robertogreco + vernacular   18

Is "Show Don't Tell" a Universal Truth or a Colonial Relic? | Literary Hub
"In his essay “The Storyteller” (1936), cultural critic Walter Benjamin mourns the death of oral and communal storytelling, taken over in modern history by the novel, the “birthplace of the solitary reader,” and information technology with a rise in capitalism. Yet, what Benjamin posits as the organic evolution of oral, communal practices of storytelling into modern modes of storytelling, consumed by a reader in “privacy,” is in fact, the understanding of a Western history of storytelling as a universal one. As Maggie Awadalla and Paul March-Russell suggest in the introduction to their anthology The Postcolonial Short Story (2012), many non-Western countries did not transition “organically” from oral to written storytelling with a rise in capitalism. For many formerly or currently colonized spaces like South Asia, Africa, Caribbean, American South and Native America, there has always existed a rich, vibrant tradition of oral storytelling, one that was marginalized, often violently, through an imposition of an allegedly modern, white Western language and culture. In their study, Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts (1998), Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin defend “orality” not as a cultural precondition that morphed into a more advanced written culture, but orality as a counterpart to writing, where both co-exist, complement and transform each other constantly. This coexistence of oral and written modes of storytelling continues to thrive in postcolonial spaces, including those of Asia and Africa.

In her now-canonical essay “Characteristics of Negro Expression” (1934), Zora Neale Hurston makes a strong case for the use of vernacular—especially dialect and rhythm—in Black writing. In his story collection, Creole Folktales (1988) and equally canonical co-authored essay, “In Praise of Creoleness” (1989), Patrick Chamoiseau offers a manifesto for Caribbean storytelling that aims to free itself of French colonial gaze by transforming Martinican-French literature through a militant use of Creole. And while not through cultural theories or essays, contemporary writers like Salman Rushdie, Vikram Chandra, Roxane Gay, Junot Díaz, and Edwidge Danticat, among others, bring a strong, self-conscious vernacular in their stories. Their fiction questions not only an allegedly mainstream Euro-American storytelling marked by narrative brevity and an economy of words, as lauded by Edgar Allan Poe, John Barth and Francine Prose in their critical writing, but also the dominance of visuality in many fiction writing workshops with their show-don’t-tell credo, bolstered by our cinematic and digital age with its preference for images over sounds."



"James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Sandra Cisneros, Gish Jen, Tiphanie Yanique, ZZ Packer, Rajesh Parameswaran—the list of contemporary writing affirming oral and aural alternatives over a sight-based focus of storytelling is long. And I haven’t even gotten started with poetry-in-color, including an aesthetic legacy of rhythm in writing spawned by Papa Césaire and the Négritude movement. What I’ve explored above is a brief sampler on a multifaceted use of orality that challenges the boundaries of a more standard Euro-American literary English with its emphasis on brevity, clarity, and good grammar. In playing persistently with language, sounds and syntax, multiethnic fiction does not shy away from “writing in scenes,” however, it does dethrone the reign of eyesight to stress the importance of other senses in fiction, and hearing in particular.

That said, the use of vernacular or dialect is far from unique to non-Western writers writing within or outside the West. Time and again, major writers across the world have challenged the status quo of a hegemonic language by using the vernacular in different ways. I’m thinking here of Shakespeare and Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s linguistic innovation within English and French respectively, and of pioneering poets like Kabir who used the vernacular in Bhakti poetry to challenge the rule of Sanskrit in medieval South Asian literature.

And yet, the examples of multiethnic fiction I’ve shared above have all been published in the last couple of decades, following complex literary and historic changes that include mid-20th century’s wave of decolonization that swept the “third world,” the Civil Rights Movement in the US, the institutionalization of Ethnic Studies in the American Academy, and the literary canon wars that followed. This recent, layered, global history has led to a higher visibility of non-white, non-Western voices in the Western metropolitan publication scenes of New York, London and Paris. The content within contemporary multiethnic fiction often talks of identity, home and displacement; they ask questions like who has power and voice and who gets marginalized or silenced, these ideas fleshed out obsessively in stories through plot, theme, form, language, or a combination.

Orality within fiction that is deliberately engaging with power dynamics between the West and non-West—as evident in the title of Rushdie’s story collection East, West—thus becomes more than just a stylistic device or virtuosity with craft. The shift in sensory focus within multiethnic fiction from images to sounds holds a mirror to our contemporary, complex literary history, guiding the reader further to ways in which these stories maybe constructed, read, or deconstructed. Orality here becomes a political stance, an ideological move reminding the reader over and again that what we consume as universal in story craft, literary history, or aesthetic taste is anything but universal."
orality  oraltradition  visual  via:vruba  2018  storytelling  walterbenjamin  culture  tradition  namratapoddar  globalsouth  maggieawadalla  paulmarch-russell  billashcroft  garethgriffiths  helentiffin  vernacular  zoranealehurston  creole  creoleness  folktales  writing  salmanrushdie  vikramchandra  junotdíaz  edwidgedanticat  edgarallanpoe  johnbarth  fancineprose  criticalwriting  howwewrite  literacy  multiliteracies  dialect  rhythm  patrickchamoiseau  caribbean  africa  asia  colonialism  english  alicewalker  imperialism  gishjen  jamesbaldwin  tonimorrison  tiphanieyanique  zzpacker  showdon'ttell  sandracisneros  roxanegay  ajeshparameswaran  négritude  papacésaire  haiti  aural  oral  sight  brevity  clarity  grammar  fiction  aimécésaire  martinique  léopoldsédarsenghor  léondamas  postcolonialism  louis-ferdinandceline  latinamerica  indigenous  canon 
november 2018 by robertogreco
marwahelal on Twitter: "𝙰𝚗𝚍, 𝚘𝚏 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚜𝚎, 𝚊 𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚖𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚕𝚢 𝚊 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚘𝚏 𝚟𝚘𝚌𝚊𝚋𝚞𝚕𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚘𝚛 𝚊 𝚜𝚎
"𝙰𝚗𝚍, 𝚘𝚏 𝚌𝚘𝚞𝚛𝚜𝚎, 𝚊 𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚖𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚕𝚢 𝚊 𝚋𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚘𝚏 𝚟𝚘𝚌𝚊𝚋𝚞𝚕𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝚘𝚛 𝚊 𝚜𝚎𝚝 𝚘𝚏 𝚐𝚛𝚊𝚖𝚖𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚌𝚊𝚕 𝚛𝚞𝚕𝚎𝚜. 𝙸𝚝 𝚒𝚜 𝚊 𝚏𝚕𝚊𝚜𝚑 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚑𝚞𝚖𝚊𝚗 𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚛𝚒𝚝, 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚎𝚊𝚗𝚜 𝚋𝚢 𝚠𝚑𝚒𝚌𝚑 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚜𝚘𝚞𝚕

𝚘𝚏 𝚎𝚊𝚌𝚑 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚒𝚌𝚞𝚕𝚊𝚛 𝚌𝚞𝚕𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚎 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚌𝚑𝚎𝚜 𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚘 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚒𝚊𝚕 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚕𝚍. 𝙴𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚢 𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚜 𝚊𝚗 𝚘𝚕𝚍 𝚐𝚛𝚘𝚠𝚝𝚑 𝚏𝚘𝚛𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚒𝚗𝚍, 𝚊 𝚠𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜𝚑𝚎𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚝, 𝚊𝚗 𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚒𝚛𝚎

𝚎𝚌𝚘𝚜𝚢𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚖 𝚘𝚏 𝚜𝚙𝚒𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚞𝚊𝚕 𝚙𝚘𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚋𝚒𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚎𝚜." - 𝚆𝚊𝚍𝚎 𝙳𝚊𝚟𝚒𝚜

Welcome to the VERNACULAR HOME, a @nomadreadings #crafttalk. Before we begin, I ask that if you are following along, that you engage these ideas by sharing them, faving, RTing, and chiming in with your own comments.

This talk is dedicated to all displaced peoples and all people who engage in creating a home of language on the page.

1. We’ve witnessed in recent years how advertisers have co-opted vernacular made popular by Black communities on this very platform and profited from it.

2. What these advertisers know is what any good poet knows: vernacular is the pathway to transformation. It is your first language — that language before you were aware of language. It is “like a howl, or a shout or a machine-gun or the wind or a wave,” K. Braithwaite writes.

3. Sidenote: Transformation has a cost but cannot be bought.

4. And as this scene from Spike Lee’s Malcolm X reminds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfRDUsvu5fE , English is an inherently oppressive and racist language. As Malcolm X feels through this new insight into our language — a “con” as we’re told — he transforms and viewers are transformed with him.

5. Perfect segue to the next point…

6. If the poem does not transform (itself or the reader) it is not a poem. I repeat: If the work does not transform, what you have are words on a page — not a poem.

7. Let's now establish what vernacular [poetry] is.

8. Vernacular is a term used to express the idea that all languages are equal. It eliminates hierarchies of dialects vs. language.

As Baldwin writes in an essay I will share more of later, “...language functions as ‘a political instrument, means, and proof of power,’ and only politics separates a language from dialect.” (from the introduction by ed. Dohra Ahmed, Rotten English) https://bit.ly/2pXfk3h

9. Now that we’ve established what vernacular is, please don’t tell me you speak only one language...

10. Your dreams are a vernacular. Nature is a vernacular. Your sneaker collection is a vernacular! Signage: a vernacular. Your unique way of looking at the world: a vernacular. Your heartbeat: a vernacular. Breath: same, a vernacular.

Whenever I teach this material, I end up yelling “EVERYTHING IS VERNACULAR” by the end of every class. So get ready.

11. Building on that (pun intended), vernacular is also the synthesis between the language (words and symbols in any language) we choose, and how we construct it with grammar, punctuation, syntax and form.

12. It is inaccurate to say we are "decolonizing" a language. What we are doing is reclaiming it by colonizing it with our own vernaculars and inventing what it has failed to imagine. It is a language that has failed to imagine 𝘜𝘚. And so this craft talk is also a call

A call to pay attention to where this language has become dull, stale, and boring. A call to pay attention to intentional and unintentional connotations. And to undo those connotations. In undoing them, I ask that we create radical solutions for this language that troubles us.

13. “It was during the anti colonial struggles of the twentieth century that the latent political potential of vernacular literature fully emerged.

14. Our resistance is in the refusal to assimilate, the preservation of our native vernaculars, the creativity in that preservation.

It is in understanding that there is a particular language [they] want [us] to know -- that particular language that is taught in schools, and the rules or codes implied in that agreed upon language and resisting those implications or overturning those agreements.

15. June Jordan said, “Good poetry & successful revolution change our lives, & you cannot compose a good poem or wage a revolution without changing consciousness—unless you attack the language that you share with your enemies & invent a language that you share with your allies.”

Now, with these ideas in mind, let’s go into the texts…

Harryette Mullen, "We Are Not Responsible," "Elliptical" and "Denigration" from Sleeping with the Dictionary [3 images of text]

Note the attention to language, the transformation or awareness brought to the everyday humdrum of signage and those aforementioned 𝓬𝓸𝓷𝓷𝓸𝓽𝓪𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷𝓼.

Note the attention to punctuation. Each poem uses exactly one form of punctuation in a very distinct way.

I will leave the joy of those discoveries to you! We have more to read...

Here, this breathtaking excerpt by @yosuheirhammad from “break (clear)”, breaking poems [image of text]

The Arabic words "ana" and "khalas" are doing overtime.

"ana" = I am and becomes "I am my" in the last two instances. "Khalas" stands on its own line in the first instance -- open to many translations: "enough," "stop," or "no more" and establishes its commitment to finality in that last line, "khalas all this breaking."

MORE! Solmaz Sharif’s “Persian Letters” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/57580/persian-letters

Here the vernacular “bar bar bar” not only shows us the creation of a word: “barbarians” -- it holds a mirror up to the ones who made it.

“We make them reveal
the brutes they are, Aleph, by the things
we make them name.” - @nsabugsme

NOW Baldwin: “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate. (And, if they cannot articulate it, they are submerged.)”

"Black English is the creation of the black diaspora. Blacks came to the United States chained to each other, but from different tribes: Neither could speak the other's language. If two black people, at that bitter hour of the world's history, had been able to speak to each...

other, the institution of chattel slavery could never have lasted as long as it did. Subsequently, the slave was given, under the eye, and the gun, of his master, Congo Square, and the Bible--or in other words, and under these conditions, the slave began the formation of the

black church, and it is within this unprecedented tabernacle that black English began to be formed. This was not, merely, as in the European example, the adoption of a foreign tongue, but an alchemy that transformed ancient elements into a new language:

A language comes into existence by means of brutal necessity, and the rules of the language are dictated by what the language must convey.

Link to the full essay: “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” James Baldwin https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-english.html

Further reading: “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan
Link: http://theessayexperiencefall2013.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/files/2013/09/Mother-Tongue-by-Amy-Tan.pdf

I leave you with this poem by @kyle_decoy “American Vernacular” via @LambdaLiterary
https://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/poetry-spotlight/09/19/a-poem-by-kyle-dacuyan/ ]
marwahelal  language  poetry  writing  words  vernacular  culture  resistance  2018  jamesbaldwin  displacement  transformation  appropriation  malcolmx  english  poems  dohraahmed  grammar  punctuation  syntax  decolonization  colonization  assimilation  creativity  preservation  junejordan  harryettemullen  connotation  suheirhammad  solmazsharif  arabic  amytan  kyledacuyan 
april 2018 by robertogreco
////////// from “Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box,” Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other
"Nothing could be more normative, more logical, and more authoritarian than, for example, the (politically) revolutionary poetry or prose that speaks of revolution in the form of commands or in the well-behaved, steeped-in-convention-language of “clarity.” (”A wholesome, clear, and direct language” is said to be “the fulcrum to move the mass or to sanctify it.”) Clear expression, often equated with correct expression, has long been the criterion set forth in treatises on rhetoric, whose aim was to order discourse so as to persuade. The language of Taoism and Zen, for example, which is perfectly accessible but rife with paradox does not qualify as “clear” (paradox is “illogical” and “nonsensical” to many Westerners), for its intent lies outside the realm of persuasion. The same holds true for vernacular speech, which is not acquired through institutions — schools, churches, professions, etc. — and therefore not repressed by either grammatical rules, technical terms, or key words. Clarity as a purely rhetorical attribute serves the purpose of a classical feature in language, namely, its instrumentality. To write is to communicate, express, witness, impose, instruct, redeem, or save — at any rate to mean and to send out an unambiguous message. Writing thus reduced to a mere vehicle of thought may be used to orient toward a goal or to sustain an act, but it does not constitute an act in itself. This is how the division between the writer/the intellectual and the activists/the masses becomes possible. To use the language well, says the voice of literacy, cherish its classic form. Do not choose the offbeat at the cost of clarity. Obscurity is an imposition on the reader. True, but beware when you cross railroad tracks for one train may hide another train. Clarity is a means of subjection, a quality both of official, taught language and of correct writing, two old mates of power; together they flow, together they flower, vertically, to impose an order. Let us not forget that writers who advocate the instrumentality of language are often those who cannot or choose not to see the suchness of things — a language as language — and therefore, continue to preach conformity to the norms of well-behaved writing: principles of composition, style, genre, correction, and improvement. To write “clearly,” one must incessantly prune, eliminate, forbid, purge, purify; in other words, practice what may be called an “ablution of language” (Roland Barthes)."

— from “Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box,” Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other

[See also PDF of full text in a couple of places:
http://www.sjsu.edu/people/julie.hawker/courses/c1/s2/Trinh-T-Minh-ha-1989.pdf
https://lmthomasucsd.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/minh-ha-reading.pdf ]
trinhminh-ha  rolandbarthes  literacy  clarity  writing  language  taoism  zen  buddhism  persuasion  authority  authoritarianism  power  control  tradition  poetry  prose  canon  rhetoric  grammar  rules  expression  classics  communication  subjection  instrumentality  beauty  style  genre  composition  correction  improvement  purification  speech  vernacular  schools  churches  professions  professionalism  convention  conventions 
november 2017 by robertogreco
John McWhorter on his book Talking Back, Talking Black.
"John McWhorter discusses the subject of his new book, Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca."

[via: "This podcast on Black English by John McWhorter contains an audio clip a freed slave's oral history. Incredible."
https://twitter.com/cmonstah/status/870127827030429697 ]
language  africanamericanvernacular  blackenglish  linguistics  2017  johnmcwhorter  chancetherapper  slang  vernacular 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Maira Kalman’s Bohemian Bliss Above a Bakery - WSJ
"The illustrator and writer recalls her artist husband, Tibor, and their first Greenwich Village apartment"



"Artist Maira Kalman, 65, is the author and illustrator of 24 books, including “My Favorite Things” (Harper Design) and “Ah-Ha to Zig” (Rizzoli), both based on a December exhibit she is curating for New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She spoke with Marc Myers.

The apartment I shared with my late husband, Tibor, between 1976 and 1982, wasn’t pretty but we were happy. We both came of age in that fifth-floor tenement walk-up at 29 Cornelia St. in New York’s Greenwich Village. I was just beginning to illustrate and Tibor was starting M & Co., his graphic-design firm. We didn’t need much.

The railroad apartment had three rooms, one after the next. What we lacked in space and fancy furnishings was more than made up for by fun and love. Back then the neighborhood was still home to three generations of Italian families and poor artists. Our rent was $125 a month, and everything was possible in our lives and careers.

Tibor and I met in 1968 while attending New York University. Throughout the early 1970s we would break up and get back together, so we lived in a series of places before settling down. When you entered our Cornelia Street apartment, you were standing in our living room. Then you passed into the kitchen—the center room with a rough concrete trough of a bathtub that had a wooden cover when it wasn’t in use. The third room was a small bedroom that faced the back of A. Zito & Sons bakery. In the morning, the smell of bread baking filled the room.

Tibor and I were both strangely content. Even climbing five flights with groceries or with the laundry was part of the experience. We just thought, here we are, we’re together and in love, and isn’t that great.

Our decorating style was no style at all. Our furnishings were hand-me-downs or things we had found on the street. One piece was a beautiful armchair that we had reupholstered. I still have it. I don’t know why someone chucked it out, but that’s New York.

In the kitchen, we had a ’50s dining table. My studio wasn’t set up yet, so I drew at the kitchen table. I’d draw everywhere, from the park to cafes.

One day, when Tibor was at work, I decided I hated our horrible brown wall-to-wall carpeting. I ripped it up halfway before I became exhausted. When Tibor came home I told him the carpet had to go. He ripped out the other half without a word of complaint. Then I painted the wood floor in the living room butter yellow—the walls were already white—and I instantly felt lighter. That’s what’s interesting about changing layers of your living space. How you feel changes, too.

Eventually Tibor and I wanted more space, so we built a loft bed in the bedroom. It had lots of heavy, raw wood and looked rather dreadful. It was a hippie time, so you have to forgive us. At one point we also upgraded the kitchen by ripping out the tub and putting in a shower.

We were always putting up and taking down art from the walls. One night we hung an onion ring on a nail high up on the kitchen wall. I don’t remember why. I was from Israel and Tibor was from Hungary, so we were always fascinated by vernacular. Fast food was part of the American scene—diners, coffee shops and hamburger stands. All of that Americana was joyful and optimistic and funny to us. That was the beginning of our onion-ring collection. The onion rings we installed never deteriorated, which was amazing. We had dozens of them, and some we framed and gave to friends.

When I think back to our apartment now, I think of it as empty—just shapes of rooms and light. What I do remember vividly is that the space was filled with friendship and love and a never-ending curiosity about everything.

Tibor and I married in 1981, and the following year we moved to a one-bedroom apartment on 12th Street when I became pregnant with our daughter, Lulu. We soon bought the place. A few years later, Tibor and I had a son named Alex, at which point we also bought the apartment next door. Tibor died in 1999, and I still live here.

I’m about to have my apartment repainted white, as always, but I fear it’s going to be a daunting task. There are too many whites to choose from."
mairakalman  tiborkalman  love  life  living  homes  2014  experience  cv  small  fun  making  white  onionrings  vernacular  nyc 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Register (sociolinguistics) - Wikipedia
"In linguistics, a register is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. For example, when speaking in a formal setting, an English speaker may be more likely to use features of prescribed grammar—such as pronouncing words ending in -ing with a velar nasal instead of an alveolar nasal (e.g. "walking", not "walkin'"), choosing more formal words (e.g. father vs. dad, child vs. kid, etc.), and refraining from using contractions such as ain't—than when speaking in an informal setting.

As with other types of language variation, there tends to be a spectrum of registers rather than a discrete set of obviously distinct varieties – numerous registers could be identified, with no clear boundaries between them. Discourse categorisation is a complex problem, and even in the general definition of "register" given above (language variation defined by use not user), there are cases where other kinds of language variation, such as regional or age dialect, overlap. As a result of this complexity, scholarly consensus has not been reached for the definitions of terms such as "register", "field" or "tenor"; different scholars' definitions of these terms are often in direct contradiction of each other. Additional terms such as diatype, genre, text types, style, acrolect, mesolect and basilect, among many others, may be used to cover the same or similar ground. Some prefer to restrict the domain of the term "register" to a specific vocabulary (Wardhaugh, 1986) (which one might commonly call jargon), while others[who?] argue against the use of the term altogether. These various approaches with their own "register," or set of terms and meanings, fall under disciplines such as sociolinguistics, stylistics, pragmatics or systemic functional grammar."



"See also
• Child-directed speech
• Diglossia
• Elderspeak
• Honorific speech in Japanese
• Korean speech levels
• Literary language
• Prestige (sociolinguistics)
• Tone (literature)
• Vernacular
• Code-switching"

[Related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ain%27t#Prescription_and_stigma ]
linguistics  sociolinguistics  via:debcha  register  codeswitching  elderspeak  honorifics  vernacular  language  formality 
august 2014 by robertogreco
The New Aesthetic and its Politics | booktwo.org
"Let us be clear: just as my work on the form of the book in the digital age was concerned not with the physical or digital object, but with people’s understanding and emotions concerning literature; just as my drone works are not about the objects themselves, but about the systems – technological, spatial, legal and political – which permit, shape and produce them, and about the wider implications of seeing and not seeing such technological, systematic, operations; so the New Aesthetic is concerned with everything that is not visible in these images and quotes, but that is inseparable from them, and without which they would not exist.

Much of the critical confusion around the New Aesthetic has clustered around the use of the term “aesthetic”, by which I meant simply, “what it looks like” – I wasn’t even really aware of how key the term aesthetics was to art historical and critical discourse. As a result of my use of this term, much of the critical reaction to it has only looked at the surface, and has – sometimes wilfully it feels – failed to engage with the underlying concerns of the New Aesthetic, its own critique and politics. This criticism still concerns itself only with images, despite the wealth of texts also included in the project, and the numerous recorded lectures I’ve given on the subject. The tumblr is just one aspect of, the sketchbook or playlist for, a wider project. In short, this form of criticism has been looking at the pixelated finger, not the moon.

There are two necessary understandings to counter this, I think. One is the important recognition that the New Aesthetic project is undertaken within its own medium: it is an attempt to “write” critically about the network in the vernacular of the network itself: in a tumblr, in blog posts, in YouTube videos of lectures, tweeted reports and messages, reblogs, likes, and comments. In this sense, from my perspective, it is as much work as criticism: it does not conform to the formal shapes – manifesto, essay, book – expected by critics and academics. As a result, it remains largely illegible to them, despite frequent public statements of the present kind.



the deeper and more interesting aspect of this misreading of the New Aesthetic is that it directly mirrors what it is describing: the illegibility of technology itself to a non-technical audience.



The New Aesthetic is not superficial, it is not concerned with beauty or surface texture. It is deeply engaged with the politics and politicisation of networked technology, and seeks to explore, catalogue, categorise, connect and interrogate these things. Where many seem to read only incoherence and illegibility, the New Aesthetic articulates the deep coherence and multiplicity of connections and influences of the network itself.

I believe that much of the weak commentary on the New Aesthetic is a direct result of a weak technological literacy in the arts, and the critical discourse that springs from it. It is also representative of a far wider critical and popular failure to engage fully with technology in its construction, operation and affect.



But if we don’t move the debate to a deeper level, none of this will change. There is a justified and rising opposition to drone warfare (and in the last week, to issues around computational surveillance and intelligence), which may or may not produce lasting political change; but even if successful this will only change the images and objects employed, not the modes of thinking, coupled to technological mastery, which drive it. Without a concerted effort to raise the level of debate, we just loop over and over through the same fetishisations and reifications, while the real business of the world continues unexamined. Those who cannot understand technology are doomed to be consumed by it. (The idea that these ideas lack politics is especially laughable when you look at what’s happening in much of the art world, and most of the digital art world. A young, post-Iraq generation who have had all hope of political participation kettled out of them, and are then endlessly accused of apathy to boot. No wonder it’s all personal brands, car culture, glossy gifs and facebook performances.) Technology is political. Everything is political. If you cannot perceive the politics, the politics are being done to you.



In part, this unwillingness to codify is a reproduction of the network’s own refusal to be pinned down, controlled, routed and channeled, which must be considered one of its core, inherent qualities. But it is also born of a sincere desire not to foreclose discussion: the New Aesthetic may be considered a work, a conversation, a performance, an experiment, and a number of other things (although, please, not a movement). This intention of keeping the field open was, and perhaps remains, naive. Nevertheless, I firmly believe it is the way it has to be. As such, the presentation of a so-called gaudy heap of images is an appeal to, and act of confidence in, the network itself, in the systems and people that comprise it, to follow their own ideas and intuitions, educate themselves and, outwith a hierarchical commentariat, come to their own conclusions. The onus is on the reader to explore further, just as and because the onus is on the individual in a truly networked politics. So why is it important to critique the critique as well? Because we live in a world shaped and defined by computation, and it is one of the jobs of the critic and the artist to draw attention to the world as it truly is."
jamesbridle  art  newaesthetic  commentary  vernacular  computing  technology  society  politics  drones  surveillance  books  media  criticism  systems  systemsthinking  audience  aesthetics  academia  analysis  understanding  2013 
june 2013 by robertogreco
airoots/eirut » The Future of the Unplanned City
"The form that dominates much of the new urbanscape is what is often misrepresented as slums or the informal city. We refer to this as the natural city. The natural city is a urban cyborg, in a constant process of simultaneous decay and regeneration. It is neither pure nor perfect. Often polluted, corrupted and toxic itself, it is simply a manifestation of certain irrepressible processes of urban growth. It flourishes anywhere planning fails. This failure is itself an expression of the fact that the natural city was denied a legitimate expression. This dominant urban form that Mike Davis evokes as engulfing the planet in the 21st century is our point of inspiration and departure…"
ajunappadurai  systems  freedom  davidharvey  thecityishereforyoutouse  vernacularabsorption  vernaculararchitecture  vernacular  localexpression  anarchy  anarchism  naturalcity  mikedavis  airoots  2011  cities  urbanism  urban  informalsystems  informality  informalcity  unplannedcities  planning  from delicious
december 2011 by robertogreco
‪Teddy Cruz Presentation‬‏ - YouTube
"We can be the producers of new conceptions of citzenship in the reorganizing of resources and collaborations across jurisdictions and communities…We could be the designers of political process, of alternative economic frameworks."

[via: http://www.diygradschool.com/2010/06/professor-teddy-cruz-ucsd.html ]
teddycruz  cities  citizenship  sandiego  tijuana  watershed  conflict  borders  community  communities  militaryzones  military  environment  infromal  formal  collaboration  2009  housing  crisis  density  sprawl  natural  political  art  architecture  design  urban  urbanization  urbanism  recycling  openendedness  open  vernacular  systems  construction  economics  culture  pacificocean  exchanges  flow  landuse  neweconomies  micropolitics  microeconomies  local  scale  interventions  intervention  communitiesofpractice  crossborder  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
James Enos talks about Clairemont on Vimeo
His informal presentation on the critique of Clairemont from Pecha Kucha on April 20th. The piece discussed in his rant is currently on show at MCASD in La Jolla's "Here Not There" opening.
1951  tracthomes  clairemont  jamesenos  informal  sandiego  architecture  herenotthere  mcasd  pechakucha  housing  alterations  art  design  vernacular  entitlement  dwellmagazine  dwell  clairemonterasure  suburbs  suburbia  parametricarchitecture  juxtaposition  realestate  commentary  tracthousing  criticalpractice  whatwewant  socal  buildingboom  southpark  humor  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
eye | feature : All you need is love: pictures, words and worship [Great piece on Sister Corita Kent]
"Corita’s cultural contribution spanned several decades. Although she described herself as an artist rather than a design professional, her 1960s work spanned both fields. Graphic strategies such as lettering and layout were central to her artistic voice. At the same time, she had no qualms about accepting commissions for magazine covers, book jackets, album sleeves, ads and posters, although even here she should be seen less as a jobbing designer than as an artist with a distinctive and easily recognisable graphic sensibility. As Harvey Cox said, “The world of signs and sales slogans and plastic containers was not, for her, an empty wasteland. It was the dough out of which she baked the bread of life.” 12 At its best, her work proposed a symbolic template that blurred the boundaries between art, design and communication, between a life of worship and the everyday life of her time."
sistercorita  art  vernacular  life  everyday  glvo  design  communication  graphicdesign  graphics  typography  advertising  signs  symbols  via:britta  teaching  printmaking  serigraphs  accessibility  urban  urbanism  decontextualization  photography  noticing  seeing  seeingtheworld  fieldtrips  unschooling  deschooling  education  immaculateheartcollege  eames  viewfinders  process  julieault  2000  1960s  martinbeck  society  perspective  activism  coritakent  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
INTHECONVERSATION: Art Leisure Instead of Art Work: A Conversation with Randall Szott [Truly too much to quote, so random snips below. Go read the whole thing.]
"Sal Randolph talks w/ Randall Szott about collections, cooking, "art of living," & infra-institutional activity."

"undergrad art ed seemed overly concerned w/ 'how & what to make' sorts of questions…"

"in my possibly pathetic & overly romantic vision of considered life, I am quite hopeful about ability of (art & non-art) people to improve their own experience & others' in both grand & mundane ways"

"I would like to build along model of public library. Libraries meet an incredibly diverse set of needs & desires"

"art is a great conversation…tool for making meaning & enhancing experience, but it is highly specialized, & all too often, closed conversation of insiders"

"I am deeply committed to promoting "everyday" people who are finding ways to make lives more meaningful - devoted amateurs to a variety of intellectual pursuits, hobbyists, collectors, autodidacts, bloggers, karaoke singers, crafters, etc…advocate for a rich, inclusive understanding of human meaning-making."
2008  salrandolph  randallszott  leisure  art  living  collecting  food  cooking  life  slow  thinking  philosophy  unschooling  deschooling  credentials  artschool  education  learning  skepticism  everyday  vernacular  language  work  leisurearts  dilletante  generalists  cv  distraction  culture  marxism  anarchism  situationist  lcproject  tcsnmy  intellectualism  elitism  meaning  sensemaking  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  projectbasedlearning  projects  openstudio  crossdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  thewhy  why  audiencesofone  canon  amateurs  artleisure  darkmatter  pbl  artschools  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Dark Matter: Activist Art and the Counter-Public Sphere
"Like its astronomical cousin, creative dark matter also makes up the bulk of the artistic activity produced in our post-industrial society. However, this type of dark matter is invisible primarily to those who lay claim to the management and interpretation of culture - the critics, art historians, collectors, dealers, museums, curators and arts administrators. It includes makeshift, amateur, informal, unofficial, autonomous, activist, non-institutional, self-organized practices - all work made and circulated in the shadows of the formal art world. Yet, just as the astrophysical universe is dependent on its dark matter, so too is the art world dependent on its dark energy."

[Concept mentioned by Randall Szott here: http://intheconversation.blogs.com/art/2008/03/interview-with.html ]

[See also other articles here: http://gregorysholette.com/writings/writing_index.html ]

[Update 2 June 2014: Link is dead. Here's the Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20110911222745/http://www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/3/sholette.htm ]
art  culture  politics  media  activism  activistart  vernacular  counter-publicsphere  josephbeuys  proletarian  oskarnegt  alexanderkluge  resistance  subversion  outsiders  artcriticism  tinkering  amateur  glvo  bourgeois  darkmatter  gregorysholette  collectives  culturalresistance  hierarchy  gatekeepers  cultureindustry  artworld  invisibility  economics  temporaryservices  lasagencias  publicspace  tacticalmedia  deschooling  unschooling  zines  diy  outsider  shrequest1  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
placekraft
"placekraft is an interdisciplinary research module devoted to generating and studying: tactical urbanism, speculative cartography, ephemeral/vernacular architecture, and itinerant practices."
design  art  architecture  maps  mapping  randallszott  interdisciplinary  cartography  vernacular  speculativecartography  speculative  tacticalurbanism  situationist  incubate  radicalcartography  museumofjurassictechnology  glowlab  socialfiction  centerforlanduseinterpretation  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Mould Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture · Hundertwasser Manifestos and Texts · Hundertwasser
"Painting & sculpture are now free, inasmuch as anyone may produce any sort of creation & subsequently display it. In arch, however, this fundamental freedom, which must be regarded as precondition for any art, does not exist, for a person must first have diploma in order to build. Why?<br />
<br />
Everyone should be able to build…as long as this freedom to build does not exist, present-day planned architecture cannot be considered art…Our architecture has succumbed to same censorship as has painting in Soviet Union. All that has been achieved are detached & pitiable compromises by men of bad conscience who work w/ straight-edged rulers."<br />
<br />
"Addendum 1964: …architect’ only function should be that of technical advisor, i.e., answering questions regarding materials, stability, etc. The architect should be subordinate to occupant or at least to occupant’s wishes.<br />
<br />
All occupants must be free to create "outer skins"–must be free to determine & transform outward shell of domicile facing street."
architecture  environment  philosophy  1958  1959  1964  gaudí  wattstowers  simonrodia  artnouveau  sausalito  houseboats  slums  vernacular  vernaculararchitecture  democratic  colloquialarchitecture  design  modernism  mouldinessmanifesto  rationalism  hundertwasser  via:bopuc  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
sevensixfive: But Today We Collect Gizmos
"The application of a heuristic gizmo is an act of pattern recognition - the intuition that some set of undifferentiated circumstances is isomorphic to some other set that was previously encountered, even if the context was wildly different. ... It has been said that things hardly "exist" before the fine artist has made use of them, they are simply part of the unclassified background material against which we pass our lives. The application of gizmo metaheuristics requires a certain kind of approach to interdisciplinary work and expertise: try it first, then read the manual. Like a western tourist using chopsticks, there is an attitude of being cheerfully out of one's depth, but willing to learn, and eager to add this new technique to the repertoire and impress the folks back home."

[See also: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5803 ]
fredscharmen  architecture  cities  collecting  patterns  urbanism  patternrecognition  tcsnmy  classideas  art  science  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  recombinantgizmos  gadgets  gizmos  theadjacentpossible  hacking  hacks  glvo  mashups  frankenstein  robertsmithson  reynerbanham  vernacular  collections  objects  folkart  closed-loop  ecosystems 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Los Mono - Promesas - Lyrics Translation - Chileno, Chile Travel Blog, Life in Santiago
"While looking for the Los Mono - Promesas lyrics translated into English...augmenting/editing online translation found, I realized there's even more Chilean vernacular...the intensity of the morality of the message, too, seems to be distinctly Chilean."
chile  music  language  vernacular  lyrics  translation  video  español  spanish  argentina  culture 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Book Reviews: Rotten English: A Literary Anthology edited by Dohra Ahmad
"no other book like it...collection of 2 centuries of world literature, each page snaps with flavor and color. So why... “rotten”? Because this vernacular writing breaks grammatical rules and alters spelling to capture the nuances of pronunciation."
books  english  literature  vernacular 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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