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August Highland

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Background Information




Worldwide Literati Mobilization Network


International Belles Lettres Federation


Muse Apprentice Guild



Classics and Romance Languages


Classics and Romance Languages

University of California , Berkeley

Classics and Romance Languages

University of California , Los Angeles

Classics and Romance Languages

University of California at Berkeley

Bachelor's Degree

Western and Buddhist Psychology

Naropa Institute

bachelor's degree

Western and Buddhist Psychology

Naropa University

Web References(74 Total References)

The World of August Highland [cached]

Literary Extremism by August Highland
2008-present | essay | interviews | archive | 1999-2007 | contact | about 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 4-volume series of novels named "The Infants. in 2002, Highland landed his first successful online literary performance in which he presented his own literary genre called Hyper-Literary Fiction. The project, called, by one critic, Metapoetics Theatre, spanned over 12 websites. Highland also created over 60 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 (The 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. 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 24 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 9-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. 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." 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. Some of the print journals Highland first appeared in include: "88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry" United States (Highland was nominated for the Pushcart Prize Award) Each persona of August Highland's vast network compose a literary work ranging from 300-1,000 pages in length. August calls these works "Literary Objects. The pages are printed on individual, unbounded sheets of paper that are placed in a custom-made wooden box with a glass-framed cover that displays one of Highland's visual works. They are sold for $350 and have been acquired by such academic institutions as Ohio State University and SUNY Buffalo. In 2003, Highland developed a sub-genre of Hyper Literary Fiction unlike any other that preceded it. The new work was purely visual while maintaining text as the sole compositional element. This style was variously called "Alphanumeric Painting", "Exhibition Literature" or "Visual Manuscripts. Highland created a website (currently undergoing an upgrade), called Alphanmeric Labs to feature this new work. Treating this body of work as an experimental side-project, he casually submitted it to who contacted him the next day and featured his entire project in their next issue. August then submitted three of the works printed on standard-sized paper to a visual text exhibition at Harvard University. His work was accepted and a few months later he was contacted by Harvard and invited to be the keynote speaker in a writing series presented by Dudley House. More invitations followed, coming from such universities as USD and UCSD. Over the next year, Highland developed the proprietary techniques to create these works on an monumental scale. He began submitting the paintings to groups exhibitions, galleries and museums and between 2004 and 2005, Highland's work was exhibited in twenty-five shows. By the second year of his exhibitions, a work by Highland was sold for $3600. While showing in galleries and museums, August was unable to continue editing the M.A.G. and did not have success finding co-editors to assume the responsibility of continuing to run the journal. He reluctantly published the final issue in 2004. One of August Highland's exhibitions was a show in New York at Poets House called "Sacred Burial Grounds". The show was extended for three months. It featured ten pieces, and each incorporated text from the work of a different classic writer who had served as major influence on Highland own work. The writers included Dante, Virgil, Homer, Shakespeare and others. Highland also included a work based on the poem, "Layers. by Stanley Kunitz, dedicating it to the two-time U.S. Poet Laureate who founded Poets House in 1985 and who died at the time of the exhibition. It was at this show that Highland conceived of a project which would turn out to be his "one big project". August compares this to Isaiah Berlins's "The Hedgehog and the Fox. August says, "This was a major turning point in my life. In 2008, August Highland celebrated the 400th anniversary of the birth of Milton and has been commemorating classic writers up to the present. In 2015, he celebrated the 750th birthday of Dante, and the 275th birthday of the Marquis de Sade. Highland also commemorated the 175th birthday of Thomas Hardy, one of his favorite writers, as well as Anthony Trollope's 200th birthday. Highland has not publicly shown work from this project with the exception of one of the many series he has created. The one series he has shown is called the "Stacks" series which he exhibits online at MindWomb in collaboration with JewpaneseGirl, a persona created by his daughter, Hana Malkah, who also directs Culture Animal, the "Headquarters" for all of August Highland's projects. In 2009, Highland was so involved with his master project that he neglected to renew his multitude of websites that were devoted to presenting the literary work of his personae which had grown in number to 60 members. The websites were quickly bought by one of the companies that buy up expired domain names. Highland attempted to buy them back, but was not willing to pay the $1,000-$5,000 per domain that he was being offered by these companies. In 2014, August Highland renamed Hyper-Literary Fiction and all of its sub-genres, as well as Alphanumeric Painting, with the new name "Literary Extremism. He also organized all of his personae and the two simulated literary movements,

August Highland: One-Man Literary Giant [cached]

August Highland
home | essay | interviews | cv | sites | links | contact For over 25 years, August Highland wrote in a variety of traditional forms. He gradually became interested in pursuing a new direction and, in the early 90's, began exploring the appropriation of text and rearranging text into non-linear sequences. Highland went on to originate a genre of literature called "Hyper-Literary Fiction," which became successively more and more visually oriented. When he initially made the leap from the page to the canvas, his work was only made for viewing on a screen. Then, Highland developed the proprietary techniques that today enable him to produce his work at a large scale. Without the use of commercial graphic software, Highland creates his compositions by giving instructions to all elements, such as typefaces, font color and size, text sources, distribution of text, and overall dimension. This has resulted in his creating a media genre that he calls "Literary Extremism." Ever since then, Highland has celebrated the birthdays and commemorated the deaths of classic writers by creating collections of work with text from their novels. By "reworking" the text of classic novels, Highland is able to present them in a modern way. This enables him to appreciate these great works of literature in a new form, and he hope that others can, too. © 2016 August Highland

Contact - August Highland [cached]

August Highland
home | essay | interviews | cv | sites | links | contact To contact August Highland, please fill out the form below. © 2016 August Highland

CV - August Highland [cached]

August Highland
home | essay | interviews | cv | sites | links | contact © 2016 August Highland

Essay - August Highland [cached]

Literary Extremism by August Highland
home | essay | interviews | cv | sites | links | contact The visual art of August Highland is based in language. Every visual/graphic detail comes from text, handwriting, type fonts, letter symbols, or hand-drawn faces and pictures converted into type fonts. Beginning as a writer, Highland found himself more and more constrained by the format of the book page. He felt a need to work with the visual dimension of written language or texts, leading to the large scale of the works on display in the gallery space. Along with the experiencing of languages through the medium of the book, Highland absorbed a deep respect for knowledge as mediated through language, recalling the sanctification of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in Talmudic traditions. Each letter symbolizes an aspect of the divine, in this case in a strictly humanized sense in which Highland's word-based visual art conveys to the viewer feelings of awe, ecstasy, and release into his or her own limitlessness. © 2016 August Highland

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