Dia Art Foundation Commissions Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi for New Artist Web Project Poetry as not, with singing

Launches April 16, 2015

For Immediate Release

Inaugurated in 1995, Dia’s series of Artist Web Projects invites artists who do not typically work in the digital realm to realize artworks that explore the aesthetic and conceptual potentials of the Internet. The next commission in the series is Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi’s Poetry as not, with singing. The project launches on April 16, 2015, at www.diaart.org/maussokiishi.

From 2006 to 2007 Mauss and Okiishi collaborated on One Season in Hell, an artwork titled after a web-based mistranslation of Arthur Rimbaud’s infamously untranslatable poem Une Saison en Enfer (1873). For One Season in Hell, the artists used now-outmoded word-for-word translators—better known as machine translators—to generate a fragmented version of the opus.

Derived from One Season in Hell, Mauss and Okiishi’s Dia commission investigates the complexities of virtual communication and the variance of meaning in transliterated language. Rather than unraveling an authored text, however, Poetry as not, with singing positions the visitor as poetic generator in which a user’s type is translated into disjointed text and, at times, audible song. Balancing structure and abstraction, while eschewing the fluid speech of today’s statistically based translators, Poetry as not, with singing transmutes the inputted text by a set of irrational rules. The users’ actions are recorded to generate an ever-expanding epic poem, and image clusters drawn from Google trigger a visual stratum for the performative wordplay.

Mauss and Okiishi worked in collaboration with Dutch programmers and designers De Gebroeders van Leeuwen to create Poetry as not, with singing.

Related Event
Launch Reception and Performance
April 16, 2015, 6:30 pm
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor, New York City

Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi have been working together since they met in art school at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, in 1998. Their collaborative artworks emerge from a continuous dialogue while they simultaneously pursue individual practices. Past collaborative exhibitions include: One Season in Hell at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York (2007) and at MD 72 in Berlin (2008); A Fair to Meddling Story at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in Germany (2007); the White Columns Annual at White Columns in New York (2012); and an exhibition at Mendes Wood DM in São Paulo (2014). Their books include One Season in Hell (New York: Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, 2007) and A Fair to Meddling Story (Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2008). One Season in Hell was reprinted in 2015 by FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and Mousse Publishing.

Mauss was born in 1980 in New York. He is a graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and is currently part of the faculty at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Recent solo exhibitions have been organized at 303 Gallery in New York (2015), Fiorruci Art Trust in London (2014), and Bergen Kunsthall in Norway (2013). He was commissioned to create a new work for Frieze Projects at Frieze London 2014 and was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial in New York. He lives and works in New York.

De Gebroeders van Leeuwen is a multidisciplinary design agency based in Utrecht and Amsterdam. For more information, visit www.studiodgvl.com.

This project is made possible in part by Dia’s Board of Trustees and Commissioning Committee: Kirk August Radke, Chair; Marguerite S. Hoffman; Fady Jameel; Jill and Peter Kraus; and Leslie and Mac McQuown. Generous support has also been provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.

Dia Art Foundation
Founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is committed to initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving extraordinary art projects. Dia:Beacon opened in May 2003 in Beacon, New York. Dia also maintains several long-term sites including Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus’s Times Square (1977), Joseph Beuys’s 7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks), which was inaugurated at Documenta 7 in 1982, and Dan Flavin’s untitled (1996), all of which are located in New York City; the Dan Flavin Art Institute (established in 1983) in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) in western New Mexico; Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970) in Great Salt Lake, Utah; De Maria’s The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany; and Flavin’s untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection) (1973) in Munich, Germany. Dia also commissions original Artist Web Projects and produces scholarly publications.

Dia currently presents temporary installations, performances, lectures, and readings on West 22nd Street in the Chelsea section of New York City, the neighborhood it helped pioneer. Plans for a new project space are underway.

For more information, please visit www.diaart.org.