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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Rethinking Social Memory (University of Oslo, Dec. 5-6)

Rethinking Social Memory (University of Oslo, Dec. 5-6)
If, as, Émile Durkheim once stated, society is memory, changes in the dominant technologies of memory necessarily impact how we conceptualize sociality as such. In this two-day conference we take a media archeological approach to the question of memory and discuss the relation between technology and social ontology.

The archive is in motion, and with it our concepts of memory. Digital networks seem to privilege the notion of a living, operative memory over a memory of storage and safekeeping. This displacement of the traditional notion of the archive and its emphasis on that which is singular, original, authentic and worthy of care, transforms the criteria of sharing and access in ways that may have dramatic implications for how we understand social memory.

For Rethinking Social Memory, the closing conference of the research project The Archive in Motion (AiM), we have invited a group of outstanding scholars from various fields to contribute to the development of a genealogy of modern and contemporary memory operations:
David M. Berry (Sussex), Ina Blom (AiM/Oslo), Michael Cuntz (Weimar/Bochum), Wolfgang Ernst (Humboldt), Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths), Liv Hausken (AiM/Oslo), Trond Lundemo (AiM/Stockholm), Sonia Matos (Edinburgh), Jussi Parikka (Winchester), Eivind Røssaak (AiM / National Library of Norway), Tiziana Terranova (Napoli), Pasi Valiaho (Goldsmiths)

The conference will take place at the University of Oslo (Blindern campus) in the Helga Engs hus (auditorium 3). For further details about speakers and topics, see our website 

Please note: the conference is open to all interested, but participation requires registration here​. The conference fee of NOK 200 covers lunch as well as hot and cold beverages. Registration closes on November 29, or when the event is fully booked. 
Ina Blom
IFIKK Dept. of Philosophy, 
Classics, History of Art and Ideas
University of Oslo
Box 1020 Blindern
0315 Oslo, Norway

A Valentine to Gertrude Stein: Copenhagen Conference in May 2014

Click to view poster

A Valentine to Gertrude Stein: Copenhagen Conference in May 2014

Click to view poster

Alternative modernisms



Cardiff University

16-18 May 2013


This three-day, international, and interdisciplinary conference aims to draw attention to critically neglected modernist forms, movements and texts. It aims to bring together scholars from across Europe and beyond both to explore these ‘alternative’ modernisms and to consider the extent to which modernism(s) can itself be seen as (an) alternative. Submissions are invited on all aspects of the title and across all disciplines and fields, including art, fashion, design, literature, history, architecture, music, cultural studies and critical theory. 


For further information see the Conference Poster 

Also see the Call for Papers 

Colloque Avant-garde Paris

(English version follows)

Paris, le 29 juin 2011

Cher(e) collègue,

Il nous reste 12 semaines avant le colloque de Paris. Il est temps de regarder plus en détail l’organisation du colloque.

Veuillez trouver ci-joints deux fichiers. Le premier contient le programme provisoire du colloque ainsi que les résumés des communications. Il consiste en 42 interventions organisées en 2 sessions parallèles. Les deux conférences plénières sont situées au début et à fin du colloque. Un programme plus détaillé vous sera envoyé en septembre.

Une réunion de planning sera organisée la veille du colloque, le 22 Septembre. Tous les participants sont bienvenus à cette réunion dont l’objectif est de jeter les bases d’un programme de recherche  
international. Le deuxième fichier contient une esquisse qui servira de base aux discussions.

Le colloque aura lieu dans trois bâtiments différents, tous situés dans le quartier latin. L’Institut Finlandais de Paris est au 60, rue des écoles, près de la station de métro Cluny-La Sorbonne. L’Institut du monde anglophone est au 5, rue de l’école de médecine,  à 100 mètres de l’Institut Finlandais. La Maison de la recherche se trouve de l’autre côté du Panthéon, à 15 minutes à pied de l’Institut  
Projet de recherche

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CFP: Structures of Innovation MSA13, Oct 6-9 2011

The organizers of MSA 13 invite proposals for panels, round tables, and seminars for inclusion in the thirteenth annual meeting of the Modernist Studies Association, to be held at the Hyatt Hotel in Buffalo, New York, October 6-9, 2011.

This year’s theme, “Structures of Innovation,” encourages the exploration of modernist innovation in literature, film, music, architecture, visual and performing arts, technology and industry, and the intersection of these fields with race, gender, the sciences, and law. An international border city, Buffalo has been home to many important poets, fiction writers, musicians, journalists, architects, and a center for visual and performing arts, as well as the site of various transportation and industrial innovations important to local, national, and global modernity. We welcome proposals having to do with modernist innovation, modernist structures, or modernist structures of innovation in all fields. This theme should in no way discourage proposals on other topics: we welcome all panel, seminar, and roundtable proposals. The primary criterion for selection will be the quality of the proposal, not its link to the conference theme.

All queries should be directed to

All those who attend the MSA conference must be members of the organization with dues paid for 2011-12. (MSA membership runs from July 1 until June 30 each year.)

Because we wish to involve as many people as possible as active participants, MSA limits multiple appearances on the program. Thus, you may participate once, but only once, in each of the following categories:

• Seminar, either as leader or as presenter
• Panel or roundtable, as participant (you may also chair a different panel or roundtable)
• “What Are You Reading?” session

You may lead a seminar, present a paper on a panel, and participate in a “What Are You Reading” session, but you may not present two papers. MSA rules do not allow panel or roundtable organizers to chair their own session if they are also speaking in the session. The session chair must be someone who is otherwise not participating in the session. Panel organizers are encouraged to identify a moderator and include this information with their proposals; the MSA Program Committee can also ask another conference attendee to serve as a moderator.

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Colloque international – Le livre d’artiste : quels projets pour l’art ?

Organisé par l’université de Rennes 2 Haute Bretagne

En collaboration avec l’université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne

À Rennes, les 18, 19 et 20 mars 2010

Sous la responsabilité scientifique de Leszek Brogowski, professeur d’esthétique à l’université de Rennes 2 Haute Bretagne, et d’Anne Mœglin-Delcroix, professeur de philosophie de l’art à l’université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne

Colloque organisé dans le cadre du séminaire interuniversitaire « Papier en action » (équipe d’accueil « Arts : pratiques et poétiques » [EA 3208], laboratoire « L’œuvre et l’image », université de Rennes 2 Haute Bretagne et Centre de philosophie de l’art [EA 3562] de l’université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne). 

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Report: The Layers of the Avant-Garde in Finland

Symposium held at the University of Helsinki 9-10 October 2008

The symposium Layers of the Avant-Garde in Finland was a successful two-day event consisting of papers delivered by twelve experts and performances by four artists, and drawing an audience of

30–50 people. The organizing bodies of the symposium were the Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies, the Institute of Art Research of the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Society for Aesthetics and the Finnish Academy of Fine Art. The initiative for the symposium came from the Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies, and upon its proposal Adjunct Professor Kimmo Sarje planned and carried out the event with the assistance of the student Suvi Tervahauta.

For the entire report, click here

The Archive in Motion

New Conceptions of the Archive in Contemporary Thought and New Media Practices

International Conference at Nasjonalbiblioteket, Oslo, March 13th 2009


This conference investigates the current proliferation of the concept of the archive. The concept has expanded to areas beyond the classical archive, to art, philosophy, and new text and media practices. Simultaneously, these new practices both resist and transform the archival, perhaps creating what one may call a new anarchival condition. 


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Symposium - Layers of the Avant-Garde in Finland, 9-10 October 2008


Welcome to the symposium arranged by the Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies in association with the Institute for Art Research of the University of Helsinki, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Finnish Society for Aesthetics.

Layers of the Avant-Garde in Finland, 9-10 October 2008

Main Building of the University of Helsinki (Unioninkatu 34), Auditorium IV and (on Friday afternoon) Lecture room 10, Mariankatu 11.


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The Missing Link

Gertrude Stein in European Theatre

Kaleidoskop K2 21/09 2008 kl. 11-17

Minisymposium om Gertrude Steins betydning for europæisk teater. Keynotespeakers er den internationalt anerkendte tyske komponist og instruktør Heiner Goebbels og grundlæggeren af Institut für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft Andrzej Wirth.

Der opføres desuden en mini-udgave af Gertrude Steins Dr. Faustus Lights The Lights ved instruktør Petra Berg Holbek

Arrangementet foregår på engelsk. 

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Re:New 2008 - Konference CMMR/NTSMB: Genesis of Meaning in Sound and Music * København 19-23 maj

Vi har fornøjelsen at invitere til Re:New 2008 konferencen, der i dag og de kommende fire dage byder på en mangfoldighed af emner med et globalt perspektiv på samarbejde mellem digital kunst, computer musik, humanistiske og tekniske videnskaber.

Vi har det seneste år arbejdet frem mod denne uges festival og konference, som præsenterer over 100 unikke kunstværker og mere ed 25 internationale konferencebidrag fra hele verden. Se oversigt over konferencens program her:

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Norsk Avantgarde - A Contradiction in terms?

Avantgardeseminar, Universitetet i Tromsø

 9.-10. mai 2008

lok. E0.101


Et seminar arrangert av

Nordisk Nettverk for Avantgardestudier

(Finansiert av NordForsk)





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Onsdag d. 02.APR.08 kl. 17.30


Til vores næste SALON vil vi sætte kunstens aktuelle status til debat med spørgsmålet
om tilstedeværelsen af en kunstnerisk avantgarde i dag. Er kunsten fortsat med til at
sætte nye dagsordener, fremme nye idéer, æstetiske såvel som eksistentielle, eller har
kunsten i dag mere rollen som spejl for vores rigdom og sociale overskud? Kort sagt har
avantgardeidealet relevans i dag eller har tidens forbrugsfest også sat kunstnerens
udtryksfrihed skakmat?

Med det avantgarde følger et opgør med eksisterende idealer, en frisættelse gennem
eksperimenter med nye idéer. GL STRANDs aktuelle udstilling NORDENS MATISSE-
ELEVER viser værker af de nordiske kunstnere, der besøgte Henri Matisses akademi i
Paris i årene 1908-1910. I stedet for et traditionstynget maleri med særlige krav til teknik,
motiv og formsprog, der især tiltalte kunstakademierne og borgerskabets idealer, søgte
de unge kunstnere i begyndelsen af 1900-tallet et mere individuelt og
eksperimenterende, frit malerisk sprog. De var datidens avantgarde.

Med det polemiske spørgsmål ”Hvor er avantgarden i dag” vil vi med næste SALON give
et bud på avantgardens fortsatte validitet i kunstens virkelighed. Alle er velkomne til at
byde ind med spørgsmål, kommentarer og erfaringer.

Tilmelding tilrådes - Entré: 75,- / For medlemmer: 55,-


Europa ! Europa ?

First bi-annual conference of the


29-31 May 2008 - Ghent University, Belgium

EAM. With initiatives in the cross-disciplinary fields of avant-garde and modernism studies booming throughout European academia, time has come to provide a more permanent platform in Europe for scholars to meet and discuss their research. The European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM) will devote itself to the study of the avant-garde and modernism in Europe within a global setting, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. EAM will promote interdisciplinary and intermedial research on experimental aesthetics and poetics, and aims to encourage an interest in the cultural dimensions and contexts of the avant-garde and modernism. EAM aspires to embrace the wide variety within avant-garde and modernism studies, and welcomes all scholars engaged in these areas of research to participate in its bi-annual conferences.

Europa ! Europa ? The first EAM conference will focus on the relation between the avant-garde, modernism and Europe. Conference languages are English, French and German. Key-note speakers: Charles Altieri, Alain Badiou, Matei Calinescu, Astradur Eysteinsson, Paul Michael Lützeler, William Marx and Piotr Piotrowski.

Download the (closed) CFP in [word] or [pdf].

Call for Presentations: Interregnum: In Between States, August 20-24, 2008

The conference entitled Interregnum: In Between States is an
interdisciplinary approach to concepts of vision and visuality within
Performance Studies. The conference is the Performance Studies
international conference # 14, and we invite academic scholars as well
as artists to join the conference. The conference will take place at
University of Copenhagen August 20-24, 2008 in collaboration with art
and research institutions in Denmark and Sweden. The conference is open
for everyone and the conference language is English.

Call for presentations is open now. Presentations can be academic papers
or panels, or they can be art works, performances, workshops. Deadline
is January 1, 2008.

Read more and send your proposal through the conference website:

Best regards,

Rune Gade and Gunhild Borggreen
Conference organisers

The 4th Annual Conference of the Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies

The fourth annual conference of the Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies will be held in Reykjavík on the 29th-30th of September, 2007. The subject of the conference is "Avant-Garde and Violence". The conference will be hosted by the University of Iceland and the Iceland Academy of Arts.

Since the early 20th century the link between avant-garde aesthetics and the notion of violence has been a much debated subject, which continues to draw the attention of scholars and artists and to generate polarized debates. The conference offers a forum for papers discussing different aspects of the relationship between avant-garde aesthetics and (political, psychological, linguistic, corporeal, sexual and social) notions of violence from the early 20th century to the present. The aesthetics of the avant-garde is often represented through a rhetoric propagating a cult of destruction, terror and violence, yet the avant-garde is also frequently seen to embody a radical pacifist critique of war and violence. There is, in other words, a paradoxical relation between the avant-garde and the notion of violence. Since the early 20th century, the aesthetics of the avant-garde has come to represent different responses to an age of military intervention, genocide, radical change and destruction. These different responses reveal the heterogeneous character of avant-garde aesthetics and draw attention to its instrumentalization within different ideological contexts in the 20th century, ranging from a cult of war, destruction and violence, to a pacifist rejection of the rhetoric of military intervention and of the mass media sublimation of war.

Those interested in attending the conference are kindly asked to contact Benedikt Hjartarson at the University of Iceland for further information (

Download the list of keynote speakers and contributors (pdf) (updated)
Download the abstracts for the conference (pdf)

Click the "read more" link below to see the program for the conference or
download it as a pdf

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The final conference of the interdisciplinary research project Media Aesthetics at the University of Oslo invite speakers and audience to participate in a questioning of the specific perspectives and operations characteristic of the emergent field of research named media aesthetics. Leading in different directions, the various works produced within the framework of our project offer no single mode or object of analysis. What is shared is, rather an attempt to place research on media objects and institutions beyond the framework of communication studies, while aesthetic objects, formats and operations are approached at their intersection with media and information machineries or with a view to their role within the politics of mediation. What is shared is, then, an experienced need to reorient aesthetic theory and research in accordance with the massive changes to human existence and social organization brought on by the omnipresence of information technologies that integrate previously separate media in global networks of production. This reorientation does not, however, simply concern contemporary culture: it opens onto new definitions of the nature of technology, art, human bodies and the sense-apparatus.

Our invited guest speakers – N. Katherine Hayles (UCLA), Trond Lundemo (University of Stockholm) , Bernard Stiegler (Centre Pompidou, Paris) and Samuel Weber (Northwestern University) – have all made important contributions towards such reorientation. The members of the research project; Liv Hausken (UiO), Arild Fetveit (Univeristy of Copenhagen), Eivind Røssaak (UiO), Susanne Sæther (UiO) and Ina Blom (UiO) will also present themes from their individual research projects under this general perspective


A conference fee of NOK 350,- covers lunch and coffe for both days.

The conference will take place in the auditorium at Håndverkeren in downtown Oslo (address)

Conference website


Call for papers

Kritikk og avantgarde
En konferanse om litterære tidsskrifter i Norge

NTNU, Trondheim 5. – 6. oktober 2007

Nordisk nettverk for avantgardestudier og forskningsprosjektet Norsk litteraturkritikks historie 1870-2000 inviterer til tidsskriftkonferanse ved NTNU i Trondheim fredag 5. og lørdag 6. oktober 2007.

Litterært orienterte tidsskrifter har helt siden 1700-tallet spilt en viktig rolle i europeisk offentlighetsutvikling, både som premissleverandører for en kritisk resonnerende offentlighet og som arena for utforskning av nye estetiske og ideologiske posisjoner. I dag synes kommersialiseringen av journalistikk og bokbransje å ha skapt et fornyet behov for tidsskrifter som gir rom for kritisk refleksjon og litterær eksperimentering.  

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Call for Submissions


First bi-annual conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM)

29-31 May 2008 – Ghent University, Belgium

Call for Submissions
With initiatives in the cross-disciplinary fields of avant-garde and modernism studies booming throughout European academia, time has come to provide a more permanent platform in Europe for scholars to meet and discuss their research. The European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM) will devote itself to the study of the avant-garde and modernism in Europe within a global setting, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. EAM will promote interdisciplinary and intermedial research on experimental aesthetics and poetics, and aims to encourage an interest in the cultural dimensions and contexts of the avant-garde and modernism. The network aspires to embrace the wide variety within avant-garde and modernism studies, and welcomes all scholars engaged in these areas of research to participate in its founding conference.

EAM’s first conference will focus on the relation between the avant-garde, modernism and Europe. For more information about potential topics for panel, roundtable and paper proposals, visit:

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Kurt Schwitters und die Avantgarde, Hannover

Kurt Schwitters und die Avantgarde
Internationales Symposion

Sprengel Museum Hannover
29. Juni – 1. Juli 2007

Im Zentrum des Symposions soll die Einbindung von Kurt Schwitters in die
internationale Avantgarde stehen. Es stellt neue Aspekte zu Werk und Leben
des Merzkünstlers vor mit Beiträgen von Hanne Bergius (Halle), Hubert van
den Berg (Groningen/Niederlande), Götz-Lothar Darsow (Hannover), Isabelle
Ewig (Paris), Dorothea Dietrich (Washington/USA), Curt Germundson
(Minnesota/USA), Karin Orchard (Hannover), Julia Schmidt (Hamburg), Isabel
Schulz (Hannover), Adrian Sudhalter (MoMA, New York), Gwendolen Webster
(Aachen), Gerda Wendermann (Weimar) und Beat Wyss (Karlsruhe).

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There's life after death - Scandinavian Situationism in perspective

The Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies will host an international conference on Situationism on MARCH 15 and 16 2007 in Copenhagen. The full program will soon be available.

Read more about the conference here.

Conference-report: From Concrete Poetry to Digital Poetry

Copenhagen, November 9-10 2006

See the complete program here.

The conference was organised by the Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies in cooperation with The Georg Brandes School and The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies, Literature, and the Arts (KLIK). The papers from the conference will be published in a special-issue of Nypoesi.

Claus Clüver, Indiana University, gave two lectures: first "Post-Colonial Avant-Garde or Modernist Arrière-Garde?" where he focused on the poetic production of the “Noigandres” group during the “heroic phase” of Brazilian Concrete poetry, and secondly "II. The Noigandres Poets, Eugen Gomringer, and Concrete Art." where the work of the poets that gave the “Noigandres” it’s name, were compared to Swiss and Brazilian Concrete painting and sculpture.

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See the pictures from the Centre–Periphery.
Avant-Garde and the Other
-conference in Tromsø here.

A report from New York October 19–24 2006

A report from my trip to New York October 19–24. I met associate professor Adam McKible, author of The Space and Place of Modernism. The Russian Revolution, Little Magazines, and New York 2002 (his reworked phd), and we had a nice chat about avant-garde and his recent work in afro-american studies. He informed me that he is editing a book on little magazines together with other scholars, which will be published next year. Neither his bok, nor this anthology are cheap, though, published for "rich" libraries it seems. He is still into little magazines, and has recently published a novel by the black author Edward Christopher Williams: When Washington Was in Vogue, which was published as a serial in a little magazine in the twenties, and then forgotten. This gives us a go coming to little magazines, as we all know a lot of forgotten stuff hides here!

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SASS-konference 4.-6. maj 2006

København den 28. maj 2006

Rapport om deltagelse i SASS-konference 4.-6. maj 2006 i Oxford, Mississippi

Jeg deltog i “96th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study” i Oxford, Mississippi, den 4.-6. maj 2006 med støtte fra Det Nordiske Avantgardenetværk. SASS afholder hvert år en konference i USA som regel med et fælles, overordnet tema, men i år var konferencen uden fælles tema, og de forskellige sessions dækkede en lang række vidt forskellige områder inden for skandinaviske studier. Programmet kan p.t. stadig læses på adressen:
Som repræsentant for netværket bidrog jeg med et paper med titlen “Illegibility as Aesthetic Strategy in Contemporary Danish Poetry” om værker af Lars Skinnebach og Ursula Andkjær Olsen. Mit oplæg var programsat i en session om Twentieth-Century Danish Literature, og blandt de andre oplæg i samme afdeling var et paper om det eksperimenterende danske teater Hotel Proforma af Milda Ostrauskaite. På konferencen var der generelt langt mellem bidrag, som relaterede til emner inden for modernisme eller avantgarde, da konferencen som nævnt var meget bred og spændte over mange forskellige fagområder og discipliner. Til gengæld var der stor interesse for og pænt fremmøde til de oplæg om nyere og samtidig litteratur og kunst, der var på konferencen, og det virkede som om, der var behov for en øget repræsentation inden for disse emner som supplement til de mere traditionelle og veletablerede forskningsområder inden for nordiske studier. Blandt de få papers i denne kategori var en afdeling om temaet The Body in Contemporary Scandinavian Literature, hvor Claire Thomson, University College London, holdt oplæg om “Peter Høeg's Post-Human Bodies", og Nora Simonhjell analyserede romanen Biopsi af den norske forfatter Lars Ramslie i sit paper “The Destroyed Body: New Tendencies in Norwegian Literature". I en session om oversættelsesstudier fortalte Johannes Göransson om sin oversættelse af den svenske lyriker Aase Bergs digte til engelsk. Endelig var der en hel afdeling, som var centreret om den danske forfatter Villy Sørensens forfatterskab. Jeg mødte flere deltagere på konferencen, som gav udtryk for interesse for Det Nordiske Avantgardenetværk, og jeg benyttede lejligheden til at gøre dem opmærksom på netværkets aktiviteter, først og fremmest den kommende konference i Tromsø i november.

Marianne Ølholm

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