No Medium

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I published a review of Craig Dworkin’s No Medium (MIT Press, 2013), a study about “works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent,” in the latest weekend edition of Hyperallergic.  This is a bit of what I said:

…in “The Logic of Substrate,” the first and strongest chapter of the book, Dworkin provides a definition that affords us a more elegant and refined, if not novel, understanding of how media operate: “Those objects that are casually referred to as ‘media,’ … are perhaps better considered as nodes of articulation along a signifying chain: the points at which one type of analysis must stop and another can begin; the thresholds between languages; the limns of perception.” In this sense, the title No Medium acts as a kind of homophonic and edifying mnemonic: to realize that there is no medium — or better yet, to put the term “medium” sous rature, that is, under erasure — is to know media in a richer and, to use Dworkin’s own phrase, “more robust” way.

I notice that Amazon lists the book with a significantly different cover…as if it were deliberately supplanting what appears to be a polaroid photograph with the older medium of monochromatic painting, a kind of lighter version of Yves Klein’s blues.  Can anyone account for this difference?  

The image is embossed on the cover and I’m guessing that might have something to do with it…

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A “Found” for Bern Porter

My review of Bern Porter’s Found Poems (Nightboat Books, 2011), a welcome reprint of an underappreciated 1972 masterpiece of appropriation , is now up at Hyperallergic.  I had been studying the book in Seattle (when I was there for the MLA convention) as well as on my flight home to New York.

In the spirit of Porter’s “founds”–which provocatively combine visual poetry, found poetry, and collage–I decided to use whatever materials I had at hand (the MLA convention program and the Alaska Airlines information card about emergency landings) to create a humble homage to the Marcel Duchamp of the poetry world.  Indeed, Dick Higgins has said, “Porter’s Found Poems have the same seminal position as Duchamp’s objets trouvées.”

The Inaugural Edition of Hyperallergic Weekend

Hyperallergic, “a forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art,” has launched a new online magazine, Hyperallergic Weekend, a venture spearheaded by the editorial collective of John Yau, Thomas Micchelli, Claudia La Rocco and Albert Mobilio.

It is, as Yau states in his introductory essay, “Unassimilated and Inadmissible,” interested in what “is simmering in the zone of the prohibited and unacceptable.”

This edition has a healthy serving of literary conversation including Yau’s review of Ben Lerner’s first novel Leaving the Atocha Station (Coffee House Press, 2011) and my review of Noah Eli Gordon’s The Source: an investigation in constrained bibliomancy and ambient research (Futurepoem Books, 2011).  Do take a look and subscribe.