quotes from “Notes on Conceptualisms”

  1. Conceptual writing is allegorical–it is “a writing of its time, saying slant what cannot be said directly, usually because of overtly repressive political regimes or the sacred nature of the message. In this sense the allegory is dependent on its reader for completion…” (13)
  2. “Allegorical writing [particularly in the form of appropriated conceptual writing] does not aim to critique the culture industry from afar, but to mirror it directly. To do so, it uses the materials of the culture industry directly. This is akin to how readymade artworks critique high culture and obliterate the museum-made boundary between Art and Life. The critique is in the reframing. The critique of the critique is in the echoing.” (20)
  3. “Pure conceptualism negates the need for reading in the traditional textual sense–one does not need to “read” the work so much as think about the idea of the work. In this sense, pure conceptualisms’s readymade properties mirror the easy consumption/generation of text and the devaluation of reading in the larger culture.” (25)
  4. “Radical mimesis is radical artifice: there is nothing so artificial as an absolutely faithful realism.” (28)
  5. “In conceptual writing, writes Goldsmith…’what matters is the machine that drives the poem’s construction.’ Increasingly, that machine is now a literal machine. Moreover, as in search engine-based poetry, the procss of construction may be another machine. In this sense, both construction and constraint are informed by market needs and consumer inquires…” (31)
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I am an Associate Professor of English and Intermedia Arts, Writing, and Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. I'm the author of Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound and co-editor of the Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media.

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