For almost three decades, I’ve spearheaded or been otherwise involved in a host of what one can call avant-garde endeavors: deep in very specific fields, and across various disciplines. I think of myself as multidisciplinary (involved in praxis and a major contributor in several disciplines) and neo-disciplinary–where I fashion new disciplinary formations through the fusion of multiple fields (and sometimes post-disciplinary, when/where I want to dive into completely unforeseen and unchartered territories, and return still unscathed and uncategorized!).
Throughout these years, I’ve formulated and implemented new schools of thought and action in both specific disciplines and within those neo-disciplinary formations. I’ve also had a good time being part of, and often generating, new troupes and groups. All towards the creation of new understandings of the world. All towards new ways of knowing and being and becoming.
A select number of these collectives are the following: The Elastic Circus of the Revolution is my own trans/neo-disciplinary and literary/artistic/performative troupe. The projects include performances, agitations, interventions, publications at the intersection of multiple genres and forms—with the print endeavors often involved in not only creating new types of artifacts, but exploring ways of performing the print adventure and ‘performing’ the book. With colleagues, students, and friends, I launched research or program groups like BookPub, Crit the Crit, and one of our more enduring collectives, The Pratt Integrative Courses collective at Pratt Institute. The Translation Innovation Ensemble and The Museum Innovators’ Collective: the names speak to the aspirations of the group. Merrily, I’ve been part of Hot Wood Arts for many years. Real troupes and groups–but also some faux ones–assembled all under one work that is itself a compendium: The Faux/Mock/Not Societies: one that includes particular projects around fictional central characters, or series/suites of works centered around non-existent entities (some of those that led to new movements are listed below)!
Beyond the troupes and groups, I’ve been very keen on fashioning movements small and large (although the ‘larger’ ones are less about popularity than they are about the significance, in my eyes, of the paradigm shift), along with schools of thought and practice. At times, these schools of thought (these ‘isms’ even if without the actual suffix) are umbrella terms under which I would place many projects; at others, the works themselves embody the movement and carry the name. Some are short-lived, by design and intention; others are meant to propose radical new directions, whether within a pre-established field, or through the melding/fusion of multiple. In the literary realm: The New Epic, and The New World Lit constitute two of what I consider to be very significant and provocative–and certainly unnerving for many–directions. The Parliament for the Emancipation of Punctuation, in progress, tells its own story. What I dub New Wave Textualism has been an elaborate, multi-sited and two-decades-old venture to liberate the literary (make no mistake: it is a literary endeavor) from the confines of conventions and assumptions: through the LitStills and Textallations, through projects that generate Off the Page Lit and Public Literature (PubLit), through the Single Edition Literary Artifacts, these literary works at times look like artworks (‘works on paper’, ‘installations’), but they are purposely intruding on that space and disturbing both ‘art’ practice and the nature and essence of what constitutes the literary. [Radical Directions in Literary Translation] ([rdlt]) is the umbrella terms for my ventures in something I’ve done all my life (translation and literature!). I’m also happy to have generated the framework for actual battle and resistance through the Collectif d’Assassins Poètes (CAPo), which I often equate with the LiSO (The Literary Special Operations).
In the museum and university sphere: New Museum Educatics (which includes conceptual frameworks like the GaLE (Gallery Learning Experiences) and the Cureducator), and The Musies school of thought, propose an expanded role for museums and museum education in the public sphere. I gather the interventions and proposals of my academic interventions into UNICADA movement (The UNI3s, for short).
In the art realm, after many years of introspective and mostly autonomous studies and considerations, and after lots of work in photography, I wanted had to go back to the beginning, and launch work and living in a traceless world: to find again the path to marks and traces. That generated, in the early 2010’s, the eponymous movements embodied in the name of the projects: they attest to this desire to ‘cleanse’ the self and habitual actions and practices, and be free from all attachments, while moving towards traceful/markful praxis. Thus: from the Anagrafika to the Efemerata and the NothingDoings, from the a-performative “Le Chaise (Yes, Le)” to Conceptual Conceptualism a type of mixing of conceptual/performative/relational art was generated, which I gather under what that I called, Art Degree Zero.
In photography, the unDRK umbrella/movement proposes a conception of photography as a grand schematic writing system that allows a liberation of sorts: from photo-narrativities to photo-performativities, from phototextualities of various kinds to new ventures in photoliterature, a plethora of ways of re-seeing and re-making the world can be at our disposal. Through the framing/naming of PhotoPoeticity and Phoems (and the Phoete)–largely disseminated through the ongoing personal movement (and epic) of sorts dubbed PhotoDivan–I have tried to dig deep into the potential of photography as poetry, investigating in rigorous and sometimes technical ways how the photographic endeavor becomes an actual poetic practice–while also articulating what makes for poetic photographs or photographic series or projects! The faux society, The Post-Cameric Photographic Society (PoCa PhoSo) reveals itself though its name!
In more institutional settings, we went from founding The Fuse Nexus (for Transdisciplinary Initiatives) to The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. I also battled and advocated and argued for the title of ‘Curator of Individualized Studies’, seeing HigherEd administration as a curatorial and design endeavor. (After considering it mostly a performance. ‘You hacked the U,’ a friend once told me, and even though I dismissed it then, I thought, later, maybe, yes, after all.) This constant reconfiguration of one spectrum of activity ‘as’ another (‘blank-as-blank’ as I like to sometimes call it), I sometimes think of as Relational Innovation Strategics an approach that is at the heart of: a/the fashioning of new forms and genres (in art), b/the solving of ‘problems’ in design. This and other approaches, projects, methods, inventions, and interjections have led to what I consider some of my most important (even if subtle and understated) contributions in the curricular and learning design spheres, the not-s0-underground movement RI2P(T): Radical Interventions & Innovations in Pedagogy, implemented in museums large and small, organizations, and the university.
Many of these movements and schools of thought have been brought forth, presented, spread around, and otherwise come into existence within texts and works (thus, embedded in and/or embodied within works) and others have come to the fore through explicit manifestoes. Still others have been very underground, relishing in their ‘under-the-radar’ status, at times venturing intentionally into full-blown clandestinity. The Clandie Shoppe (both a ‘work’ and a movement) captures the essence of this poetics. One day perhaps all can be assembled in one volume, under a banner I used from 2015-2020: Seasons of the Manifestoes Global Barnstorm, or: SeaMa GloBa!