Category Archives: Visual poetry

The Writing on the Wall

“How would you like to collaborate with me on a new project?” asks Brody Neuenschwander, Princeton University Class of 1981. “The castle of Hingene, near Antwerp in Belgium, is creating a time capsule in calligraphy.”

He continues, “For a short time, all the wall hangings of the chateau will be taken down for restoration. The director of the castle, Koen De Vlieger, is taking this opportunity to ask the entire world (I’m not kidding) to send in messages that I will commit to eternity by writing them on the walls. So may I ask all of you to go to and send a message to the future? They will ask you to pay a tiny amount for the privilege. But just think, in 25 years the wall hangings will come down for their next cleaning, and you and your descendants can visit Belgium to read the fine words you composed for this wonderful time capsule.”

Neuenschwander attended Princeton University, where he was appointed University Scholar, graduating in 1981 with a paper on the techniques of medieval manuscript illumination. Over the winter of 2016/17, he will write our texts on the walls of the castle of Hingene, not to be unveiled until 2027 and then again in 2042, 2067 and 2117 (or in 25, 50 and 100 years’ time). On each occasion, during the second weekend of March, the public will be free to come and read the dreams, wishes and desires of 2017.

If you remember to bring the original invitation with you, the director promises to receive you like a Prince or a Princess.

Edition Et

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Edition Et ([Berlin]: Verlag Christian Grützmacher, 1966-1967). Edited by Bernhard Höke (except for no. 4, edited by Rochus Kowallek). Issues 1-2, 13-15 published in 1966; issues 3 and 4 published in 1967. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process.

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The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a complete set of this artist-designed and produced serial, edited by the German conceptual artist Bernhard Höke. It is rare to find a complete set of this title, which was issued unbound in cardboard portfolios. Both private and institutional collectors have often separated individual projects by celebrated artists originally found within Edition Et and discarded the less well-known works.

Each volume of this set is complete with the required 50 plates and a few folded posters, photomontages, xeroxes, typographical art, screenprints, concrete and visual poetry.

Editon Et presents an international selection of artists, musicians, and writers active in the 1960s including George Brecht, Gomringer, Ben Vautier, Emmett Williams, Max Bense, Eugen Gomringer, Dick Higgins, Gerhard Rühm, Wolf Vostell, Roy Lichtenstein, Nam June Paik, Dieter Roth, Christo, Joseph Beuys, Sigmar Polke, Gerhardt Richter, and dozens of others. Volume 15 is the work of a single artist, Dieter Roth, and makes up one part of a complex work he titled “Snow”.
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The publication follows in a long tradition of fluxus multiples. “The term ‘multiple’ was coined by Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri” writes Maja Wismer, “when he introduced his publishing project Edition MAT (Multiplication d’Art Transformable) in Paris in 1959. Spoerri’s project aimed to undermine the exclusivity of the original work of art by creating replicated objects, still claiming each to be an original. Without providing an exhaustive account of the different strategies of multiplication developed and carried out by various artists in the succeeding years, it is worth noting that the multiple proliferated rapidly throughout the United States and Europe during this time.”

“In 1963, just a few years after Edition MAT introduced the multiple, George Maciunas founded Fluxshop in downtown New York, solidifying the form as a critical tool for questioning the exclusivity of art and challenging the separation between art and life.” –Maja Wismer, One of Many, The Multiples of Joseph Beuys (Walker Art Center, 2015).
edition et2When asked about his use of the multiple, Joseph Beuys commented, “Well, it’s a matter of two intersecting things. Naturally, I search for a suitable quality in an object, which permits multiplication.… But actually, it’s more important to speak of distribution, of reaching a large number of people.… I’m interested in the distribution of physical vehicles in the form of editions because I’m interested in spreading ideas.”

Ĉtyři básně

visual poetry5Thanks to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Librarian Thomas Keenan, the Graphic Arts Collection has acquired this rare book of visual poetry by the experimental Czech writer Bohumila Grögerová (1921-2014). Entitled Ĉtyři básně (Four Poems), OCLC records only one other copy of this fragile volume in the United States.

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Bohumila Grögerová and Alois Chvála, Ĉtyři básně ([Prague]: UB, 1965). “Upravil, vysadil a na ru čním lisu vytiskl Alois Chvála …”–Colophon. Graphic Arts collection GAX 2015- in process

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visual poetry6visual poetry4See also: Vrh kostek : česká experimentální poezie / [editors, Josef Hiršal, Bohumila Grögerová ; Zdeněk Barborka … et al.] (Praha: Torst, 1993). Firestone Library (F) PG5025 .V74 1993

La Lune: ou le livre des poème

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Pierre Albert-Birot, La lune, ou, Le livre des poèmes (Paris: Budry, 1924). “Cet ouvrage a été tiré à 326 exemplaires: 26 exemplaires sur Chine … dont un imprimé pour l’auteur, et 25 numérotés de 1 à 25 … [et] 300 ex. sur vergé pur fil Lafuma … numérotés de 26 à 326”–Page [2]. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2015- in process

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The artist who in his painting and drawing comes to an understanding of the creative act and produces a microcosm of creation through the form and space of the canvas applies himself as poet to the concrete dimensions of the poem to produce a construction which is at once visual and verbal. It is this which makes an understanding of Albert-Birot’s visual poetry essential for an appreciation of his work as a whole. The fact that he mastered the printing process cannot be reiterated often enough. Creation does not take place only in the mind of the poet, it is received not only in the mind of the reader: creation is concrete, the poem is an object.

The printed space is a practical, functional, mechanical one. The poet and the reader replace it with a “literary or aesthetic space”, an imaginary space, a space of the imagination. Here mechanics and aesthetics fuse to create space which is at once imaginary and material. The superficial visual delight belies deeper bodily sensation just as the sound poems of La Lune explore the archaic noises and rhythms of poetry. This is not experimental poetry for its own sake, nor merely playful audacity in breaking the rules, being willfully “modern”, not a sterile artistic practice in search of something “new”. The relationship between the body of the poet and the body of the poem is fundamental to Albert-Birot’s work as a whole and it is here that it assumes its place in the modern aesthetic as a questioning of the processes of creation and of the place of the self in that creation.”

–Debra Kelly, “From Painter to Poet: the Visual Poetry of Pierre Albert-Birot in La Lune: ou le livre des poème,” in Forum for Modem Language Studies 1996, Vol. xxm, no. 1, p. 50.

For the complete article see: luna8

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Jörg Piringer

Post-digital sound and concrete poet Jörg Piringer was born in 1974 and currently lives in Vienna. He is a member of the institute for transacoustic research and the vegetable orchestra (das gemüseorchester) among other organizations.

Created in 2011, Unicode shows all displayable characters in the unicode range 0 – 65536 (49571 characters), one character per frame. After you spend a few minutes with it, I suggest you leave it running while you work elsewhere and enjoy the sound.

Another of Piringer’s projects is Konsonant, an mp3-album as well as an app for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac. You can download the whole album for free and for a small charge download the interactive app-version here. Piringer invites you to play with letters and sounds, build acoustic machines, control morphing clouds and experiment with the alphabet.

These and other projects at the intersection of publishing and digital technology (P—DPA) are found at The index is maintained by Silvio Lorusso, who systematically collects, organizes and keeps track of experiences in the fields of art and design that explore the relationships between publishing and digital technology. He writes, “The archive acts as a space in which the collected projects are confronted and juxtaposed in order to highlight relevant paths, mutual themes, common perspectives, interrelations, but also oppositions and idiosyncrasies.”