thetextisthetext: an exhibition of word images, a self-styled smith/melville mash-up, is taking place at Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh 8-18th October 2011. Asked about the origin of the project Gerry Smith writes:
There was no original (written)proposal as such, just a series of events… Tom Leonard put me in touch with nick-e melville, much in common but coming at it from different positions, and I mention the possibility of doing a text show.: around that time, Catherine Sargeant left a positive note in my comments book at the MFA degree show ( I had known her work from seeing it over the last few years at the SSA Annual Exhibitions, and I had been impressed with it) and I decided that if we were doing a text show she would have to be on board – so I contacted her…
… nicky and I drew up a list of who we should invite to participate and a series of meetings took place /invites were sent. Once I final secured a venue, we all met to discuss our work and what we could do – the criteria for the show was that it was to be experimental; either collaborations or working outwith or normal media (which is why I chose to do an animation piece). The only person who wasn’t working with text in some way was Becky Campbell – I happen to like the work that she was doing and thought it might be interesting to see what she could do with text ( a few years ago, my Art School Lift – see website – was an attempt at a text-based work adopting an “unobtrusive” approach similar to her own ).
Over the duration, a couple of people dropped out and they were replaced with Shandra Lamaute and Greg Thomas. I’ve taken a somewhat organic approach to the project, letting the collaborations and works develop… I helped out with some practical things regarding the use of PVC texts, but that was about it
VerySmallKitchen writes: Thetextisthetext is reconfigured here through materials supplied by Gerry Smith. Experiencing the exhibition in this way prompts a realignment of relationships between art work, artist statement, email, press release, and installation. Some works and ideas of the exhibition at Patriothall are lost as the show fits into this new format, whilst others attain new form and prominence…
a series of commas – arranged almost like parenthesis (in response to the question “what is it like to be stationary?”)
an Arabic phrase: he advances one leg and draws back the other (in response to question “or or or?”)
The collaboration between Becky Campbell and Shandra Lamaute is about process, communication, and interpretation. The project involved a series of dialogues, in person and by post, which finally culminated in a question that each person asked of the other. The display of the answers to these questions represents the process of their correspondence.
The project was developed as an exploration of how they could connect and collaborate with each other while still retaining their own artistic autonomy and identity. They approached the work with an understanding that they each came from different places (Scotland and the United States, respectively), they each have different modes of representation, and they explore different conceptual bases/subject matter. Through all these differences, there was a thread that connected both of their practices to one another: process.
It is through the similarities of their modes making that enabled them to create and allow their collaboration to manifest. Once they explored this connection, they decided to push the boundaries further, at the same time solidifying the concept and act of a collaboration, by allowing the other person to decide how their final letter should be presented within the show.
Catherine Sargeant and Dorothy Alexander write: Patriothall Stanzas are a collaborative work by Catherine Sargeant and Dorothy Alexander. The words/phrases used in these stanzas are taken from notes that artists in Patriothall leave to themselves around their studios. Notes are left for many reasons: reminders of what is stored in a place, potential titles for paintings, things to do before leaving the studio at night etc.
Catherine gathered together this bizarre collection of words, which Dorothy turned into poetry. Catherine then used found materials, slate and mirror to complement the poems. These were chosen to imply the presence of the studio as a place of protection and also introspection.
Dorothy Alexander writes: FINAL WARNING is a series of poems in which techniques developed out of found poetry have been applied to an extract from the front page of a national newspaper. Poems were constructed from vocabularies formed by searching along and down through the paragraphs of the newspaper article. Letters, words, lines were then ‘re’placed in direct relation to their original positions within the base text.
Found is posited here as an ecopoetic, not only because of its inbuilt credentials as a recycler, but, more pertinently, for the non-hierarchical and inclusive nature of its processes. It invites acts of multiple attention (down to the smallest detail). It encourages heightened responsibility, in both writer and audience, for engagement with larger issues and strengthens resistance to notions of outside agency.
A PDF version of Sermons Hurt Curb Me from FINAL WARNING is here.
the pieces in this show typify what melville likes to do: erase, enlarge and examine.
there is a sentence, a bigger (incomplete) word, and an even bigger fragment.
he has also attempted to make worthless junk mail into commodities, with other tippex work available for closer scrutiny.
Greg Thomas writes: Articulation arranges the names of every bone in the human body by syllable count and stress position. It is concerned with the analogy between skeletal and phonetic articulation – consonants are bones, vowels are sinew, or blood or bile – and the idea that every act of naming and containing the body creates another body in sound, just like no act of social or cultural definition can defuse the essentially radical potential of being anything in time. Sing it to yourself.
Limbs Climb is a neat, clean poem. It shows what it says (except it could be a tree or a tendril or a leg). This might make you happy.
BodyinsOUND; Liminalanimal; Virtue and Sinew (card poems) are the titles for other poems that didn’t need to be written.
Alexa Hare writes: Embers is a new work for “The Text Is The Text” which sets text/lyrics from some of the artists involved in the show to a piece of music written and performed by Hare.
Gerry Smith writes: Alexa Hare’s Embers is a vocalisation of text extracts I sent her. They were taken from Roubaud’s The Great Fire Of London (English translation of). Her original intention was to create a piece of music from texts supplied by all those taking part, but in the end she opted to do Embers as apiece on its own.
… The text used in NV+7 for Isabel, before the structured substitution of its nouns and verb, originally read: “Something has disrupted the laws of the Universe” (Kelly, The Book of Lost Books, p426). December 2009 was the last time two full moons appeared within the same calendar month. Finally, if Lost in Translation gets the better of you, Yahoo’s “Babel Fish” might come in handy!
… Noise is a concrete poem which attempts to represent computer noise.
Lisa Temple-Cox writes: The work made for this exhibition is part of a series of experiments derived from a process of self-portraiture as medical specimen. Derived from the didactic cast, or medical moulage, still used in teaching hospitals today, they seek to explore notions of identity as seen through part-features or disembodied faces.
The language of self-implied in the masks is made explicit by the snippets of text: conversations, references, reversals. The language of self is written on the skin: the closure of the eyes blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead. These things are of us, but not us, and piece-meal are encapsulated, half-hidden before the medical gaze.
thetextisthetext is at Patriothall Gallery, 1 Patriothall (off Hamilton Place), Stockbridge, Edinburgh, 8th-18th October 2011. Tue-Sun 12noon-5.30pm (Closed Mondays).