Poets and Critics 2016 (2): Johanna Drucker Symposium Thursday 2 & Friday 3 June

On Thursday 2 and Friday 3 June, we will be hosting a 2 day symposium on Johanna Drucker’s work in Paris.
Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot, Bâtiment Olympe de Gouges
9:45am-5pm, room 830 (8th floor of the Olympe de Gouges Building).
Howimage doigt petit to get there?
For detailed instructions and directions, click HERE.

+ Poetry reading with Johanna Drucker and Cia Rinne, Thursday 2 June, 7:30pm, Atelier Michael Woolworth, Place de la Bastille, 2, rue de la Roquette, Cour Février, 75011 Paris For detailed directions, click HERE.

So far, we’ve tried to focus on the writer’s own (creative and critical) work on the first day of the P&C symposia and on broader issues of poetics and practice-based criticism with the writer on the second day. But there’s no specific preconceived program for the 2 days of the symposium: as the previous sessions of the program have shown, it seems important to let the conversation take its own course.

Please note that the morning session of the first day is devoted to preparing the conversation with Johanna Drucker which will take place during the afternoon session and the second day. Johanna Drucker will be joining the group at 2pm on Thursday 2 June.

Among Johanna Drucker’s many publications, we would like to look at the following titles: Stochastic PoeticsDiagrammatic Writing, both available on this website, The Visible Word: Experimental Typography and Modern Art (The University of Chicago Press, 1994), SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing (The University of Chicago Press, 2009) and Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Harvard University Press, 2014). As well as her many artists’ books also made available on this website. We welcome other reading suggestions.

Also of great interest:

Theorizing Modernism: Visual Art and the Critical Tradition, Columbia University Press, 1994. (ISBN 978-0231080835)
The Alphabetic Labyrinth: The Letters in History and Imagination, Thames and Hudson, 1995. (ISBN 978-0500016084)
The Century of Artists’ Books, Granary Books, 1995. (ISBN 978-1887123693)
Figuring the Word: Essays on Books, Writing, and Visual Poetics, Granary Books, 1998. (ISBN 978-1887123235)
Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity, University Of Chicago Press, 2005. (ISBN 978-0226165059)
Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide, with Emily McVarish, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008 (ISBN 978-0132410755)
Digital_Humanities, with Anne Burdick, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, MIT Press, 2012. (ISBN 978-0262018470)


Thursday 2 June 
9:45am-12 > premilinary session with all participants
12-2pm > lunch
2pm > Johanna Drucker will be joining us for the afternoon session
7:30pm > Poetry reading with Johanna Drucker

Friday 3 June
9:45am-12 > morning session with Johanna Drucker
12-2pm > lunch
2pm-5pm > afternoon session with Johanna Drucker
8pm > symposium dinner

From Johanna Drucker’s website : http://www.johannadrucker.net/

Johanna Drucker is the inaugural Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She is internationally known for her work in the history of graphic design, typography, experimental poetry, fine art, and digital humanities. In addition, she has a reputation as a book artist, and her limited edition works are in special collections and libraries worldwide. Her most recent titles include SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing(Chicago, 2009), and Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide (Pearson, 2008, 2nd edition late 2012). She is currently working on a database memoire, ALL, the online Museum of Writing in collaboration with University College London and King’s College, and a letterpress project titled Stochastic Poetics. A collaboratively written work,Digital_Humanities, with Jeffrey Schnapp, Todd Presner, Peter Lunenfeld, and Anne Burdick is forthcoming from MIT Press.

A full bibliography can be found at http://www.johannadrucker.net/articles.html

“Un-Visual and Conceptual”:

Pennsound page: with interviews, talks, readings
EPC page:
Johanna Drucker on Granary Books:

Johanna Drucker’s Damaged spring: Pink Noire (2003)

From http://www.artistsbooksonline.org/works/dspr.xml
Project Statement: The exhibition “Love and Terror,” announced for Fall 2003 in Arizona, helped provoke the production of this work. But the texts were already being written, and the sensibility with respect to the look of the book, my longstanding desire to make a distinctly neo-expressionist response to current events, had long been developing the vision that manifest fully in this work. Only the raw, edgy, harsh high-contrast of cuts, in this case, linoleum, long a favorite medium of mine, seemed sufficient to express the cruelty of fate and injustice being wrought by the current administration. Trying to figure out what was going on in the world was so difficult. All the lies and rhetorical obfuscation of media reports coupled with the anecdotal evidence of daily lives of real people, friends, family. And then the weather, with its own cruelties, seemed to damage every new bit of spring growth in one round after another of bitter winter. No way to know what happens, except by transforming all of that into form, into expression. And the shrill, almost hysterial pink-ness of the cover papers, torn and pasted, were the other gesture meant to register anger in the aesthetic of production. People have read this as a story of personal anger, sadness, and difficulty, but it was not explicitly so. Rather, a composite of all I saw around me, felt, and processed. The events in my private life seemed like another symptom, not the cause, of the mood of this book.

Johanna Drucker’s Collaboration with Susan Bee: A Girl’s Life (New York: Granary, 2002)

From http://www.artistsbooksonline.org/works/grls.xml
Susan Bee and I had long talked about doing a collaborative work. We share many interests and sensibilities. We had experimented with a dialogue/exchange in the mid-1990s, when I was in New Haven. I printed something on the press and then sent her the sheets and she was going to respond and then return the sheets. This never panned out. I forget if we went beyond one round of exchange or not, thinking that we should do the project when we could be in the same place at the same time. A Girl’s Life sprang into being when Steve Clay offered to publish a collaboration between us. The inspiration for the book was what I call the “pink magazines” — those publications for tweens that produce a discourse of girl culture. I wrote a long narrative based on Ivanhoe (!) since that was very much in mind at the time. Then we tweaked it into a shorter and ever shorter text (Susan helped) until we had just what remains. She did the collages independently, and then we worked on sequencing and design in several visits she paid to Virginia. The work is truly collaborative and the hybrid sensibility produced exactly the look of lost innocence we were after for the project.

Fabulas Feminae (2015) with Susan Bee

can be purchased from Litmus Press

Johanna Drucker’s Deterring Discourse (1993)

From http://www.artistsbooksonline.org/works/detd.xml
Project Statement: This book was a direct response to the conditions we were experiencing in the early 1990s. The sense that public discourse had taken a sharp, Orwellian turn away from any relation to a referent in the real, and that a newSpeak sensibility was proliferating was accompanied by an anxious sense of repression. Self-censorship and overt attacks on real public dialogue were increasingly prevalent. Where a balanced discussion on a news program had once reflected a broad range of political beliefs, conversations were increasingly between extreme and middle-of-the road conservatives. The feeling that poetry, creative language, political essays, direct writing, and other forms of alternative cultural expression were essential to keeping open a window or space in the rapidly closing, locking-down realm of language was urgent and compelling. It still is, more than a decade later, writing this commentary in 2006.

Johanna Drucker’s Simulant Portrait (1990)

From http://www.artistsbooksonline.org/works/simp.xml
Project Statement. In the late 1980s, I was still involved in working on the biography of Ilia Zdanevich (Iliazd), begun in 1985 when I was a Fulbright Fellow in Paris, working on my dissertation. That biography went through many iterations, and was finally left unpublished after Northwestern cancelled my contract. I had lost interest in the project, swept up in other matters, but the process of research and synthesis from documents and snippets of different kinds of materials had touched a nerve. I found this utterly satisfying to a certain obsessive streak. And so the structures of biography-writing, with all their connect-the-dots assumptions, varieties and ranges of sources and voices, evidence and documents, etc., were extremely appealing. Structurally, then, Simulant Portrait was conceived to mimic that process of research. Thematically the book was closer to older themes, of women and their lives, biographies and celebrity, the tensions of mass and literary culture in my own mind, and so on. The cyber-pulp aspect of the book is harder to place, as my proclivities were hardly sci-fi at that moment. Only that such notions were in the air, with Philip K. Dick (particularly the film Blade Runner) and William Gibson (rising star) occupying a certain popular imagination.

Johanna Drucker’s The History of the/my Wor(l)d (New York: Granary, 1990)


From http://www.artistsbooksonline.org/works/hist.xml

Project Statement
by J. Drucker

Several themes interweave in this book: a feminist rewriting of the history of the world, an opposition between official history and personal memory, a critique of feminist theoretical attitudes towards language as patriarchal, and all sorts of graphical and textual puns and play. The book is a tribute to my mother, and the drum majorette who opens the book is a figure that corresponds to her early years, youth, and activities as a baton twirling teen in Downer’s Grove, Illinois. I had learned language, and literature, through an intense and intimate relation with her. The feminist dogma of language as patriarchal didn’t fit the erotic and personal experience of my relation to the literary through the relation to her, even male identified as she was. She may have been the law, and the symbolic, but she was fiercely feminine and feminist as well. So the red text erupts through the black, making memory a strain of presence within the history retold.