I’ll be giving the opening performance at the Sexuality of Words conference (Nov 7th & 8th) being held in relation to the exhibition ART=TEXT=ART: PRIVATE LANGUAGES / PUBLIC SYSTEMS at the University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery in Buffalo, NY. The first piece is Jam Score (2009), an event score created in collaboration with Fallen Fruit, which I co-founded. Both a concrete poem and an event score, the piece will be simultaneously read and executed as intended: with fruit jam on a canvas. It examines the event and language in its traces; its subject is sociality and sweetness as enacted in the Public Fruit Jam. The original performance was created for Lawrimore Project in Seattle, WA. The second part of the evening consists of three Drone Poems (2013), video texts addressed to and about a drone which I’ve been using to make work. Using forms of intimate speech, the pieces interrogate the machine through language, postulating an other with whom one has a personal relationship.
I’m also giving a panel presentation, “Can a Gay Man’s Life Only be Told in Random Fragments?” in which I’ll talk about my book, 2500 Random Things About Me Too, to revisit the history of queer fragments in the work of John Cage and Joe Brainard. Cage’s Indeterminacy is a collection of anecdotes or short tales which he used them for performances, flipping randomly from one to another. Each one was supposed to take one minute to read, so the short ones were read slowly and the long ones very fast. They’re more impersonal than Joe Brainard’s I Remember, his book-long list of sentences each beginning “I remember,” but both turn to randomization, and to silence, the space between the sentences. Their queer narratives avoid representation and evolve through accumulation and displacement, intimating a resistance to confessional narrative.
ART=TEXT=ART: PRIVATE LANGUAGES / PUBLIC SYSTEMS explores the advent of language in the visual arts in post-war America and the simultaneous emergence of concrete poetry. These practices embraced language’s ability to carry multiple, even contradictory meanings, thus creating a space for individual acts of anti-conformist thought. Through words in art, flirtations with ideas unauthorized by then-dominant socio-political realities were allowed expression, especially among an early generation of LGBTQ artists. It is curated by Sarah JM Kolberg, Cat Dawson, Maddie Phinney, and Jonathan D. Katz