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Media and Materiality in the Neo-Avant-Garde

Edited By Jonas Ingvarsson and Jesper Olsson

Media and Materiality in the Neo-Avant-Garde explores the materiality of media technologies and their impact on the avant-garde of the late twentieth century.
The essays of the volume range between different art forms (literature, film, music, visual art, performance) and bridge the same contested cultural divides – high and low, ideology and form, art and everyday life – that were once challenged by the avant-garde. Ranging in topics from the Beach Boys to Herbert Eimert, from Scandinavian forests to Warhol’s Factory, the perspectives established and the operations performed in Media and Materiality in the Neo-Avant-Garde thus traverse a network of art and technology that has been crucial for more than half a century, and still is today.

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Johan Alfredsson: After concretism 15

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15 Bengt Emil Johnson (1936–2010) was one of the most prominent po- ets of the short-lived yet highly vivid Swedish concretist movement of the early 1960’s, a movement which quite easily could be said to have been a vital part of the more wide ranging ideas of “open art” in the Swedish 1960’s. Like most of the Swedish concrete poets, Johnson’s carreer soon turned to other manners of writing, in his case perhaps more successfully than for many of his fellow concretists.1 During the second half of the 1960’s, when the interest for concrete poetry declined radically, he was involved in developing the hybrid genre of text-sound-composition, and was ever since an internationally ac- claimed composer of various kinds of electro-acoustic music. Since the 1970’s he was also recognised as an important innovator in the field of Swedish nature-poetry, displaying an attitude as keen and at- tentive towards the abundance of language as towards that of nature.2 Through this sensitivity Johnson has been able to examine and unfold intriguing correspondences between the two. 1 Some of the names most intimately associated with Swedish concrete poetry would be Bengt Emil Johnson, Öyvind Fahlström, Jarl Hammarberg, Åke Hodell, Leif Nylén, Mats G. Bengtsson, and Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. 2 Carl Henrik Fredriksson has commented that Johnson’s poetry “seems to have grown organically from an intimate relationship with both nature and language” [my translation]. (Carl Henrik Fredriksson, “Bortom språkets natur”, Tidskriften 90-tal, #18 1996, 27. johan alfredsson after ConCretisM...

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