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Kenneth Goldsmith - Talks | Frieze Projects NY
[Direct link to .mp3: http://friezeprojectsny.org/uploads/files/talks/Kenneth_Goldsmith.mp3 ]

"‘I Look to Theory Only When I Realize That Somebody Has Dedicated Their Entire Life to a Question I Have Only Fleetingly Considered’

A keynote lecture by the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, whose writing has been described as ‘some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry’ (Publishers Weekly). Goldsmith is the author of eleven books of poetry and founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb. In 2013, he was named as the inaugural Poet Laureate of MoMA."
kennethgoldsmith  copying  uncreativewriting  mercecunningham  writing  internet  web  online  remixing  culture  art  poetry  originality  appropriation  quantity  quality  curiosity  harrypotter  poetics  digital  reproduction  translation  displacement  disjunction  corydoctorow  change  howwewrite  pointing  data  metadata  choice  authorship  versioning  misfiling  language  difference  meaning  ethics  morality  literature  twitter  artworld  marshallmcluhan  christianbök  plagiarism  charleseames  rules  notknowing  archiving  improvisation  text  bricolage  assemblage  cv  painting  technology  photography  readerships  thinkerships  thoughtobjects  reassembly  ubuweb  freeculture  moma  outreach  communityoutreach  nyc  copyright  ip  intellectualproperty  ideas  information  sfpc  vitoacconci  audience  accessibility  situationist  museums  markets  criticism  artcriticism  economics  money  browsers  citation  sampling  jonathanfranzen  internetasliterature  getrudestein  internetasfavoritebook  namjunepaik  johncage  misbehaving  andywarhol  bobdylan  barbarakruger  jkrowling  china  creati 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Something About How Steve Roggenbuck's Poetry Will Save the Internet
[See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Roggenbuck ]

"Twenty-six-year-old Roggenbuck, a self-declared “internet poet,” is the antidote. Since 2010 Roggenbuck has been an obsessive user of Twitter, Facebook and multiple Tumblrs, but his best work is his YouTube videos. In these videos, he spews hysterical riffs and one-liners of wildly varying comprehensibility to a camera he points at himself, usually to the backing of an exhilarating electronic soundtrack, usually somewhere beautiful outside.

His most popular video is "make something beautiful before you are dead." I first saw it two years ago on a friend’s Tumblr and I was struck by Roggenbuck's raw vlogger solipsism, which would be grating if it weren’t backed up by equally raw virtuosity. The video starts quietly. Roggenbuck's in a room, affecting a piercing nasal midwestern twang as he muses to the camera about how he's "going to find the best deal."

It's a parody of every boring YouTube video blog you've seen, which Roggenbuck sets up only to explode seconds later in a dizzying epiphany. Suddenly he's outside in the woods, still holding his camera, popping out from bushes, shouting "two words, Jackass: Dog the Bounty Hunter," swinging an enormous tree branch and berating a dead tree stump for not being alive. Roggenbuck appears to have just broken out from a dark basement where he'd been imprisoned from a young age, raised entirely on AOL chatrooms, reality TV and Monster Energy Drinks. He's exhilaratingly callous about his own body, holding his camera inches from face despite a pretty intense outbreak of acne, at times so excited by his own words that the camera jerks crazily up and down with every cheesy self-help exhortation. When Roggenbuck yells "Get me in control of ABC Family and I will fuck this country up" while sprinting through a drizzly field to a dubstep soundtrack you feel like you're watching neurons firing and forging strange connections in real time. It's a selfie of the soul.

As impressive as the video is the outpouring of adoration in comments under "make something beautiful before you are dead." Most YouTube comments are petri dishes of cutting-edge hate speech, but a community of ebullient Roggenbuck worshipers has turned his comments sections into a virtual self-help seminar."



"Steve Roggenbuck would horrify the Jonathan Franzens of the world. Poetry is supposed to be serious and introspective—the opposite of the superficial, buzzing, electronic hellscape that critics imagine the internet to be. According Roggenbuck’s own creation myth, he's a product of that polarity: As an MFA student, he began to focus on the internet after one of his instructors commented on his misspelled, dashed-off-seeming poems, "save this for your blog." (He dropped out of the MFA program.)

But "save this for your blog" isn't quite the insult an MFA professor might image. New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman (!) recently wrote about how poetry was once passed among networks of elites, "allow[ing] people both to discuss sensitive topics elliptically and to demonstrate their cleverness." Elliptical demonstrations of cleverness: Imagine what they would have thought of Tumblr! And the internet is more than just a staging ground—it's a huge source of inspiration and material for young artists, poets, technologists and writers.



Anyone who wants to understand the internet generation would do well to pay attention to Roggenbuck's oeuvre. It can be hard to get past Roggenbuck's aggressive naivety and goofy schtick, which can come across like the twee mirror to the strident net freedom diatribes of Wikileaks fanatics and hacktvists. You could say he's way too uncritical about the incentives embedded in the technologies he uses—created by huge corporations whose exact goal is to encourage the sharing he craves—and how that might negatively affect his work. But this is just to point out that are as many flaws in the the structures of the internet as there are in the people embedded in them. The best of Roggenbuck's work shows there's equally as much promise."

[See also: http://htmlgiant.com/author-spotlight/ultimately-beautiful-an-interview-with-steve-roggenbuck/

NC: Why did you drop out of your MFA program?

SR: i think if my life conditions were different, i never would have gone. i never had any illusons that it was going to magicaly transform my writeing, or that teaching was the perfect career fit for me. after undergrad i was in a long-term relationship, and we were planning to have a family in the next ~5 years. i felt like i needed to pursue a “career” that would bring in an income big enough to support a family. but i am also very stubborn about doing what i want with my tiem. i hate having a job, last year i maxed out my credit cards instead of getting a summer job. the mfa was kind of a compromise between what i really wanted (to be an artist all the time) and what was expected of me (standard middle-class career path)

i gained some things from my mfa experience.. i now have an acute awareness of what i don’t like about academic/lit culture, for exampel. i started fully embraceing my identity as an “internet poet” only after my workshop teacher left me a condescending comment on my poem, “save this stuff for your blog.” with my misspellings too, i was fueled by my teacher’s disapproval

i never really liked the progam too much, but when my long-term relationship ended, i felt like i finaly had other options. i could live with my dad for free (or with various friends, as i eventualy decided), or i could at least split rent with more roommates in a cheaper neighborhood, without bothering/disappointing my partner

also my school started grating on me in more fundamental ways this past fall. my core audience is not poets in academia.. so why should i be seeking feedback from (only) poets in academia? i would get comments from my teachers, for example discouraging my misspellings, and i would kind of just dismiss them because i know they arent realy my main audience. but if i they’re not my audience, why am i asking for their feedback in the frist place? the feedback ive gotten from friends online has been much more valuable" ]

[More: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/11/is-this-loud-youtube-loving-poet-the-bard-of-the-internet/281189/ ]
via:timmaly  steveroggenbuck  poetry  internet  twitter  socalmedia  mfa  youtube  writing  reading  spelling  teaching  learning  graduateschool  highered  highereducation  literature  jonathanfranzen  daveeggers  kennethgoldsmith  piotrczerki  youth  life  living  thoreau  waltwhitman  yolo  commenting  video  literacy  schooliness  creativity  education 
november 2013 by robertogreco
How Has Twitter Changed the Role of the Literary Critic? - NYTimes.com
"You’d think. And in the case of the medium’s best publishing-industry practitioners — people like Kathryn Schulz, Maud Newton, Laura Miller and Ron Charles, who marry reverence for Literature with a capital L with a breezy, personal tone — it is. But among others, I suspect there’s more at work than discomfort with the form’s limitations. It may not be a coincidence that in contrast to the shameful gender ratio endemic to so many literary publications, some of the most widely read critics on Twitter are women. One might argue that many critics’ outright dismissal of the technology is directly related to their feelings of privilege. “Some of these people don’t need to be on Twitter because they already have all the access they need,” the fiction writer and critic Roxane Gay told me."
twitter  via:robinsloan  access  writing  adamkirsch  philgyford  samuelpepys  annaholmes  jonathanfranzen  robinsloan  roxanegay 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Only the literary elite can afford not to tweet - SFGate
"Twitter has offered me an intellectual community I otherwise lack. It cuts the distance, both geographic and hierarchical. Not only can I talk with people in other places, but I can engage with people in different career stages as well. A sharp insight posted on Twitter is read, and RT'd (retweeted), with less regard for the tweeter's resume (or gender or race) than it might be if uttered at, say, a networking event. Social media is a hedge against the white-shoe, old-boys' networks of publishing. It is a democratizing force in the literary world.

I credit Twitter with indirectly and directly allowing me to change careers from academic to freelance writer, to garner book contracts and to launch a new magazine. Plus, it has introduced to me colleagues with whom I practice what broadcast journalist Robert Krulwich calls "horizontal loyalty," or aiding others in similar career stages. Without social media, my ideas would have likely been smaller murmurs, my career more constricted and my colleagues fewer.

So I have a short fuse when people pillory Twitter, and not because it is so darned easy to do. I respect anyone's decision to not discuss novels online. I understand the hazards of a constricted form overseen by a large company. And I am concerned about loss of privacy. But tweeting is a new literary form and, like all genres of writing, it can be banal or sophisticated.

I have even less patience for famous authors who disparage Twitter.

During an era of diminished sales and publicity budgets, book publishers look to authors to promote their own work. Writers submitting book proposals are often expected to list who follows them. Being good at social media has become an asset similar to having a good radio voice or being telegenic."



"If there is a problem in literary fiction, it may be that some of our best writers have missed out on one of the most exciting and transformative moments in American letters. Social media is primarily text-based; it propels people to write more than they have in decades - centuries, perhaps - and it is complex, fluid and resistant to simple conclusions. No wonder so many writers love it. Luckily, I now know many of them, and with them I talk, alone in my study."
annetrubek  twitter  publishing  jonathanfranzen  access  gender  socialmedia  writing  2013 
october 2013 by robertogreco
This Isn’t Franzen’s World Anymore | Hazlitt | Random House of Canada
"The real issue, it seems, is the declining moral and critical standing of the novelist. We don’t believe what Franzen and Eggers tell us about the world. Even if we enjoy their novels, they haven’t earned the moral and critical authority to translate their judgments to nonfiction, or even for us to respect their vision. They don’t just seem nostalgic for a time before social media took over our popular discourse—they’re nostalgic for a time when the novelist was, or at least was capable of being, at the center of that discourse.

The gap today is really between people who still want to assign literary novelists that role and people for whom only nonfiction will do the job. Emile Zola wrote “J’accuse!”, his great letter intervening in fin-de-siècle France’s notorious Dreyfuss Affair, with a moral authority that frankly seems impossible today. When the Kennedy administration wanted to improve racial relations, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy met with James Baldwin (along with Harry Belafonte, Lorraine Hansberry, Lena Horne, and a smattering of civil rights leaders); it was the public failure of that meeting that led directly to both President Kennedy’s address supporting new civil rights legislation and that August’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

What do we do in a world where Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has more moral authority than a popular-critical novelist like Franzen or Eggers? Is it possible for any novelist to have Tolstoy‘s or Baldwin’s or even David Foster Wallace’s authority today? Consider Franzen:
In my own little corner of the world, which is to say American fiction, Jeff Bezos of Amazon may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen. Amazon wants a world in which books are either self-published or published by Amazon itself, with readers dependent on Amazon reviews in choosing books, and with authors responsible for their own promotion. The work of yakkers and tweeters and braggers, and of people with the money to pay somebody to churn out hundreds of five-star reviews for them, will flourish in that world. But what happens to the people who became writers because yakking and tweeting and bragging felt to them like intolerably shallow forms of social engagement? What happens to the people who want to communicate in depth, individual to individual, in the quiet and permanence of the printed word, and who were shaped by their love of writers who wrote when publication still assured some kind of quality control and literary reputations were more than a matter of self-promotional decibel levels?


With social media, we are at no shortage of opinions, diagnoses, and feelings about our world, its apocalyptic implications, and our future place in it. And it increasingly feels as though a writer like Franzen is talking about a much narrower place. Instead of facts, instead of expertise, he is giving us “the quiet and permanence of the printed word,” a media artifact that is not endangered, but is no longer central.

Franzen is no longer central, if he ever was. He cannot be Tolstoy. He cannot be Baldwin. He cannot even be David Foster Wallace. And if those authors were with us today, what guarantee would there be that the role they occupied would command the same respect, let alone exist? That time is ending, and Franzen knows it."
2013  timcarmody  jonathanfranzen  daveeggers  internet  fiction  literature  writing  expertise  tolstoy  experience  nonfiction 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Why is New York's literary crowd suddenly in thrall to Hungarian fiction? | Hari Kunzru | Books | The Guardian ["this summer, a copy of Sátántangó slung casually on the cafe table is the local masonic sign of literary ambition"]
"The thing about New York (and, a fortiori, the gentrified bits of Brooklyn, where writers go when their Manhattan apartments are expropriated by the One Percent) is that it doesn't have a "contemporary master of the apocalypse". It has post-Ivy relationship anatomists, adderall-enhanced pop culture essayists, dirty realist white-guy novelists and hipster poets who transcribe their sexts and cut them up with Wikipedia entries on HPV and Jersey Shore. It has, at the last count, 247 trillion recent MFA graduates, at least a dozen of which are to be found, on any given morning, abseiling down the glassy exterior of the Random House publishing building, in an attempt to get Sonny Mehta to read their collection of short stories modelled on Denis Johnson's Jesus's Son."

"Odd as it may seem, the utopian yearning for an authentic literary culture is part of a growing current of opposition to the status quo."
culture  ows  occupywallstreet  publishing  trends  books  chadharbach  jonathanfranzen  dondelillo  translation  literaryfiction  jameswood  sonnymehta  statusquo  literature  nyc  lászlókrasznahorkai  robertobolaño  2012 
july 2012 by robertogreco
A New, Noisier Way of Writing - NYTimes.com [Definitely not an OR, but and AND. Room for mix, room for both.]
"This opening up of the process may fit the zeitgeist, but it terrifies many writers. Yet is Mr. Coelho right? Must the writer, like corporations & governments everywhere, accept a fundamental shift in what is kept open & what kept closed?

Some serious writers show a way forward. Teju Cole…is an avid user of Twitter, using it not to expound on the Super Bowl, but to remix and rewrite Nigerian headlines in a deft, literary way. Salman Rushdie, a defender of Writing with a capital W, has found a way to balance that literary seriousness with new habits of launching tweet-wars, informing us where he is, and reviewing books in 140 characters, always with his trademark wit.

The question, perhaps, is this: As the writer surrenders to these new possibilities, what will be her role in the instantaneous, feedback-driven, open world? Will there be a place for those other, slower thoughts, ideas that take time and quiet to flower, truths that cannot be crowdsourced?"
slow  concentration  online  web  entrepreneurship  meritocracy  wikipedia  isolation  attention  anandgiridharadas  vsnaipaul  jonathanfranzen  salmanrushdie  waltwhitman  leavesofgrass  twitter  crowdsourcing  distraction  writing  2012  paulocoelho  tejucole 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Just Kids
"Jeffrey Eugenides insists his new novel is not a roman à clef. But it might have been: The writers of his generation had youths tangled enough for ten novels."
jeffreyeugenides  davidfosterwallace  jonathanfranzen  infinitejest  literature  culture  2011  marykarr  writing 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings? -- Daily Intel [Don't rely on the quotes here. Read the whole thing.]
"…should be a word for that feeling you get when an older person…shames himself by telling young people how to live…

Obviously, the Epiphinator will need to slim down in order to thrive, but a careful study of history shows how impossible it is to determine whether it can return to both power & glory, or whether its demise is imminent…

This moment of anxiety and fear will pass; future generations (there's now one every 3-4 years) will have no idea what they missed, & yet they will go on, marry, divorce, & own pets.

They may even work in journalism, not in the old dusty career paths…

We'll still need professionals to organize the events of the world into narratives, & our story-craving brains will still need the narrative hooks, the cold opens, the dramatic climaxes, & that all-important "■" to help us make sense of the great glut of recent history that is dumped over us every morning. No matter what comes along streams, feeds, & walls, we will still have need of an ending."
technology  media  socialmedia  facebook  privacy  paulford  narrative  jonathanfranzen  zadiesmith  billkeller  zeyneptufekci  life  wisdom  journalism  storytelling  endings  epiphinator  love  living  stevejobs  commencementspeeches  wholeearthcatalog  stewartbrand  aaronsorkin  2011  nuance  feral  unfinished  culture  internet 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Franzen, Suicide and the Real : Charlotte McGuinn Freeman
"When someone you love kills himself…the anger is overwhelming. Franzen claims it…drove him to an island off Chile: “my current state of flight from myself had begun 2 years earlier. At the time, I’d made a decision not to deal w/ the hideous death of someone I’d loved so much but instead take refuge in anger & work. Now that work was done…” When someone you love kills himself, you’re left in a welter of narrative: everyone argues over truth of a story that can never be determined. Mostly though you’re left in bewildering position of wondering how someone who you know loved you could do that to you. It’s the kind of pain that you never get over…that lodges deep down inside. What kind of terrible person must you be if the person who loved you most in this world couldn’t even be bothered to stay alive?

…I’m deeply grateful to Franzen — he goes there, into the head of the fucked up depressed person, & parses the fucked up logic in a way that finally makes some kind of sense."
davidfosterwallace  jonathanfranzen  suicide  death  depression  2011 
june 2011 by robertogreco
David Foster Wallace and “Robinson Crusoe” : The New Yorker
"REFLECTIONS about “Robinson Crusoe,” the remote island of Masafuera, and the death of David Foster Wallace. In the South Pacific, five hundred miles off the coast of central Chile, is a forbiddingly vertical volcanic island, seven miles long and four miles wide, that is populated by millions of seabirds and thousands of fur seals but is devoid of people, except in the warmer months, when a handful of fishermen come out to catch lobsters. In the nineteen-sixties, Chilean tourism officials renamed the island for Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish adventurer whose tale of solitary living in the archipelago was probably the basis for Daniel Defoe’s novel “Robinson Crusoe,” but the locals still use its original name, Masafuera: Farther Away."

[Great piece, hopefully out from the paywall soon. Short passages here: http://boingboing.net/2011/04/12/jonathan-franzen-vis.html & here: http://www.mbird.com/2011/05/solitude-suicide-screwtape-and-the-death-sentence-of-david-foster-wallace/ ]

[A positive response by Charlotte McGuinn Freeman: http://charlottemcguinnfreeman.com/2011/04/21/on-franzen-in-the-new-yorker/

[A negative response by Felix Salmon: http://www.felixsalmon.com/2011/04/the-hateful-jonathan-franzen/ ]

[Update: Most of it here: http://liberatormagazine.com/community/showthread.php?tid=1223 ]

[Update: no longer paywalled.]
jonathanfranzen  davidfosterwallace  chile  robinsoncrusoe  loss  death  life  2011  writing  travel  storytelling  masafuera  juanfernandesislands  solitude  internet  cv 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Your Word Processor Is Distracting You (Global Moxie)
"When author Jonathan Franzen wrote The Corrections, he went so far as to blindfold himself in order to give complete concentration to his prose. In a 2001 profile of Franzen, The Guardian wrote:

"He locked himself away in his spartan studio on 125th Street in East Harlem to write. Some days, in order to keep his mind “free of all clichés,” he wrote in the dark, with the blinds drawn and the lights off. And he wore earplugs, earmuffs and a blindfold. “You can always find the ‘home’ keys on your computer,” he says in an embarrassed whisper. “They have little raised bumps.”"

Here’s a guy who won the National Book Award for his novel, and he couldn’t even see his screen, let alone diddle with his word processor’s line spacing. “What you see is what you get?” When your task is building ideas, WYSIWYG just isn’t all that relevant."
jonathanfranzen  writing  wordprocessing  text  markdown  johngruber  distraction  attention  editing  focus  bbedit  textmate  via:cervus  wysiwyg  editplus  textwrangler  notepad 
november 2010 by robertogreco

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