davey dreamnation

seething since 2001

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Category: Gigs (page 1 of 3)

Contains essential information about upcoming Davey Dreamnation shows, concert performances and mime cabaret experiments.

Yikes! Where did the time go?

‘Regular’ ‘readers’ of this ‘blog’ would be excused for thinking that I’d fallen under a bus, given the absolute lack of any kind of update for over a month now. But the contrary is true: far from having fallen under a bus, I’m actually – ah, whatever.

The truth is, I haven’t had a whole lot to blog about recently. My new job has occupied a lot of my time, as has socialising with colleagues from said job and, when it comes down to it, who wants to hear how many Jäger shots I’ve had in the last thirty days?

‘And yet’. (I’ll explain the significance of this phrase one day). To answer the question posed by Big Star in the title of their song ‘What’s going ahn?’, I can say the following:

(1) I’ve had an academic article published

Hot on the heels of my post-doc research at BTH in Karlskrona, I’m excited to say that ‘Flash points: Reading electronic literature as a metaphor for creativity’ (PDF), an article I co-wrote with Maria Engberg, has now been published in the latest issue of TEXT Journal. To be exact, it’s a part of a special issue entitled Creativity: Cognitive, social and cultural perspectives, edited by Nigel McLoughlin and Donna Lee Brien. So that’s untold.

(2) I’ve presented a paper in Bristol on the subject of myself. Or, um …

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Bristol, UK for the final ELMCIP seminar, on the subject of E-literature in/with Performance. I presented a paper entitled Davey Dreamnation and the Performance of Self. Here’s the abstract:

Since 2002 I have maintained a series of personal websites (now amalgamated into one website: daveydreamnation.com) that explore questions of personal identity and performativity through the character of Davey Dreamnation, a failed rockstar and comic alter-ego. The performance of this character (what could be described as a form of avatarism) brings with it various notions of play, irony and humour that are not necessarily often associated with the performance of electronic literature. This presentation seeks to engage with notions of performance of the self with reference to (and critical appraisal of) theoretical notions of performance as expounded by Butler and others. The performance of character in an online space which is heavily mediated by its form (that is, the blog format and its attendant proprietary structures and limitations) raises questions about human interaction with personal websites ‘performing’ as actors in their own right – that is, as co-creators, the performance of which influences other users’ readings of character and identity. This presentation will offer a glimpse into the workings of one such character, with reference to archived screenshots, audio files, text extracts and character analysis, with the aim of offering a humorous yet serious examination of the playfulness of online performativity. The presentation will also take into account and address some of the issues raised in the call for papers, specifically the usefulness of performance studies in blog environments. Finally, both the presentation and the accompanying paper will seek to offer themselves as examples of performance writing about electronic literature.

And here’s a pic of me and Davey during the delivery of the paper:

(3) My poem Övergången has been ‘analysed’ online …

THis is kind of nice. William Fox, who tweets as @readism and who runs a Tumblr of the same name, has written an entry analysing my poem Övergången, from the chapbook of the same name. Have at it:

The authoritative voice works well because it gets at how confidently we can trace the narrative of our social successes these days. It’s therefore no surprise that the poem hits the ground running – the opening line is in dactyls that are promptly broken up by a line break & the more awkward phrase ‘very quickly now’. The smoothness of my own commute is always determined by the extent to which I don’t think about how quickly I want to get it over & done with. On a tram / train this is easily achieved. I think this ‘transition’ is a special case because the poet’s probably walking the streets after dark (‘It’s already too late to plead…’) & more than likely through a city. This makes casual & indifferent mannerisms even more imperative, if only to avoid getting the shit kicked out yourself. It also makes you yearn for the ‘ignorance’ of non-self-consciousness, or to be a ‘special case’ (i.e. to be so deliriously shitfaced that you don’t care if people laugh at you).

Read the rest on your own.

K. So, that’s not bad: three cool things have happened. And here’s three more cool things that are destined to happen at some stage in the future:

(4) My poem ‘Wireless’ is going to be published in Overland

Not much I can say about this right now, except that I’m rather chuffed that Overland poetry ed. peter Minter has chosen this poem for inclusion in that erstwhile journal of the progressive left in Australia. Wireless first appeared on my blog last year. But don’t let that stop you from checking out Overland’s cool new website.

(5) ‘Clouds Afternoon Jazz Sprinkles’ finds a home … of sorts

My poem ‘Clouds Afternoon Jazz Sprinkles’, dedicated to poet Jill Jones, will be appearing soon as part of a special project. And that’s all I’m saying for now.

(6) I’ll be giving a paper at the ELO conference in June

No, not that ELO. I mean the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) conference, Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints, which is taking place June 20-23 in Morgantown, WV, US of A. My paper, whose semi-absurd title is “Why ‘But is it e-lit?’ is a ridiculous question: the case for online journals as organic, evolving works of digital literature”, will be part of a panel called Practices: Definitions and Pedagogies for E-Lit, and will be delivered at the godless hour of 8:30am on Saturday 23 June. Here’s the abstract:

Cordite Poetry Review (http://cordite.org.au), an Australian journal of poetry and poetics, was founded in 1997 as a print journal but since 2001 has appeared only online. Over the last ten years, as the magazine has grown in size and reach, the question of Cordite’s status as a journal has become more vexed. Can it be regarded as a ‘proper’ literary journal, in the way that other, offline journals are? Is it truly electronic, given the relative absence of works on the site that explore the possibilities of the online space? Or are these merely ridiculous questions, the posing of which reflects a pre-online hierarchy of prestige? Why do these questions exist in the first place? If we assume that any work or collection of works available online is automatically digital in nature, then the issue instead becomes one of whether or not sites like Cordite function as organic, interconnected and hypertextual spaces for creative expression. The inclusion of electronic literature works in the magazine for the first time in 2011 brought into focus the problematic nature of categorization. This presentation will explore the evolving nature of the Cordite site in order to demonstrate the highly complex and sometimes chaotic nature of journals and magazines in the online realm, and to therefore argue for a rejection of the binary characterization of new media literature communities as either ‘electronic’ or ‘static’. In doing so, it is hoped that the presentation will stimulate discussion of the ways in which electronic sites for literature embody the contradictory capacities to organically evolve, mutate and disappear.

I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow-panellists Clara Fernandez-Vara (whose paper is entitled “Electronic Literature for All: Performance in Exhibits and Public Readings”), and Alexandra Saemmer (“The (problematic) issue to evaluate literariness: Digital literature between legitimation and canonization”). I’m also just looking forward to being in a seriously hot and humid place this summer!

So, that’s all for now. Maybe I’ll see you again in a month or so when I’ve got some more news.


Postscript: my lecture on self-publishing (November 2011)


Talk about serendipity – just after I published this post I discovered that the entire lecture is now on Youtube. So I’ve embedded the vid below. Personally, I won’t be watching all eighty minutes of it – after all, I had to fricking live it the first time around.

In November 2011 I gave a lecture at BTH on the subject of my PhD thesis. Below I’ve posted some of the introductory remarks I made, as well as a link to the Powerpoint presentation I used. Enjoy!

Hi everyone, and thanks for coming to my lecture today. As you’ve just heard, I’m a post-doctoral researcher here at BTH, working on the ELMCIP project. In order to become a post-doctoral researcher, I of course first had to complete a PhD, which I did at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

The title of my thesis was Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: Self-Publishing in the Field of Australian Poetry. And it’s this thesis that I’m here to talk to you about today. Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about the best way to introduce myself to you. And I first thought that I could start off by introducing a series of anecdotes about my life, in the style of an old school professor.

If I were to make such an introduction in front of a group of students and staff from a programme in digital culture, I’d probably begin by recalling the first time I ever used a computer, which was the Commodore 64 computer in 1980 at the age of 8. I’d then go on to recall my experience of watching The Return of the Jedi at roughly the same age, on pirated video.

I’d maybe even throw in a couple of references to other old school technologies – like the fact that I lived in a small country town which was the last place in Australia to be hooked up to a manual telephone exchange, complete with an operator who knew where everyone was at any given time of the day, and who would have to manually connect calls using various plugs and sockets.

I’d then go on to describe, fondly, my memory of the first time I ever saw an automatic teller machine. My father having worked as a bank manager, I’d then mention the fact that all of the computers used in the bank were supplied by the Burroughs company, one of whose beneficiaries was the (some would say great) writer William S. Burroughs.

I’d then try and make some connection between all of these things and the fact that I typed my first story on a computer at the age of ten, and have been using computers in one way or other ever since. Nevertheless, I’d conclude my opening remarks by saying that despite all of the changes that have occurred over at least the last twenty years in the way we use technology to make creative works – stories, poetry, music, motion pictures, photography, LOLcats – I still believe in the magical power of the printed word, and the symbolic power of books.

But in the end I decided not to go with such an introduction, and so instead we’ll start here.

What followed was based on an earlier rant entitled Notes Towards an Imaginary Thesis: Stanzaland, which I posted back in 2009. As part of the lecture, I also read a number of poems from The Happy Farang, We Will Disappear and Dead Poem Office. The Powerpoint presentation mostly contains images and probably doesn’t make much sense but I’m making it available here as a PDF, for posterity’s sake.


Invitation to a lecture …

Invitation to: Public Lecture and Poetry Reading: organized by BTH Department of Culture and Communication and the EU-Art Line Project

You are invited to attend the following public lecture and poetry reading sponsored by the Art Line project, Digital Art Platform Initiative, and organized by the BTH Department of Culture and Communication.

Lecture Title: “Bonfire of the Vanity Presses – Publishing and Self-Publishing in the Field of Poetry,” presented by David Prater, Ph.D. (Post-Doctoral Researcher, BTH, Department of Culture and Communication)
Date: Nov 16, 2011, 15.15-17.00
Room: C413A
BTH, Campus Gräsvik (Karlskrona, Sweden)

This lecture will be based on Dr. Prater’s PH.D. thesis, entitled “Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: Self-Publishing in the Field of Australian Poetry.” The presentation will examine examples of Dr. Prater’s self-published poetry chapbooks and will discuss issues of authorization and reputation raised by the confusion between ‘vanity publishing’ and ‘self-publishing’ as cultural practices. While the thesis does not specifically address the place of digital self-expression within the cultural field, the lecture will offer a chance to discuss the impact of electronic writing on the literary field and on literary arts in the current age of digitalization. Examples of Dr. Prater’s self-published books will be available for viewing during the lecture, which will also incorporate readings from these works.

This lecture is organized by BTH researchers in the Department of Culture and Communication and in the Digital Art Platform initiative within the EU-funded project Art Line. Art Line is an International cooperation between the academy, cultural institutions and tourism within the Southern Baltic region to explore art innovation in physical and digital space. The Digital Art Platform seeks to research, promote, and publish art and creative critical practices informed by developing media phenomena, technology, and artistic expressions.

About David Prater:

David Prater was born in Australia in 1972. He holds a BA from the University of Sydney, an MA from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. His first poetry collection, We Will Disappear, was published by papertiger media in 2007, and Vagabond Press published his chapbook Morgenland in the same year. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of Australian and international journals, and he has performed his work at festivals in Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Macedonia. He has also undertaken two writers’ residencies in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and has worked extensively as a teacher, editor and researcher. Since 2001 he has been the managing editor of Cordite Poetry Review, an online journal of Australian poetry and poetics. He is currently undertaking post-doctoral research on electronic literature and pedagogy at Blekinge Tekniska Högskola as part of the Electronic Literature as a Model of Creative Practice (ELMCIP) project.

For more information about the lecture/reading, contact: Lissa Holloway-Attaway, Senior Lecturer at BTH (lat@bth.se) or Aje Björkman, Information Officer at Art Line (aje.bjorkman@artline-southbaltic.eu)

Cabaret Voltage: Intermission

While I’m in a video posting mood, here’s what could be considered a lost gem: footage of the world premiere of Intermission, a performance piece by Talan Memmott and Eric Snodgrass at Cabaret Voltage, an evening of electronic literature performances held as part of our ELMCIP workshop in Karlskrona in June. Notable, if you ask me, for my own performance as the chess-playing maniac centre stage and that special moment, at 8:25, when I throw a chess piece at Eric’s head, only narrowly missing him. Sit back and enjoy. It doesn’t get much weirder than this.

Cabaret Voltage: Intermission from ELMCIP on Vimeo.

Art Line comes to Karlskrona!

Art Line is an international art project running from 2011-2013, and featuring fourteen partners from five countries in the South Baltic region: Sweden, Poland, Germany, Russia and Lithuania. In October, Art Line comes to Karlskrona, with a range of events planned, including the above seminar. Check out the last name on that interesting list of speakers. W00t! I feel like an obscure chill wave band performing for the first time at Coachella. Or something.

‘That’s Buddha’ (live in Montreal)

In addition to providing my editorial services for the latest edition of Melbourne’s literary spunk-fest Going Down Swinging, I was also lucky enough to score myself a spot on one of the two spoken-word CDs accompanying the magazine.

The track, ‘That’s Buddha’, was recorded live at le Fes­ti­val Voix d’Amériques in Mon­treal in 2009. The per­for­mance involved two Bud­dha Machines and me, was recorded on Wednes­day 11 Feb­ru­ary at the Casa del Popolo, and runs for about six minutes. Thanks to Ian Ferrier for selecting the track! If you’d like to hear what two Bud­dha Machines sound like, you’ll have to buy the CD, and you can do that by whacking your mouse over this big old photo:

Or, you can listen to the track online at the untold Indiefeed Performance Poetry channel, which is profiling the GDS issue with a series of tracks over the coming fortnight. To hear the track, as well as some cute commentary from GDS editors Lisa and Nathan, get thee to Indiefeed immediately!

Postscript: Utrecht, January 2009

I love Utrecht. Ever since I was a young law student in the mid-1990s contemplating the possibility of spending a semester there on exchange, there’s been something about the place that draws me in. Why?

Of course, in the mid-1990s, I didn’t even know where Utrecht actually was, and had even less idea of the differences between the cities in the Netherlands that make up the Randstad: from Rotterdam’s bustling post-war suburbs to Den Haag’s split personality folksiness and, of course, Amsterdam’s pigeon and tourist parades.

Utrecht, being slightly smaller and a little bit further away, is like none of these cities and yet somehow encapsulates most of the things I like about the Netherlands.

Of course, the Dutch are just as prone to sentimental cliches as the rest of us (see what I did there?), and Utrecht is a place where you’re almost guaranteed to hear someone talking about how, unlike [insert name of city here], Utrecht is a real village (population 300,000, FYI), where everybody knows everyone else, where people are friendlier and cooler and not from Amsterdam.

Whatever. I mean, why not go the whole hog and say Utrecht is actually Cheers? With Woody Harrelson, Carla and the rest of the gang hanging out together all the time, eyes misting up whenever they see yet another person they know, literally ODing from gezelligheid?

But I digress. The fact is that with its sunken canals, beautiful historic centre, profusion of drinking establishments and ‘ye olde University town’ feel, Utrecht is the most wonderful city I’ve never had the privilege of living in.

Why we’ve just spent the last twelve months living in Den Haag instead, I’m not sure. I would put it down to the high costs of renting in Utrecht but then the same is also true of most parts of Den Haag, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and even smaller towns like Delft. Maybe I’m just not ready for Utrecht.

Or else, Utrecht is simply not ready for me.

All of which baloney is a pathetic lead-in to the real subject of this post: the fact that in January this year, I travelled to Utrecht for Het Huis van de Poezie, a one-night festival where I made my Dutch poetic debut, reading along with five other poets for a total of four hours in a non-stop verseriffic marathon.

And yes, I made that word up. Marathon, I mean.

Um –

Postscript: London, December 2008

Last December I travelled to London to read some poems in the Oxfam Christmas Poetry Fundraiser, which was held at the charity’s Marylebone bookstore on a cold and dark and wet and oh so London (or Londen, as we say in Hollandia) evening.

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Upcoming Gigs in Utrecht and Montreal!

I’m busting with excitement at the prospect of performing again. After doing just one gig in 2008 (even if it was in London, thus enabling me to tick off a rather large box on my ‘cities-to-read-poetry-in’ list) I’m hoping 2009 will be the year of the Bo Dean when it comes to readings and festivals and even a couple of those little things we speak of in the trade as ‘moments of quiet illumination’. Yep, in case you missed it the first time, I’m a private (as well as public) poet.

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Oxfam Christmas Poetry Fundraiser!

I’ll be channelling Dickens (or maybe just Bill Murray in Scrooged) on Tuesday 2 December, when I’ll be appearing at a London fundraising event described as ‘8 Poets in 80 minutes’. Of course, if this were a haiku gathering, that tag line would read something more along the lines of ’80 Poets in 8 minutes’ but enough about me.

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Here’s some pictures from my time at the jaw-dropping 3 day PICNIC08 conference. Lasers not shown.
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We Will Disappear: the First Anniversary!

It’s a quiet kind of milestone but my book We Will Disappear was launched one year ago this weekend at the Melbourne Writers Festival. Quiet in the sense that I am about ten thousand miles from this year’s MWF, where some class acts and friends will be performing at the MWF Festival Club and elsewhere; a milestone in the sense that one year is a heck of a long time in the life of anyone and everyone, let alone a book. Anyway, just when I was beginning to think that We Will Disappear had fulfilled the prophecy of its own title and had quietly disappeared from the world of people and books, I got a message from an old friend saying:

I bought your book of poems in Brunswick Street last week. I’m really enjoying it. I like the one for the unknown waitress.

And you know, of course this made me feel a lot better. So for those who missed it, here’s “(On the Tomb of) the Unknown Waitress”. Happy birthday “We Will Disappear”!

Liner Notes Volume 3!

Slow-Cooked Socks & Passionate Tongues

Well, it’s been a while between drinks for me as far as gigs are concerned but all that’s about to change with the incredibly bulk ace news that I’ll be featuring – alongside deep-fried sock dumpling expert Alicia Sometimes – at a forthcoming edition of Brunswick’s finest poetry reading, Passionate Tongues!

Or as I like to call it, Pashing Tongues.

Okay, calm down.

Join Alicia and myself on Monday 21 January at 8:30pm at the Brunswick Hotel, Sydney Rd Brunswick (corner of Weston Street) for a cross-sectional evening of spanking word rants, chiselled good-looks and clenched jaws. There will be moving tributes to llamas. There will be ALF pyjamas. There will be poems about Pizza. Alicia and myself may even read something you know. Untold!

The order for the night, as with all Pashing Tongues events, will go a little something like this: 3 or 4 open stage readers (that’s you, kids); 1st feature set (bags not me); 2nd feature set (aka yours dewly); torlet break; features again (that’s right – twice the Sometimes, triple the Clint Bo Dean!); short break/raffle; and finally the remainder of the open stage, which will hopefully finish around 11:00-11:30.

And remember, it’s bulk ace, never retail.

Freelance, never contract.

Slow-cooked, never half-cocked socks.

ISR Seminar Au-Go-Go!

On Thursday 6 December I’ll be giving a presentation on my nearly-completed PhD thesis, entitled ‘Bonfire of the Vanity Presses: Self-Publishing in the Field of Australian Literature’. The seminar will be held at Swinburne University of Technology (Hawthorn campus), where I am studying at the Institute for Social Research. It’ll be held from 12.30-2 pm, in SPW 226. I’m not going to elaborate on that address, as then people might actually come along. Here’s the summary of my paper, which is pretty much the same as my thesis abstract:

This paper investigates the creation, distribution and evaluation of self-published book-objects, with a special emphasis on self-publishing in Australian poetry. It aims to mobilise several theoretical approaches, including an historical approach to the narrative of book making, a sociological approach to authorship and the literary field, and a biographical examination of self-publishing authors. It seeks in general to marry a literary analysis of the personal contexts of self-published books with a cultural analysis of self-publishing within the field of Australian literary production as a whole. Rather than offering a basic defence of self-publishing or a textual analysis of self-published works, it seeks to reinsert self-publishing into a robust description of what Bourdieu might term the “field” of Australian poetry.

Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it?

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