Dick Higgins

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Dick Higgins
Dick Higgins

Dick Higgins (born Cambridge, England 1938, died Quebec, Canada 1998) was a composer, poet, printer, and early Fluxus artist. Like many of the other Fluxus artists, he studied composition with John Cage. He married artist Alison Knowles in 1960. He founded Something Else Press in 1963, which published many important texts by artists including Gertrude Stein, Marshall McLuhan, Emmett Williams, Claes Oldenburg, George Brecht, Daniel Spoerri, Bern Porter, Ray Johnson, Ken Friedman, and others. His daughter, Hannah Higgins is the author of Fluxus Experience, an authoritative volume about the Fluxus movement. Her twin sister, Jessica Higgins, a New York based intermedia artist closely associated with seminal curator Lance Fung, late Fluxus gallerist Emily Harvey and The Artists Museum's Construction In Process, performed and collaborated as a youth in original Fluxus related events.

Higgins coined the word intermedia to describe his artistic activities, defining it in a 1965 essay by the same name. His most notable contributions include "Danger Music" scores and the use of the term Intermedia to describe the ineffable inter-disciplinary activities that became prevalent in the 1960s. He was an early and ardent proponent and user of computers, as a tool for art making, dating back to the mid 1960s. He published forty-seven books, including a translation of Giordano Bruno's On the Composition of Signs and Images, which could be seen as an early text on multimedia. The Book of Love & War & Death, a book-length aleatory poem published in 1972 may have been one of the first computer-generated texts: in the introduction, he describes writing a FORTRAN IV program to randomize the lines in one of the poem's cantos. A Dialectic of Centuries: Notes towards a Theory of the New Arts collected many of his essays and theoretical works in 1976.

See also

  • Something Else Press
  • Fluxus
  • Concrete poetry
  • Alison Knowles
  • List of Concrete and Visual Poets
  • Visible Language
  • Fluxus Performance Workbook
  • Higgins's Metadramas
  • 1966 Statement on Intermedia
  • Intermedia Tribute to Dick Higgins
  • Ruud Janssen interview with Dick Higgins about mail art
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