UbuWeb

Teaching Resource
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Year: 
1995
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Abstract (in English): 

UbuWeb is a vast online archive documenting experimental writing practices from the 20th Century through the present. "Concrete poetry's utopian pan-internationalist bent was clearly articulated by Max Bense in 1965 when he stated, "…concrete poetry does not separate languages; it unites them; it combines them. It is this part of its linguistic intention that makes concrete poetry the first international poetical movement." Its ideogrammatic self-contained, exportable, universally accessible content mirrors the utopian pan-linguistic dreams of cross-platform efforts on today's Internet; Adobe's PDF (portable document format) and Sun System's Java programming language each strive for similarly universal comprehension. The pioneers of concrete poetry could only dream of the now-standard tools used to make language move and morph, stream and scream, distributed worldwide instantaneously at little cost. Essentially a gift economy, poetry is the perfect space to practice utopian politics. Freed from profit-making constraints or cumbersome fabrication considerations, information can literally "be free": on UbuWeb, we give it away and have been doing so since 1996. We publish in full color for pennies. We receive submissions Monday morning and publish them Monday afternoon. UbuWeb's work never goes "out of print." UbuWeb is a never-ending work in progress: many hands are continually building it on many platforms." (Source: UbuWeb)

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Scott Rettberg