebration of poetic voice and seeks how commonality can be underlying to all the voices in the bay area. SPD strives to present a wide range of writers and aesthetics in the hopes of broadening the listeners and readers view of what is possible through exposure both through print and events.
He was the employee Jacq Greyja Jacq Greyja is a writer from California. She is founding editor of nocturnes re view of the literary Authors Janina Glasov Janina Glasov was a young journalist, fiction writer and burgeoning filmmaker. She lives in rural southern Monterey County with her German shepherd, Ringo, and a hive of honeybees From her childhood she had trained in many forms of dance including ballet, jazz, modern, and tap.
In recent years she has turned to belly dance, fire dancing, and burlesque Carri Newhouse Carri Newhouse shifts shapes within bellydance, lyrical, burlesque and flow arts. She is co-creator of three passionate teenagers and HipNautic Flowers dance tribe Janice Blaze Rocke is the Creative Director of The Erotic Eclectic, a loosely affiliated group of creatives that produce multimedia, literary based performance art featuring exotic dance performance. Janice has a degree in creative writing and has been involved with theatrical and He is currently pursuing Ph.
This event pushes boundaries and dispels the myth that brown people don't value the written word. We bring you voices of humor, rage, wonder and introspection. Authors Scott R. Lisa D. Gray Lisa reads, writes, and rants about the things that tick her off and amuse her. She follows trends and looks back at how the past affects our present.
She lives and writes in the Bay Area. Her writing focuses on intersections of blackness, womanhood, and Americaness. She earned her She lives Her memoir She has received Kristen Cosby SF Grotto. Kristen Cosby is a freelance writer, editor, and educator. Prior to joining the Grotto, he was a Visiting Scholar at U. Berkeley's Center for Latino Policy Research. Roberto is also the recipient of a crisis reporting grant from the Pulitzer Center Zoe Young Zoe Young is a fiction writer and journalist. She holds a writing M. It was the worst of times. The Writers and Storytellers Collective shares amusing stories of love, longing, and angst in the awesome era.
Put on your stone-wash or flip up your collar, and get your hair big and ready for some back to the future moments when Jerry Brown was governor, and greed was declared good; and take the way back machine to a time when a Saturday high school detention group was not forgotten, and Prince gave us Purple Rain. In her day job, she works in tech, where she helps prevent real-world harm to children.
On her long commutes she writes. Her favorite show is Golden Nada Djordjevich Nada Djordjevich is a writer and consultant. Her film, Common Ground, is currently in pre-production. Rachel Hamilton is an Improviser, Improv teacher and an Emmy-nominated writer. A former main-stage performer at The Second City in Chicago, she teaches improv workshops around the world, thinks big thoughts and likes you already. Allison Muir is a San Franciscan born writer, artist, and interior designer.
During her varied career she has designed D. Mayra Padilla Mayra Padilla is a born and raised New Jersey native who lives in San Francisco and might still be recovering from the '80s. A branding and marketing consultant, she is working on a memoir entitled Survival Delia. She is a devotee and lover of words and stories and you can follow She teaches humor writing in San Francisco and tells stories on any stage that will have her. She lives with 1.
She walks her dog every day, almost. He's also the author of two bestselling novels, "SoMa" and "The Sower," published Mike Karpa Gay San Francisco writer and malcontent whose memoir, short fiction and novel excerpts have recently appeared in Chaleur, Tin House, Sixfold and a handful of other discerning litmags. Janis Cooke Newman I'm the author of a memoir and two novels--all currently in print.
I'm also the founder of the Lit Camp writers conference, which will be held at Esalen this upcoming May. Doug Robson Douglas Robson is an award-winning journalist. He also has written about business and the business of sports. Natacha Ruck Do you remember an embarrassing moment? Let's talk about it. I am a storyteller and a storymonger. There is power in telling stories, event the embarrassing ones, and I strive to harness this power through video, audio, prose and live performance.
I teach multimedia storytelling Writer, editor, journalist, political science professor, environmental non-profit director, global warrior for indigenous peoples and the environment, feminist, ally, musician with San Francisco's first and foremost industrial ragtime band: Parlor Tricks. What Would Judith Do? Cameron Tuttle Cameron Tuttle is an American author.
She began her career as a writer for an advertising agency before writing her first book, "The Paranoid's Pocket Guide," which landed her on Oprah. Eric Dolan CCA. Gabe Martinez Gabe Martinez is an ex-farm boy, ex-New Yorker, ex-advertising lawyer, and ex of many men in the Castro. He writes fictional accounts of these experiences and other fun social commentary.
He is writing his first novel about self-actualization. Leslie Carol Roberts Leslie Carol Roberts is a writer and journalist whose work draws on a wide range of influences: Antarctic narrative traditions, film, nature writing of the 19th and 20th centuries, baseball, crimes of the century, George Orwell, Ragnar Kjartansson, and photography. Born into a creative The Writing Salon: A Roar Before Twenty The Writing Salon celebrates its twentieth year offering creative writing classes to Bay Area writers with a cocktail of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.
His writing It was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize Her first collection of Andrew Dugas Work by Andrew O. One of her favorite places to write is under her fig tree. Matt Leibel If Matt Leibel were an element on the periodic table, he would likely be called Leibelium. In such a case, it would then be super-weird that he is also a fiction writer, published in places like Wigleaf, Juked, Diagram, Barcelona Review, and Carolina Quarterly. After hours, she's a writer-writer, working on short stories, two screenplays, and a to do list to end all to do lists.
Rachel Wong Rachel Wong works as a researcher, interviewing and observing people for a living. She's also produced radio stories for KALW. When she's not researching, producing, or writing, she's dancing alongside her infant daughter. Liz Worthy Liz Worthy hails from Montana.
Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency Sonya Worthy Sonya Worthy photographs and interviews people reading books in public places, like laundromats, coffee shops, and parks. Authors Dawn Gross "If I had a magic wand, what would you wish for? Japa Kaur Writer.
Japa is a Stanford graduate turned Astrologer turned rockstar turned Kundalini Yoga teacher. She writes horoscopes for a website and songs for her all-female rock band, "Down in Front. Awtar practices and teaches Kundalini Yoga and trains teachers internationally. She lives with her husband of 40 years in colorful Haight Ashbury. They have an adult daughter. She strives to promote social justice, access, and equity in her yoga community. She has a secret life as a therapist and sometimes publishes essays. She has two sons, one husband and is still a queer, femme, lesbian Yardtime Literary Program operates inside six California State Prisons, helping both men and women inmates "find their voices on the page.
Former inmate students and prison administrators will be in attendance. He attended the birth of Litquake in a Tenderloin bar in the lateth century. Scott Bohlmann Scott Bohlmann is an amateur writer and long-term prison volunteer. Women Who Submit Writing Women Who Submit Writing seeks to empower women writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging literary submissions, and clarifying the submission and publication process.
This reading is a chance for some of our members to celebrate their publication successes. Becca blogs Jennifer Hasegawa Jennifer Hasegawa is a poet and performance artist. She was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii and lives in San Francisco. She has curated Johnson L.
She lives in Novato with her husband and their two chubby cats. She works as a caretaker for children with developmental John C. Originally from a former biker town just outside of Los Angeles, John's writing focuses on grief, trans masculinity, family, and ghosts. She previously attended University of Puget Sound and graduated with a B.
After college, she lived in Bonn, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, and during this time Imani Washington. D program in Her creative nonfiction has been published in ten literary journals, including Rascal and Echo Literary Journal, and two anthologies. She writes at the intersection of mythology and trauma, spirituality and mermaids Zoetic Press Zoetic Press authors read new work - poetry, prose and nonfiction. Her current project centers around women, their bodies and the rosarytalk with her about any or all.
Previous publications include Hypertrophic Press Pushcart Prize David Maduli David S. Maduli is a father of two, veteran public school teacher, deejay, and author of the chapbook thirty-three and a third Zoetic Press, Effie Seiberg Effie Seiberg is a fantasy and science fiction writer who likes to mix whimsy and philosophy. Her stories can be found in the "Women Destroy Science Fiction! This is his first publication since An Evening with The Rumpus Come feel the literary love. Featuring readings from five of our favorite Bay Area writers, with comedy by Nato Green.
Hosted by Christine H. Nato has been Kwon R. Christine H. Lee Editor, The Rumpus. She is on Twitter Phase 3 , Venue: Wheelchair Accessible. Anthony Bourdain Our theme is Anthony Bourdain. Storytellers are encouraged to tell about a story inspired by the man himself, food, or adventure. Even after death his legacy and stories live on. Bourdain is an inspiration to so many on so many levels. He is dearly missed, but by telling stories, and sharing experiences at this lit crawl we echo his journey to connect interesting people and gather. Big families come together around food, and so much happens during those gatherings.
Leslie Jonath Leslie Jonath is the author or co-author of many children's books and two cookbooks, including Miette. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared in numerous cookbooks and magazines. Eden Stein has lived in SF since Her first experience with writing was in the 2nd grade when she wrote a poem that got published. She traveled Catch Asian-American writers baring their souls to you in the Lit Crawl.
She is also the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners. Authors of The Ruby The Ruby is an arts and letters—focused work and gathering space for creative Bay Area women of all definitions. Jennifer S. Cheng Jennifer S. Six black writers read their surreal, futuristic, or Wakanda-inspired work. Thaddeus Howze Afrosurreal Writers Workshop. Thaddeus' speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary Amos White is a haiku poet and author, producer, director and activist. Audrey T. Williams Audrey T. Williams is a multi-racial, multi-cultural Storyteller, Writer and Poet based in Oakland.
She writes, performs, and podcasts creative nonfiction in the form of personal narratives, and is also working on short stories of Speculative Fiction and AfroFuturism. Dera R. Williams is an Oakland writer who writes in the fiction, nonfiction and memoir genres.
A child of the Great Migration, she moved to California from Arkansas at two years old. As a family historian, Dera researches and writes about her family and has assisted others in researching Borderlands Cafe Borderlands Cafe presents four brilliant genre authors for your listening pleasure. This year we have a bit of everything; science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Megan E. O'Keefe Megan E. O'Keefe writes fantasy and science fiction stories. The event will include Bay Area writers and artists who have been featured in our seventh issue.
The second "g" is silent. She has taught disability studies and creative writing at both the university level and in Paula Junn Paula Junn is a maker of stories, photography, and jewelry. She moved to San Francisco over four years ago to pursue a dream of becoming more of herself, and she continues to follow that path, wherever it takes her. Jenni Olson Jenni Olson is a writer, queer media historian, filmmaker, and online pioneer.
Jenni is the proud proprietor of Butch. Cogswell College: Get Gory Sometimes, gross is gorgeous and gore makes sense. Sometimes it's what really happened -- or a necessary escape from some subtler pain. Let's get gory. His story "Cauldron" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Tomas Moniz Tomas Moniz is the founder, editor, and writer for the award-winning zine, book, and magazine: Rad Dad. Houston Award. He's also completing a book about Richard Wright and the probkem with "Chi-raq. Authors Jade Chan Jade Chan loves words and daylights as a software engineer. Antony Fangary Poet and Editor, Tenderlovin'.
He was the Honorable Mention recipient of the Ina Coolbrith Poetry Prize, and curates his own reading series called Tenderlovin in the TL, which doubles as a charity event for Nikki Henderson Poet, Consider the Crab. The only true soulmates she believes in are beans and rice, but entertains love affairs with delicious weirdos of all kinds.
Anywhere she goes, a bouquet tends to spontaneously Phase 3. Encounters in Faraway Places: Traveling Writers Explore the Wide World Traveling out of our comfort zones creates opportunities for discovery, transformation, and illumination, whether in far-flung places or unfamiliar neighborhoods close to home. Sabine Bergmann is the co-founder and editorial director of the travel magazine Hidden Compass. Adventure, humor, and spirituality infuse his work, which often draws on his time living in Spain, France, and Turkey, as well as travels in over fifty countries. Carla was a former partner Jeff Greenwald Jeff Greenwald has traveled extensively through five continents, working as a journalist and photographer.
Larry Habegger is a writer and editor who has been covering the world since his international travels began in the s. As a freelance writer for more than three decades, his work has appeared in many major newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune Endangered Species, Enduring Values A community anthology about how heritage, history, and spirituality inspire writers of color to work for a just and inclusive society.
Sandra is a Bay Area native and San Francisco resident for Dena Rod is a writer, editor, and poet based in the Bay Area. They are currently the managing editor at Argot Literary Magazine. Through creative nonfiction essays and poetry, Dena works Shizue Seigel Shizue Seigel is a third —generation Japanese American writer and artist who explores complex intersections of history, culture and spirituality.
She has been Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California Scarlet Tanager Books presents the editors and three contributors reading from a new anthology of poems on California ecosystems. Since , Foley has also After high school, Dave Holt began setting his poems to music. This led to a reenactment of the well-known songwriter fable, moving from his birthplace, Toronto, Canada, to California.
She has helped edit manuscripts written by poet Julie Rogers, her mother, and lived with Julie Rogers and poet David Meltzer during the final year of his life. She is a student of Buddhism and a volunteer Talk to me about the California deserts! And all that unfolds there. I write poetry and prose about this mythopoetic, storied landscape, my lifelong home.
You can also talk to me about my desert-based writing. My works include: "Badwater," a finalist in the Hilary Gravendyk Poetry Authors Farah Amezcua Farah Amezcua is going through it, but at least she has at least one good friend. She has no cats but she imagines that she wants one. Her veins are filled with marinara sauce and her hair smells like hookah. She currently lives with a spider, a snake, and a piece of trash. Get r He makes his home in Oakland with his wife, poeta Jane Reyes. He has facilitated poetry workshops at Rikers Island Penitentiary She has lived in San Francisco Mission District for ten years.
She published in Konch Magazine, and has a chapbook titled For the Hell of it. She has a B. Jesus M. Seasoned contest judges will read recent prize-winning work and share tips and guidelines. My third book Little Earthquakes Robert Eastwood Robert Eastwood is widely published both in print and online. He has three poetry chapbooks all published by Small Poetry Press. He worked Sue Granzella teacher. I'm a later-in-life writer who's found great fulfillment in the richness of the Bay Area writing community.
I've been widely published in literary journals Li Miao Lovett Li Miao Lovett is an award-winning writer telling stories of cultural and environmental change. Rita Williams. Kinda True Stories Six writers deliver the emotional depth of life with a fictional edge. Or as Emily Dickinson said "Tell all the truth but tell it slant.
Previously, she won the Ledge fiction competition and was named a finalist for the BreadLoaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation scholarship. She has recently completed a novel Freeschool Street, and her stories have Olga Zilberbourg Raised in St. LibroMobile: Why We Choose Small Presses In an age where people believe books are endangered and New York publishers know best, we choose small presses over the name recognition, book listings and mainstream popularity.
We choose small presses because they recognize we do not represent one label in society but a variety of intersectional conversations. We choose small presses because they know us best—and they choose us. Diverse and award-winning authors celebrate their publishers, new writings and recently released small press books. Sarah Rafael Garcia is a writer, community educator and traveler. Julayne Lee Julayne Lee is an overseas adopted Korean American poet, essayist, artivist, curator and producer.
Co-founder of Adoptee Through her work as a poet and an activist, she explores the uses of intimacy and ritual in the practice of Black resistance. Aurielle is a Lambda Literary Writer Retreat fellow, a The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Virginia G. Litquake's Writing Contest Winners Join us for readings from the winners of Litquake's fourth annual writing contest. Hosted by Sophia Cross. We all write to understand our challenging pasts and, most of all, to reveal our common humanity. As an out of place city girl in the rural South, she found herself Stacy Johnson Writer and Photographer.
Stacy Johnson was born in Jackson, Mississippi and often relies on her Southern roots for inspiration. She grew up in the Bay Area writing short stories and poetry in the margins of her notebooks and taking pictures of everyday life in Oakland, California. Stacy combines prose, poetry She challenges herself to Neighborhood Raizes y Latinx Futuras What La Mission was and continues to be is celebrated in the vozes of poets whose palabras remind us of the strength of our shared cultures.
Her writing focuses on her experience as an immigrant chingonx, spiritual old soul, and her role in intersectional feminism, and the healing of systematic oppression in unrepresented communities. Parnassus Poets and Writers Join the Poets on Parnassus as they give poetic and narrative voice to myth, trauma, immigration, death, the bizarre and the search for truth.
Please note that this event has been relocated from the venue indicated in the program and on the map. Authors Sheyda Aboii Sheyda writes to uncover the magic of things mundane. Krishna Chaganti I write out of compulsion.
As a physician, mother, hyphenated American, friend, wife and more I write to try to understand the unknowable in daily things. I've read before as part of the physician-writers group the Nocturnists and am working on several personal essays, but mostly Terri Mason Terri is a writer who likes to eat, walk her dog, and remember her Angelino roots. She writes to find out what she thinks about things. Jenny Qi Poet, writer, medical editor.
Daniel Raskin Daniel is a retired child whisperer, living in Bernal Heights. He writes with Poets on Parnassus and Laguna Writers. Writing is primarily a practice for him, much like yoga or meditation might be. Suzanne TK Carer, poet, voyager. I celebrate sparks and wonder amid storms and indifference. Perspectives from Coeditoria Readings inspired by being an exotic dancer in Guam, leaving Russia forever, navigating San Francisco's hook-up scene in the seventies, and gambling away a college tuition.
Authors Eric Fain Eric Fain is a voracious, omnivorous, and retentive reader of almost all genres of fiction and non-fiction. A retired immigration attorney and tax law specialist, he's now working on memoirs of his childhood on a farm in the Ozarks, his 47 years in San Francisco, and his adventures She moved to the US in and still hasn't figured out what her "real" identity is: Russian, Soviet, American or an introvert. Her favorite assignments include writing about the underlying archetypes She is currently adapting skills developed by initiating, facilitating, promoting I have been featured on Wattpad.
I write fiction and non-fiction, and am currently working on a novel titled Memoirs of a Gaysian. Authors Nabil Arnaoot Nabil Arnaoot is interested in bittersweet: the sway and shift between resistance and surrender; freedom and loneliness; tecnophiliac play and justice. He lives in San Francisco. Alex Gurevich Investor and writer. Her most recent publication is "The Traveler," a queer "shaggy-dog-chasing-ghosts story" penned by her alter ego, Chris Solano.
Poet, once and future consultant, recovering engineer. Interests include multidisciplinary outreach: science, technology, and poetry. I also write about the spaces where our happiness The universe's oldest writing workshop has answers, kinda. She can't seem to stay away from fiction, though. One of her stories will appear Their radio series "Hitchhiking off the Map" was broadcast Robin Bullard Robin Bullard once drove in a demolition derby and came in fifth.
Robin Bullard is trying to write a novel. Robin Bullard hitch-hiked across America four times. Robin Bullard ushers tourists to the best selfie locations. While in Paris, Robin Bullard worked as a laborer. Robin Bullard's Hannah Custis Hannah Custis is a writer, teacher, and Ph. Her current research explores mythology and therapeutic storytelling She writes both fiction and nonfiction, with particular interest in transportive travel writing, Young Adult novels with witty female characters, and short stories Tony Tepper Tony's mother was a butterfly trainer, and his father died from a tragic blotting paper accident when Tony was four.
He may not have ink in his blood, but Tony has it all over his pants, white shirts, and hands. He has been the recipient of the Lifetime Procrastination in Writing Editorial Operations Manager at Wired Magazine Authors Aubrie Pick Aubrie is a food, portrait, lifestyle, travel, and interiors photographer whose work takes her around the world. She switched to Mas and moved with husband Evan to San Francisco, where she continued her upward trajectory as sous chef of Michael The Beat Within: Voices Behind Bars Since , The Beat Within has been leading writing and conversation workshops in juvenile and adult correctional facilities in and outside California.
From these workshops we publish the work of these talented and thoughtful participants. I'm a former foreign correspondent, freelance journalist, and author and co-author of ten non-fiction books, on subjects ranging from Imelda Marcos to environmental conservation to ADHD. I'm passionate about the power of writing to change minds and hearts. Victor Flores. Kevin Gentry. Elias Gutierrez. Cassandra Gutierrez. Trash does not constitute the contents of an otherwise traditional or mimetic depiction, nor does it undergo a metamorphosis from trash to find itself born anew on the other side of the frame as Art.
Rather, it remains in a state of material buildup on the physical surface of the painted field. At the same time, trash functions in contiguity to formal components: line, color, etc. In lieu of stretched canvas, the surface is a piece of industrial burlap stuck to wood and frayed at the edges. Pieces of garbage constitute contour, border, figure, and ground simultaneously.
Reiss Dairy: Famous for milk bottles with poems [Stephen W. Reiss] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Reiss Dairy is the third book in this. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Stephen W. Reiss was born in California in while his dad Irwin was serving with the US Army in World War II in Burma.
A wooden band, a broken barrel part, assumes the role of drawing, as it seems to delimit painterly modeling, chiaroscuro, and local color. Nevertheless, the relation between object and drawing remains unmotivated; contour does not enclose color. The materials do not represent themselves iconographically; instead, they are posited on the surface as elements for the iteration of formal attributes. Everyday materiality at once operates as, and slowly replaces, compositional elements.
Moreover, the toss-away elements that support the composition also spill over onto the wood frame. The frame—usually guarantor of aesthetic autonomy—is here compromised by bits and pieces of tin, string, and stuff, all of which appear as much a part of the virtual space of the composition as the actual space of the outside world. Now this becoming machine has nothing to do with the representation of a machine and even less with any conventional understanding of the machine as tool, as industrial or electronic gadget.
The assemblage-as-machine entails a cutting and connecting of everyday trash, everyday materiality, rather than a representational or referential relation to the outside world. In other words, that outside—through the inclusion of its many mute fragments and physical vestiges—is internalized into the pictorial field rather than depicted or symbolized as an absent object.
The machinic painters stressed the following: they did not paint machines as substitutes for still lives or nudes. The machine is not a represented object. The aim is to introduce an element of machine that combines with something else on the full body of the canvas, with the result that it is precisely the ensemble that is the desiring-machine. The endless processing of materiality replaces a representational code based on negation or absence.
They also caution against an analogy to psychoanalytically informed notions of desire as Oedipally organized. Rather, the authors argue that the desiring-machine is a libidinal and economic drive toward relationships, production, and productive relations or flows. The object is not to compare, to make equivalent or to contrast man and machine, but rather to require of them an encounter.
This encounter reveals the way in which they enter relations with one another constituted by, and constitutive of, larger libidinal and social arrangements. In other words, the subject combines with a tool or a fantasy in an assemblage positioned within a larger arrangement or regime a techno-social machine productive of subjects, of tools conventional machines and phantasmic projections. As such, the desiring-machine, in counter-distinction to the techno-social machine, may be defined as the perverse, and creatively off-course, introjection and subsequent manipulation of that hegemonic techno-social machine.
Schwitters deploys what Dadaists would refer to as the hegemonic machine of bourgeois Modernist painting; yet he perversely manipulates the very forces of production within that artistic practice. This manipulation, in turn, is productive of another arrangement of circuits, materials, and ideas. The self internalizes the dominant regime, the technical-social machine in question, to the extent that it produces him.
Nevertheless, she or he may do so incorrectly. She may redirect the flow and operational mode of the machine and so elaborate a desiring-machine within the introjected machine. Moreover, she may externalize this internally developed machine in another set of assemblages, another specific desiring-machine. Shcwitters remains within Modernist, medium-bound practices only to the extent that he practices them differently, and thereby inaugurates another kind of practice.
Thus the machine that Deleuze and Guattari define has nothing to do with the technological apparatus of the industrial age, nor the electronic mechanism; it is neither the technologically engineered appliance nor the utilitarian tool. A machine is that which organizes, directs, and interrupts the continuous field of materiality. The machine is a system that conducts the material flow by rendering its instances contiguous at times, breaking it from itself in order to reconnect it to other material flows.
As such, the machine does not function as a figure, a unified and bounded identity, over a material ground. As a system that breaks and directs the matter that in turn molds it, the machine is not incommensurable with the organic. The anthropomorphic body is itself already a machine. It processes the endless flux, the associative flow. The mouth will cut speech, air, milk food. Likewise, it will afford the conditions of possibility of that material passage; it provides a set of thresholds and surfaces that conduct the passage of matter, of stuff.
The anthropomorphic body, then, is both armature, machinic system, and material flow. The body is one site among many where the machine and the endless anorganic vitalism of surfaces and flows converge. Flow and rupture necessitate and enable one another on a common register: process. Everywhere there are breaks-flows out of which desire wells up, thereby constituting its productivity and continually grafting the process of production onto the product.
The object becomes a machine itself as well as a material aggregate testifying to process and becoming part of another process: the producing assemblage. The law of the production of production, then, is predicated upon points of intersection between disparate codes that produce syntheses, which in turn produce the conditions of possibility for subsequent productive flows.
As such, Merz opens onto a set of material processes always already operative. Yet it redirects them. Schwitters manages to twist the bourgeois dialectic between private and public sphere. The slices and openings perform on a microcosmic level what the avant-garde30 had attempted on large scale: the transformation of collective life through the radical interpenetration of the street and the interior, of individual private existence and public collective experience.
The eerie labyrinthine and subterranean sexuality operative in Merzbau in the investiture of space with bodily flows and byproducts, and the inclusion of an object deriving from the Other, surfaces as a set of practices. Rather than a reference point, a static problem, or a thematic presence, sexuality becomes a productive force, endlessly productive of production. Although Merzbau appears to grow in an organic manner, its organicity cannot be interchanged or understood as an organic, whole body. The Dada desiring-machine again stands at the juncture between individual and unconscious desire and its entwinement with social-political structure.
The challenge that it poses derives from its challenge to the Oedipal mode—the predominant structure put in place in the techno-social machine—of organizing the self. Desiring-machines express the non-Oedipal life of the unconscious. They possess two characteristics or powers: the power of continuum and the power of rupture. The object becomes a machine itself as well as a material aggregate testifying to process and becoming part of another process anew: the producing assemblage.
After the Nazis bombed it in , Schwitters built a second Merzbau in Norway, and then a third when he moved to England, where he died. The final object the architectural work was of little consequence. Rather, the function of connecting and cutting material, of continuous production, is what mattered. Jaleh Mansoor is a Ph. Her dissertation is on the significance of the readymade for Fifties abstract painting in Italy, France, and America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, , The avant-garde and post-nationalism Marcel Duchamp " Ph.
However, it is critical to note the differences in their practices. David Britt. London: Thames and Hudson, , Cited in Dietrich, Richter, Ibid, Huelsenbeck quoted in Dorothea Dietrich, Cited in Elderfield, They would not accept the Dadaist object as a particular strand of painterly practice.
The essay is translated from the French for Semiotexte Vol. David Britt London: Thames and Hudson, , Emphasis mine. Jonathan Crary and Sanford Kwinter, eds. New York: Zone Books, , The avant-garde project hinged on the dissolution of boundaries between interior and exterior, private and public, unconscious and social collectivity.
Russian Constructivism attempted to mobilize collectivity through the transformation of the art object in the utilitarian object. Surrealism attempted Socialist revolution through the emancipation of the unconscious and desire. This has nothing to do with an anthropomorphic and anthrobiological mode of reproduction. Psychoanalysis has never ceased doing just that: fragmenting Oedipus or multiplying it, sublimating it, making it boundless, elevating it to the level of the signifier.
The symbolic Oedipus does not help us escape…even if we are told that it has nothing to do with mommy-daddy and is the signifier…Psychoanalysis hold a resentment toward desire in this tyranny and bureaucracy. Labels: Dada , history , installation. Gunther Mayer on his 70th birthday. A highly respected academic, musicologist and a supporter of avant garde and adventurous music, Gunther always trod a quietly dissonant path through the political complexities of the old German Democratic Republic.
I should add that my take on these matters is not one he would easily endorse, though I know he appreciates the central argument which, like his own thinking moves obliquely against the orthodoxies of current scholarship. Preface In hot pursuit of the Roadrunner, Wile E. Coyote runs straight over the edge of a precipice. He's so fixated on his forward goal that he fails to notice there is no longer any ground underneath his feet. Twenty metres out, he makes the fatal error of looking down and gravity takes care of the rest.
In this essay, I want to suggest that something very loosely analogous happened to art in the first half of the last century. For the avant gardes, there was nothing underfoot after about — but it wasn't until the mid 's that the realisation — and the disorientating consequences — of that fact kicked in. Then, art became weightless and any sense of forward motion disappeared. I will argue in this brief notice that at the moment it went into reverse, art both validated and made meaningless the idea of an avant garde. Art and anti-art.
Art as currently understood is neither essential nor timeless. References to 'primitive art,' 'medieval art' or 'the art of ancient Greece' create confusion by conflating fundamentally different and functionally incommensurate social practices1. In our own time, vernacular understanding of what art is has evolved out of the category of Fine Art, coined in the eighteenth century to claim an elevated status for specific artisanal practices as a connected sphere of autonomous cultural production.
Two hundred and fifty years later, this status is about the only thing that survives intact, every other original attribute assigned to the term having been incrementally rejected, the whole finally succumbing to a hail of manifestos, experiments, outrages and innovation in the early part of the twentieth century. In spite of their re-integrative ambitions, it was the historic function of the early twentieth century avant gardes to complete the redefinition and consequent emancipation of art consciously begun in the early eighteenth century, and to free it from every involuntary alliance and restraint.
We have been circling around the consequences ever since. It was Dada, the most radical and ambitious of all the movements, that finally put the new concept of art itself to the question2. But in spite, or maybe because, of its best efforts since a lever can never raise its own fulcrum , the established status of art as a privileged mode of communication has survived intact - and we the public, the critics, and all our institutions, continue to accept the old eighteenth century creed that art is not merely a functional aspect of the life of a social group or community but is a self-reflexive, autonomous, discourse, answerable ultimately only to itself.
But autonomy tends to separation. And if art wants separation it must expect incomprehension. If it really wants to be reunited with life, it would have to accept that it would cease to be 'art. But whom? And how? The avant garde. Recently minted, the qualifier avant garde has served various offices: first military, then political, then literary - as applied to a group of writers in mid-eighteenth century France who mixed political and artistic radicalism.
It was extended in the last quarter of the eighteenth century to writers without political inclinations who, in pursuit of the logic of their own autonomy - and finding themselves increasingly disconnected from the established institutions of art - responded by insisting that they could be the only proper arbiters of what art could, or should, be, concluding that it should be more like a science: investigative, experimental, permanently moving forward; not a servant to the market but an independent actor pursuing the logic of its own necessity.
As a movement towards the liberation of form this avant garde, though culturally embattled, remained - in general - socially disengaged. It was the historical avant gardes that followed - in particular Constructivism, Russian and Italian Futurism, and Dada - which, though owing a huge debt to l'art pour l'art and the experimental model, were driven not by an urge to abandon the world for formal purity but rather urgently to change it through an aggressive programme of demands that art be revolutionised, redefined, and brought back into the weave of quotidian life.
As means, they proposed various combinations of new and old media - performance, political engagement and metaphysics - agreeing only that the past had to be torn up and the cultural clock reset to zero. All failed in their specific missions, but together they succeeded in their attack on the academy. In the space of little more than a decade, they had challenged every convention, rule and aesthetic supposition they could identify. Without agreed political affiliation, they nonetheless held in common a political desire to look beyond the artwork and towards the role of art in the construction of a new world.
In the ensuing ferment, movements proliferated and permanent revolution became the public way of art. I say art; I mean of course the latest, the newest, the art which claimed to be the real art, the revolutionary art that would relegate yesterday's revolutionaries either to the museum or the dustbin. Such became the image of the phantom restless phalanx of the avant garde: always on the move, always locked into the new, always a step ahead. Deep in this model is an unquestioned teleology - a confident acceptance of direction and future.
Avant garde is a concept inseparable from the idea of progress. Where should one look for an avant garde when the idea of progress is no longer credited; when any identifiable garde has fractured into a million shards and there is no linear forward march to be in the vanguard of? More than forty years ago this ceased to be a rhetorical question.
Continuity and discontinuity. Artist's relations to their history. As already noted, before they were 'Arts,' painting and music were skills and crafts, working occupations whose practitioners were paid to produce as artisans - usually to very explicit order. Art connoted varieties of skill: breaking horses and cobbling were arts.
Fine Art evolved symbiotically alongside a strengthening bourgeoisie which, in forging its own understanding of culture, supported those painters, composers, sculptors and writers who shared with it a desire to remake the world. However revolutionary their humanism, these new artists did not reject their artisan precursors.
Politically, they may have been radical, but culturally they were pursuing better conditions and more interesting problems to solve. In the late nineteenth century, a different attitude emerged. Many artists no longer looked so benignly on their predecessors, and by the early twentieth century, the whole sweep of the past, along with the institution of art itself, had been tossed into the shredder by the historic avant gardes3. The old structure of a loose network of schools collapsed into a militant wave of movements as these artists, casting a cold eye on imitation and representation, leapt headlong into the new world of electricity, machinery, photography, telephony, phonography, flight, radio, mechanical warfare, speed and science.
By , Marcel Duchamp, throwing down the gauntlet of the readymade, brought it finally to the condition of philosophy - in which the question of what art is became a vital part of what art is. Perhaps for the sake of simplicity, the art history of the twentieth century is often told through the successions and negotiations between its self-generating movements: Cubism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Supremicism, Futurism, Dada, Bauhaus, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop, Minimalism, Arte Povera - and so on. And although this desire to keep the historical narrative tidy has lead inevitably to distortions - very often missing the point altogether - there is no doubt that these movements existed and that they did help create through their work and manifestos both coherent communities and focused discourses, or, that by holding on to an idea of history themselves, even in the context of continuous supersession, they managed also - more or less - to hold together a centred public narrative of progress.
And because this history had a centre and a direction, it could also have outriders: avant and arriere gardes. By the 's, this belief was thoroughly compromised; art went into free fall and begun increasingly to repeat itself. From the 's onwards, there were few new major public movements that were not somehow looking backwards. And without a self-understood centre, there could no longer be meaningful edges or fringes. Positions that had once been orientated toward a putative future floated away and became independent propositions as a generation of artists emerged who neither accepted their forbears and moved on, nor demanded a tabula rasa, but began instead to pillage the past for fragments or selectively to revive individual parts of it.
Directionality collapsed. One artist's avant might be another's arriere or derriere4. It just depended on which way you thought you were facing. Unfinished business. Why locate the tipping point in the 's, a period of great and radical upheaval in the arts; a period indeed which from our present perspective looks something like a golden age: one of those rare rifts in time in which the life of art seems to move completely into the present tense, when what is new is also immediately alive to public consciousness?
Because, during the 's, a group of visual artists, despite the climate of relentless progress, had begun to look back into the past for inspiration, specifically toward the avant garde of Dada and anti-art5. At the same time, anti-art, in the form of readymade materials and non-intentionality, began to perturb the world of music for the first time, driven by the implacably consequent John Cage. These two tendencies slowly flowed together, and it was in the 's that their mutual offspring began exploding with a luxurience of hybrid applications.
The consequence was a general shift in orientation, as the future began increasingly to be sought in the past. Appearing first in Britain but soon spreading to America, Pop Art sometimes in its early years called Neo-Dada rudely crashed Abstract Expressionism's party, wilfully flaunting both its claim to authenticity and its insistence on abstraction, emotional intensity, and immanence. Politically driven, it succeeded in mounting an initially effective attack on a mediagenic world through iconic subversion and ironic commentary.
And in the disbelieving hands of Andy Warhol it returned also, in another - and critical - echo of Dada and Duchamp, to a recontextualised self-reflexivity amounting to practical philosophy - although its provocations were now aimed as much at mass media and the marketplace as the art community and its institutions. With multiples and happenings, Brillo boxes and objects trouvees, books of raw transcript and films of raw time, Warhol mercilessly stretched and tested the category of art - again — but this time in the face of its dubious segregation from the rest of the goods in the store.
Deliberately using mass production techniques, cheap, impermanent materials, stolen images and his own variation on the readymade, Warhol invested his claim to art in an uncompromising attempt to avoid fulfilling any of its remaining criteria. Instead he immersed himself in an incestuous mediated culture of sensation, narcissism and money, throwing that world back at itself in a deeply ambiguous combination of ridicule and celebration.
Pop Art sent a tiny tremor through the system, but art-coded attacks on the status quo were familiar and easily absorbed. Even anti-art had long since quietly been re-categorised as art and, by , Duchamp's Fountain was no longer a question but a keynote artwork, well on its way to becoming the apotheosis of art itself7.
Whereas the Dadaists in their time had been peripheral, baffling and potentially dangerous, Warhol, in his, was a mainstream star, perhaps himself baffled and eventually physically endangered by his own success. Certainly, the harder he tried to affront sense and taste, or to deny that what he was doing was art, the more highly he was praised and the higher his status as an artist rose8.
When asked - in what turned out to be his last recorded interview - what he considered to be his greatest achievement he said, with an honesty heard but no longer understood: 'Keeping a straight face. Warhol's own kamikaze contribution, and what distinguishes him from his contemporaries, had been to show that, freed from the institutions, and even to a certain extent from the artists themselves, Art, with a capital A, was now the exclusive property of the market.
And, alongside all the other isms, avant garde TM had also slipped quietly into its place as a wholly owned subsidiary of Art Inc. The sixties saw movements implode, proliferate, fracture and recycle. More durable - and indeed still with us - was Concept Art, with its endless repetitions and permutations, and Fluxus, currently in the middle of a revival of interest. Like Pop, but with less acumen, and without the insight toward the new condition of ArtTM, Fluxus looked back toward the past. And revivals, while they may yet bring new arguments and new techniques to the table, may equally be indicators of cultural exhaustion.
They are certainly not in any respect avant garde. Music and the historic avant garde. How does music map onto this narrative? Although different media doenn't march in step, there are necessarily points of contingency where the specificities of any given discourse disappear into the broader concerns and perspectives of an age. Of the historic avant gardes, it can be said that virtually no music was directly associated with Constructivism, Russian Futurism or Dada.
Italian Futurism, however, did produce a few half-remembered composers and four dedicated manifestos: three fairly run-of-the-mill pamphlets by composer Francisco Bailla Pratella, and one seminal work 'The Art of Noises' by painter Luigi Russolo, who also put theory into practice by building and composing for his groundbreaking, but largely ignored, intonorumouri.
Although Russolo's manifesto was prophetic, none of his instruments, and only a few of their designs, survived.
Of the handful of pieces written for them, mostly by the inventor and his brother, none is more than a curiosity today. And, although Stravinsky and Varese both expressed an initial interest, neither pursued it; indeed Varese, possibly the most visionary of all twentieth century composers, went out of his way to repudiate the Futurist's vision of music as early as More generally, Futurism did have a broad and sometimes powerful influence on a number of contemporary composers, and what came to be referred to as machine music was generally associated with the movement - or at least with Modernism as it was refracted through the Futurist lens.
Indeed, after centuries of being considered rather conservative and always lagging behind the visual arts, it had become, by the late C19, the model that all arts were said to aspire to. Thus while the object-arts were burdened by exemplary relics in a way that the event-arts were not - and might require nothing short of total rupture to free them - music remained preoccupied - and was continually revivified - by the internal problems arising from its own continuity. It was certainly not ready to dig itself up by the roots; indeed its primary urge remained to protect, as well as to extend, its borders, not to dissolve them.
Thus it was that, throughout the rampage of the avant gardes, composers for the most part continued in their traditional pursuit of individual solutions, quietly or publicly exploring possible ways of writing meaningfully for their own time. And while they could easily match the historic avant gardes for the number of riots provoked, rules broken and core assumptions challenged, composers, as a rule, continued to understand themselves as working within a tradition rather than against one The birth of anti-music.
It was not until the late 's that the qualifier avant garde was finally attached to a music, and then it was to the output of composers connected through the Darmstadt Summer school, home notably of total serialism, which for years did act as a group, did proselytise, was extravagantly ambitious and did appear to operate with collective rules - forcefully identifying itself as a leading cadre in the arts. Some of its celebrities were also immodestly capable of gross intolerance: 'All composition other than that of 12 tone is useless' Pierre Boulez.
Like other neo-movements, this 'avant garde' looked initially back to the past, extolling and extending proposals made by Schoenberg, Webern and Berg some thirty years earlier, but now raising them to the status of a dogma In the world of Art Music, it seems that the avant garde was born facing backwards. At the same time, in the United States, John Cage and his associates - who also constituted a distinct community, though with instincts far more revolutionary than conservative - did not consider themselves an avant garde at all but rather 'experimental' artists;16 indicating perhaps that the older term had already become associated with reactionary, proscriptive, intolerant and authoritarian attitudes.
It was the experimentalist, Cage, and not the Darmstadt avant garde who arrived at the genuinely radical musical equivalent of the philosophical move first made by Duchamp with his readymades. With Fountain Duchamp had taken an object - a mass produced commodity thus devoid of originality chosen, he said, for its lack of aesthetic significance, and had submitted it for exhibition.
If it was an artwork - and it claimed to be - it took the form of a nest of questions. With his composition 4'33", Cage issued a similar challenge to music. This work comprised three consecutive durations of silence - meaning that any sound actually heard in performance would not have been determined by the score although it could be argued strongly that it was intentionally included in it and would be completely outside the control of the composer.
Of course, commonsense says silence is not music, nor is unintended noise. The event, however, took place in a concert hall and was announced as a composition by a recognised composer. If it was a composition - and it claimed to be - it took the form of a nest of questions. Since neither Duchamp nor Cage could claim that their object - or event - had any intrinsic qualities that might distinguish it from any urinal or any silence, what made either of them art or music? To put it another way, what would art or music have to be for either of these productions to be an instance of it?
That was the question. Cast in the form of a work. It asks of music, as the readymade asks of art: if this is music, then what is not? John Cage's score for 4'33" 'Classification The implication of 4'33", as of the readymade, is that nothing is excluded and thus that any object presented to the eye could fall within the purlieu of art, or any presentation to the ear, whether it sounds or not, could be experienced as music.
But the formulation 'X is everything' can hardly succeed as a meaningful definition. Thus it must be doing some other work.
With Duchamp, I believe it was largely philosophical and metalinguistic. With Cage, thirty six years later, there is more: the question remains, but when it is cast in the light of his deliberate abandonment of intentionality the year before, it also becomes an instruction to the listener to interpret - and thus in large part to create - the work. This can still function as communication on a metalinguistic level - as a kind of question - but only usefully once. After that, it is just repetition. Cage's use of indeterminacy is clearly not merely to pose a question but to impose a formula that seeks to make dialogue disappear into sets of interpretative monologues.
It also ceases to be a medium of communication and becomes instead an opportunity for perception. While this notion has borne much fruit, it has also proved highly problematic. Duchamp's radical proposition - his concept of a work that disappears into the idea of itself - was, I think, in the context in which it first appeared, meaningfully avant garde. Repetition of that question is not. Beyond this, when the primary responsibility for meaning is shifted deliberately from producer to interpreter, any residual notion of an avant garde must inevitably vanish with it.
No public can be in advance of its own taste. This mid-century return to the unfinished business of the historic avant gardes - especially in the unequivocal forms pursued by Fluxus - merged seamlessly with the dizzying influence of Cage's collapse of music, an event-art, into the condition of post Duchampian art-in-general.
Sound was just to be another material. The border that had inoculated music against the existential crisis in the visual arts, a border maintained by a clear self-understanding of its own goals and limits and, above all, by the acquisition and manipulation of necessary skills, became increasingly porous - and after 4'33", where that was accepted at face value collapsed altogether. Cage and Fluxus merged their understandings with one another An Object-Art that had opened into an event became in principle indistinguishable from an Event-Art that had opened into an object: and now both vanished into concepts in which neither object nor event was required at all Art no longer merely aspired to the condition of music but absorbed it into its own general condition.
Thus, while 4'33" may still be music, it may also be art, or performance, or theatre. Fluxartists refer to their instruction sets and scripts as scores while composers write scores that do not specify sounds; Fluxorchestras make cabaret, while composers tune radios, navigate with echolocators and noisily rearrange the furniture. Arts merge into art - which becomes whatever you can get away with - and skills become optional and interchangeable.
Where does that leave Laokoon? Other roads. When everything is art, or when all sound is music25, there is nowhere left to go, except maybe to retreat to an earlier position in the hope of finding a road not taken that does not end in a cul de sac. From a different perspective, however, or from alternative readings of history, many viable roads may still beckon. Theorists naturally have their own analytical agendas, but for artists local problems are usually more pressing - and more productive. And while they may lack the breadth of the death-or-glory narratives of the avant gardes, they are intimate with long, rooted, antinomies in their own fields; useful antinomies that continually generate solutions.
Throughout the twentieth century proposals were made and works embodying them presented that did not trouble themselves with meta-discourses or global visions but quietly pursued their own discipline's more secular, local interests. Of course, all artists face the issues of their own time - that is, after all, the conversation in which they are engaged - but they do so for the most part within terms and boundaries that are inherited and not invented.
To work at all, for the majority of artists, is to engage in a constant debate not only with the current concerns and propositions of their disciplines, but also those that extend far back into its past - because every gesture and tool at their disposal comes locked into its own history, which limits and makes meaningful its signifying possibilities.
I know this is a minefield, so I will try to spell out what I mean and what I don't. I wish to highlight only that congeries of common features or family resemblances that unite a broad group of arbitrary, human signifying systems that pre-exist their users; were created by no one, are defined by no one and can be learned only through use and exposure - ideally from the earliest age.
These are systems that live and evolve through informed use and negotiation and in the modern world are constantly in a state of agonistic re-evaluation. I am not trying to map semantic, grammatical or syntactical correspondences, just to claim a broad structural family resemblance. Like any signifying system, music is a medium of human communication dependent upon some involuntary ground shared between its producer and interpreter; it belongs within a loose family of language-games in which the comprehensibility of any utterance reflects the extent to which it has accepted and employed what is already given, even when that is expressed through determined subversion.
To be meaningful, a new work must always be grappling with the language it employs and therefore with the history of that language as well as its immediacy. It can never be on solid ground and must always move in the awareness of many considerations and conventions at once.
Thus, the accommodation of ambiguity and the expectation of goodwill are essential to it. And while fixity of meaning exists in inverse proportion to the amount of entropy or chaos in a signifying system, type of meaning is a function of the language game in play. Mathematical discourses seek to eradicate ambiguity; artistic discourses to exploit it. Both are dependent on resilient discursive structures without which directionality would be lost and conversation rendered profoundly unreliable. In use, languages simply work.
But when the approach is analytical, then the model held of the system becomes critical. Instead of common ground enabling a generally secure passage through exchanges, a disconnected model of language - Saussure's, for example, where signifier and signified relate only to one another - makes a performer the manufacturer of an object and an interpreter that object's independent user. Interpretation then necessarily becomes increasingly voluntary and capricious at the expense of the integrity of language itself.
As Saussure's dyadic system rigidified leads to the cul de sac of Derrida, so do Duchamp or Cage rigidified lead to the abandonment - or total relativisation - of art or music. With no fulcrum, nothing can be moved. That is the essential point to which this essay constantly returns. If my analogy is accepted on the terms outlined above, then perhaps we can use it to underpin a useful sense of the qualifier avant garde, since it was the distinction, it seems to me, of the historic avant gardes that they made a specific attempt to sever their dependence on inherited languages altogether, and not, as other movements and players had done, to extend, ramify or uniquely employ existing discourses, or selectively to challenge accumulated cliches and habits.
Theirs was a change in quality, not quantity, and it answered a perceived crisis that seemed to call for nothing less than wholesale revolution. X Metalanguage It may seem at first that, from the point of view of the arts considered as a set of interlocked languages or signifying systems , radical departure from all grounded rules would be self-defeating, since it would necessarily result in a kind of gibberish.
However, the work of the historic avant gardes are certainly meaningful to us, indeed we celebrate it. In part, of course, this is because the work itself has in time helped to change our understanding. But I think there is another reason: the effect, especially of the most radical of the avant garde propositions, was not simply to run against habitual usage but to shift the entire discourse onto another plane - and into a different language: the meta-plane of self-reflexivity - mediated for the most part through verbal discourse internal or dialogical 27 - and the language of philosophy.
With this shift, art was enabled for the first time to speak to and about itself, as art, even if at the risk of ceasing to be comprehensible as art and becoming instead, at least in the immediate term, a species of thought. Nothing more encapsulates the power and the danger of this shift of discursive perspective than the readymade, which has come now to inform and legitimate much contemporary - and all conceptual - art.
For some, what was once a question has now become a formula.
The danger is that if Duchamp's move is accepted at face value and the same applies to Cage in the sphere of music , then the bottle-rack or silence cease to be contextual conundrums about art and become solvents that undermine the possibility of coherent conversation altogether. The effect of this is to render obsolete the inherited languages of art and music, causing their roots to atrophy and their pasts to become little more than objectified material: useful for mining, plundering and making sly references to, but no longer part of any living body.
Perspectives and conversations. The early twentieth century was a time of general crisis for art, a time when many visual artists - and virtually all composers - were trying to find some firm ground from which to respond to the catastrophic problems and opportunities thrown up by new sensibilities, new media, electricity, Freud, Einstein; the whole apparatus of modernism - without necessarily vapourising, as the avant gardes proposed, the ground on which they stood.
In their search for answers that would not destroy the patient, the constituents of the broader art community were perfectly able to distinguish between avant garde rhetoric and individual works. They took what was useful to them and ignored what was not; at the same time making their own proposals in the form of works that grew logically from the history and endemic concerns of their disciplines. This was particularly true in the field of music. Alternatives ' In all his aleatoric works after Sixteen Dances , John Cage can be located at one extreme of a conversation about communication and reception that proposes to remove intentionality from the production of works.
In this, he would share a practice, if not a motive, with Mallarme, with the many Surrealists who experimented with automatic writing and with Marcel Duchamp in his careful non-fashioning of readymades. More than any other composer Cage represents the anti-art aspect of the historic avant gardes, though he couches his own proposition in terms of dissolution through total inclusion.
On the other side of this debate, defending the proposition that intention, as the basis of meaningful communication, was a necessary condition of music, we would find just about every other composer before - all of whom insisted on refining a more or less carefully planned architecture of tones, durations and their combinations in pursuit of order and argument; or emotional expression and sensation — or shaded combinations of the two.
Between intention and non-intention, Process Music, Systems Music and Stochastic music emerged, moving the conversation deeper into the implications and possibilities Cage had raised. Or again: the generating power of sacral mathematics and ratio have run like a root through the life of music for over two and a half millennia. In this debate, unlike the one above, Schoenberg, who dedicated his life to the retention and protection of the sacral, and who was profoundly convinced of the deep relation of number lying behind the flesh of sounding, would find himself close to his former pupil Cage - a man who for much of his life was so focused on form that it was a matter of relative indifference to him with what sound or absence of sound it was filled.
La Monte Young would be a sympathetic contributor to this side of the discussion, as would R. Across the table sit those for whom the control of surface and the grain of sound-for-itself are more significant than spiritual depth or number - the phenomenologists. The radicals in this debate would be the pioneers of Musique Concrete, who eschewed the formalism of calculated structure altogether, focusing almost exclusively on sounding content: indeed, for them, surface was content.
Less extreme but close would be someone like Edgard Varese. Just about everybody agreed that the vocabulary of music had radically to be extended and made adequate to the needs and conditions of the day. The point is that it is these conversations, oppositions, accommodations, compromises and proposals - made mostly in the form of works - that constitute the life of music and delimit the terms in which that life unfolds.
There is no tidy, single, linear tale to be told. And on the ground, the conversation remains open, however inaudible some of the participants may be for much of the time. In these debates the avant gardes might be said to have operated as a 'purgative' Marcel Duchamp That said, as a demolition crew, they were indispensable: the most powerful expression of an uncompromisingly revolutionary response to a pressing, if temporally local, crisis. And although that crisis is not yet resolved, their proposals have all been absorbed into it, even if not universally accepted.
Well, all of them bar one, the most radical: that art dissolve itself altogether. This has proved impossible. Even at its most revolutionary, even with the readymade, even with 4'33", art could not make that fatal step away from itself: indeed, those very interventions could only be effective and meaningful if they were art, otherwise they would just be bottle racks and silences. The philosophical extension of art's own practice into self-examination, far from challenging the status of art, has been taken as a Cartesian proof of its existence.
The historical avant gardes have cleared the decks. That was their work and that work is done. You can keep blowing up the ruins but rubble is already rubble. Offering radical propositions within a genre or across genres has been the general way of art throughout the twentieth century, so restricting the application of avant garde to those ultra-provocative movements that proposed the revolutionary rejection of inherited languages seems useful to me, and I propose to adhere to that usage, and not to extend the term to ever weaker assignments that merely describe what became twentieth century art-as-usual.
After Darmstadt, the description avant garde next appears in a wholly different context; applied to radical developments in a particular strand of black American jazz. Avantgarde jazz was conceived as urgent and visionary. It pursued formal and technical innovations, like l'art pour l'art, but at the same time lived in the intensification of emotional expression. A unique hybrid, it adopted from high art discourse the idea of extended technique, originality and genius, at the same time retaining from its popular origins immediacy, improvisational skills and the raw social intimacy of its quotidian context - clubs and bars.
It made no claim to universality, nor to the future, but rather, by accentuating its difference from the familiar and the mainstream, addressed a specialised community in the immediacy of its experience. Through this unique combination of formal complexity and emotional directness it claimed authentic as opposed to commercial popularity, and at the same time declared itself a serious, and uniquely black, artform. This claim to art status from the sphere of popular music, especially the scary lowlife club culture of black people, was as unprecedented as it was radical.
And in this sense, it wasn't merely avantgarde in its relation to the jazz world but posed a challenge not easily dismissed to the already beleaguered gatekeepers of art music for whom acceptance of Cage had created severe categorical difficulties. If all sound is music, so is the stupidest pop song, never mind a clearly 'difficult,' experimental and often abstract form like avantgarde jazz. The jazz avantgarde, unlike its earlier namesakes was distinguished by its claim to art, not by a rejection of it. This too was an avantgarde that neither rejected its forbears nor wished to set a new template for music.
Having left both commercial and quasi-commercial music and their audiences behind, avantgarde jazz hoped by example to bring other musicians and an engaged, if limited, public - to its own position. But not more than that. Indeed it could be authentic only so long as it remained marginal. As the voice of a minority, its power was a direct political function of its blackness. It did not ask what its public wanted but offered what it thought that public needed to grow strong, identify itself and be free.
In its difficult admixture of formal complexity, emotional directness, authenticity and protection from general absorption, this avant garde raised difficult questions that could only be answered outside the music itself. It also offered a complete inversion of the later Cagean position: where Cage had eschewed intention altogether through a rigid formalism, free jazz by relaxing nearly all formal constraints, allowed intention absolute dominion.
Two decades later, it was something like this jazz sense of avant garde that was applied to certain strands of rock, initially extending the art claim to elements of an even lower — at that time perhaps the lowest - musical form. However, while avantgarde jazz was pretty clearly defined, what qualified as avant garde rock seemed to be a question less to do with form and more to do with who was using the term, and why.
By now, this vagueness of use seemed somehow to be correlated with a similar vagueness in the culture itself. By this stage, in other words, the term was clearly in danger of losing any coherent meaning at all Look up avant garde rock on the internet; it has become little more than a hopeful badge of honour. Otherwise, it serves as an off-the-shelf commercial label for general application Lou Reed, Brian Eno and John Cale are avant garde. In short, it has been colonised, flattened and neutralised and all the history has been drained out of it - in part because all the history is currently being drained out of history.
Thus has the practical wisdom of the demos been expressed through the evolution of language. To put it another way, so long as there is a meaning in the world, there will be a need for a term that encompasses it, and that term will emerge and hold itself together. When that meaning evaporates, the term it necessitated will escape, and either mutate to serve another useful purpose, or dissipate.
When it is obviously floating free, that is probably a sign to let it go. Lost, one signifier. From this brief survey of the actual, non academic, use of the qualifier avant garde to music, continuity of meaning would imply that the baton of radical progress has passed from a strand of contemporary music to jazz, and then to rock. Or perhaps more plausibly that in these three genres a leap has been made to the condition of art, a condition that tends to level and dissipate their individual generic coherence - in other words, to erase them as independent genres.
Certainly the fringes of contemporary composition, jazz, electronics and rock have become increasingly indistinguishable. On the other hand, discontinuity of meaning would imply that some thing-in-the-world has disappeared and left the word that contained it to drift and free associate.
Both can be interpreted as true. Neither leaves much work for the qualifier to do. The fact remains that in a media-dominated discourse, avant garde today implies little more than 'breaking or appearing to break ranks with market consensus,' even if sometimes it may still retain homeopathic traces of political engagement, cultural prescience or technical innovation. Even when those traces are strong, the term does them no service because it buries and negates them. One has seriously to ask whether anyone believes that the term can be useful any more, or whether, along with Freedom, Democracy and Truth, it should join the ranks of Vaneigem's corpses in the mouths of the bourgeoisie?
Quo Vadis? The struggle with the academy has been won. The market has taken its place. Unlike the old art institutions, the market, being impersonal, amorphous and many-headed, has no central authority to attack. Moreover it has the proven power to absorb whatever is thrown at it and to recast everything it touches into its own shape.
Although avantgardism may prove to have been one of the great cultural achievements of the modern period, helping, through its very absolutism, to kick-start a new art practice and to liberate, once and for all, media, form and imagination - making everything and anything the proper matter of aesthetic work - the world that needs such avant gardes is gone, precisely because their work is done. That work was definitive; entropic; a river that may not be stepped into twice; a one-time catalyst that effected an irreversible change of state. The new problems we face today are problems that avantgardism has helped to create and which its methods can no longer solve.
The avant garde is dead. That is its triumph. Let it lie. You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can, and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use Preface to Plato, ; 'The Renaissance In this essay, then, I will use art always to mean Fine Art - that is to say that post enlightenment European concept of an autonomous realm of production and reception to which we still adhere, and not to the more utilitarian understandings of art as varieties of techne which preceded it.
It is the concept of Fine Art that is thrown into crisis by the historic avant gardes, and it is the consequence of their critical challenge that I try to trace below. And it was not exhibited. The 'original' Fountain was then lost. Few today, however, dispute that Fountain was and is an artwork, or that, by implication, any object at all might be an artwork.
In fact just the idea of an object might be an artwork subsequent, exhibited, 'Fountains' were newly purchased from commercial outlets without in any way affecting the status of the work. Even the idea that a mass-produced urinal or bottle-rack, or snow shovel, or anything at all might be an artwork might itself be accepted as an artwork now.
Robert Motherwell's book, The Dada painters and poets was published in and is constantly referenced by artists of this generation, though surely it was more a symptom than a cause. I say anti-art, but anti-art and non-art seem confusingly to merge into one broad concept in this period - and of course by then Dada already belonged tacitly in the camp of art. If I single out Andy Warhol in the pages that follow, it is because it seems to me that he took cogniscence of the changed context of his borrowings in a way that many of his contemporaries did not, concentrating more on the conditions of meaning than on its production and insisting not on his own freedom so much as acting to expose the conditions of his confinement.
From A to B and Back Again. Perhaps this accolade was intended as a slyly philosophical art event? But I think not. Interviewed in , Duchamp was already resigned to the new situation: 'When I discovered the readymades, I hoped to discourage the carnival of aestheticism [ Until the fourteenth century the status of music was pitched far below that of painting, but by the eighteenth century the situation had effectively been reversed.