ILIAZD (Ilya Zdanevich)
Zaum for Strangers – Paris 1921
The fourth volume of the bie bao series presents Ilya Zdanevich’s talk The New Schools in Russian Poetry, given in 1921 in Paris. In this talk, Zdanevich introduced zaum to the French Dadaists. He declared that practical and poetic languages are two poles of existence, two opposite ways of life.
Alongside this, the fourth volume also presents Sergei Sigov’s essay ‘Ilya Zdanevich’s Onolatric Mystery’ from 1991, where one can read about donkey-themed ethnographic inflections of Zdanevich’s zaum plays. Sigov, who was an internationally active poet, theoretician and publisher considered Zdanevich’s work as pivotal for their dissident Transfuturist movement. In this essay, Sigov discussed Zdanevich’s zaum as a strange amalgam of archaic with contemporary forms.
The first-ever English translation of these writings is presented with an extended introduction and extensive annotations, as well as with visual contributions by Rea Nikonova, who was a lifelong collaborator of Sigov, and who theoretically elaborated the concept of transposition, an idea to socially expand poetic gestures. Nikonova’s one such gesture was called ‘Iliazdic Zaumail’ — making use of Zdanevich’s zaum as a new form of global communication.
In this first lecture in Paris, Zdanevich talks about poetic words circling around the globe until they reach their destination, open to contaminating influences as they cross strange and exotic languages. Parallel to Nikonova’s contributions, this global itinerary is further expanded with two visual responses sent by a Bananafish member Qing Zhou, a publisher and an artist from Shanghai.