This Tuesday, April 4th at The Kitchen – a book launching event for the republication of Modern Love by Constance De Jong
This evening’s post features an announcement from VCS alumna Harris Bauer about an upcoming book publication and launch event that she’s been involved with:
I’ve been working with Ugly Duckling Presse over the last seven months or so, and we are hosting an event for the facsimile edition of Modern Love, a piece of fiction written by Constance DeJong. Modern Love was originally published 30 years ago, so the co-publication by Ugly Duckling Presse & Primary Information is an anniversary of sorts. We are launching the book at The Kitchen on April 4th, next Tuesday, with a performance of the text by Constance. In anticipation of this, Matvei Yankelevich and I have also put together a post on the UDP site that features reminiscences by Constance about the time when Modern Love was first written and published/how it fell essentially out of print. I think the VCS crew might be interested in both the post and the performance in general! She’s quite brilliant.
Here are a couple brief excerpts from Constance DeJong’s reminiscences on the Ugly Duckling Presse tumblr:
The publication of Modern Love began as a serial. On completing the writing of a volume in the serial I rented an IBM Selectric from an office equipment shop near NYU: the Selectric was a typewriter and then some. All the letters were on a ball that turned as one typed each letter key, somehow placing the type exactly in the sentence sequence of letters. The machine’s most important feature for me was that letters were individuated; that is the m is larger than the i; not the singular space of letters that gives typewriting its distinctive look. I wanted the language to look like type.
I began performing the material as the serial progressed. Early on, these performances included pre-recorded material—music and the voice of David Warrilow (Mabou Mines Theatre). The first performance of Modern Love at The Kitchen: a double bill with Kathy Acker. I discovered while rehearsing that I wasn’t looking at the pages of text—that I could deliver the text from memory, an epiphany about performing vs. reading.
In addition to further commentary from DeJong, the post is illustrated with half a dozen images of vintage documentation and the book’s first incarnations. You can read the rest of it here.
Here’s more about this Tuesday’s event from Facebook:
Well-known for her contributions and influences to downtown New York’s performance art and media art scene of the 1970s and ’80s, DeJong’s writing extends off the page through the body, resonating out of objects and into the space of the theater. In 1976, DeJong performed selections of Modern Love at The Kitchen’s first-ever literary event (a bill shared with Kathy Acker). Two years later, shortly after the book’s publication by Standard Editions, she produced a complete performance of the novel at The Kitchen, accompanied by prerecorded voices (including a cameo by David Warrilow of Mabou Mines) and music by Philip Glass. Though Modern Love was critically acclaimed upon its release, this “forgotten classic of narrative prose innovation” (Chris Kraus) fell out of print and into obscurity. The Kitchen is pleased to once again host DeJong who will revive this seminal early text and contextualize it with selections of new narrative works.
April 4, 7pm