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Sunday, October 7 • 9:00am - 10:25am
Mixed Panel 5

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Michael Barrett, "Poetry and Entropy: A Language Act"
This “language act.” will be informative, performative, stochastic and attempt to enact the material under examination. In _Steps to an Ecology of Mind_, Gregory Bateson uses a gnostic division of the universe to discuss two ways of approaching information: the pleroma and the creatura, “The pleroma is the world in which events are caused by forces and impacts and in which there are no ‘ distinctions.’…In the creatura, effects are brought about precisely by difference” (462). I use Bateson’s division to analyze poetry’s relationship to entropy in both these realms. In the pleroma, entropy is a consequence of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Poetry engages time’s arrow as subject matter, “Oh Death in Life, the days that are no more,” as well as a way to store negative entropy, “So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, so long lives this…” Christina Bök’s _The Xenotext_ will provide the transition from the pleroma to the creatura. The Xenotext purports to be a heroic attempt to stave off time’s arrow, “A poem stored in the genome of such a resilient bacterium might outlive every civilization, persisting on the planet until the very last dawn, when our star finally explodes” (151). Bök’s project depends on message coding which brings us to the creatura, the realm in which “differences which make a difference” reign, that is, the realm of Claude Shannon’s entropy. In the creatura, entropy is the measurement of a code’s randomness or uncertainty. With Shannon’s definition of entropy, the function of opaque, discursive poetry can be formalized (and even quantified). I’ll be sketching out the procedures for such formalization in the second half of the presentation.

Mark Tardi, "Psychoacoustics "
In my work, I prefer to consider how fundamental mathematical ideas offer not just formal mechanisms but innovative, complex and varied emotional registers. Using the work of famed geometer H.S.M. Coxeter as a guide, I’m trying to consider my own poetic redrawing of multi-dimensional space within a two-dimensional plane, though not, strictly speaking, limiting myself only to icosahedra (like Coxeter did). Some elements are more vigorously focused on the pictorial plane, and other elements are purely textual, conflating interior and exterior spaces and relationships. The aim of my presentation is to offer a visual and auditory performance and discussion of the work, which includes those who attend as performers (as well as myself). Part of the challenge with some of the “poem sculptures,” as Andrew David King has called them, is explicitly in how to read them aloud in comparison to their visual representations. Moreover, the sequencing between compositions could be fluid, dependent on how participants wish to arrange (or re- arrange) various compositions or orders. In addition to considering the formal relationships across the boundaries of poetry or math, art or text, this work has been equally informed by the fact of my living and working in the desert of central Oman for four years: an environment where the pulse of geological time is harshly indifferent to human life –– the physical and mental demands of such a place –– has played a significant part in the renderings and poetic palette.

Michael Workman, "Active Investigations "
I propose to present a brief number of constructed social interactions, each based on written instructions. They may include re-enactments of previous choreographies, or those that address recent investigations of mine into place identity, with specific concerns related to questions of unceded indian land, subsequent local place identity formation, and the social inclusions and exclusions of the resulting communities.


Michael Barrett

Moberly Area Community College
Michael Barrett has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from University of Illinois at Chicago. As a member of the Chicago Poetry Ensemble, he helped establish the poetry slam before moving on to more esoteric pursuits. He has written... Read More →
avatar for Mark Tardi

Mark Tardi

Senior Lecturer, University of Lodz
Mark Tardi is originally from Chicago and he earned his MFA from Brown University. His publications include the books The Circus of Trust, out from Dalkey Archive Press in 2017, Airport music, and Euclid Shudders. He guest-edited an issue of the literary journal Aufgabe devoted to... Read More →
avatar for Michael Workman

Michael Workman

Chicago Tribune, Guardian US
Michael Workman is an artist, writer and reporter, choreographer, dance, performance art and sociocultural critic. In addition to his work at the Chicago Tribune, Guardian US, Newcity magazine, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, and as the Movement Matters columnist at Art Intercepts, Workman... Read More →

Sunday October 7, 2018 9:00am - 10:25am EDT
140 DeBartolo Hall

Attendees (2)