A note on: Kakania in Berlin at Lettretage

A brilliant night of performances from contemporary European poets and artists, radically recreating and responding to figure of Habsburg Vienna, around one century past, at Lettretage in Berlin, supported by the brilliant Osterreiches Kulturforum http://www.theenemiesproject.com/kakaniaberlin

I had a blast putting this one together, it ended up being so easy to work with everyone from start to finish and the event was welcoming and dynamic in good measure. The performances ranged from playful poetic texts to tech savvy sound performances, and some conceptual performance too. I admire the work, and the generous personalities, of Lea Schneider, Rike Scheffler, Kinga Toth, Norbert Lange and Fabian Faltin, and they made it something special.

A note on: Kakania Berlin – May 9th at Österreichisches Kulturforum

A wonderful thing to be able to travel to curate something, to be able to leave my home and bring together artists who genuinely excite me, in Berlin. A chance to watch people who offer permission to push boundaries and to learn. Thanks to the generosity of the Österreichisches Kulturforum, I was able to put together a Kakania project in Berlin. I brought together 5 artists from across Europe and each presented a new work responding to a figure of the Habsburg Era, 100 years ago or so. We were in the grand performance space of the Österreichisches Kulturforum itself, just off Tiergarten, an imposing curved hall with giant curtains and high ceilings. The Österreichisches Kulturforum couldn’t have been easier to work with and the performances on the night had some real highlights, definitively making an impact on the audience with some of the best sound poets in the world interspersed with conceptual text performances. There was a really dynamic energy to the evening and a clear enthusiasm and intensity, as I’ve often felt in Berlin. Just great to spend time around so many artists I admire under such professional conditions, and to visit Berlin again, having time to bop down Kurfürstenstraße with old friends.

Kakania Berlin - May 9th : 7.30pm at Österreichisches Kulturforum

7.30pm at Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin kulturforum berlin: kulturforumberlin.at 
ree Entry - May Monday 9th 2016
Stauffenbergstraße 1, 10785 Berlin. T: +49 30 202 87-114 E: berlin-kf (at) bmeia.gv.at

Very happy to announce that the Kakania project will debut in Berlin, with six new literary performance commissions from contemporary artists, each of whom will present a work that celebrates / responds to a figure from the Habsburg era. The event is free to attend if you're in Berlin, please share with friends in the city if you're not http://www.theenemiesproject.com/kakaniaberlin

Book your place here: http://www.kulturforumberlin.at/veranstaltung/kakania/

Max Höfler on Ludwig Wittgenstein
Maja Jantar on Lou Andreas Salome
Stephen Emmerson on Rainer Maria Rilke
Tomomi Adachi on Josef Matthias Hauer
Ernesto Estrella on Gustav Mahler
Ann Cotten on Otto Neurath

This is the first of two Kakania events that will take place in Berlin in 2016, supported by Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin and follows six events, a symposium, two publications and over fifty new artist commissions in London from 2014 to 2016 thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum. www.kakania.co.uk 

About Kakania

There has been no one city's culture, at one singular time in modern history, more widely influential on contemporary thought than that of Habsburg Vienna a century ago. A time so densely constituted with intellectual revolution in fields as diverse as poetry, fiction, journalism, music, composition, philosophy, psychology, art … that it seems it can often only be evoked through a wistfulness that belies the melancholy, the energy and the seismic change that constituted it.

With Kakania, decidedly contemporary, avant-garde, original works of text and art are presented in an attempt to be as complex and genre testing as the works, and the people, they are responsive to. This is a project where the past, and our understanding of it, is not be refracted through historical analysis, but the creative process, and one that is utterly contemporary. Kakania is an opportunity for audiences to discover the Habsburg era in a wholly new guise, as our era.

Published: 8 poems translated into German on Karawa.net

Really so happy to have some of my work in excellent German translation, eight poems from my third book Minimum Security Prison Dentistry, have been translated by Konstantin Ames for www.karawa.net, edited by Konstantin Ames, Sonja vom Brocke, Richard Duraj, Mara Genschel, Norbert Lange and Léonce W. Lupette.

http://www.karawa.net/content/minimum-security-prison-dentistry

I'm also in amazing company with KONSTANTIN AMES / GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE / SEAN BONNEY / RÉGIS BONVICINO / SONJA VOM BROCKE / FRANCIS CARCO / BRIAN CATLING / CHRISTOPHER ECKER / FÉLIX FÉNEON / RAQUEL FERNÁNDEZ / ALLEN FISHER / CRISTIAN FORTE / JÜRGEN GHEBREZGIABIHER / MICHAEL GRATZ / THOMAS HAVLIK / NORBERT LANGE / GEORG LESS / LÉONCE W. LUPETTE / AINSLEY MORSE / WSEWOLOD NEKRASSOW / MEINOLF REUL / SOPHIE REYER / ZÉ DO ROCK/ BELA SHAYEVICH / IAIN SINCLAIR

A note on: speaking at Humboldt University, school of Mind & Brain, Berlin

An amazing opportunity to speak at Humboldt University Berlin, in the lofty environs of the Mind & Brain school, for an event called, which celebrated the art competition. The event brought together artist Mriganka Madhukaillya, curator Elena Agudio, Daniel Margulies, neuroscientist and head of the Max Planck institute and myself (!) and we each delivered talks that somehow related to art and science interdisciplinary practise and the efficacy of such collaborations. It is the only thing I have developed any expertise on really, the nature of collaboration and through the Enemies project, the Hub residency, the Salzburg Global Seminar and A World Without Words, the neuroaesthetics field, though still often opaque to me, is increasingly of interest. My talk went well, seemed generally uncontroversial, despite my relatively critical stance and in fact seemed to stoke a really positive energy with the scientists who attended. Brilliant for me to be beside such lofty peers and learn from them. 

Lettretage - a conference of literary activists : January 2015

I was properly excited to attend this unique conference of literary organisers and activists, hosted and led by the extraordinary Lettretage - Tom Bresemann, Katharina Deloglu, Moritz Molsch & co, in Berlin, precisely because, absurdly, it seemed wholly focused on the extremely niche thing that I have found myself doing in poetry - that is organisation, curation, innovation, but also something more fundamental than this - the two extensive days of discussion in a room in Kreuzberg were about action. and the possibilities of doing that across Europe, with ambition and energy, while maintaining consideration and ephemeral sensitivity to what literature might be, rather than what it should be.

Lettretage itself is cutting a path for things like the Enemies project. It is doing what I've often inadvertently found myself trying to do. This conference was the best possible example of this, having been around near a decade, Lettretage is now innovating ways to grow and centralise a network of similarly minded people and organisations. They have secured fantastic funding support from creative europe and many others to create a tour of Europe, through their CROWD project and to develop things like an app which will allow visitors to new cities to get 'local' information on readings and performances. Always their emphasis is on the ground up outfits, the artists and curators who are building up from communities and live, contemporary cultures of poetry, literature and performance arts. Rather than shutting up shop after their successes, they are aggressively searching out those who share their mission and their general attitude of openness and innovation.

I have waffled about so many theoretical notions that gel perfectly with their approach, it was genuinely gratifying and made me feel wholly at home visiting them. So I trotted out these ideas again in Berlin - people before poetry, process over product, respect in the world, disrespect in the text... The guerrilla nature of Enemies was brought into sharp focus here, how reactive I am, and how grounded Lettretage and the many other organisers here are in their worlds and communities. I realised London is different place to organise, in a sense wonderful and anonymous and incremental because of its sprawl. The participants here are more rooted, they take responsibility with deeper ties, and all the while they maintain these positions of giving space to mostly avant garde, or contemporary, work and supporting artists while reaching actual people with that work. 

I came across so many artists and organisers I had never met before and felt a genuine kinship with so many of them. I got to know the brilliant Daniela Seel and admire her incredible editorship of Kookbooks, I met the committee from Forumstadtpark in Graz, with the immensely charming Max Hofler leading their poetry program, Andrea Inglese too, who runs Nazione Indiana. Valgerður Þórodds from Reykjavik who has revitalised the poetry scene in Iceland with her ground up, community led, handmade press medgonguljod. Sasha Filyuta, Lily Michaelides & many more - it was such an intense two days, 10 hours of talking and listening back to back, it's not yet really sunk in how the environment was such a gift to someone like me, because really its purpose to was affirm the notion of mindful, self-orientated activity that stakes out the ground of our generations literary spaces. This has always been in my mind curating Enemies, but as an emphemeral notion. Lettretage solidified this idea, gave it back to me in a way.

I'm sure this will be the beginning of many relationships that Lettretage provided me, friendships I would venture to say, and I hope my work intersects with theirs often, for they are lighting a path I want to follow. www.lettretage.de