A book is the ultimate mass-produced commodity. It is a rectangular object that stacks easily and can be made cheaply in great numbers…
What the icelandic artist group Meðgönguljóð propose for the SOUNDOUT! festival is to make the book itself an integral part of the reading process—to link readers to the books they consume on an emotional and physical level. They focus on the physical presentation of the book, on its creation, it‘s literal binding, its birth, as a literary happening.
How can we make the written word relevant in a fast-paced, visually-obsessed world?
Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir set an experimental example at Soundout
CROWD is a trans-European network of literary activists from the independent scene (authors, translators, organisers, literature bloggers, editors of literature magazines, indie publishing houses), that will meet for the first time this weekend in the Lettrétage. CROWD wants to discover all kinds of ideas of contemporary literature in Europe, to develop them collectively and to bring them into the public, Europe-wide discourse.
During the evening events of this first CROWD Conference we want to ask ourselves and you: Which texts are nowadays relevant due to what reasons – political, aesthetical etc.? How can literature let us experience our society beyond the mere documentation of our present? In what kind of tension are therefore politics and aesthetics, tradition and experiment, author reference and reader reference involved?
Lily Michaelides (Cyprus), Max Höfler (Austria), Laura Serkosalo (Finland), Ana Pejović (Serbia), Ondřej Buddeus (Czech Republic), Andrea Inglese (Italy/France), Valgerdur Thoroddsdottir (Iceland), Inga Bodnarjuka (Latvia) and Steven Fowler (UK) will read and discuss.
“In the Austrian contemporary literature Höfler’s approach, which one can discribe as „Helge Schneider and Monty Python meet Wittgenstein, Kant and Derrida to taste schnapps“, is in any case unique. Max Höflers „Texas als Texttitel“ is an excellent debut, which is deversified and inventive, criticaly satiric and in part gloriously absurd.”
For the German among you: Read the whole critique of Literaturhaus Wien here!
Is literature only valuable, when it is unique? What makes contemporary literature unique?
Does an author have more inspiration, when he works under political pressure, when he has to fight against someone or something? What kind of positive enemies could this be nowadays, when we live in freedom and pleasure?
„In 2013 he published his book Lettere alla Reinserzione Culturale del Disoccupato (“Letters to the Cultural Reinsertion of the Unemployed”) in Italy. The book consists of 17 letters. The writer of these letters, who is unemployed, directs his words to an indistinctly outlined entity called “Cultural Reinsertion”, whose dubious task is the integration of the unemployed into cultural life.“
Do we need more political themes in contemporary literature?
“One of the merits of Andrea Inglese,” notes Marco Giovenale, “is that of using at the same time the poetical and anti-poetical register, not by short-circuiting the two or making the conflict, but by showing them as implying each other, connected.”
Where does the world of an author begin, where does it end? Which position did he find in this world?
„It’s becoming clearer with time that I do so many events and projects precisely because, at heart, I believe less than many of my peers in the transformative power of poetry. That isn’t to say I believe poetry isn’t transformative at all, of course I do ascribe it such potential (to me personally, naturally, it is utterly and immensely transformative), but I refuse it the power to go beyond my own personal subjectivity.“