Type of site
UbuWeb is a web-based educational resource for avant-garde material available on the internet, founded in 1996 by poet Kenneth Goldsmith. It offers visual, concrete and sound poetry, expanding to include film and sound art mp3 archives.
UbuWeb was founded in response to the marginal distribution of crucial avant-garde material. It remains non-commercial and operates on a gift economy. UbuWeb ensures educational open access to out-of-print works that find a second life through digital art reprint while also representing the work of contemporaries. It addresses problems in the distribution of and access to intellectual materials.
UbuWeb does not distribute commercially viable works but rather resurrects avant-garde sound art, video and textual works through their translation into a digital art web environment - re-contextualising them with current academic commentary and contemporary practice. It houses and distributes freely the entire archive of the Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine project. In 2020, Kenneth Goldsmith wrote in his book Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of Ubuweb that “Perhaps no collection of audio inspired UbuWeb more than the Tellus cassettes….”
Beyond its repository of works, UbuWeb features curated sections including /ubu Editions book-length editions of contemporary poetry, selected and introduced by the poet Brian Kim Stefans. UbuWeb: Ethnopoetics, curated by Jerome Rothenberg, is fusing the avant-garde with traditional ethnic practices. 'UbuWeb: Papers is a series of contextual academic essays. UbuWeb:Outsiders considers the legitimization of Outsider works and features The 365 Days Project curated by Otis Fodder.
UbuWeb is not affiliated to any academic institution, instead relying on alliances of interest and benefiting from bandwidth donations from its partnerships with GreyLodge, WFMU, PennSound, The Electronic Poetry Center, The Center for Literary Computing, and ArtMob.
- Brogan, Jacob (December 23, 2016). "This Totally Weird, 20-Year-Old Website Collects the Forgotten and the Unfamiliar". Slate Magazine.
- Hope, Cat; Ryan, John Charles (June 19, 2014). "Digital Arts: An Introduction to New Media". Bloomsbury Publishing USA – via Google Books.
- Kenneth Goldsmith, "Ubuweb Wants to be Free" Open Letter, 2001
- Damon Krukowski, "Free Verses: Kenneth Goldsmith and UbuWeb", Artforum, March 2008
- Kenneth Goldsmith, Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb, Columbia University Press, New York, p. 243