Poet Kenneth Goldsmith created UbuWeb in 1996 as an online repository for obscure avant-garde art that, by virtue of having little commercial potential, was hard to find. Audio was an early component of the archive, owing to Kenneth’s interest in sound poetry, an even more obscure art form.
Since then he’s served as the chief, and only, curator and proprietor of UbuWeb, which has become an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in underground and unpopular culture. Kenneth chronicled his efforts in the new book “Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb.” He joins this episode to recount some of these tales, telling us what inspired him to build UbuWeb in the first place, and why he maintains it using simple html code of the sort used in the early web, rather than updating to use the latest database and dynamic website platforms.
Because much of the work on UbuWeb is archived without explicit permission from the creators – living or dead – Kenneth explains why he views “cease and desist” orders as an invitation to dialog and how community radio station WFMU was one of his inspirations. We also get into the relationship between piracy and preservation, why he loves “the misuses of UbuWeb” and the value of “folk archiving” and “folk law.”
- UbuWeb Sound
- Kenneth Goldsmith at the University of Pennsylvania Department of English
- Playlists and archives for Kenny G’s Hour of Pain on WFMU
- Duchamp Is My Lawyer at Columbia University Press
- Duchamp Is My Lawyer at Amazon (Radio Survivor will receive a small commission if you purchase from this link)
- What Is an Interlaced GIF?