If heuristic means "involving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods"and bricolage means "construction achieved by whatever comes to hand", then even if they had put that in a simpler way it wouldn't have made an interpretation any easier.
I spent the whole of Wednesday listening to a bunch of serious academics talk about Salvagepunk, and what I understood from it in the end was something along the lines of: if we, like, respect the trash, and shit, we could totally use it to upset the evil capitalist government and make the world cool again, like.
Between the hours of twelve and four pm I was not only exposed to the most academic presentations of junk-related theories
ever heard, but also to the other side of the dictionary that I do not often visit.
In my new vocabulary are:
-Bricolage (of course)
-Rejectamenta (also used with suffixes -list and -lism)
-Predatory entropic rubbish
-Ludicrously hubristic (used in the phrase, "...ludicrously hubristic of our own geek fascinations.")
I also learned to use the word 'specificity' in very many new contexts, all of which are directly relatable to trash and politics. And it seems Robinson Crusoe can be said to be the fictional father of salvagepunk? I don't know, I heard his name once.
China Miéville's brows were studiously furrowed as he passionately railed against The Blue Dress(link is of a different painting of the same subject), a post-apartheid trash-couture piece created in honour of a woman that was beaten to death in South Africa. Evan Calder Williams read out the longest letter in the world - which was also very funny - and Joyelle McSweeney talked very very fast and played us some P.J. Harvey.
Stephen Shapiro and Nick Lawrence also spoke, but by then my brain was just about fried. I only remember Giovanni Tiso speaking against ebooks via the internet (in response China spoke about a "knee-jerk fetishistic defence of books" whilst playing with four elegant pens that had their very own leather case). He was also hilarious, but at that point I remember doodling this:
People asked about hacking, living off trash, the occupy movements and garbage fiction ("I'm quite purist about my garbage monsters"- China) and Evan brought out these really cool rubber rats that went splat! and came back together again. I still do not understand why they were on display or why there were three of them (in white, gold and black), but the gold rat would later make its home on the ceiling of the Warwick Arts Center conference room.
Everyone wore black. (And had tattoos.)
We had three hours to regroup before the next slurry of salvagepunk. It was pretty tame, just a bunch of writers sitting around bemoaning their inadequate vocabulary over beer and potatoes.
The reading that followed was where Evan Calder Williams threw his rubber rat at the ceiling. Mister Mieville read from a children's book that possibly only his children would understand, and Joyelle McSweeney read out her beautiful poetry - super fast, of course. That was for me the best part of the evening. Well, apart from the video projections of a seventies punk scene (where the biker formation made an M for ___?) and a cute video of a train and a donkey.
"This is some salvagepunk, you know, for kids." China Mieville reading from his children's book.
Look, it's our donkey!
Evan Calder Williams and Louis Vuitton guns. You watch that trash talk now...
In case you still cannot make out what he looks like, here's a visual:
My picture of Joyelle is even worse than these ones, and she didn't have enough facial hair to inspire a doodle, so unfortunately there are no images of her on here. She read a poem (or play) called The Warm Mouth, where she read the different characters herself, and another one called King Prion. She was amazing.
I ran off at about eight thirty pre-disco, just before all the real crazy fun kicked off (boooo). Just my luck, I hear I missed out on seeing my MA convenor and her fellow tutors, friends and necropastoralists do some damage to the dance floor. There was also something about crotch theater and a DJ catastrophe, but I think my course mates were just trying to make me jealous.