Katie Herzog: Literaturewurst
The projects of Katie Herzog are actively engaged in rethinking contemporary forms of information distribution, alternative models of archivization, the traditions of librarianship and how artistic interventions communicate both inside and outside the confines of the fine art world. Her most recent project, Literaturwurst, takes up a process of appropriation that was originally proposed by Dieter Roth, but with a contemporary twist. Unlike Roth, Herzog will be taking requests from the general public, rather than her own tastes and measures, in an effort to remake the edible book as a delicacy of absurdist aesthetics. Challenging the politics of literary representation and judico-legal inscriptions, Herzog will be soliciting title requests which she will retrieve on-line for book titles to be downloaded and repackaged for a different kind of consumption. (Submit requests at: email@example.com)
Whether her book sausages are seen as seasoned writings, food for thought or nourishment for the mind, Herzog’s works redress the functionality of copyright laws as a series of expropriative restrictions. In an age where the ‘general intellect’ has been subsumed by big capital, Herzog’s performances present us with a different set of preparations for offset printing — where outmoded economies of exchange can be transformed into new forms of artistic and textual perceptivity. As libraries are transformed into media centers and hard-bound books are displaced by e-readers, might not all texts soon become displaced subjects — or even subjects without a literal place, i.e., an ensemble of disembodied literatures? Can we think of Herzog’s works as gesturing toward a different means of imbibing literature, or honoring the text as a form of transubstantiation — or even creating a new means of embodying the performative as an instance of ingested utterance?
In counter-distinction to the last major Literaturwurst project, which was a collection of 20 volumes of Hegel’s life works rolled into a series of book sausages, Herzog’s (de)commissioned texts return us to the Benjaminian notion of the outmoded, i.e., of the general commutability of terms based on an immanently historical medium in decline. Or, perhaps her project takes up another key theme from Benjamin’s overture — the notion of a dialectics at standstill — where new regimes of knowledge distribution and design have yet to emerge from the fading light of the literary age. Or, following on the irreverent attitude of any number of modern and postmodern interventionists, (Dadaist, Actionists, Fluxists, Situationists, etc.), Herzog’s work could be seen as acknowledging the mystical moment of sovereignty which takes real knowledge to be non-knowledge, unknowingness, and even transcendence. Thinking about textual appropriation in the form of a sausage is even something of a dietetic metaphor for the machinations of dialectic digestion — a post-historical allegory about repackaging (art) history’s ruins for the anthropocentric appetite. In short, Literaturwurst gives Hegel’s movement of the Spirit a material twist, a movement from below — and even a case of theoretical indigestion, historical reflux, and a touch of aesthetic heartburn. This is the horizon of aesthetic consumption against which such projects announce themselves, not only as a moment of levity, but also as a radical engagement with the confines of the present as always already implicated in the pre-sent.
First Performance: Opening night, October 6th, 7:30pm-9:30pm.
Second Performance: Ciclavia Bicycling day, October 9th, 10am-3pm.
Third and Final Performance: Closing night, October 29th, 4pm-8pm.
You can give Katie a book title of your choosing at one of the above performances at Autonomie or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It can be any title, and a few websites are listed below to help facilitate the process. You can also choose any title beyond those listed on these sites. There is no cost and you can retrieve your book sausages at the closing reception in October 9th between 4pm and 8pm.