As part of the exhibition What the Modern Era Has Gained in Civility it Has Lost in Poetic Inspiration, and their nomadic artistic production and residence program Deltaworkers, Gouwenberg and Lindhout published a small book in collaboration with 1646.
It is the first publication of a long-term research project on “Gothic” as a cultural strategy. By looking at Gothic traditions in literature from different countries, Gouwenberg and Lindhout try to formulate an understanding of what Gothic can do, culturally and socially, in a society. Their investigation begins with a Gothic practice, that originated in the Southern States of North America, characterised as Southern Gothic.
Gouwenberg’s and Lindhout’s field research included a road trip in the autumn of 2010. They looked at the current social and political changes in the Southern States. They sought out classical Southern Gothic literary elements, like the sublime, grotesque characters, wild nature, religious fervour and nostalgia, in the forms of art, music and literature in the region. They also kept a discerning eye out for newer, contemporary manifestations of Southern Gothic.
The writer whose work guided them through their research has been, and still is, Harry Crews. His novels get to the core of the often harsh life in the South during the late 70s. His saying ‘everything is stories and stories is everything’ became the basis of their own understanding of the South.
The bundle contains texts by five specialist from area’s Gouwenberg and Lindhout deem most important within the Southern Gothic trope. Some of the topics are inherently part of the Southern Gothic context (such as the political history), some are additions to the Southern Gothic context which are suggestions by the duo themselves. In the introductory text of this publication, the duo delves into the contemporary Southern Gothic and, while describing its different aspects, they introduce the five writers.
Hal Crowther contributed an essay on Southern Gothic literature and the Kudzu vine, Tom Patterson links the ‘outsider artist’ to Southern Gothic, Agnes Andeweg elaborates on Gotich as a cultural strategy, Maarten Zwiers gives an introduction to the grotesque political history of the Southern States, and Maxime Lachaud introduces an interview which he did with Harry Crews. The small book is designed by New Orleans based designer Erik Kiesewetter.
Deltaworkers is a nomadic artistic production and residence program that investigates the southern states of the U.S. as one of the last mythical places in the West. They host and present European artists from different disciplines in New Orleans, a city that forms the perfect gateway to the south; a region where many of the historical, socio-political and cultural roots of U.S culture can be found.
In the fall of 2010 Maaike Gouwenberg and Joris Lindhout made a three-month road trip through the southern states of the US. The specific aim of this trip was to investigate notions surrounding the Southern Gothic literary genre, on which they were writing a book and creating an exhibition. Their continued fascination with the southern states sparked the idea for Deltaworkers, a platform through which they could share their intrigue for this part of the world.
Maaike Gouwenberg is an independent curator based in Rotterdam. She has an interest in performative and unruly practices. After finishing the Curatorial Program at de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam, she worked on ambitious artist productions that were shown in Europe and the USA. She initiated A.P.E. (Art Projects Era) in 2010 where she works with artist Keren Cytter on a major theater piece.
Joris Pieter Lindhout is an artist with a diverse practice, and a craving for tales of terror. With an interest in both theory and obscure cultural phenomena, he creates series of zines, organizes reading groups, and makes wall paintings. His enthusiasm for literature and film consolidate in his long-term research project into the Gothic as a cultural strategy.