In July 1971, Bernadette Mayer embarked on an experiment: for one month she shot a roll of 35mm film each day and kept a journal. The result was a conceptual work that investigates the nature of memory, its surfaces, textures and material. Memory is both monumental in scope (over 1,100 photographs, two hundred pages of text and six hours of audio recording) and a groundbreaking work by a poet who is widely regarded as one of the most innovative experimental writers of her generation. Presaging Mayer's durational, constraint-based diaristic works of poetry, it also evinces her extraordinary --and often unheralded-- contribution to conceptual art.
Mayer has called Memory "an emotional science project," but it is far from confessional. This boldly experimental record follows the poet's eye as she traverses early morning into night, as quotidian minutiae metamorphose into the lyrical, as her stream of consciousness becomes incantatory. In text and image, Mayer constructs the mercurial consciousness of the present moment from which memory is --as she says-- "always there, to be entered, like the world of dreams or an ongoing TV show."
This publication brings together the full sequence of images and text for the first time in book form, making space for a work that has been legendary but mostly invisible. Originally exhibited in 1972 by pioneering gallerist Holly Solomon, it was not shown again in its entirety until 2016 at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago and then again in 2017 in New York City at the CANADA Gallery. The text was published without the photographs in 1975 by North Atlantic Books in an edition that has long been out of print.
Bernadette Mayer (born 1945) is the author of over 30 books, including the acclaimed Midwinter Day (1982), a book-length poem written during a single day in Lenox, Massachusetts, The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (1994) and Work and Days (2016), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Associated with the New York School as well as the Language poets, Mayer has also been an influential teacher and editor. In the art world, she is best known for her collaboration with Vito Acconci as editors of the influential mimeographed magazine 0 TO 9.
Poet, philosopher, speculative architect and transdisciplinary artist, Madeline Gins is well known for her collaborations with her husband, the artist Arakawa, on the experimental architectural project Reversible Destiny, in which they sought to arrest mortality by transforming the built environment. Yet, her own writings--in the form of poetry, essays, experimental prose and philosophical inquiries--represent her most visionary and transformative work. Like Gertrude Stein before her, Gins transfigures grammar and liberates words. Like her contemporaries in conceptual art, her writing is attuned to the energized, collaborative space between reader and page.
The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader is a revelatory anthology, edited and with an introduction by the writer and critic Lucy Ives. It brings never-before-published poems and essays together with a complete facsimile reproduction of Gins' 1969 masterpiece, WORD RAIN (or A Discursive Introduction to the Intimate Philosophical Investigations of G, R, E, T, A, G, A, R, B, O, It Says), along with substantial excerpts from her two later books What the President Will Say and Do!! (1984) and Helen Keller or Arakawa (1994). Long out of print or unpublished, Gins' poems and prose form a powerful corpus of experimental literature, one which is sure to upend existing narratives of American poetics at the close of the 20th century.
Edited by Lucy Ives.
rile* is a bookshop and project space for publication and performance. rile* is into poetry, theory, choreography, artist writing and various other text based experiments. rile* organizes performances, meetings, launches, readings... rile* is the base word for silence in Láadan, a feminist constructed language developed by Suzette Haden Elgin in 1982. The language was included in her science fiction Native Tongue series. Láadan contains a number of words that are used to make unambiguous statements that include how one feels about what one is saying. According to Elgin, this is designed to counter language's limitations to those who are forced to respond I know I said that, but I meant this.
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