Understanding Practice: Art & Research of Language Art

Eleni Sikelianos

Zentrum Fokus Forschung
Rustenschacherallee 2-4
1020 Wien

2. June 2022, 18:00 – 19:30

Exchange & Discourse
3. June 2022, 09:30 – 12:30

I have long been working in the field of ecopoetics while simultaneously making hybrid family histories. The two threads yearn to meld. Meditation: some animals’ life-stages are entirely divergent in form, as in caterpillar­-to-butterfly metamorphosis.
– Eleni Sikelianos

Human Animal Performances

You share 70% of your DNA with zebrafish, and a giant sequoia’s genome (more than 8 times larger than yours) might teach us how to survive. This is an ecopoetry reading/screening dedicated to singular and communal possibilities of evolutionary and ancestral origins. Inspired by intertidal ocean zones, where animals adapt to live both underwater and beneath the beating sun, we push at the boundaries of how life and poems can exist. Evolution and family history may at first glance seem unrelated, but we begin to see planetary, cultural, and familial inheritance as deeply intertwined. In the vexed filed of lineage, historically used to enforce hegemonic structures, art goes to work. We exist alongside all these creatures with whom we share a mosaic of structural and genomic remnants—our deep family. Ancient lineages imagine the future.


Eleni Sikelianos is the author of nine books of poetry (forthcoming is Your Kingdom) and two hybrid memoirs (The Book of Jon and You Animal Machine). Seven of these have appeared in French and one in Greek, while excerpts have been translated into other languages. Her writings, influenced by ecopoetics and family and animal lineages, have been widely fêted and anthologized, and she has received numerous awards, including from the National Endowment for the Arts and The National Poetry Series.

Please contact zff@uni-ak.ac.at if you want to join the sessions on June 2-3, 2022!

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