A recording of Critical Language, Triple Canopy's forum on "International Art English," a widely circulated essay on the relationship between language, legibility, and power in the art world written by Alix Rule and David Levine and published in issue 16. Participants in the forum, which took place in April, included the authors and Wenzel Bilger, Lauren Cornell, Mariam Ghani, Mostafa Heddaya, Alexander Provan, Yael Reinharz, Lumi Tan, and Hrag Vartanian.
In "International Art English," Rule and Levine, analyze a corpus of press releases circulated by e-flux in order to describe the language of contemporary art. They trace the particularities of this language to English translations of critical texts published in the 1970s in journals like October. The widespread use of the Internet has, they argue, accelerated the development of IAE, turning it into a kind of lingua franca; the proliferation of international variations—French IAE, Scandinavian IAE, Chinese IAE—ends up diluting the authority of critics, "traditionally the elite innovators of IAE." Given these developments, Rule and Levine ask: "Can we imagine an art world without IAE? Without its special language, would art need to submit to the scrutiny of broader audiences and local ones? Would it hold up?" With this forum, Triple Canopy aimed to provoke a critical response to the article, consider questions and perspectives eschewed by the authors, and solicit the perspectives of those who work with (or resist working with) IAE, whether they are critics, curators, educators, or publicists. Specifically, the discussion focused on the political implications and uses of IAE, within and outside of the art world. How does "critical" language direct attention away from the suppression of political dissent, especially when employed by institutions—and their proxies—operating in environments marred by human-rights violations, such as China and the UAE (or even the US)? How does obfuscation slip into propaganda? And do those who regularly produce IAE experience the language as burdensome or liberating, a welcome tool for the diffusion of power or another step toward a global standard of ambiguity and opacity?
A recording of a performance marking the release of Corrected Slogans: Reading and Writing Conceptualism, by actor Jim Fletcher with Lakpa Bhutia, Alex Delinois, Sam Frank, Jordan Lord, and Ariana Reines. The performance, which took place at Artists Space Books & Talks on March 29, 2013, draws on various literary formats included in Corrected Slogans—transcripts, footnotes, stanzas, dialogue, indexes, and a lexicon—to interpret and amplify the book’s many textual registers, unraveling dialogues and vocalizing wordplay.
Corrected Slogans is the culmination of the multipart project Corrected Slogans (A Publication in Four Acts), which was conceived as Triple Canopy’s contribution to “Postscript: Writing after Conceptual Art,” an exhibition organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The book, which hinges on annotated transcripts of a series of public conversations, represents a collective effort to establish a new critical discourse around conceptual art and poetics.
Listen in for an evening of readings by poets Donald Dunbar, Jane Gregory, Joe Luna, K. Silem Mohammad, and Jacob Wren, originally hosted by Triple Canopy, publishers Fence and The Song Cave, and digital poetry journal The Claudius App, on March 8th, 2013, at the Cambridge, MA offices of The Harvard Advocate, the oldest continuously published collegiate literary journal in America. Here we celebrate the publication of Triple Canopy's newest work of research into the intersection of contemporary art and writing, Corrected Slogans: Reading and Writing Conceptualism, as well as Jane Gregory's first full-length book, the intriguingly titled, My Enemies, and a new issue from The Claudius App.
* * *
Donald Dunbar is the author of the chapbooks You Are So Pretty (Scantily Clad Press, 2009) and Click Click (Gold Wake Press, 2010), and of Eyelid Lick (Fence Books), which won the 2012 Fence Modern Poets Series. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he co-curates the reading series If Not For Kidnap and teaches poetry to future chefs at Oregon Culinary Institute.
Jane Gregory is from Tucson, Arizona. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently working towards a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Berkeley, California. Her book My Enemies will be released by The Song Cave in early 2013.
Joe Luna lives in Brighton, UK, where he runs the Hi Zero reading series and edits Hi Zero magazine. Crater Press published the letterpress fold Google Song in November 2011; his poems have appeared in, among others, Poems, Written Between October and December 2010 (Grasp Press), The Claudius App (online), Better than Language: An Anthology of New Modernist Poetries (Ganzfeld Press), FRIENDS (Critical Documents), The Cambridge Literary Review, Sous les Pavés, Damn the Cæsars, Lana Turner, and The Death and Life of American Cities. A booklet, LVRSLVRSLVRSLVRS, was privately distributed in 2010; the .pdf epic FAILCORE is still public. A new book, ASTROTURF, is forthcoming.
K. Silem Mohammad is the author of several books of poetry, including Deer Head Nation (Tougher Disguises, 2003), A Thousand Devils (Combo, 2004), Breathalyzer (Edge, 2008), The Front (Roof, 2009), and Monsters (forthcoming, Edge Books). In his current project, The Sonnagrams, Mohammad anagrammatizes Shakespeare’s Sonnets into all-new English sonnets in iambic pentameter. He is also editor of the poetry magazine Abraham Lincoln and faculty editor of West Wind Review. He is an associate professor in the English & Writing program at Southern Oregon University.
Jacob Wren is a writer and maker of eccentric performances. His books include: Unrehearsed Beauty, Families Are Formed Through Copulation, and Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed. As co-artistic director of Montreal-based interdisciplinary group PME-ART he has co-created: En français comme en anglais, it's easy to criticize, Unrehearsed Beauty / Le génie des autres, La famille se crée en copulant and the ongoing HOSPITALITÉ / HOSPITALITY series. In 2007 he was invited by Sophiensaele (Berlin) to adapt and direct Wolfgang Koeppen's 1954 novel Der Tod in Rom and in 2008 he was commissioned by Campo (Ghent) to collaborate with Pieter De Buysser on An Anthology of Optimism. He travels internationally with alarming frequency and frequently writes about contemporary art.