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Syndicate contentAndrei Guruianu

The Darkest City by Andrei Guruianu

October 4, 2017 by pegjohnston

"The Darkest City is a dialogue conducted in text and images between Romanian-born writer Andrei Guruianu and American photographer and visual artist Teknari. The Darkest City draws its inspiration from Teknari’s black and white photographs of the Southern Tier of New York, whose small cities and villages have at times been labeled by some as “drive through” kind of places. Once known for being the birthplace of IBM, the Endicott Johnson shoe factories that furnished boots for American soldiers in WWII, Guglielmo Marconi’s first radio tower, as well as the Twilight one series, large parts of the area now lie in disrepair, abandoned, a modern ruinscape. The claw marks are visible on the empty factories, boarded up storefronts, the houses and churches that have seen the rise and fall of industry. Despite the inevitable change and fresh coat of paint that comes with time, the image remains often dark and bleak, one that unfortunately is all too familiar when one conjures up visions of small town America.
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As The Darkest City is rooted in the ancient practice of ekphrastic exchange and artistic dialogue, we invite readers along the way to contribute their thoughts and reflections and insert themselves into this narrative be it on art and aesthetics, on memory and loss, or on identity and a sense of purpose and belonging. In the following pages we ask you to consider along with us: What do our modern lives suspended between the metaphorical here and then look like, and how do we go about living them to their fullest?

The Afterlife of Discarded Objects

April 3, 2016 by pegjohnston

NOTE: A reading from this project will happen May 19th at 7 pm, the Cooperative Gallery's Third Thursday Art Discussion.

While we live in a world that produces material goods at an overwhelming rate, one thing that has not changed throughout history is the complexity of human relationship to the material world. In our increasingly consumerist culture we still assign value beyond the immediate function of objects,  an act that plays a crucial role in constituting memory and identity. The moment we decide to keep a used train ticket or a postcard instead of throwing it away, or an old favorite chipped plate reimagined as a coin dish, we invest it with sentimental value that replaces its expired functionality. As such, preserved and repurposed objects become vessels for projections of childhood fantasies or the nostalgic longing of adults.

The Afterlife of Discarded Objects is a digital collective storytelling project that depends on public participation through sharing memories about playing with, collecting, preserving, or making art from what we might broadly label as trash, waste, or unwanted items. Using the Share Your Story button on the website, we invite you to contribute your own narratives as we seek to understand the ways diverse experiences contribute to the mosaic of our individual and collective histories. Together these stories will highlight the power of imagination to (re)create history and serve as testimony to the potential of material objects to shape our cultural landscape.

www.theafterlifeofdiscardedobjects.com

What we are looking for: nonfiction narratives, memoir, short stories, and poems. Your contribution can be as short or as long as you like - a brief recollection of a childhood moment or a lengthier piece of writing -- anything you wish to share. We especially welcome contributions that explore the topic from an environmental perspective, gender relations, race or class.

All submissions  will be featured on an interactive map that links each story and storyteller to the particular place where the narrative is situated, inviting the on-looker to zoom out and observe social, political, and economic linkages between cultures. For example, some of the contributions already featured on the map include diverse memories from working-class Californian childhood in the 80s, to descriptions of the Soviet-time Ukrainian childhood games with medical waste, to memories of playing with potentially explosive garbage items in Kuwait after the 90s invasion. These narratives demonstrate the potential of the project to transcribe a web of oral histories that represent diverse experiences at the intersection of class, race, locations, and political regimes.

We invite your own contribution to this ongoing project. Thank you for taking part in this collective storytelling endeavor.

The Curators,

Andrei Guruianu and Natalia Andrievskikh

Andrei Guruianu's New Book: Dead Reckoning

March 7, 2016 by pegjohnston

With spring upon us it seems like the right time to announce the release of a new book project that I have been working on for about the past three years now, though at times it has felt even longer! Below is a description of the book.

The book, Dead Reckoning: Transatlantic Passages on Europe and America (SUNY Press), is a co-written effort with my good friend and former colleague, Anthony Di Renzo (Ithaca College). The book is officially scheduled for release in May, though it is already available for Kindle on Amazon and the paperback is available for pre-order.

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Reckoning-Transatlantic-Passages-America-eboo...

What began as an email exchange between Anthony and me turned into a dialogic exchange consisting of prose poems and lyrical essays, and eventually became a book that I am extremely proud of and excited to share with you.

From the press:
 
A poet and essayist attempt to find their bearings in a civilization lost at sea.
 
Dead reckoning is the nautical term for calculating a ship’s position using the distance and direction traveled rather than instruments or astronomical observation. For those still recovering from the atrocities of the twentieth century, however, the term has an even grimmer meaning: toting up the butcher’s bill of war and genocide.

As its title suggests, Dead Reckoning is an attempt to find our bearings in a civilization lost at sea. Conducted in the shadow of the centennial of the First World War, this dialogue between Romanian American poet Andrei Guruianu and Italian American essayist Anthony Di Renzo asks whether Western culture will successfully navigate the difficult waters of the new millennium or shipwreck itself on the mistakes of the past two centuries. Using historical and contemporary examples, they explore such topics as the limitations of memory, the transience of existence, the futility of history, and the difficulties of making art and meaning in the twenty-first century.

“Dead Reckoning pilots readers through the purgatory of immigration, a painful sea voyage that with enough courage and hard work can lead through the narrow channel facing paradise: spiritual and material success. Charting the currents between the Old and New Worlds, Andrei Guruianu and Anthony Di Renzo write with the ferocious genius of Pope and Swift and the compassionate heart of Saint Nicholas, patron of sailors and guardian of ports.” — Emanuel di Pasquale, author of The Ocean’s Will

“In the space of the passage from immigrant to citizen in a new home, things fall apart to an apparent nothingness. Guruianu and Di Renzo ask us to consider a brave creativity as an answer for the space where systems fall apart, so that it can be a place where things grow in a reverence for the need to live, to love, to have community, and to be truly free.” — Afaa M. Weaver, author of City of Eternal Spring

“A lovely, seductive, original book.” — Thomas G. Pavel, author of The Lives of the Novel: A History
 

For those of you who teach, if you're doing anything related to essay and creative writing, poetry and hybrid genres, I think this book could serve as a wonderful supplementary text. The poems and the essays all contain cultural and literary references that just just enough for readers to become interested but leave sufficient room for further thinking and exploration. If interested in a desk copy, they are available to instructors for $10 via the SUNY Press website: http://www.sunypress.edu/l-50-exam-desk-copies.aspx

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