What kind of writer would Kathy be if she were still alive? So much of her work speculated on the future that would arise from the nightmarish neoliberal present. Could you call it prophetic? Her apocalyptic work, In Memoriam to Identity, or The Burning Bombing of America. Her attention to Islam, colonialism, and terrorism, to the symbol of the World Trade Center, which fell four years after her death. Her sense of the ever-expanding police state and the utter collapse of an unjust economy, leading inexorably to worse.
For the past two years, Les Figues Press has hosted the series Q.E.D., a three-part event named for Gertrude Stein’s Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Stein’s coming-out text, written in 1903, was suppressed at her request until its posthumous publication in 1950. Hence the appropriate title for the first Q.E.D. II 2013: The Presence of Absence. Each Q.E.D. panel this year featured a Les Figues Press author, two artists or writers their work is in conversation with, and a moderator. For the first event, Matias Viegener selected Tisa Bryant and Catherine Lord. Anna Joy Springer moderated.
In the early 2000s there were already many innovative writers, writing programs and bookstores in LA. However, the main performance venue for experimental writers, Beyond Baroque, lay on the west side of town, once the artistic center of bohemian LA, but now so wildly expensive no young or fringe writers could possibly live there. These now lived on the east side, where readings were held on an ad hoc basis in nightclubs, bookstores and galleries. We decided to intervene in this state of affairs by creating an annual conference for experimental writing at REDCAT, CalArts downtown arts space. Supported by the CalArts MFA in Writing and a generous grant from The Annenberg Foundation, between 2004 and 2010 we hosted 5 conferences in LA and 1 in NY, composed of daytime panels, evening readings, and workshops. In total, over 100 writers participated from the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK and France, helping to coalesce the nascent LA community. Three of the conferences yielded anthologies, Séance(Make Now Press), The Noulipean Analects(Les Figues Press), and Feminaissance (Les Figues Press).