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Nano-fest Densities

Amy Sara Carroll


"Nano-fest Densities," in many ways, is meant to read as a companion piece to Ricardo Dominguez's essay, "Nano-fest Destiny." I wrote it after *particle group*'s participation in the Nomadic New York series at Berlin's House of World Cultures (October 2007), but you can date the piece via some of its other passing references, notably "the critical winter of the bees" (2007–2008). Originally, I titled this rant/essay/performative text, "Nano-fiesta," but subsequently haven't felt particularly festive about its subject matter. At the time of its composition, I was getting my feet wet in the forcefields of collaboration and wanted to create a campy manifesto-like gift for my co-conspirators (where one, despite protests, still understands camp as one of so many tactics for hybridizing the political and the aesthetic). Hence, the essay's cheeky yet somber ruminations on a nano-sublime and environmental -isms, and/or, its open-ended invitation/call for writerly participation. The invitation still stands.

Most recently, I spliced "Nano-fest Densities" into another essay on post-contemporary digital literature to augment a presentation for the International e-Poetry Festival in Barcelona (May 2009). In real-time, its inclusion in that presentation was at best ill-conceived,1 detracting from the "main event"—our rough-draft attempt conceptually to alter the ecology of presentation for the "illuminated nanoscripts" from the tiny bubble-frame of the iPod nano to the monumental scale of garrulous architecture (pace Krzysztof Wodiczko). We had proposed for the Festival to wield hand-held projectors in the dark as a rehearsal of ghost-writing a counter-public sphere.2 When our performance suddenly was re-slated for 4:30 pm, we fell back on the vagrancies of documentation, creating short video clips of the "illuminated nanoscripts" as actions/walking poems. With any luck, we'll "fail better" on the next presentational go-round.

For now, approach "Nano-fest Destinies" as both "a moveable feast" and a time-sensitive reading/snapshot of the ambient particulate matter of *particle group*'s overarching agenda.


1 The situation was aggravated—or enhanced (depending upon your perspective)—by the moderator's refusal to acknowledge the extra five minutes we had been granted, his beautifully choreographed, but disheartening, interruption, "Okay, that's enough. The show's over." Consider recycling that melodramatic ending for "Nano-fest Densities" and you (almost) could grow to appreciate the dis-ease of the latter's lack of closure.

2 So many thanks to the University of Michigan's Language Resource Center (most especially, to Philomena Meechan) for materially humoring our brainstorm, for the purchase of these projectors.