vanessa place

conceptual poetry: utilising found language (whether altered or not) – poetry of the readymade.


boycott (2013)

“a work of art rendered through mutilation.” — Andrea Andersson

In 1971, American conceptual artist Lee Lozano began her Boycott Piece, refusing to speak to women as a protest against patriarchy; in 1975, French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan stated, “La femme n’existe pas” to note the failure of the symbolic order. Vanessa Place’s Boycott Project (of which Boycott is part) takes iconic feminist texts and eliminates all reference to women and that which is exclusively female. For only through the sex that is one can one fully grasp the truth that one is not born, but rather becomes, one—l’on qui ne s’existe pas.


I shall speak about men’s writing: about what it will do. Man must write his self: must write about men and bring men to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies—for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Man must put himself into the text—as into the world and into history—by his own movement.

…I write this as a man, toward men.

(Ugly Duckling Presse catalogue description)

– gender is a construct, but it is “still strange to see oneself constructed” -VP

– visual/textual/sonic elements inseperable

– mentioned:

  • a void, georges perec (missing the letter “e”. in french e.g. nouns for all relatives, god become inaccessible)
  • art of lyric poetry (?) (uuuuuuuuuuuuu…… (in german, abbreviation of “and”))
  • pad, steven zultanski (exaggerated hypermasculine phallocentrism, performed masculinity)

– poetry: that which is not not poetry ( P = – [-P] )


– difference between concept & idea: in a truly conceptual work form & content are interdependent.

– performance of a found-language poem: subjectivity is not hers. yet it is received from her body. the language does not originate with her. she is possessed by a ghost – or the language is haunted by her.

– interested in violence that occurs through language (e.g. slurs)

– difference between prose & poetry: prose is asking for a light & being handed a lighter. poetry is asking for a light & being taken to church (or something along those lines)

– jokes as a form of violence – expectations are established & then subverted

– poetry itself is violence to language – consists only of a set of constraints.