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*CURRICULUM* #5

 

With Samuel Te Kani and Gregory Kan.

 

READING GROUP:

Wednesday 10th April 6:30pm

 

DISCUSSION:

Saturday 13th April 2pm

Gregory Kan is a writer and programmer based in Wellington. His poetry has been featured in literary journals such as the Atlanta Review, Cordite, Jacket, Landfall, The Listener, SPORT and Best New Zealand Poems. His poetry and essay works have also featured in exhibitions and publications for contemporary art institutions such as the Auckland Art Gallery, Artspace, the Adam Art Gallery, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Enjoy Gallery, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, and the Physics Room. Auckland University Press published his first book, This Paper Boat, in 2016. This Paper Boat was shortlisted for the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Prize in 2013 and for the New Zealand Book Awards for Best Poetry in 2017. He was a Grimshaw-Sargeson Fellow in 2017. His second poetry collection, Under Glass, was published by Auckland University Press in March, 2019.

 

____________

 

Samuel Te Kani: I'm not an artist but I'll make 'art', I'm a kind-of writer but I'll play with visual mediums and engage with worlds which are traditionally antithetical to literary or artistic practices, because that's the availability of the world through fluid capital; nothing is off limits, everything is prone to the scythe which flattens the cultural terrain in search of commodities. In that vein, my interests encompass a vital eclecticism, but no more eclectic than anyone's with wi-fi access. Until recently (ten years or less) distribution (of visual cultures) via tangible mediums such as DVD and VHS enabled an episodic tracking of collective consumption habits. What's more, their object-hood allowed for a consumerist sense of membership to vectors of interest and engagement (fandom). Even the now hackneyed platforms of file sharing allowed for an archaic digital-version of object-hood and subsequent ownership, the likes of which have vanished and for which is substituted a 'theological' beholding of streaming services and content providers (being less and less tangible portals of information/entertainment, the omnipotence of which is easily believed).

 

Now the allegiance to luminous hovering brands of content provision organises a non-tangible traffic of media consumption, one which perhaps benefits merchandise sales by disposing of the title-Object, allowing a proliferated vector of hallowed objects round this central absence (an absence less and less conspicuous to new-gen users). The consumerist ironies of perfectly fluid media abound. 

 

My questions are; what importance remains of storytelling in this technological flux of new-delivery? Which genres remain intact, and which are changing in this unprecedented textual/genre-promiscuity that is the terrain of competitive content streaming? Are more people engaged in the consumption of mainstream visual media with it's increased convenience, or do residual class thresholds still ensure certain medias only reach certain 'demographics' etcetera (and if so, what class-differences are being perpetuated therein, and how are these tied to genre)?

 

Also, if there is such a thing as 'textual-genre promiscuity' in current climates of consumption, does this translate into political holism on individual scales, or is it's bearing simply cosmetic? 

 

What I'm interested in is having a conversation around the current uses and modes of Story, which is a conversation which cannot be had without also discussing Genre.

Appropriately, I've selected a text which utilises existing generic tropes (most noticeably those of science fiction in a mode of post-modernity) but which manages a unique synthesis of it's component parts to make something wholly genre-transcendent (emergent?). That text is Netflix's RUSSIAN DOLL.

 

I have my own theories on this show and it's cultural significance, but being proffered by a mega-corporate entity on the most commonly used streaming-platform on the planet, I feel further readings could only benefit from a group effort at dissembling it's numerous 'moving parts' (direct quote from show, STAN ALERT).

TEXTS

The Ontology of Complex Systems by William Wimsatt

Robustness and Entrenchment by William Wimsatt

Entrenchment and Scaffolding: An Architecture for a Theory of Cultural Change by William Wimsatt

NETFLIX SERIES

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

 

Russian Doll (2019)

Curriculum is generously supported by Creative New Zealand.