Kenneth Goldsmith is a multidisciplinary author, artist, editor, poet and all round agent provocateur. He once claimed to have appropriated and conveniently reshaped Douglas Huebler’s infamous line: ‘The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more.’ Goldsmith’s version, ‘The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more’, seems to be only half true, though.
Both his writing and his archival practice as the founder of UbuWeb, draw heavily on collage, appropriation and the power of the copy as the ultimate creative gesture. But this has, contrary to the claim, yielded a vast opus of critically acclaimed texts, novels, essays and experimental literary objects built through accumulation and sedimentation.
In this conversation, Kenneth discusses some of his own phases as an artist, and establishes a rather unexpected connection between early 20th century avant-garde movements and the digital age. Despite the time gap between the two, Goldsmith traces an invisible line that invites us to view modernism under a different light, not so much as a failed revolution, but as a slow process of sedimentation, whose droplets sank and filtered throughout decades, only to resurface now in the wild stream of our own digital culture.
SON[I]A talks to Kenneth Goldsmith about challenging and unchallenging literature, the DNA of the internet and what he calls his “third act”.