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Om Netværket

Nordisk Netværk for Avantgardestudier er et nordisk forskningsnetværk støttet af Nordforsk 2004-2007. Nordisk Netværk for Avantgarde Studier vil styrke og koordinere mindre og spredte nationale forskningsmiljøer, bidrage til at fremme udveksling af viden om forskelle og ligheder mellem de nordiske lande og gøre nordisk avantgardeforskning internationalt synlig. Nordisk Netværk for Avantgardestudier afholder en årlig konference. Netværket danner også ramme for udarbejdelsen af De nordiske avantgarders kulturhistorie i 4 bind og et elektronisk arkiv for dokumenter fra de nordiske avantgarder. Det nordiske forskningsnetværk er en videreudvikling af det danske forskningsnetværk ”Avantgardernes genkomst og aktualitet” støttet af Det humanistiske Forskningsråd 2001-2004. Under forberedelse er et Europæisk Netværk for Avantgarde og Modernisme Studier, EAM, hvis første konference afholdes i Ghent, Belgien, maj 2008.

About the Network

The Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies is supported by Nordforsk 2004-2007. The Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies aims to support and coordinate small and dispersed national centres of research, help promote the exchange of knowledge about differences and similarities among the avant-garde currents and research in the Nordic countries, and make Nordic avant-garde research visible in a European and international context. The Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies has a yearly conference. Within the Network an editorial group is preparing a four-volume Cultural History of the Nordic Avant-Gardes and an electronic archive of documents from the Nordic avant-gardes. The Nordic network is an extension of the Danish research network ”The Return and Actuality of the Avant-Gardes” supported by the Danish Research Council 2001-2004. A European Network of Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies, EAM, is under preparation and will have its first conference in Ghent in May 2008.
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Sensing the Avant-garde: Sound, Vision, Language
‘Technology and Avant-garde’ Conference, Stockholm, November 25-26 2005

The screen is divided into four sections.
Different news programs flash.
Göran Persson fills out the screen.
Tumult. Norwegian flags.
Voices overlap and intermingle.
Distort and reverberate.
Telling news stories.
Telling a new story - about simultaneity.

The intermingling of parallel vision and distorted sound in Staffan Larsson’s Noises from the Reality Machine, which was shown at the 2nd annual conference of the Nordic Avant-garde Network, became in a sense paradigmatic for the overall impression of the conference.

This year held in Stockholm the theme was ‘Technology and Avant-garde’, but interestingly SOUND was to become a main topic throughout the conference.

Already before the conference was kicked off sound was an issue. As though hesitating to coorporate the speakers refused to function. That sorted, Douglas Kahn was able to deliver an intriguing talk about noise. Tracing the aesthetic pleasure of listening to noise back to Thomas Watson - Graham Bells overlooked assistant - who would sit for hours at the telephone at night listening to the sounds produced from electromagnetic activities.

Another sound which was not heard but nonetheless present in its absence – was the first sound of Jesper Olsson’s son, who was born on the day the conference started.

Yet another so far unheard sound was also disclosed during the conference in so far as Torben Sangild caused quite a sensation by having retried Herbert Eimert’s electronic piece Epitaph für Akichi Kuboyama, the first victim of nuclear weapons. A piece which is only available in very rare copies in the world.

Political issues of retrieval of sound material thus became an interesting focus and thoughts were shared on the ways in which the Nordic Avant-garde Network might be able to make policy makers aware of the need to try to solve issues of copyright versus accessibility in order to make research in these areas possible.

Still other sounds were heard like the sound of Bengt Emil Johnson’s crow in Johan Alfredsson’s paper, the literary echoes of Warhol’s tape-recording in Lisa Otty’s paper, and of the Danish composer Else Marie Pade in Erik Granly Jensen’s paper.

The conference thus came to circle round modes of listening – listening to noise, to music, to silence and to academic papers. Issues which were explicitly thematized in Simo Alitalo’s paper on sound art and music, David A. Stefansson’s paper on the Icelandic electro-punk band Ghostigital, and Bodil Børset’s paper on Norwegian radio avant-garde.

However, it would not be to do the conference justice to say that it was all about sound. Like in Noises from the Reality Machine sound was accompanied by VISION: Karl Hansson presented a paper on haptic visuality and visual strategies of the Fluxus movement; Trond Lundemo laid forth the French film theorist and director Jean Epstein’s theory of art and technology; keynote speaker Lev Manovich performed a live Google search demonstrating the meta-media stage of the avant-garde arguing that the time of cultural critique had passed – now is the time to do it yourself - wikipedia-style; and in the coffee breaks there was time to take in Bertrand Gondouin’s live cinema show with artificial intelligence and interactive media.

Issues of LANGUAGE were explored by Sacha Bru who presented a paper on life and language in the writings of F. T. Marinetti; Marianne Ølholm who emphasized the visuality and illegibility of contemporary e-poetry, and Jyrki Nummi who explored the happening of the Finnish avant-garde in the 1960s in M. A. Numminen’s novel Helsinkiin. Whereas the impact and presence of avant-garde approaches TODAY were at issue for Jan Løhmann, who investigated avant-garde influences on the subject, and Troels Degn Johansson who looked at the artist group Superflex and the relational aesthetics of Nicolas Bourriaud.

As a grand finale of the two days conference the Swedish electronic band En halvkokt i folie performed an electronic ‘dinner concert’ that entertained the delegates - right up until - well - the speakers broke…

» At last something happened with full swing and success - the avant-garde
happened. « Jyrki Nummi

» Radio was discovered before it was invented. « Douglas Kahn

» Just as Warhol's media manipulations were more extensive and
sophisticated than it might at first have appeared, so too was his
understanding of the specificities of his historical moment. « Lisa Otty

» There is often a mimetic connection between fragmentation and distortion of the voice and the destruction of the human body. « Torben Sangild

» Instead of endlessly engaging in cultural critique, with the help of
computers we can make our own mainstream culture - let 1000 wikipedias
blossom. « Lev Manovich

» ‘Le lieu de l’écoute, comme celui de la frappe du son, est difficile à fixer, il se ballade un peu partout.’ René Farabet. « Bodil Børset

» ‘Korr korr korr – kollerollerock – kollerollock – koller – óckon – korr korr...’ Bengt Emil Johnson. « Johan Alfredsson

» From the rhetoric of creative emancipation and emancipatory creativity, to
what could perhaps best be described as a ‘fetishism of creativity’. « Jan Løhmann Stephensen

» ‘The surrealists were slow in realising that the instrument of de-rationalisation that they were dreaming of, were perfectly at their hand; and when they finally discovered the cinema, they used it against their aims, in such a literary and pictural way, so artistic, that their efforts were killed by its esoterism at once.’ - Jean Epstein, 1949. « Trond Lundemo

» The works are experienced by the reader as a process - or more precisely -
as a transformation from one state to another. « Marianne Ølholm

» What interests me, is why sound art and music that some writers think are so closely related differ so much in regard of documentation, work identity and relation between original and copy? « Simo Alitalo

Kristin Veel