ICOA participated in the Arcades Project on Friday, May 4, in the Historic McCormick-Cowdry House at 408 E. State Street in downtown Ithaca. The biannual Arcades Project is a curated event featuring artists, designers, and independent presses. The event coincided with the annual regional literary festival Spring (W)rites, and its aesthetic goal was to highlight the intersection between dreaming and consumer consciousness.
Irakli Kakabadze, ICOA’s writer in residence from 2008-2011, was a special guest of literary journal Essays and Fictions. He read a poem he wrote in English and his native Georgian specifically for the event titled “Decolonizing Self.” The following is an excerpt from his poem:
I talked to my friend today:
He has peed with Salman Rushdie and got to know him in Toilet.
It has made his day – to pee with the classic of post-post-post colonial literature.
They have exchanged few words while peeing:
Discussed Puchini at Metropolitan Opera, Mayor Bloomberg’s Presidential aspirations,
Wall Street and Morgan Stanley, and having all vegetable diet.
My friend was so happy that I was happy for him.
I could sum it up like this.
Ever since 1989 – whole generations grew up in Georgia
Dreaming to pee with Salman Rushdie.
And write at least one scandalous work
With commercial success
America the land of the dream
And Europe was a paradise.
We were colonized by our own dreams.
We have colonized ourselves
And helped to colonize others.
We came out of former Soviet Union and
We have declared:
Liberal Democracy is great!
Without knowing anything about it.
We have screamed:
Capitalism is the only way to
Without knowing anything about Capitalism!
We were sick post-Soviet generation
Of McDonald Diet and Coca Cola dreams,
Of Freud’s materialism!
ICOA also helped to transform the Historic McCormick-Cowdry House into an experimental marketplace of literature, art, and design that night by manning a table displaying books for sale from previous writers in residence. Other Arcades Project participants included local and regional independent presses, makers of art books and editions, conceptual artists, and indie craft vendors. The founders of the Arcades Project drew inspiration for the event’s theme from Balzac’s quote: “The great poem of display chants its stanzas of color from the Church of the Madeleine to the Porte Saint-Denis.” The arcades are a center of commerce in luxury items. In fitting them out, art enters the service of the merchant. With this concept in mind, the Ithaca Arcades Project provided gallery visitors and shoppers with a chance to purchase affordable and original works of art and literature.
The event was sponsored by Spring Writes and The Community Arts Partnership. For more details visit the Project’s web page at http://arcadesprojectithaca.wordpress.com/