Toward a New Poetics of Propter Nos


ABSTRACT / With reference to a recent essay entitled ‘Prairie/Argo’, commissioned for the exhibition Barthes/Burgin at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, UK, in 2016, this paper explores the potential for art, generally, and art writing, specifically, to generate the new: new thinking, new knowledge, new forms of life and, in the words of Sylvia Wynter, a new poetics of the ‘propter nos’. For the essay itself, a composition of writing and drawing, myself and my collaborative partner, James O’Leary, mobilise Roland Barthes’ image of the argo as a critical tool through which to contemplate Victor Burgin’s video work Prairie (2015). Replicating Prairie’s formal structure as a piece of writing, details of the video become titles for fragments of text that contemplate, for example: erasure, resistance, potentiality; the relation between aesthetics and politics; the role that form, figure and rhythm play in this and the homogenising impulse of the grid; whiteness, blackness, nativeness; ornament and crime; the importance of story, poetry and myth for our conceptions of the human and new configurations of the social. So we begin with Prairie and, ‘by dint of combinations made within one and the same name’ come to find that ‘nothing is left of the origin’ and, from this site of disappearance, comes an emergence of the new.


BIOGRAPHY / Kristen Kreider is a writer and artist. Her research stems from an interest in the poetics of thought, its materialization as form, and a concern with how artworks relate to the world. She has published poetry, essays, journal articles and a single-authored monograph entitled Poetics & Place: The Architecture of Sign, Subject and Site (IB Tauris). In collaboration with the architect James O’Leary, Kristen’s artistic practice engages with sites of architectural and cultural interest. Combining aspects of performance, installation, documentary, poetry, fiction and image-making, the work of Kreider + O’Leary exposes and interweaves the complexities of place into a fabrication of the real. Their book Falling was published by Copy Press, Field Poetics is forthcoming from Eros Press, and they are currently working on a large-scale project, Un-Governable Spaces, engaging with five sites of community and resistance globally. Kristen is Professor of Fine Art and Director of the Art Research Programme at Goldsmiths College, London.


Art Writing and Knowledge Production
Jeanne Randolph, Maria Fusco, Kristen Kreider, Joan Borsa
September 17, 10:00 – 11:50 AM
Engineered Air Theatre, 234 9 Avenue SW
Registration Required