Alison Knowles Reads from ‘House of Dust’ at White House

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed a number of poets, spoken-word artists and musicians to Washington, D.C., last month for An Evening of Poetry at the White House.

Among the more recognizable names from popular culture on the program—Poet Laureates Billy Collins and Rita Dove, rapper Common, singer Aimee Mann and comedian-musician Steve Martin and his bluegrass group the Steep Canyon Rangers—was former CalArts faculty member Alison Knowles, one of the founders of Fluxus, an avant-garde artistic network that was formally established in the 1960s.

In 1967, Knowles produced the House of Dust poem, possibly the first computerized poem, in association with composer (and fellow CalArts faculty member) James Tenney.

We’ve posted the video of Knowles’ reading at the White House, above, and a photo below from the Institute’s’ archives on the House of Dust interactive public sculpture at CalArts in the early 1970s.

'Friends' gather inside the House of Dust for a screening, c. 1971

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