Sunday, May 23, 2010

The interview format. What would it mean to interview a bird? The monitor positioned like a bird in the grass. And looking back at our camera looking. A delay in grass.

The frame of scientific objectivity contains a play on the possibility of an animal being an appropriate subject. Of losing the subject before we’ve begun. In the quotidian.

But there is an attempt. There is an attempt to praise the quotidian. From which history, albeit with a lower-case "h," follows.

Public space (and what occupies it, being co-constitutive) should not be taken for granted. It should be critically reflected/thought about and thus made.

On Time-capsules (Future Anterior)

Playing with assumptions about time/what waits for us in the future. The time-capsule as it appears in your work is the false expression of the future anterior because it is not what we will have wanted to have been but simply something--an extract or abstract, a random selection--of something that will have been. What would it mean for the time-capsule to be a living form or vessel for reflection and not only a curiosity anticipating the shock of historical distance?
What is brought to mind by the absence
Of music is a discovery unto itself
Of foreign powers and powers that
Are all too much at home

With our memories of coming home
And the ear which receives us, returning
Powers loop a thousand ways
Transport us looping in instrument's increase

Harks back to things that will never be
The catastrophe of being the catastrophe
Of being here and not there
A music withholds sometimes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Live Interviews with Boym and Buckingham at apexart (Archive of the Future Anterior)

This Saturday I will be interviewing Matthew Buckingham and Sreshta Rit Premnath will be interviewing Svetlana Boym live at apexart in TriBeCa. More info below!

Saturday, May 22: 4-6 pm

Thom Donovan and Sreshta Rit Premnath, at the invitation of Museo magazine, will interview Svetlana Boym and Matthew Buckingham about the potential of unrealized futures.

Svetlana Boym's theorizing of "Nostalgia" and the "Off Modern" and Matthew Buckingham's re-engagement of forgotten histories are apt points of departure for what they are calling an Archive of the Future Anterior.

With these interviews Donovan and Premnath introduce their video project in which artists, writers, scientists, and colleagues from various disciplines discuss unrealized social and/or personal projects. By producing an archive of futures which have yet to come to pass perhaps it is possible to alter the course of the future, as well as change the way we narrate and remember the past.

"The tense of the future anterior (French: Future auxiliary verb + past participle) is one of potentiality. Within any given present, it images what will have been before an event actually comes to pass. To return to the moments of bifurcation is an objective of our Archive of the Future Anterior. An archive which wishes to serve less as a time-capsule than a provisional index of loss or misplaced futures; where future has not yet become past and multiple futures remain compossible within a single present."

--from Proposal for An Archive of the Future Anterior


Sreshta Rit Premnath lives and works in New York City. He is an artist, curator and founder and editor of the magazine Shifter. He received his MFA from The Milton Avery Graduate School of Fine Art at Bard College and was a 2008 studio fellow at The Whitney Independent Study Program.

Svetlana Boym is a writer, theorist, and media artist who leads parallel lives. She has participated in numerous media exhibits and is the author of several books, also contributing to journals such as Artforum, ArtMargins, Cabinet, Punto de Vista, Critical Inquiry, Representations, Poetics Today, and Harpers’s Magazine. Boym teaches in Comparative Literature at Harvard University and is an Associate of the Graduate School of Design. Native of St. Petersburg, Russia, she now lives and works in Cambridge, MA.

Matthew Buckingham is a New York-based artist who utilizes photography, film, video, audio, writing, and drawing to question the role social memory plays in contemporary life. Buckingham’s work has been shown at numerous institutions around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, among several others. Buckingham received his B.A. in film production and film studies from the University of Iowa in 1988, and in 1996 he completed an M.F.A. at Bard College. In 2003 he was awarded a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (German Academic Exchange Service), and in 2004 he was awarded a Henry and Natalie Freund Teaching Fellowship at the Washington University School of Art, St. Louis. Buckingham also serves as an external tutor at the Art Academy in Malmö, Sweden.

All events are free and open to the public.

291 Church Street, NYC, 10013
t. 212 431 5270

Directions: A, C, E, N, R, W, Q, J, M, Z, 6 to Canal or 1 to Franklin.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

While supplies last...


Sam King
John Niekrasz
Angel Escobar
Kristin Dykstra
Mohammed Khair-Eddine
Pierre Joris
Alice Notley
Dot Devota
Phil Cordelli
Norma Cole
Quinn Latimer
Matthew Klane
Hoa Nguyen
Lucas Farrell
Kazuko Shiraishi
Tomoyuki Endo
Forrest Gander
Sarah Lariviere
Michel Deguy
Wilson Baldridge
Anthony Hawley
Lisa Lightsey
Lewis Warsh
Ron Horning
Caitie Moore
Thom Donovan
Trey Sager
Brenda Iijima
Youna Kwak
Amelia Rosselli
Vanja Skoric Dewan
Deborah Woodard
Karena Youtz
Etel Adnan

100 copies, side-stapled w/ two-layer transparency/vellum cover
Edited by Mitch Taylor, mitchmailer AT yahoo DOT com
Designed by Cannibal Books, flesheatingpoems AT
See also Muthafucka One:

The Methexis of the Tenebrous

--after Adam Pendleton's Systems of Display

Least wish
For tankers subdivisions
Of labor control
No context yet exists
For this

It is the wind again
Blows a national
We grieving
Strategies substance
Grown black again

System growing blacker
Unclarified by who
The methexis
Of the tenebrous

Where we see only dust

Justice a line ran
Through it
Crossed it out
Preserved a content
Those below just below

The cut
Hung like the blues enacts
Hung like black frames
Fade to black
On a background

Of black paint
Mirrors inside them
Make history pop
With what we are not
And letters unfix.

Friday, May 14, 2010

For an Archive of the Future Anterior (Notes)

The creative exploration of these materials enacts a "weak messianic power" through which the world may be conceived differently. Perhaps one task of the artist/thinker is to make visible these powers of objects which should otherwise be perceived as corrupted by their commodity value, or by some prejudice about the sensibility and intelligence which produced them. To what extent is the future that we will want to have been (tense of the future anterior) a product of the senses (both a renewed sensibility and a coming to our senses)?

I have been thinking about how to reapproach cultural materials so that they may become active for something again. The return of "appropriation" in recent aesthetic practices seems to bring this problem to the foreground. Likewise, continued interest in archives, documentary practices, and attention to artifact through display and reenactment/live performance. These forms have pretty much defined art (and cultural production more broadly) in the aughts, so how may we think about these forms more specifically in terms of a dialogue about how art may determine, redirect, and reevaluate futures?


What makes something ‘public art’? Can language use alone adequately alter the frames through which we look at a site, or the ‘art’ there? Is there a way to see the urban environment that’s not mediated by money? What counts as an ‘intervention’? Can conceptualism alone achieve anything ‘real’ in a landscape such as this one? If I’m just watching some people ‘work’ how can I tell if it’s art? Are they doing art or making it, or neither? If the goal is to liberate private space for the commons, shouldn’t they also be taking over the cafe next door and giving away all the food? Are a couple of seemingly self-critical questions an adequate way to engage the various problems that such a project produce? Who is this action or art for? If not towards an artwork or product, then towards what?
--from BARGE’s “Groundbreaking"-Reflections, by David Buuck

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Julie T. Ewald Reviews MAKE BELIEVE

@ Galatea Resurrects

The idea of the island creating a sort of sanctuary while imposing seclusion is confounded even further with the quotation Donovan uses to begin this piece: “An island / Has a public quality.” The quote comes from objectivist poet, George Oppen. This quote re-envisions the notion of the island that one gets from Ben-Ner’s film or from the content of Donovan’s poetics as it suggests that an island is not a place for sanctuary or separation, but a place that is open and accessible. This could also be a red herring, as the piece is dedicated to another poet, Gregg Biglieri, who is known for a masterful use of puns.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Krist Gruijthuijsen
Could you expand a bit more upon this usage of existing languages, forms and images? In other words, could you explain what the term quotation means to you?

Adam Pendleton
I think it changes depending upon what you’re trying to achieve. Critically, I think the idea of quotation is a problematic track. As an idea, it opposes a necessary engagement with pertinent critical forms or discourses. I think in the realm of language, within certain linguistic vocabularies, appropriation is a very liberating idea, but quotation is a very limiting one. Within the sphere of art it’s the other way around, wherein quotation can feel more expansive as a position while appropriation is more limiting as an operating space. Any kind of definition that I do have is a functioning one. It is one that works itself out in my work. The making and the doing is its own definition. Quotation or appropriation is a way of confronting reality on its own terms.
--from Quote Number One. (Or how to thrive on linguistic prospects.)

Mic Checks

"the ear is the only orifice that doesn't close"
--from Sharon Hayes' Parole

Your silence blows the
Ears off my head

So that what I'm hearing
And what isn't seen
Structures the rupture

What's left-over
From speaking privately
In a public place

Some ways to imagine
Not being them
Being sous rature
Or simply tongue-tied

If the tongue
Had eyes and they
Were here

If they
Looped like history
Like the history of
A scream

Or steam from that
Whistle not yet blowing

The voices absent in this present
In their presence coheres a statelessness
Without subject

Sentiment is the tenuous
We screaming again
Words one lip-synchs for their life (RuPaul)

Discourse schools a public void
In private just because
You put a mic

On me doesn't mean my voice
Will carry

Or anyone is out there listening

We are archivable which means
We can easily be forgotten

We are public which means
We are double/multiple/substitutional

Through no lack of repression
Do the words finally appear

However private we are however
Rich our interior life

[politics which pressures the inside out]
[politics will smoke us out]

[politics will drive us into the world]
[politics will drive us into the open]

Where any one may listen

To this resonance pattern
To these distances wherever you go
Voice a form of intimacy without control
Emotions before they formed and hardened
Into a public speech

Which summons us all these voices verbs
Recorded but not sufficiently heard
Stricken from the record it would seem
Before sound could appear
Thinner than the thing-in-itself
The magnetism of all lost futures

In the breaks silence sticks
Wakes the dead from trace

The living from paradise
Semblance sleeps in our ears

Across eras cross-phasing hatch
Private spaces in public

Tongue in my mouth in
Your mouth mic checks.

Check out David Wolach's generous response

to my piece about Nonsite Collective at the (former) Harriet blog:

Sunday, May 02, 2010

"Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast, the Wall Street Journal reports. Though the investigation into the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its early stages, drilling experts agree that blame probably lies with flaws in the ‘cementing' process -- that is, plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon."

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Stop the World

Stop the world
It is dying too soon
We have not died
Enough into this

Life only ours if
We decide for
What others it is
For the form the

Fire will take all
Around us against
Every received
Idea and word.

Interview with Charles Bernstein part II (@ Harriet)


Recently I’ve started to see a number of my poems, early and later, as “bachelor machines” after Duchamp and Kafka’s “Penal Colony” – disciplinary structures (to get back to a point you made earlier): self-imploding, non-procreative systems. Or maybe I’d be better to say anti-bachelor machines. Recantorium, which is not in the book but recently appeared in Critical Inquiry and was excerpted in Harper’s, is the most extravagant of these. But it goes back a ways. I would say that “Asylum” (the first poem in the selected) is also an anti-bachelor machine. And at the same time – it’s apparent in Girly Man – I became interested in what I call radical legibility — a mode of explicit reiteration that makes it almost impossible to get lost, to drift; each line is like a rivet, so perhaps this is anticipated in “Sentences” in Parsing. Radical legibility doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll understand the poem, but you can’t not follow. “A Particular Thing” in Girly Man (included in the selected) is a good example (“A black man waiting at a bus stop / A white woman sitting on a stool / A Filipino eating a potato / A Mexican boy putting on shoes . . .”).