The Green Violin is a small, independent publishing project for the free distribution of poetry, essays and prose.
The Green Violin takes its name from a 1969 collaboration between Fluxus artists Joseph Beuys and Henning Christiansen. The artists staged a ‘concert’ uniting two distinct moments in time, and with that entanglement, ritualizing the bond with one another. Henning played a violin that was painted green in two separate performances. The instrument has never been played since, and is now confined to the sarcophagi of art galleries. This concert laces together the significance of two otherwise disparate moments, in a way where one can no longer be grasped without the other. To echo this way of connection, The Green Violin is intended to reflect facets of language as it embodies the struggle against capitalism (as against all violence derived from ideology) which is shared despite geopolitical and linguistic boundaries.
The Green Violin is based out of Montreal, an area known as Tiohtià:ke in Kanien’kéha, which is the language of the Kanien‘kehá:ka (Mohawk) who are part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Through French and British military occupation, Tiohtià:ke was amalgamated into the province of Quebec and into a colonial state that was formed just over 150 years ago. Recognizing the history of Tiohtià:ke is integral to the principles that shape this publication project, and inform daily life in all practices of relating, learning, expressing, and consuming. The Green Violin is inspired by the creativity of resistance, courage and perseverance that is expressed by the human spirit in the face of all forms of oppression. The authors published here often write about political displacement, outrage against injustice, and long for understanding and connection between people, not states. This deep human connection, made possible through the dignity of literature and art, is one means to a life-long, critical disturbance of the unnatural order.
The following words were shared by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy delegation to the United Nations in 1977:
“Colonialism, as we know it, was the product of centuries of social, economic and political development in the West. For hundreds of years, what have been euphimistically called “folk cultures” have been under pressure from a variety of sources, including warlords, kings, popes, and large landowners who found it in their interest to exploit the labor and lands of the poor and the dispossessed. That process is still taking place today, although it has been refined to the point where the exploitation is in the hands of huge multinational corporations which continue to reap profits at the expense of the world’s poor.
… The renewable quality—the sacredness of every living thing, that which connects human beings to the place which they inhabit—that quality is the single most liberating aspect of our environment. Life is renewable and all the things which support life are renewable, and they are renewed by a force greater than any government’s, greater than any living or historical thing. A consciousness of the web that holds all things together, the spiritual element that connects us to reality and the manifestation of that power to renew which is present in the existence of an eagle or a mountain snowfall—that consciousness was the first thing which was destroyed by the colonizers.”
The Green Violin is founded, edited, designed, and printed by Lital Khaikin. An untrained publication povera, The Green Violin remains humble in materials. It is self-funded, it operates with unglamorous materials for small booklets, tabloid-sized sheets of newsprint, and the occasional simple broadside. Publications are printed indefinitely, but a first printing is usually around 120-150 copies. Subsequent editions are reprinted as materials permit. Published works never lose their relevance, growing and being revisited as a living archive. The Green Violin is a free-distribution project, motivated by anti-capitalist principles, meaning the works are not for sale. There is no copyright taken by the press, and authors may share their work elsewhere in the ways they choose.
The Green Violin is unaffiliated with any academic, public or private institutions, has no board of directors or editorial board, and has no official distribution network. It is unfunded by government-sanctioned arts grants, it is not an investment opportunity for fallen angels, and not literature for tote-bags, Banff Colonies or CBC awards.
The Green Violin was created for the free exchange of literature, and is not interested in making profits off of its publications. ‘Radical’ literature is treated as a commodity like any other, as a collector’s item, as part of a buy-in culture. It has never been more profitable for academies and publishing institutions, including those who self-present as radical or anarchist presses, to publish ‘incendiary’ literature, often replicating the exclusive cult of personality that draws sales. There are unprecedented profits for the publishing of guides, how-to’s, and manuals for convenient revolutions. Molotovs are fashion statements!