First Thought Worst Thought : Tom Comitta
Exhibition Dates: September 12 - October 18, 2015
Opening Reception: September 12, 7-10pm
Special Event: NaNoWriNi, A three-hour speed writing novel workshop, October 10th, 7-10pm
What if a 500-page book could be read in a minute? What if a novel could be written and published in a night? These are just a couple of the questions raised in Tom Comitta's exhibition, First Thought Worst Thought, an interactive archive of the 40 books written by Comitta between 2011 and 2014. The show maps a trajectory of book writing that edges on literature, visual arts, and music. Utilizing digital tools such as online text generators and copy and paste as well as pre-digital forms of handwriting and photography, Comitta displays a wide range of writing styles: travel writing, an art exhibition catalog, erotica, cookbooks, architectural plans, a children's book, and more.
During the exhibition, Royal Nonesuch Gallery will be transformed into a reading room and dynamic archive. All 40 books will be on display accompanied by visual materials, including sketches and studies, video, and interactive software, to invite readers into closer engagement. Through this arrangement, questions surrounding the nature and limitations of the book go further: What if a book were legible to readers across all languages? What if a book were a park built in the mind? Comitta’s book works materialize these inquiries. The show will culminate in a three-hour novel writing event in which attendees will discover methods of speed writing and will write and publish a novel in one night.
Tom Comitta is a writer, performer and visual artist living in Oakland. From 2011-12 Comitta composed and conducted nine operas with The San Francisco Guerrilla Opera Company, a roving ensemble that gave voice to texts in numerous sites around the Bay Area including the Civic Center BART station and the Berkeley Art Museum. In 2012, he staged National Novel Writing Night Month (NaNoWriNiMo), a futurist improvement on the write-a-novel-in-a-month contest in which he published novels written in a night. Comitta has exhibited at LUMA Foundation, Zürich, Reed College, Portland and Robert Berman/E6, San Francisco. Recent books include ◯ (Ugly Ducking Presse) and SENT (Invisible Venue), with two poems in The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing, UK), an anthology surveying the "rise of concrete poetry in the digital age."