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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Liberté Events in Roanoke, Dec. 2012

Don't know if anybody is still checking this blog, but if so, here's what's shaping up in the local part of the project:

The exhibition Romanticism and the Avant-Garde, curated by Olchar E. Lindsann, explores the roots of today’s avant-garde networks in the extremist subcultures that flourished on the fringes of French Romanticism between 1825, when experimental writers and artists first began using the term ‘avant-garde’1840, and traces the continuous development of the tradition into the early 20th Century. This historical trajectory has almost entirely disappeared from today’s Art-Historical narratives, and the current show represents the fruits of recent discoveries by a network of independent researchers collaborating and sharing their work since 2006. The show, and its associated events, address questions of historiography, archiving, and financial markets: who makes our creative histories, for what motives and with what materials? How can subcultures without regular access to the major institutions of academic power participate in this process? And how can historical research be integrated into the continuing life and growth of today’s creative communities?

Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 PM. An Underground History of 19th Century France: The Story of the Early Avant-Gardes

For most of us, the French Romanticist Movement is remembered, if at all, through just a few ‘big name’ representatives: Delacroix, Hugo, Chopin, etc. But almost unknown to the English-speaking world are the hundreds of cultural workers who were more extreme, more experimental, and less famous, who forged an underground community that came to be known (among other names) as the avant-garde. Join Olchar E. Lindsann, archivist and curator of the exhibition, for a lively, informal introduction to the teeming counter-cultures that have been written out of mainstream art, literature, and cultural histories: a dizzying amalgam of utopianism, occultism, mysticism, radical politics, formal experimentation, identity-bending, popular culture, altered states of consciousness, and the fringe extremes of philosophy and metaphysics. In this presentation, the Historian will not appear as an academic or an objective observer, but as a participant and storyteller bringing back to life the shared past of the avant-garde community whose present incarnation was represented in the previous Liminal Gallery exhibition, the Decentralized Networkers’ Congress. He will be joined by other members of Roanoke’s avant-garde community who will add the fruits of their own research and reflection on the history of underground literature, art, and alternative lifestyles.

Friday, Dec. 7, 5:30-9:00 PM. REMATCH: Classicism vs. Romanticism!
Art by Night Event: Gallery opens @ 5:30 with competing spreads of food & drink, competing music, and propaganda. Readings, performances, and disputes from 6:30 to 9!

To mark the exhibition 'Romanticism and the Avant-Garde' at the Liminal Gallery, long-dead aesthetic hatreds will be exhumed, to rage against each other for the first time since the 1830s, for your edification and amusement! Two opposing teams--the refined paragons of a Classicist coterie, and the wild barbarians of a Romanticist Cénacle--shall wage battle through their poems, plays, prefaces, music, fashion, and food. Come hiss and boo your enemies, cheer and bolster your chosen side! Come in your Classicist or Romanticist costume, and banter in your out-dated slang! (never fear, we shall tell you what that might mean.) Dance triumphantly round the busts of your enemies, or spear them with verbal witticisms! Drink nectar from fresh pomegranates, or punch from skulls! HISTORY FIGHTS BACK! Because if you can't fight for a 200-year-old idea, what CAN you fight for?!

Sunday, Dec. 9, 3PMHistory, Community, and the Micro-Archive: A Lecture/Discussion and Guided Tour

The past is strewn with tiny subcultures, traditions, and communities that have been forgotten, written out, or re-written by mainstream history; and the tangible relics of these lost worlds are in constant danger of being forever lost, along with the unwritten histories for which they are the touchstones. This loss is all the more sad in that, very often, these relics can be gathered together at very little financial cost and without undue effort, revealing our own forgotten collective histories to broaden and deepen our understandings of current subcultures and collective efforts. In an informal lecture and guided discussion, Olchar Lindsann will address the concept and the practical techniques of ‘micro-archiving’: assembling very small, very focused archives of art, books, music, and ephemera that body forth very specific subcultures or themes. He will describe how he has assembled the entire archive exhibited in the Liminal Gallery on a poverty-line budget, followed by an informal tour of the collection in which multiple histories will be opened up—not only the histories of the writers and artists represented, but also of the people who have owned and preserved these objects for over a century, ranging from destitute alcoholics to art historians to inhabitants of the White House.

Olchar E. Lindsann is a historian and archivist of the avant-garde, community organiser, publisher, writer, performer, and co-founder of the Post-NeoAbsurdist avant-garde network. His books on the history of the avant-garde include The Ecstatic Nerve, Cheating Art History, Anachronism as Dissent, and Avant the Avant-Garde: Childhood and Family in the Culture of the Avant-Garde. He has lectured in Europe and the United States on topics including the history of the 19th, 20th, and 21st Century avant-gardes, mysticism and nihilism in 19th Century experimental literature, and reading practices and the body in the 19th Century. He is currently compiling the first ever English-language anthology of texts and images from the seminal avant-garde collective Les Jeunes-France (1830-35).

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