Paul Skiff New York

Avantgarde-Schriftsteller Paul Skiff ist eine zentrale Figur der New Yorker Poetry Szene. Seine mit Video-Einspielungen begleitete Live-Performance von Kurzgeschichten und Gedichten sprengt die gängigen Vorstellungen von Poesie. Über eine Bilderwelt des Unterbewussten und mit schockierender Logik zielt sein Werk darauf, durch die pure Kraft des Klangs an der Gegenwart zu kratzen.

PAUL SKIFF writes with a furious
music all his own. Equal parts
subconscious imagery and
shocking logic, his work aims
to challenge the status quo by
sheer force of sound.
- The Kitchen, NYC.

Portrait Paul Skiff

PAUL SKIFF is looking for a new way to be alive through the generative
quality of the spoken word. This has led to having scripts and recordings
of his work included in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art
of Chicago and New York's Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library. While
writing, painting and producing cultural events he has also been performing
his work live since 1980 at presentations sponsored by important community
organizations such as The Workers for Political Action Gallery of Chicago
and El Bohio in New York. His work was chosen by the world renowned
anarchist cultural center ABC NO RIO to be published as the first volume of
its "Free Book Series." His writing has also appeared in the publications
Verbal Abuse Magazine and Curare. In 1994 his writing was included in
'Aloud, Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe,' the American Book Award
winning anthology published by Henry Holt and Sons, New York. Paul
co-produced and created the sound design combining voices of 69 poets for
the ground breaking spoken word recording, 'Nuyorican Symphony, Poetry Live
at the Knitting Factory,' which was released on CD by the Knitting Works
label in 1994. Awarded for his visual art by the Articule Collective in
Montreal, Paul's many collaborations include events and performances with
the artist Martha Rosler and the "Cobra" project of the musician John Zorn.
Paul has made broadcasts on WNYU Radio, MultiKulti Radio Berlin and
Pacifica Radio's 'Liquid Sound Lounge.' The internationally acclaimed
performance cabaret Jackie 60 recently nominated Paul for an award as the
best spoken word artist of the year. Samples of his writing are posted on
the cabaret's web site. In 1998 his poetry video installation co-produced
with Edwin Torres was a central focus of the biennial New Wave Festival of
Contemporary Arts in Melbourne, Australia. In 2000 Paul's writing will be
included in the anthology 'Chick for a Day,' published by Simon and
Schuster, New York. Paul is a different kind of performer of the live word
altogether, having twenty years of experience that pre-dates by a
generation the new popularity of poetry and the spoken word.

As a producer, between 1990 and 1995 Paul coordinated over 1,000 reading
performances in an ongoing series at The Knitting Factory in New York. The
series was named 'Best Place to See a Reading' by the New York Press. From
1991 to 1999 Paul was Manager of Productions for the Nigerian master
drummer and choreographer Babatunde Olatunji, producing presentations for
events by the United Nations Hunger Project, SEVA Foundation, the African
National Congress and others. Currently Paul directs an annual conference
of over 5000 artists for the 88-year-old non-profit College Art

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Paul Skiff's statements about his work

«The live, spoken word helps to feel connected to life. In this sense the
spoken word is a living thing with the ability to focus thought and emotion
in a direct way. Also, to speak is a very physical act with an ability to
affect. So for me as an artist live poetry is a powerful medium.»

«I speak about common experiences, often very personal, and I speak about
the experience of all that obscures and diverts thought and feeling. I want
to call attention to how there are many forces that deprive us of our
ability to be alive in a direct and full way. In a simple way I talk about
relations between people. Often this means I speak a very simple logic and
a very raw emotion together. This is a kind of spiritual commitment to an
ideological view of harmony.»

«The topics of my work are the harsh conflicts and exhilarating pleasures
that color a life determined to flourish among social, political and
economic aggression against the self.»

«By doing poetry and mixing it in an art context I don't have to be put into
a standard art world commodity or have to present work to the standard art
world audience. This way my work has some practical purpose besides just
being an art world product.»

«I use large screen video to extend the possibilities of the words, use the
kind of exaggeration and distortion technology provides, and increase the
aesthetic power of moods I want to create.»

«I write in many different styles from expressionistic to very formal,
abstract and experimental depending on what level of consciousness and
emotion I want to communicate with. So my performance is always full of a
variety of ways to speak and use the voice, different ways the body
physically finds natural sound with the voice. I may speak in simple
definitions or chant emotional proclimations while drumming.»

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