About the event

Please join us in the James Gallery for the opening reception of "The House of Dust by Alison Knowles."

Alison Knowles’s computerized poem of 1967, The House of Dust, her subsequent built structures of the same name and the many works it generated are the focus of this presentation. Documentation of Knowles’s poem and built structures, discussions, publications, and performances are presented in dialogue with other artworks from the period—predominantly by Knowles and other Fluxus artists—exploring the nexus of art, technology and architecture in ways that resonate with The House of Dust. In addition, her prescient yet under-recognized project has been an inspiration for contemporary artists’ and architects’ responsive artworks and spatial interpretations included in the exhibition.

Knowles’s The House of Dust is among the earliest computerized poems, consisting of the phrase “a house of” followed by a randomized sequence of 1) a material, 2) a site or situation, a light source, and 3) a category of inhabitants taken from four distinct lists. In 1968, the computer-generated poem was translated into a physical structure when Knowles received a Guggenheim fellowship to build a house in Chelsea, New York. This architecture was later destroyed, restored and moved to Cal Arts Burbank, California, where Knowles was invited to teach in 1970-72. She enjoyed teaching her classes in the House and invited artists to interact with its open structure by creating new works.

Reactivating the pedagogical model proposed by The House of Dust (and by Fluxus with which Knowles was associated), this project at the James is the outcome of collaboration between artists and scholars in disciplines including art, architecture, poetry, literature, music, theatre, and performance. Over the fall semester, reactivations of Knowles’ workshops will engage students in Social Practice Queens at Queens College and in Architecture at City College as part of their curricula. The exhibition publication includes texts by Ph.D. students in English, Art History, and Theatre at The Graduate Center connecting their research interests on this project to their dissertation topics.

With the works of: Alison Knowles and Ay-o, Chloë Bass, Keren Benbenisty, Jérémie Bennequin, Hugo Brégeau, Marcel Broodthaers, George Brecht, John Cage, Alejandro Cesarco, Jagna Ciuchta, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Mark Geffriaud, Beatrice Gibson, Dan Graham, Dick Higgins, Jeff Guess, Maria Hupfield, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Norman C. Kaplan, Allan Kaprow, Katarzyna Krakowiak, Nicholas Knight, Mikko Kuorinki, Theo Lutz, Stephane Mallarmé, Alan Michelson, Nam June Paik, Jenny Perlin, Nina Safainia, Mieko Shiomi, James Tenney, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, and Emmett Williams.

Curators: Katherine Carl, Maud Jacquin, Sébastien Pluot, in partnership with Art by Translation, International Research Program in Art and Curatorial Practices directed by Maud Jacquin and Sébastien Pluot.

Esba TALM Angers / ENSAPC


Co-sponsored by The French Ministry of Culture and the French Institute, Art by Translation, Ph.D. Program in Art History, Ph.D. Program in English, and Ph.D. Program in Theatre, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

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