Editorial Unedited: Edition Poetics

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To make an issue on Poetics is probably the same as to make an issue on… hmm… everything.

If a concept is being used as a central focus for constructing a discursive unit around it, then this concept should at least come with a clear definition on what it should mean in the given context.  Otherwise one would end up writing an encyclopedia, right?

And of course, we had to have a look at an encyclopedia. And here is what we have found in one of them, in the Third Edition of The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics:

“This is a book of knowledge, of facts, theories, questions, and informed judgement, about poetry. Its aim is to provide a comprehensive, comparative, reasonably advanced, yet readable reference for all students, teachers, scholars, poets, or general readers who are interested in the history of any poetry in any national literature of the world, or in any aspect of the technique or criticism of poetry.

It provides balanced and comprehensive accounts of the major movements and issues in criticism and literary theory, and discussion of the manifold relations of poetry to the other fields of human thought and activity — history, science, politics, religion, philosophy, music, the visual arts. “

This claim for an ultimate answer to the ungraspable and un-answerable, which extends through decades (the forth edition is probably on its way as we speak)–one mustn’t read the rest of the 1500 pages of the book because poetics manifests its essence in those first couple of passages.

Such an ultimate statement, however, is not what Legwork does. Legwork is rather interested in spontaneous reactions to concepts, ideas and visual impulses. That is why we approached creatively active people with a simple, “Hey, let’s talk about poetics, shall we?”, hoping for their spontaneous outcomes.

We didn’t think the free associations that we would pull out of those that might respond to us could help, in a very mystical psychoanalytical way, uncover the hidden unconscious of our shared symbolic habitus.  But we thought it would be fun to see what strings people have attached to this concept.  Poetics.

And then of course it ends up in the discourse.  Like it was never there.  Ha.  We ourselves implied one of the ways for this to happen: everyone starts using the word poetics in an adjective form to describe the visual.  It implies the old metaphysical problem of the image’s relation to the word.  And their competition in representation–whichever represents the world better.   When both of them realize in failing (as we know by now, representation is itself an oxymoron), the moment comes when there is no more sense in defining the concept of poetics taken as a central concept for an editorial issue.

Of course, we did not exhaust the subject, and we do not provide answers. We displace it from being super serious.  We massage it a bit.  We take this concept of poetics as a bowl of popcorn while watching our Friday movie.




Berlin has a lot of free or really cheap conferences (except for the communism one, which cost 57 EUR).  Communism for 60 EUR.  No joke.  This is all to say, in June, Judith Hamera gave a rousing talk about Michael Jackson at Prekäre Exzellenz, where a lot of good heads gathered in the name of virtuosity.  The content was stirring and delivered with broadcaster fervor.  I was jazzed.  Then we talked about our logo, appropriating MJ, and the affective agenda of celebrity.  Poetics entered from the back door and displaced it all.



Egle met Carrick Bell, a Berlin-based American artist.  He moved to artistic practice from the field of literary theory when he got interested in the failure of language to be communicative. Working with abstracting images from their context, he nevertheless says that it doesn’t mean they are primarily visual.

The functional vagueness of poetics as ‘being whatever’ is carefully implied through a speculative proposal to approach art as a reality show.  Legwork got in touch with New York-based artist, writer and curator, Trong Nguyen while he was traveling on holiday through Italy.  Trong agreed to take part in our poetic experiment and reacted to some pretentious prompts that we sent him via FB.

And, of course, we could not have missed the chance to have a poet in an issue on  poetics.  Kerry Featherstone was very kind and generous to share one of his poems as well as his writing about the difference between articulating the visual and being inspired by the visual.

And our TrendMatrix, this time proving that the trend to kill the author is not dead. And probably will never be.

Last but not least, the poetic beauty of the current issue is crowned with the pictures of LW’s inaugural event, Legwork Performance Series, Edition 1: Adoption.  Check it out and find your favorite picture with the artwork baby.  Millions of thanks to the evening’s photographer, Bradley Wester, and to everyone who participated in the photo shoot and performance!