Eulipion Outpost focuses on creative life and culture from the perspective of a 70+ year old Filipinx American artist/writer with a documentarian urge.
Last name pronounced: Ven-gwah, i.e., ven as in “venom,“ “gwah“ as in “guava.” So if you’re hesitant about the pronunciation, just think: venom guava.
Why “Eulipion Outpost“?
Limitations sometimes provide unexpected opportunities. I’ve been using Oulipo* processes (game-like rules/rituals for art making) as a way out of the “productivity” grind. But Eulipo comes from Rashaan Roland Kirk’s jazz piece, “Theme for the Eulipions.” Experimental poet Harryette Mullen writes about “Oulipo/Oulipeans” and its Eulipean manifestation:
“when I first heard of Oulipo and Oulipeans I thought of them in relation to the Eulipeans in Rashaan Roland Kirk’s jazz classic, ‘Theme for the Eulipeans,’ the ones he calls ‘the artists, the actors, the journeymen’ who come from a planet in another galaxy, Eulipea. I’m not an Oulipean but I can call myself an Eulipean . . .
The most liberating aspect of Oulipo for me was their demystification of ‘inspiration’ in favor of ‘potential literature.’ This puts less stress on writing as a product and more emphasis on writing as a process that might result in a work of literature.”
Regarding “product” and “process”: As an artist, I’m often urged to be productive—not for myself—but to keep in motion the cogs of a market economy whose benefits are not really meant for me. I don’t have a problem with “productivity” in itself, but rather with mystification and exploitation. I think there must be another, better way—or maybe multiple ways. I’m making art and writing my way towards that.
Finally, this newsletter tends to revolve around several questions: How do you survive and thrive as an artist (in any of the arts) during an era of great, exponential change and instability? How does color, culture, gender, [dis]ability, and age factor in? What art is addressing these changes and issues, and what ideas, processes, and tools help us to stay creative, playful, and hopeful?
* The visual art versions of Oulipo are Oupeinpo (painting/drawing) and Oubapo (comic book art). Here’s a video intro to Oulipo, by Subtle Channels. For me, Oulipoand Oupeinpo are a form of creative play that can stimulate fun and surprising results.
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