Dick Higgins (March 15, 1938 – October 25, 1998) was a composer, poet, printer, and early Fluxus artist. Higgins was born in Cambridge, England, but raised in the United States in various parts of New England, including Worcester, Massachusetts, Putney, Vermont, and Concord, New Hampshire. Like other Fluxus artists, Higgins studied composition with John Cage at the New School of Social Research in New York. He married fellow artist Alison Knowles in 1960. Both took part in the Wiesbaden, Germany Fluxus festival in 1962. He founded Something Else Press in 1963, which published many important texts including Gertrude Stein, Marshall McLuhan, artists John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Claes Oldenburg, Ray Johnson, Bern Porter, leading Fluxus members George Brecht, Wolf Vostell, Daniel Spoerri, Emmett Williams, Ken Friedman, and others. His daughter, Hannah Higgins is the author of Fluxus Experience, an authoritative volume about the Fluxus movement. Her twin sister, Jessica Higgins, a New York based intermedia artist closely associated with seminal curator Lance Fung, late Fluxus gallerist Emily Harvey and The Artists Museum’s and Construction In Process, performed and collaborated as a youth in original Fluxus related events. Higgins coined the word intermedia to describe his artistic activities, defining it in a 1965 essay by the same name, published in the first number of the Something Else Newsletter. His most notable contributions include Danger Music scores and the Intermedia concept to describe the ineffable inter-disciplinary activities that became prevalent in the 1960s. He was an early and ardent proponent and user of computers as a tool for art making, dating back to the mid 1960s, when Alison Knowles and he created the first computer generated literary texts. His The Book of Love & War & Death, a book-length aleatory poem published in 1972 included one of those. In his introduction, Higgins says, having finished the first three parts of the poem throwing dice, he wrote a FORTRAN IV program to produce part or Cantos four. All in all he wrote and edited forty-seven books, including On the Composition of Signs and Images, his edition of a Giordano Bruno text, which he annotated. He saw Bruno’s essay on the art of memory also as an early text on multi- or intermedia. A Dialectic of Centuries: Notes towards a Theory of the New Arts collected many of his essays and theoretical works in 1976. In 1972 Higgins founded Unpublished Editions to publish his short novel Amigo, which was later renamed Printed Editions. Dick Higgins died of a heart attack while attending an event in Quebec, Canada.
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