OPEN CALL FOR EKPHRASIS: Creative Writing Responses to the 2019 Venice Art Biennale


Have you visited the 2019 Venice Art Biennale, currently on display through 24 November 2019? Join me in composing an independent anthology of creative writing to document our responses to the various art on display. With the many kinds of artworks and other multimedia forms within and around the exhibitions — events and exhibitions that are collateral to the biennale included — there are plentiful ways to stimulate new writing from the international contemporary art.

Ekphrasis’ refers to the literary device, a Greek word roughly translating to ‘speaking out’ in response to something that captivates your attention; it is used in literary or poetic discourses, often in the adjectival form of ‘ekphrastic’ to describe the parts of a written work that respond to a visual work, with the literary description being realistic or creatively imagined. Historically, the technique of ekphrasis has been employed to vividly describe inanimate objects and/or narrators' experiences within places, too — again, often times focusing on the visual qualities and sensibilities.

During ‘interesting times’ when much contemporary art tends to rely on curatorial text and wall labels to explain artworks or push certain curatorial frameworks to viewers, I hope, by way of the publication format, to open up a reflective forum and discursive space to document the variations of creative responses and interpretations from visitors — as well as the multiplicity of spoken or written art forms stemming from the visual. Consequently, the approach for composing this anthology is indeed non-hierarchical to any kind of art or culture that the writing responds to; instead, the anthology intends to be thoughtful and celebratory of the vivacity and diversity of language via cross-genre writing.

All genres of creative writing — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, experimental writing, and so forth — will be reviewed for consideration. Submissions may be in any language, as long as a suitable English translation can be provided alongside it. (We can be in discussion about how to sensitively approach and contextualise translations.)

With regret, not all submissions can be accepted into the anthology; however, other homes for publication or dissemination may be recommended whenever possible.

To participate, please send:
(1) your contact details;
(2) a covering note;
(3) your writing in a Microsoft Word file;
(4) details of the Venice Biennale art work(s), event, or exhibition you’ve responded to; and
(5) any photos

Alternatively, you may fill out this submission form. Submissions will be taken now and continually on a ROLLING BASIS until one month after the conclusion of the Biennale, with a FINAL DEADLINE on 22nd of DECEMBER 2019.


Gina DeCagna

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Gina DeCagna