project image
John Lowther

first performed on May 16, 2011
Poem88, Atlanta, GA
performed once in 2011


David D’Agostino

Atlanta, GA


With visual artist David D’Agostino we sought a way to present poetry as a dimension-temporary, liminal, contingent-as a “situation,” a collaboration in real time and in a semi-public space. What we arrived at was three, three-hour performance-installation situations whose internal framework was constructed around the lattice. The lattice, invented by the APG as a way to organize polyphons (poems with multiple voices), has been used by the APG to structure a variety of literary works (see for examples). The lattice manifest as text is definite and directed but multiply and indeterminately so, giving a restricted set of options in place of the left-to-right, top-down sequence of the lined poem. The amount and combinatory nature of these options radicalizes its possibilities without diffusing into the anything goes of a “word cloud.”

In “x (lattice), y (glyph), z (time)” the concept of the lattice was realized in three different schemas. Schema 1-lines on a wall: we created two dimensional lattices-lattices in their most literal, object form-on the walls of the gallery, expanding them over the course of the show. Schema 2-lines through a room: we installed a three dimensional lattice-thin black rope running interconnected throughout the room with strips of paper in glass jars suspended from the node points. Schema 3-lines over time: we performed a four dimensional lattice, each of the participants (participants taken in its broadest sense to include performers, materials and events) acting as the nodes constantly drawing lines-lines of contingency, continuity, causation, interruption, as well as lines of attention-to other past, present and future participants within the continuum.

Each of the three lattice schemas emphasized a different mode of poetic activity: Schema 1’s wall lattices emphasized page-bound composition, verbal and visual material organized on a page (presentation). Schema 2’s room-wide lattice emphasized somatic and environmental position and the relationship of the work to audience (orientation). Schema 3’s performance lattice emphasized temporal experience, the continuum of composition-performance-reception (mutation).

The transmission of meaning does not have to monopolize a poetry performance. Nor does poetry when performed have to monopolize the attention of the audience to the exclusion of other experiences. The lattice allowed language to be for the audience, rather than simply at it-language every bit as beautiful and mundane as the language you experience every day, just denser.