Literary Extremism by August Highland


California-based writer, artist, editor and publisher, August Highland studied the Classics and Romance Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his bachelor's degree in Western and Buddhist Psychology from Naropa University. Highland began as an experimental novelist and wrote a four-volume series of novels titled "The Infants". In 2002, Highland presented a successful online literary performance in which he created his own literary genre called "Hyper-Literary Fiction". The project, called "Metapoetics Theatre" by one critic, spanned over twelve websites. Highland also created over sixty personae to represent the muliplicity of sub-genres of his literary work.

At the same time that he was working on his online literary performance, Highland pubished the first issue of the Muse Apprentice Guild (M.A.G.), which came to attention for being the first major international online literary journal to publish writers in their original language without an English translation. Over 1,000 writers of prose and poetry from over ten different countries had been published in the M.A.G. by its final issue. The first issue of the MAG included work by the writer and critic, Ron Silliman, who, in 2003, referring to Highland's literary output, wrote "Highland appears to generate text as fast as some people breathe." Owing to Highland's extraordinary literary output, which, in one interview, he whimsically referred to as "Massive Media", August acquired a reputation that rose to mythic stature and he came to be known as "The One-Man Literary Giant". In contrast to his reputation as a formidable literary figure, Highland revealed another side to his personality by developing a personal, nurturing relationship with the emerging and established writers who apppeared in the M.A.G., and contributors to the journal fondly called him "Augie".

In 2002 and 2003, Highland's "Literary Objects" were acquired by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Ohio State University and the Special Collections at SUNY Buffalo. In 2003, August Highland created a new genre of text-based visual work which he called "Alphanumeric Painting", (renamed "Literary Extremism" in 2014). The first exhibition of his large-scale visual texts was shown in Santa Barbara, California at The Karpeles Library Manuscript Museum in 2004. The next year, he drew attention with his second one-man show at LA ARTCORE. The show was extended for a second month and reviews appeared in Art Scene and Art Week LA. He was invited to be a keynote speaker by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Invitations for speaking engagements at other universities uncluded The College of Arts and Sciences at USD and The Department of Literature at UCSD. That same year, August Highland's work was exhibited at the Riverside Art Museum. A catalogue of work from these shows was published by the art critic and curator, Peter Frank and included essays by Peter Frank and the art historian, Collette Chattopadhyay. Also in 2005, August had a one-man show at Simayspace in San Diego, California, which received a favorable review by the art critic Robert Pincus in the San Diego Union Tribune.

August Highland made a noticiable impression on gallery dealers and collectors when, in only his first two years of exhibitions, his work appeared in over twenty-four shows in Los Angeles, Sante Fe, Kansas City, Connecticut, New York and other cities in the U.S. His success gained wider attention when, in the brief span of 2 years, the value of his work rose 700% in value. His first work sold for $500 and by 2005 an Alphanumeric Painting was being sold for $3600. Before embarking on what was to become a nine-year-long project which he is currently showing for the first time, August Highland appeared in a one-man show in New York at Poets House in 2006. The one-month exhibition was a large success that led to the show being extended for three months longer than scheduled.

During this same period, Highland's online literary performance grew in size. He had already created simulated literary groups of multiple personae and presented each group's work on an individual website. The personae also wrote in different sub-genres of Hyper-Literary Fiction. A few of the sub-genres are "Microlinear Storytelling", "Next-Gen Nanopoetics", "Genre-Splicing" and "Linguistics Engineering." As Highland developed new genres and as the persona grew in number, Highland organized the groups under two simulated literary movements, "The World-Wide Literati Mobilization Network" and "The International Belles Lettres Federation."

Some of the groups are:
the-hyper-age
voice-of-the-village
wired-paris-review
guardian-del-sol
web-published-nation
amazon-salon
atlantic-ploughshares
thebookburningdepartment
thebrainjuicepress
thescare
advancedliterarysciences
text-modification-studio
antigenreelitecorps
inkbombdisposalunit
digital-media-generation
post-mortem-telepathic-society
newliteraryunderground
afterhours literati cafe
operation nobel prize

Recent books include:
2015, Cafe Mocha #0001, 2nd Edition, originally published in 2002.
2015, Cafe Mocha #0002, 2nd Edition, originally published in 2002.
2015, Cafe Mocha #0003, 2nd Edition, originally published in 2002.
2015, Cafe Mocha #0004, 2nd Edition, originally published in 2002.

These books are the first four books written by Cort Swenson, a member of the Anti-genre Elite Corps, and one of the 60 personae of August Highland. The books were first published in 2002 and are being made available to Kindle readers for the first time. The texts are the digital versions of the "Literary Objects" which Culture Animal sells to academic institutions and collectors of avant-garde and contemporary classic literature.

2015, CoronalPunch #001, 2nd Edition, originally published in 2003.
This is the first book by Highland's persona, Paul Mayer, a member of the The Brain Juice Press.
2015, SaggitalBlast #001, 2nd Edition, originally published in 2003.
This is the first book by Highland's persona, Avery Silver, a member of the The Brain Juice Press.
2015, PhotonPositronFizz #001, 2nd Edition, originally published in 2003.
This is the first book by Highland's persona, Juliette Crane, a member of the The Brain Juice Press.

Some of the print journals Highland first appeared in include:
2004 "Unarmed Journal" United States
"Manglar" France/Argentina
"Chelenskiy" Russia
"Revolver" Denmark
"Editions Le Mot Et Le Reste" France
"Lost and Found Times" United States
2003 "Diwan" Croatia
"88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry" United States (Highland was nominated for the Pushcart Prize Award)
"13.4.30" England
"Kaboom Press" United States

Some of the online journals include:
2003 progetto babele (italy)
2003 retort magazine
2003 turbulence
2003 random exibart (italy)
2003 furtherfield (uk)
2003 fragment magazine (uk)
(spring 2004)
2004 surface magazine (uk)
2004 exquisite corpse" (usa)
2004 blaze vox


::EDUCATION::

1987-89 Naropa University, B.A.
1976-78 UC Berkeley
1975-76 UCLA


::ONE-PERSON EXHIBITIONS::

2006 "New Work by August Highland." Asci.org. New York, NY.
                "Sacred Burial Grounds." Poets House. New York, NY.

2005 "Genetic Sequences." Absolute Art Gallery. Pasadena, CA.
        "Ascent." Simayspace. San Diego, CA.

2004 "Alphanumeric Painting." LA Artcore. Brewery Annex. Los Angeles, CA.
                "Alphanumeric Painting." Karpeles Library Manuscript Museum. Santa Barbara, CA.


::TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS::

2004 "Art + Literature + Technology." LA Artcore. Brewery Annex. Los Angeles, CA.


::GROUP EXHIBITIONS::

        "A Warning Shouldn't be Pleasant." West Los Angeles College, Culver City, CA.

2006 "Many Happy Returns." High Energy Constructs. Los Angeles, CA.

2005 "Meta-Photography." Riverside Art Museum. Riverside, CA.
                "Subtext." Arts + Literature Laboratory. New Haven, CT.
                "Infinity." Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
                "Review." Van Ackeren Gallery, Kansas, City, KS
                "Cambridge Art Association National Prize Show." Juror: Joseph Thompson, Director,
                MassMoCA. Cambridge, MA.

2004 "Digitally Propelled Ideas." Juror: Marian Parmenter, Curator, SFMOMA Artist's Gallery.
                Kellogg University Art Gallery. Cal Poly Pomona, CA.
                "Featured Artists." Zino Contemporary Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
                "Works on Paper." Long Beach Arts, Long Beach, CA.
                "Word Up." A St. Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA.
                "Open National Exhibition." Long Beach Arts, Long Beach, CA.
                "Wallworks." Juror: Alma Ruiz. LA Artcore. Brewery Annex. Los Angeles, CA.
                "Errata and Contradiction." Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


::PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS::

Harvard University; Cambridge, MA
SUNY Buffalo; New York, NY
Ohio State University; Columbus, OH
iRise.com; El Segundo, CA
David Buchdand; Vice President, Orbitz.com, Chicago, IL
Scott Kotick; Vice President, Alliant Capitol, Woodland Hills, CA
Michael Smoler; Los Angeles, CA
Karen and Michael Roberts; Vice President, Warner Bros Network, Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Ricardo Wang; Asst. Chief of Radiology at Kaiser, Pasadena, CA
Andrei Codrescu; New Orleans, LA
Gerd Ludwig; Photographer, National Geographic, Hollywood, CA
Coralie Whitcomb; Executive Director, Levitt Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Neal Menzies; Los Angeles, CA
Larry and Barbara Glass; Chicago, IL
Ida Kaplan; La Jolla, CA
Estelle Badon; Palm Desert, CA
Morris Much; Chicago, IL
Debra Di Blasi; Kansas City, KS
Dennis Morgan; Kansas City, KS
Joyce and Lawrence Kraines; Beverly Hills, CA
Barbara Flood; New York, NY
Jeremiah Harrison; Glendora, CA
Neal Flessner; Santa Monica, CA
Allie Greene; Universal City, CA
Dr. Harry Polkinhorn; San Diego, CA
Jill Green; La Jolla, CA
Sophie Appel; Los Angeles, CA
James and Donna Obata; San Diego, CA


::LECTURES::

2004 Harvard University, Cambridge MA
2003 University of California San Diego (UCSD)
                University of San Diego (USD)


::REVIEWS::

2005 June, Artscene
                September, Artweek


::PRESS::

2005 October San Diego Union Tribune
                April-May The New Haven Register
                Long Beach California Press-Telegram
2004 November LA Weekly


::AWARDS::

2003 Pushcart Prize Nomination
                88 A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry


::PRINT PUBLICATIONS::

2005 Filling Station issue #033 (Canada)
                "Red Hand Press" (USA)
                "The 2 River View" (USA)
                "Ostrich" (USA)
                "Culture Animal" (USA)

2004 "Manglar" (France/Argentina)
                "Revolver" (Denmark)
                "Chelenskiy" (Russia)
                "Nerve Lantern" Isssues 4 & 5 (USA)
                "Diwan" (Balkans)
                Lost and Found Times, June issue (USA)

200388 A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry


::SOLO EXHIBITIONS ONLINE::

2004 "Retort" (Australia)
                "Progetto Babele" (Italy)
                "Turbulence.org" (New York)

2003 "Random" (Italy)
                "Furtherfield" (UK)


::ONLINE PUBLICATIONS::

2005 "Get Underground" (USA)
                "Shampoo" (USA)
                "Eratio" (USA)

2004 "Exquisite Corpse" (USA)
                "Black Ice" (USA)
                "Generator Press" (USA)
                "Stylus Poetry" (Australia)
                "Liternet" (Bulgaria)
                "Fragment Magazine" (UK)
                "The Surface Magazine" (UK)
                "Word for Word" (USA)
                "Interpoetry" (Greece)

2003 "Blaze Vox" (New York)
                "Fieralingue" (Italy)
                "Retort" (Australia)
                Numerous Others (over 50)