Commentaries

MANIFESTEN

Witness Mirtha Dermisache

Being recognized by a stranger

The Argentinian artist Mirtha Dermisache (1940-2012) wrote her first book in 1967, 500 pages in length and not a single word. “I started writing,” she said in a 2011 interview, “and the result was something unreadable.” This sounds to me overly modest. Her skill is for distracting the onlooker’s impulse to read.

Diane Rothenberg: From 'The Economic Memories of Harry Watt' (The Setting & the Text)

Harry Watt (right) with Ed Currey, circa 1970
Harry Watt (right) with Ed Currey, circa 1970

[To be published in 2015 as part of an expanded & revised edition of Diane Rothenberg’s Mothers of the Nation by Nine Point Publishing in Bridgton, Maine] 

 

THE SETTING

We first met Harry Watt in December, 1967.  Stanley Diamond prepared a letter for us to carry along and telephoned ahead to introduce us.  Diamond was interested in the experiments in translation that my husband, Jerome Rothenberg, was doing and thought that a meeting with some of the singers of the Allegany Seneca, a group among whom Diamond had worked, might be conducive to further explorations in translation.

Decoding 'Digital Natives'

image of Digital Natives art installation, photo by Mark Curry

On April 6, 2011, about three years before the City of Vancouver formally acknowledged that Vancouver is on unceded Coast Salish territory, the City declared its 125th birthday, celebrating with a series of free events and public art works. One public art project the City commissioned was Digital Natives, a text-based, site-specific installation considering Indigeneity in the early 21st century of globalised digital communication technologies and media saturation. Curated by poet Clint Burnham and artist Lorna Brown for Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, the installation took the form of a series of tweet-like texts broadcast on Astral Media’s large electric billboard, located on Sen’akw, Squamish Nation territory, just to the side of the Burrard Street Bridge. From April 4 –30, pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers encountered typical billboard content, advertisements, interspersed with unattributed texts by several Indigenous and non-Indigenous North American artists and writers, including several Vancouver poets.