Ode on Manhattan Avenue
Documentary presentation of
a visual-sound-semantic project
Artists: Primož Čučnik, Gregor Podlogar, Žiga Kariž
Curators: Dušan Dovč, Mihael Kelemina, Simona Žvanut
Moderator of the conversation: Dušan Dovč
Monday, 24 August 2015, at 8 pm
Project Room SCCA, Ljubljana
In 2015, the curatorial team of Studio 6 is exploring the relations between visual arts and literary creation. We were prompted to do so by our collaboration with Beletrina Academic Press and the 2015 edition of the Days of Poetry and Wine festival, to be held in Ptuj in late August. We will organize two connected events for the festival: an initial event in Ljubljana (as part of Evenings before Days) and the main exhibition in Ptuj.
ODE ON MANHATTAN AVENUE
At 8 p.m. on Monday, August 24, 2015, the SCCA Project Room will host a documentation- and discussion-supported presentation of Ode on Manhattan Avenue (Oda na manhatnski aveniji), an audio-visual-semantic project authored by poets Primož Čučnik and Gregor Podlogar and visual artist Žiga Kariž. The project was created during the authors’ two-month stay in New York in late 2002 and early 2003. The metropolis impressed the authors so much that it became the protagonist of the book, revealing itself in the interplay and superimpositions of language, sound and image. In addition to the poetry book published by LUD Šerpa in 2003, the project involved a series of readings accompanied by sound recordings and visual elements in Ljubljana and on a tour of the United States. The Ode anticipates the poems created in touch with the metropolis to be read in non-silent auditory environments and thus blurs and transcends the distinctions between the visual, the auditory and the verbal. For one evening, the SCCA Project Room will become an exhibition space for the preserved fragments of the Ode (sound and video recordings, visual elements) and a discussion of the project.
In the discussion, poet Primož Čučnik and visual artist Žiga Kariž will explain the background of the project and its motivation. The talk will be moderated by Dušan Dovč and will focus on how the Ode was created as a book of poetry, how the two poets coordinated their voices and which literary references were crucial for their poetic dialogue. We will find out how the poetry got its audio-visual complement and how the readings in Slovenia as well as on the American tour were conducted. In the course of the evening, we will also touch upon the past and present understanding of poetry readings. The discussion will conclude with a presentation of the project’s impact on the subsequent poetic and visual projects created by the authors.
The Ljubljana event anticipates the Words as Colours, Colours as Words (Besede kot barve, barve kot besede) exhibition that will open at midnight on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, at the Old Glassware Workshop in Ptuj. The exhibition’s title is a reference to “The Principle” (“Princip”), a poem from Ode on Manhattan Avenue. Authors of the Ode will participate in the exhibition alongside other authors. The project will be exhibited as a site-specific art installation.
Photos from the event
Photo: SCCA-Ljubljana Archive
Primož Čučnik (1971) was born in Ljubljana. He studied philosophy and sociology of culture at the University of Ljubljana. His first collection of poetry, Dve Zimi (Two Winters), was published in 1999 and received the Best First Collection Award. His latest books are Ritem v rôkah (Rhythm in Hands, 2001), Akordi (Chords, 2003), collaboration book Oda na manhatnski aveniji (Ode on Manhattan Avenue, 2004), Nova okna (New Windows, 2005), Sekira v medu (Selected Poems, 2006), and Delo in dom (Work and Home, 2007), Kot dar (As a gift, 2010) and Mikado (2012). His poems were anthologized in A Fine Line: New Poetry from Eastern & Central Europe. He translates contemporary Polish and American poetry. He has published (co)translations of works by Adam Wiedemann, Marcin Świetlicki, Piotr Sommer, Eugenyusz Tkaczyszyn Dycki and Miron Białoszewski as well as Frank O'Hara, Elizabeth Bishop and John Ashbery. He also writes literary criticism, essays, works as an editor of the magazine Literatura, and runs the small press Sherpa.
Gregor Podlogar, born in Ljubljana in 1974, graduated in philosophy from the University of Ljubljana. He has published his poems in various literary magazines in Slovenia and abroad. Aleph Press published his first two collections of poetry, Naselitve (States, 1997) and Vrtoglavica zanosa (Joy in Vertigo, 2002). In co-authorship with the poet Primož Čučnik and Žiga Kariž, a painter, an experimental book on New York City entitled Oda na manhatenski aveniji (Ode on Manhattan Avenue, 2003) came out with Sherpa Press. It was followed by his collection Milijon sekund bliže (A Million Seconds Closer, 2006). His latest book, Vesela nova ušesa (Happy New Ears, 2010) was also published by Sherpa Press. A selection of his work was published in Six Slovenian Poets (Arc Publication, 2006). He was the editor of Slovene side of poetry web-page lyrikline (www.lyrikline.org) and co-organizer of Ljubljana poetry festival Trnovski terceti, at the moment he is employed as a host of radio shows on culture at the national radio (Radio Slovenija), translates contemporary American poetry (C. Hawkey, L. Solomon, P. Killebrew, A. Berrigan among others), occasionally also performs as a DJ and usually drinks green tea in Ljubljana.
Žiga Kariž was born in Ljubljana in 1973. A visual artist working in a number of different media; including painting, photography, installation, video, and digital media – his work was selected for the 2003 Venice Biennale. Lives and works in Ljubljana.
ODE ON MANHATTAN AVENUE, 2003
Poetry: Primož Čučnik, Gregor Podlogar
Visuals: Žiga Kariž
Sound material: Primož Čučnik, Gregor Podlogar, Žiga Kariž
Composition: Primoz Čučnik
Sound design, gramophone: Sašo Kalan
Producer of the presentation and conversation 2015: SCCA, Center for Contemporary Arts – Ljubljana
Coproducer: Beletrina Academic Press
Support: Ljubljana Municipality, Department for Culture
[Published August 24, 2015]