R, Adieu

Creative Work
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Description (in English): 

A harrowing alphabetical excursion into the world of the rolled r. Milutis tracks—and, through sounds and videos, shows—the primal violence and utopian trill of 'the most rrresilient of locutions' in sound poetry, regional dialects, and televisual affects, from Kurt Schwitters to Georges Perec to Rodgers and Hart to Charles Bernstein.

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This site between what Agamben calls "the infinite sea of mere sound" and articulate speech is the particularly generative, albeit ambiguous, site of sound poetry, if not of poetry itself. Yet sometime around 1950 (for poet Steve McCaffery), or even at the turn of the twentieth century (for media theorist Friedrich Kittler), something happened to take poetry away from the word, and by extension the letters that compose it, as recording technology allowed for an aestheticization of “mere sound.” Indeed, the rolled r—puncturing the line through its pure sounding—promised this return to the infinite sea of the real, presaging more effective disruptions of symbolic networks by way of the proliferation of reproduced sound.

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Joe Milutis