Erica Baum & Brave New Word # 2

Brave New Word, the online journal which collects international examples of visual, concrete and experimental poetry, has released its second issue. In BNW curator Bil Sabab’s own words,

BRAVE NEW WORD is an anchor from the parts unknown. 

This is the place for the most outlandish images and writing from the artists of all walks of life. Conceptual writing, visual poetry, asemic writing, transcripts of sound poetry, flarf, spoetry, image macro, codework, collage, cut-ups, cyphertext – you can find it all here.

Ezra Pound once said “Make it new!” There is nothing much to add. Let’s make it really-really NEW.

Issue two finds five pieces from my work KIM published alongside works of eleven individuals of odd and wonderful talent. While each artist’s work is worth checking out, I want to mention specifically the work of Erica Baum.

Baum is a photographer living in New York. Often her series are language based, perhaps documenting archives, books as objects, or other curious productions on paper. Baum likes paper. Baum documents the document. Her works are hauntingly sparse and echo the human hand, the impulse of organization, method, and the ghosts left standing when these documents are cast aside, when they age into obsolescence. If you haven’t discovered her work, you can access a large amount of it on the awesome resource UBUweb.

I focus on Baum here because her work continually excites me and has heavily influenced some of my own work, including KIM. From the documentation of the document to the use of the camera as writing tool.

Her work, Contents, which appears in BNW#2, documents eight table of contents taken from disparate books. With these photographs we are confronted with the absence of titles and authors, and significantly, the content of the books, save for the whispers of hints that are contained in the brief tables. We are left with the relation of font and table formats to the trickle of anticipatory words to imagine what the books actually contain. We are led to conceive the contents ourselves.


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