Historical Performance Practices of Visual Poetry

Theory and reproductions of avant-garde and neo-avant-garde visual poetry

May 10.2019

Initiator: Philip Meersman

This research seminar will explore historical performance strategies and documented historical performances of visual poetry focusing on the first avant-garde wave: the Russian Cudo futurists (mainly Kamenski’s Tango With Cows and Gnedov’s Last Poem), Dada (Hugo Ball) and Paul Van Ostaijen’s Bezette Stad.

We will also discuss a link to the theoretical essays of René Magritte on the relation between the image as text and text as image, relating it to performance as an image of the text or as an oral representation of a visuo-textual poetry-artwork.

One of the key questions addresses the performative reproduction of historical visual poetry.

Additionally, attention will be given to the performance tools/strategies for historical visual poetry / visual poetry and the use of white space, the positioning of visual and textual elements on the page, the relationship between text and image and how to perform these, the formatting in font type, style, size, colour... and translation-specific elements which could influence the performance itself.

Besides the theoretical part, performances of historical avant-garde and neo-avant-garde visual poetry will also take place alongside contemporary work by the invitees.

  • Sergey Biryukov
  • Eduard Escoffet
  • Heike Fiedler

Venue: Wintertuin, KASKA, 9:30 - 17:30


  • 09:30 - 10:00  Welcome
  • 10:00 - 10:30  Introduction
  • 10:30 - 11:15  Presentation and Q&A Heike Fiedler
  • 11:15 - 12:00  Presentation and Q&A Sergey Biryukov
  • 12:00 - 12:15  Break
  • 12:15 - 13:00  Presentations and Q&A Eduard Escoffet
  • 13:00 - 13:45  Lunch
  • 13:45 - 14:00  Introduction
  • 14:00 - 14:30  Performance by Heike Fiedler - representation of Fiedler’s personal practice as audio-visual poet
  • 14:30 - 15:00  Performance by Sergey Biryukov - 'Sound reflections': representation of Birjukov’s personal practice as audio-visual poet
  • 15:00 - 15:30  Performance by Eduard Escoffet - representation of Escoffet’s personal practice os audio-visual poet
  • 15:30 - 16:00  Performance by Philip Meersman
  • 16:00 - 16:30  Conclusions
  • 16:30 - 17:30  Drinks