noulipo

noulipo

Experimental Writing Conference

The second annual experimental writing conference hosted by the CalArts MFA Writing Program focuses on the legacy of Oulipo--the Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle ("workshop of potential literature") founded in Paris 45 years ago. Comprising writers, poets, mathematicians and logicians, the group has formulated playful and exotic new "constraints" as alternatives to the hidebound rules of traditional literary forms. We present two members of the group, including its current President, as well as a host of American, Canadian and English writers influenced by them in varying degrees: Caroline Bergvall, Christian Bök, Johanna Drucker, Paul Fournel, Tan Lin, Bernadette Mayer, Ian Monk, Harryette Mullen, Douglas Nufer, Vanessa Place, Janet Sarbanes, Juliana Spahr, Brian Kim Stefans, Rodrigo Toscano, & Rob Wittig.

Conference Details:

noulipo is the second annual experimental writing event to be held at REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

It takes place on the weekend of October 28th and 29th, 2005,

noulipo puts new and established writers into dialogue about issues in contemporary writing and its relations to everyday life.

This year our focus is on the legacy of the French literary group Oulipo, inviting a conversation between the originators of this major experimental collective and some of their English speaking counterparts and heirs. Our aim is to discuss currents in contemporary writing that combine strategies developed by members of the Oulipo with other techniques, to move beyond an oppositional idea of form and develop new modes of wordwork that challenge structures of domination by seriously playing with the wor(l)d.

Speakers include, Caroline Bergvall, Christian Bök, Johanna Drucker, Paul Fournel, Tan Lin, Harry Mathews, Bernadette Mayer, Ian Monk, Harryette Mullen, Janet Sarbanes, Juliana Spahr, Rodrigo Toscano, Matias Viegener, Christine Wertheim, Rob Wittig.

During the daytimes there will be 5 discussion panels (3 writers each + moderator) organized around themes related to the overall aim. A final summary panel will reflect upon the discussions and suggest directions for further debate. The panel themes and line-ups are:

the contents of constraint: Is there an antithetical relationship between constraint and content, process and form, meaning and matter, surface and depth. Are there advantages to not revealing the constraints of one's text to the reader? Whose advantage?
Speakers: Paul Fournel, Doug Nufer, Vanessa Place.

science and chance -- aleatorics vs automatization: "Experiment," says Deleuze, "never interpret." What is an "experiment" in writing? And what is the difference, in effect, between using scientific methodologies to create literature, and playing with chance, non-sense and unstable meanings?
Speakers: Bernadette Mayer, Ian Monk, Matias Viegener.

letters and numbers: Until the invention of "free verse," poets had always used highly systematized devices in the construction of their works. While admiring the sonnet-even taking the form to its ultimate limit-the Oulipo also draw on formal mathematics as a source of devices for the creation of literature. Is there a limit to this practice? And where might the future lead?
Speakers: Harry Mathews, Brian Kim Stefans, Christine Wertheim.

the politics of constraint: Normally considered under the category of pure poetics, can constrained writing also address a politics? Can this include an address to issues of class, race and gender? If constrained writing eschews the "fiction" of the lyrical subject by shattering the authority of the creative "I," just whose power is challenged, whose norms transgressed? Speakers: Christian Bök, Juliana Spahr, Rodrigo Toscano.

words at work and words as play: What are the connections between constraint, so often seen as an interdiction (with all its parental overtones), and the playfulness invoked by the kinds of methods the Oulipo uses? (How) can one play at writing while still writing seriously? Speakers: Caroline Bergvall, Harryette Mullen, Rob Wittig

summary panel
Speakers: Johanna Drucker, Tan Lin, Janet Sarbanes.

The evenings will be devoted to two public performances at which the speakers will read from their work.

Friday Evening Reading Lineup:
Johanna Drucker, Tan Lin, Bernadette Mayer, Harry Mathews Douglas Nufer, Vanessa Place, Rodrigo Toscano, Christine Wertheim

Saturday Evening Reading Lineup:
Caroline Bergvall, Christian Bök, Paul Fournel, Ian Monk, Harryette Mullen, Janet Sarbanes, Juliana Spahr, Brian Kim Stefans

Conference Timetable:

Friday October 28th

  • conference commencement & presidential address by Paul Fournel 12.30
  • letters and numbers 1.00 - 2.00
    Speakers: Brian Kim Stefans, Christine Wertheim.
  • presentation on the OULIPO by Oulipian Ian Monk 2.00 - 2.30
  • the contents of constraint 3.00 - 4.30
    Speakers: Paul Fournel, Doug Nufer, Vanessa Place.
  • Cocktail Reception at REDCAT 4.30 - 5.30
  • Evening reading performance 8.30 - 11.00

Saturday October 29th

  • words at work and words as play 10.30 - 12.00
    Speakers: Caroline Bergvall, Harryette Mullen, Rob Wittig.
  • science and chance- aleatorics vs automatization 12.30 - 2.00
    Speakers: Bernadette Mayer, Ian Monk, Matias Viegener.
  • the politics of constraint 3.00 - 4.30
    Speakers: Christian Bök, Juliana Spahr, Rodrigo Toscano.
  • summary panel 5.00 - 6.30
    Speakers: Johanna Drucker, Tan Lin, Janet Sarbanes.
  • Evening reading performance 8.30 - 11.00

Funded in part by a generous grant from The Annenberg Foundation.

Associated Images: 

 

Date/Time G ST CA
Fri 10.28.05 10:30am $ $ $
Sat 10.29.05 11:00pm   

G - General Audience

M - REDCAT Members

ST - Students

CA - CalArts Students/Faculty/Staff