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Poetry makes language visual, emphasizing its ekphrastic potential to conjure images out of words. Sometimes the words themselves form images, as in concrete poetry, in which the mise-en-scene of the words on the page is essential to their meaning. Other times, the enjambment acts only to create a break in action, a pause. Other times still, the words spill out like long endless paragraphs, as in prose poetry. In all these cases, what ties these words together is a certain indefinable focus on the visual potential of language.
In the visual arts, despite the spate of exhibitions devoted to understanding life in the age of the internet, art practices that happen online and attendant questions surrounding their platforms, networks, and unique mechanics of reading, looking, context, and display are still historically peripheral or misconstrued. This is in part a problem of preservation.
In 1955, just as the celebrated Family of Man exhibition opened at the Museum of Modern Art in NY, Simon and Schuster published The Sweet Flypaper of Life, a small volume of photographs by Roy DeCarava with text by Langston Hughes.
In their debut collection of poems, Pinoy writer and visual artist Aldrin Valdez conjures a constellation of identity through the remnants. Memories, photographs, letters, transcriptions, artworks, and pop culture references cleave to reconcile the joy and trauma inherent in a duplicitous, multi-hyphenate world.
Penny Slinger was studying at Chelsea College of Art when she discovered Max Ernst's collage books. Ernst's printmaking and collage remains a landmark in artistic and literary publishing. While Slinger was inspired by his techniques of visual narrative and exciting juxtapositions, she was also struck by his poor representations of women, shared by most of the male-dominated Surrealist milieu.