Dick Higgins has been involved in the practical end of the arts since the late 1950’s, when he was co-founder of Happenings
and, later, of Fluxus
, active in music and studying with John Cage and Henry Cowell, has been active in the visual arts with his performance notations, the graphic series 7.7.73
and five films, and above all there has been his poetry and other literary work, which at times converges on his visual art, musical or graphic activities. Far from feeling spread too thin, he has insisted all along the one kind of activity reinforces the others.
He has therefore has an insider’s view on each of the avant garde arts that has arisen since the late 1950’s, which he sees as the watershed divide between the earlier modern and postmodern era and the current “postcognitive” one, and has left intensely the inadequacy of current critical and art-theoretical systems to relate to these, to explain their successes or to open them up to new audiences. The thrust of his theoretical writings has been, then, to describe and not to prescribe new criteria and contexts–from his early (1964) essay on Intermedia, which gave the term to language, up through the more recent (1977) concept of an “allusive referential.” A collection of theses theoretical essays (some very brief, some longer) is therfore timely in order to make available in one place these ideas–many of them long since out of print, many originally issued through Higgin’s now legendary small press of the 1960’s, Something Else Press. As a group they do not form a unified system: but they do represent a point of view and offer tools which may be useful i developing theories and opinions for the next generation of critic and audience alike.
- Printed Editions