Art as Writing, Writing as Art

July 2015

“Write your epitaph. In what form would you like to return?” – Sophie Calle

Welcome to another kind of storytelling, where concept and context are king.

If you’ve been dying to try your hand at another type of composition, to go out into the world and make the visual into something readable and exciting, this is your chance. In “Multimedia-Poetics” we’ll learn techniques and activities to produce work in a variety of forms and mediums, and we’ll use the world around us as our best canvas.

In this course we will examine works of visual poetry, digital media, conceptual artists, and writers, such as Sophie Calle, Teju Cole, Rune Guneruissen, James Luna, Andy Goldsworthy, Damien Hirst, Eduardo Kac, Marina Abramović, Carolee Schneemann, Jenny Holzer, Cyriaco Lopes and Terri Witek. Through the development of a shared vocabulary including compositional elements (for example: line, light, juxtaposition, pattern & repetition), guiding forces (memory, mapping and geolocation, language, viewership and gaze) and methods of transformation (form & medium, collaboration, re-mixing), you’ll gain the tools to talk about and generate new works and forms. We’ll find the source of our own voices, what we uniquely see; we’ll learn how to translate these ideas into work that is accessible to the viewer, and discover the method behind perceived madness.

*For writers and artists in any genre. You need not have a particular background in art or writing; and exploration in multiple mediums and genres will be heartily encouraged!

A note on materials: This course’s prompts and concepts encourage you to make use of many kinds of materials — depending entirely on what is available to you where you are. Another useful addition would be a recording device of some kind (a camera or smartphone, etc), so as to facilitate documentation of your projects if working on-site.

 About the Instructor

579969_10100166459141372_937555374_nKenzie Allen graduated from the University of Michigan (MFA Poetry ’14), where she was the recipient of Hopwood Awards in Poetry and Non-Fiction, and a Michael R. Gutterman award for her visual poetry. With a background in digital media and web design, photography, and visual art, she has designed mobile apps in the New York technology startup scene, collaborated on numerous opera projects, and studied under Cyriaco Lopes and Terri Witek at the Dzanc Disquiet International Literary Program. Her work has appeared in Sonora Review, The Iowa Review, Drunken Boat, SOFTBLOW, Word Riot, The Puritan, BOATT PRESS, Apogee, and elsewhere. She is a descendant of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, and is the managing editor and designer of the Anthropoid collective.

"Banana Leaves," Kenzie Allen. Lisbon, 2013.
excerpt from “Banana Leaves,” Kenzie Allen. Lisbon, 2013.

This course will “meet” throughout the month of July. You will have continuous access to a shared, secure course space throughout the span of the workshop, and will receive a set of exercises, examples, and prompts at the start of each week. Many of your prompts will take you outside, and ask you to utilize sites and materials around you. Most of all, this course aims to be fun, and exploratory.

At the end of each week you’ll have the opportunity to turn in responses to these prompts for feedback or troubleshooting from your workshop leader, who will give you editorial comments as well as suggestions for expansion in your reading and craft. You’ll also be able to ask questions in the course space, including in an “office hours” forum.

Go at your own pace, but generate as much as you can, and you are encouraged to post your results, marathon-style, to the class space, and to comment on your fellows’ work.

The work-sharing of this course will be an intimate part of your creative process in this course, as you tweak and improve upon your designed projects and approaches. In this type of work, the planning is often the crux of the thing–where execution may even be merely an afterthought. You are encouraged to design and think through projects even should the materials or execution be unavailable to you at this time. However, you’ll also be set loose in the world with whatever tools are available, to fulfill the mini-challenges and prompts.

Apiary’s workshops are designed to provide both one-on-one instructor feedback and guidance, a database of writing prompts and knowledge, and a learning environment and supportive community to share in with your peers.

What you can expect

  • a password-protected space in which to share work with your workshop leader and peers
  • 4 rounds of feedback and instructive support with your workshop leader (developing one or several projects over the course of the month) suggested readings; and encouragement of peer feedback
  • “office hours” in the form of private messaging and forum responses
  • focused attention to the development and exploration of your own craft and language. This is about your work, and where you want to go.
  • a supportive environment for your work, always.

excerpt from "Ask Me How It Happened," Kenzie Allen.
excerpt from “Ask Me How It Happened,” Kenzie Allen.

four weeks
Image credit: Tommaso Meli