Arts and Activism: John Giorno and the Spark of Poetic Revolutions
Where: The Strand
212-473-1452 Price: $20, includes complimentary beer and wine
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John Giorno (b. 1936), a living legend in NY’s performance arts and experimental poetry worlds, has published numerous literary works and art installations, and continues to create and perform. He got his start in the early 60s as an actor in Andy Warhol’s Sleep (1963). In this Olio we will begin unpacking the history of John Giorno’s Dial-a-Poem Series – from the phone lines and answering machines installed at MoMA in 1968, featuring provocative and diverse works by poets boldly confronting the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, racial inequality, and increasingly the AIDS crisis, to a series of innovative vinyl records, VHS tapes, and CDs produced by Giorno Poetry Systems (GPS) in the 70s and 80s.
The complete Dial-a-Poem/ Giorno Poetry Series vinyl set includes twenty-one records, all of which will be on hand with related ephemera for attendees to view. We will also listen to a selection of tracks, on an amplified portable record player, which typify each stage in GPS’s evolution, moving from pure poetry to the greater incorporation of experimental sound techniques and music.
Discussion of these works will ensue, facilitated by text copies of particular pieces (to be provided). If part of the purpose of Dial-a-Poem was to use new and accessible technologies to spark poetic revolution, what relevance can we draw in an era of digital phones and emails? And yet we are also seeing a resurgence of vinyl – last year record sales hit a 25-year high – how might Giorno Poetry Systems influence experimentation and collaboration in the arts and activism today?
Teacher: Jessica Rogers
Jessica Rogers writes poetry/prose/essays and conducts experiments with analog photography. By day, she teaches writing and literature at Bronx Community College, CUNY.