Entries tagged with avant-garde

Tracking the Chinese Avant-Gardes: Literary and Visual
Organizers: Barrett Watten, Wayne State University
Jonathan Stalling, University of Oklahoma
Jacob Edmond, University of Otago

American Comparative Literature Association
Seattle, 26–29 March 2015; stream B (10:30–12:10)
Dashpoint, Seattle Sheraton

The past thirty-five years has witnessed the phenomenal growth of numerous avant-garde art and poetry movements in China, from the 1979 Stars exhibition and Misty School of poetry to the present. This seminar will survey the formal innovations, historical development, and cultural logics of the Chinese avant-gardes, working across genres and disciplines in doing so. It will present examples of formally innovative and culturally provocative art, from its period of emergence after the Cultural Revolution in the 80s to the traumatic break that occurred with the events of the June 4/Tiananmen Square movement to periods of growth and dispersion in the 90s and global recognition in the 00s. How have Chinese avant-gardes developed, dispersed, changed, been absorbed—what are their influences, accomplishments, contradictions, historical mission? How are the Chinese avant-gardes global; how do they respond to or resist globalization; how do they reflect, affirm, or critique China’s role in the global order? How are the Chinese avant-gardes a moment of cultural translation or hybridity between Chinese and Western/avant-garde aesthetics, philosophy, and/or politics (including gender)? How were emergent forms of transnational art, such as Conceptual Art or Concrete Poetry, interpreted in China? How do the Chinese avant-gardes negotiate the visual/verbal interface between pinyin and roman characters as a part of its task? And finally, what does the emergence of the Chinese avant-gardes, in their specific historical and cultural conditions, mean for the theory of the avant-garde, given its Eurocentric historical basis?

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Event 46: EAM Helsinki

European Network for Avant-Garde
and Modernist Studies
University of Helsinki, Finland
29–31 August 2015

“Language Writing’s Concrete Utopia: From Leningrad to Occupy”

Language writing has a differential, both concrete and critical, relationship to the horizon of utopia—which, we should remember, is a “nonplace,” an alternative time and space that is only momently (or eventally) possible as lived experience. “Language” itself offers an expansive and holistic medium for poetry as a ground for combinatorial fantasy and potential agency that simultaneously invokes radical particularity, material opacity, spatial alterity, and temporal deferral; “language” is a poetic nonsite that may be powerfully transformative, if not finally utopian, in its radical potential. In this paper, I will chart the relationship of Language writing to the horizon of utopia at four specific moments: 1) in its development of poetic practice in radical formal terms, as a social formation, and as a collective practice (seen in terms of the material history of its publications and performances); 2) on the occasion of four Language writers’ participation in a conference on avant-garde poetics in Leningrad, in the former Soviet Union at the end of Perestroika (1989), and our subsequent multi­auth­ored account, Leningrad: American Writers in the Soviet Union (1991); 3) with the completion of the multiauthored The Grand Piano: An Experiment in Collective Autobiography by ten Language writers who met in San Francisco in the 70s (2006–10); and 4) after the performance and reception of The Grand Piano in a series of readings in the Bay Area during the Occupy movement of 2011 and the convergence of certain tendencies of the Occupy movement with avant-garde poetries such as Language writing. The convergence of Language writing with the events of Occupy, and their continuation as a radical democratic, anticapitalist politics, is an exemplary instance of concrete utopia.