Ron Kuivila Presents TED / Mencken

This is an Archive of a Past Event

Ron Kuivila's TED / Mencken is a live recitation rendered breathless through circuitry and interleaved with explanatory digressions in the manner of a TED talk. The text recited and subjected to TEDxegesis is IN SARA, MENCKEN, CHRIST AND BEETHOVEN THERE WERE MEN AND WOMEN, a prose poem self-published by John Barton Wolgamot in 1944. That text consists of 128 stanzas identical in basic lexical form but with changing content drawn from a collection of 1023 names, many culled from biographical dictionaries of the day. The text became something of an obsession for the writer Keith Waldrop and the composer Robert Ashley. Ashley made a recording of the text recited without an audible breath and an electronic accompaniment by Paul DeMarinis; plans to make a live realization were never completed. That recording has always suggested to Kuivila the image of a poet / schizophrenic mumbling to himself in an electronic game center. TED / Mencken is Kuivila's enactment of its tumbling together of the famous, the obscure, the past and the future in a breathless turbulence imagined as the present which he sees as prefiguring the current insatiable appetite for the momentarily apropos and the encyclopedically archival. 

The concert will be followed by a reception.