Wow! The reading/closing of the show was more enthralling than a neatly pyramided pile of poop pellets to a bowerbird in heat!
Our hope for the event was that it would engage with the topic of collection as it pertains to our vitality. Surrounded by artwork peripheral to this complication (a collection of work from our prior Ekphrastic! events, an installation we made entitled "Does America" which consists of work gathered from our cross-country journey last summer, and new works in response to questionings on collection itself), it was our endeavor to dissect the poles of collecting (accumulation and curation) while presenting poets selected based (not only their poetic wonderfulness but also) their roles as curators, arrangers, or organizers in the poetry community.
We began with a screening of something from our own curatorial cache: this film. A compilation of poets' yes or no answers to a series of nine questions we asked on our summer road trip, also serves a preview for the web documentary we announced the launching of at the closing reception: THEREYET.ME.
And then, our first reading: A moving (political, and personal) assemblage of sentences and fragments by Sara Larsen (and a hilarious exchange between she and our dear Yotam Mann afterwards...in response to Sara's request the audience guess what she was collecting, Yotam conjectured "sexual sayings?"). The train came by at at a particularly charged moment and I think most of us agreed that it added an apt feeling of urgency. Sara raised her voice to overtake it and and boy was it effective.
Following this Kelsa introduced (via a very informative slideshow) the process of accumulation's transformation to curation through the channels of culture, issues of public/private, and rock polishing, leading up to an introduction of Sara Mumolo, who had just emerged from book-writing hermitage to deliver an amassment of measured lines read with quiet, intimate intensity. The train came again, but less alarmingly, befit to her reading, adding atmospheric tenor to the richness of her words.
For my portion, on intangible (digital) collection, I showed a few supercuts (namely: this one, this one, and this one), because they're right now my favorite sort of collection due to of their strange ease-of-making:compellingness ratio (a ratio I often use?). In my thinking, these supercuts are pitted somewhere between the two aforementioned poles. And then a reading by our dear friend Tom Com, who performed some incredible sonic feats through variations on tongue twisters (I forget who he was quoting, but he said they had been called "the folk art of sound poetry").
Jill also spoke about a supercut: this one, by our fave guy Christian Marclay. Telephone, unlike the more common type of supercuts that I presented, strings together thematically related (though essentially unlinked) footage into more of an overarching (though still abstract) narrative. What does the authors hand do to a collection? Brandon Brown, the last reader, shed some light on this. Also utilizing visual aides, he presented to us pieces (literally pieces) that are hanging on his bedroom walls: drawings and paintings of various famous personages and items found at poetic sites. Brandon's reading was kind of a personal history and analysis of his bedroom wall collection. For me, this gave an insight as to one thing our collections have use: as a physical reminder of ourselves, an externalization of our thoughts/experiences.
All in all (think about that!) it was an evening that turned out as more, more, more than we could have anticipated and I personally have enjoyed the pleasure of getting to sort it all out little by little by piece by piece.