Misalignments in this issue of Dance Theatre Journal yield interesting thoughts about editing, published mistakes and the columns of my columns.
The left hand column is the dominant narrative outlining key critical aspects of US writer Richard Kostelanetz’s On Innovative Performance(s), Three Decades of Recollections on Alternative Theater ; a fascinating thirty year collection of Kostelanetz's typed notes-cards from the burgeoning 1960-1980 New York performance art scene. Staying close to On Innovative Performance(s) the left column presents excerpts from Kostelanetz's text, posits the context for his work, and outlines his outsider position in relation to the mainstream New York and dominant theatre press, including his living and working within a small circle of Manhattan artists (an infamous roll-call of performance pioneers such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Alison Knowles, Nan Goldin, Deborah Hay, Dick Higgins and Ann Halprin amongst others). The left hand column touches upon Kostelanetz’s critical modus operandi, his writerly rootedness to Manhattan, and his sometime lay approach to experimental performance. The text also speculates on the familiar patterns of the performance Avant Garde (professional exclusion, public incomprehension, gathering a small yet loyal following and eventually leading to widespread critical acclaim) and the scene's inherent smallness.
On Innovative Performance(s) comprises of thirty years worth of 4 x 6” typed note-cards that Kostelanetz made from PERFORMANCEs he saw between 1960 and the late 1980’s. For publication the note-cards were sifted through, re-typed and sorted into alphabetical order by artist name. Several contextualising essays on experimental PERFORMANCE are also re-printed. As a collection, it remains almost entirely unedited from the original cards.
I am struck by the new levels of meaning created in relation to this comparatively niche publication by Kostelanetz. It has me wondering. Examples of essayistic misprints are no doubt numerous throughout history. An anthology of such texts, bound together in their full and wrongful glory, to my knowledge has not recently been published and seems overdue.