Art as Activism or Art for Art's Sake?

None at Living Room

Fri, Aug 25 at 7:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

1) Let’s talk about hedonism and social activism and poetry as the thing-in-itself. 2) How might Giorno Poetry Systems influence experimentation and collaboration in the arts and activism today?

Why Poetry is Really Important, Maybe

Taught by Geoff Klock

Some famous guy, maybe AE Housman, said once that some people claim they like poetry but what they actually like is something IN the poetry, which is not the same thing. Let’s talk about poetry as the thing-in-itself – ding-an-sich as intimidating hardcore German philosophers would say. Let’s talk about Hedonism and Social Activism and look at some Ashbery and Stevens and Brecht.

Dial-a-Poem, Music, and Sparking Poetic Revolutions

Taught by Jessica Rogers

In this Olio we will begin unpacking the history of John Giorno’s Dial-a-Poem Series – from the phone lines and answering machines installed at MoMA in 1968, featuring provocative and diverse works by poets boldly confronting the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, racial inequality, and increasingly the AIDS crisis, to a series of innovative vinyl records, VHS tapes, and CDs produced by Giorno Poetry Systems (GPS) in the 70s and 80s.

Discussion of these works will ensue, facilitated by text copies of particular pieces (to be provided). If part of the purpose of Dial-a-Poem was to use new and accessible technologies to spark poetic revolution, what relevance can we draw in an era of digital phones and emails? And yet we are also seeing a resurgence of vinyl – last year record sales hit a 25-year high – how might Giorno Poetry Systems influence experimentation and collaboration in the arts and activism today?


The complete Dial-a-Poem/ Giorno Poetry Series vinyl set includes twenty-one records, all of which will be on hand with related ephemera for attendees to view. We will also listen to a selection of tracks, on an amplified portable record player, which typify each stage in GPS’s evolution, moving from pure poetry to the greater incorporation of experimental sound techniques and music.

Teacher: Olio Happy Hour
Venue: Living Room

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


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Press Start to Begin: A Survey & History of Video Game Music

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Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

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Socialism, A Day in the Life

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Government Action and Inaction in Response to Covid-19

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June 19, 2020, 8 p.m.

Internet Omnipresence & Critical Thinking

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New Toys and New Tyrants: Capitalism and the Rise of Platform Economics

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Teacher: Rob Larson

June 30, 2020, 8 p.m.


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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.