Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm


Tamarin Norwood, "Genuine Smiles", score photographed at Writing Exhibitions, Stanley Picker Gallery, 30 Nov 2009. Photo:Eliza Tan


Tamarin Norwood’s TEXT AS TOOLKIT: A Practical Handbook is the first in a series of e-chapbooks developed from the Art Writing Field Station. 

It is now available for online consumption and PDF download here

Tamarin’s text was first devised as a presentation for the field station event at Five Years Gallery on 7th February 2009.  As Tamarin observes in her introduction:

TEXT AS TOOLKIT proposes a methodology for reading and hence for writing. The purpose of this methodology is to identify and extract from texts certain metatextual tools that might be used to examine the practices and products of writing. Mining texts for their tools is a consciously interventional strategy that considers texts as provisional and active material participants in a cumulative art writing field. 

The seven specific tools in this handbook are offered as means to grip hold of the abstract and often indistinct relationships that exist between reading, writing, reader, writer and text. It is hoped that by offering diverse and generative grips on these relationships – and moreover by offering a methodology to develop other such grips – robust and raucous explorations of the field might be facilitated.

The hope, finally, is that this handbook might function as a tool that renders itself increasingly obsolete. 

Tamarin Norwood, Book Holder Opener: Button Polishing Separator, Weights (100mg - 200g) (2008)


Tamarin’s work is also included in VSK’s Writing Exhibitions: An Assembling, and will be part of VerySmallKitchen’s project at The Reading Room in Berlin. 

Find out more about her  work here.



In Uncategorized on March 28, 2010 at 9:18 am


PAIN RATING  by Hyun Jin Cho is the fourth in a series of five projects, notebooks and essays on this site, exploring relationships between language and image. This curatorial statement is itself re-written  after each project post, charting changing conceptions of the work underway.  

More information about Jin’s work can be seen here.  She is currently artist in resident at Gyeonggi Creation Center, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.


In Uncategorized on March 25, 2010 at 11:02 am

ART WRITING FIELD STATION will be take place at East Street Arts Patrick Studios, St.Mary’s Lane, Leeds, LS9 7EH, on Saturday March 27th 2010, 10am – 1pm as part of the RITE publication launch. A map is here.

ART WRITING FIELD STATION is an ongoing event and publications series at which practitioners present material and evidence of the “field” of art writing. The aim is both to make a field recording of the field of art writing as constituted by a set of practices, and to offer an example of that field in poetic operation. 

 As well as individual presentations, each ART WRITING FIELD STATION produces a lexicon or live writing archive of its group discussions, which serves as a script and provocation for future events.

 ART WRITING FIELD STATION at Patrick Studio’s will feature presentations of new work by David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Emma Cocker, Mary Paterson, and Nathan Walker.  

 Please join us for the presentations and discussion, but note space is limited. To reserve a place email David at

The first set of FIELD STATION chapbooks (including texts by Tamarin Norwood, Matthew MacKissack, and Hyun Jin Cho) will be published on Mar 30th).

This web site includes a range of images, texts and materials unfolding the concept of the field station and its possible architectures. See here.    

 ART WRITING FIELD STATION LEEDS is supported by Writing Encounters, East Street Arts, PSL (Project Space Leeds) and New Work Network.


In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Much of the work on VerySmallKitchen attempts a territory between language and the visual, expressing that in a mix of concept and idea, drawn and typed and texted, past and future, art and the everyday. It’s as if there might be a kind of writing that makes such simultaneity possible.

One place I recognised such a project, was in the above image – which was Stefan Themerson’s cover image for his book Kurt Schwitters in England: 1940-1948, published by the Themerson’s Gaberbocchus Press.  I reproduce it here as a tentative emblem for this kind of writing practice. 

As the helpful note on the Themerson Archive  quotes from ‘The Connoisseur’:

The first publication of Schwitters’ English poems and prose written during the last 8 years of his life… Themerson’s perceptive text is based on a talk originally given to the Gaberbocchus Common Room. ‘…one of the most lively examples of book design produced in England recently. The book is published in celloglassed paper boards, with a binding design of outrageous ingenuity. The inside is as unorthodox and ingenious as befits its subject and the whole effect is most refreshing.’

Themerson’s insertion into current experimental writing practices occured most recently through Phil Baber’s excellent Cannon journal. Baber was particularly interested in the Themerson’s publication of Barabara Wrights translation of Raymond Queneus’s Exercises in Style. He cites Wright’s own comment on her translation of Queneau’s French text, itself a series of stories telling the same mundane story in a variety of styles:

Queneau told me that the Exercises was one of his books which he would like to be translated – (he didn’t suggest by whom). At one time I thought he was crazy. I thought that the book was an experiment with the French language as such, and therefore as untranslatable as the small of garlic in the Paris metro. But I was wrong. In the same way as the story as such doesn’t matter, the particular language it is written in doesn’t matter as such. Perhaps the book is an exercise in communication patterns, whatever their linguistic sounds. And it seems to me that Queneau’s attitude of enquiry and examination can, and perhaps should? – be applied to every language, and that is what I have tried to achieve with the English version.

The cover for this book is below, with quote and book design both unfolding a writing and thinking that is moving, translating, breaking, superimposing and scrawling between languages and styles: 

Something of this practice of language is also expressed by Dorothea Von Hantelmann in How to Do Things with Art, an excellent series of essays on James Coleman, Daniel Buren, Jeff Koons and Tino Seghal. What von Hantelmann outlines as one of the starting points of her book, is also true of the writing practice these Gaberbocchus covers make a possibility:

Singular expressive  acts that completely withdraw from discourse are not only irrelevant; they are not even thinkable. The idea of efficacy produced by  a rupture from conventions is replaced by the use of conventions – a use that also contains a transforming potential. With this notion of performativity we can, for example, concretize how every art work, not in spite of but by virtue of its integration in certain conventions, “acts”: how, for example, via the museum it sustains or co-produces a certain notion of history, progress and development.

The model of performativity points toward these fundamental levels of meaning production. It puts the conventions of arts production, presentation and historical persistence into focus, shows how these conventions are co-produced by any artwork – independent of its respective content – and argues that it is precisely this dependency on conventions that opens up the possibility of changing them. (19-20) 



Blazon for Manifesta 6 School Badge, 2005, Corner of Pentadaktilou and Tempon Streets, Nicosia, Cyprus.


For more information on the possibilities of emblems, meanwhile, see Dexter Sinister’s recent Portable Document Formatitself on boundaries of print and web, monograph and catalogue and primer, artists book and library copy – in which they propose an emblem for a (possibly) temporary art school:

Heraldry is a graphic language evolved from around 1130AD to identify families, states, and other social groups. Specific visual forms yield specific meanings, and these forms may be combined in an intricate syntax of meaning and representation. Any heraldic device is described by both a written description and its corresponding graphic form. The set of a priori written instructions is called a blazon – to give it form is to emblazon

… The badge we would like to wear is two-faced – both founded on ,and breaking from, established guidelines. Stripped to its fundamentals, and described in heraldic vocabulary, it is uncharged. It is a schizophrenic frame, a paradox, a forward slash making a temporary alliance between categories, simultaneously generic and/or specific.


In Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I will be in Leeds on Friday 26th March for the Yorkshire launch of RITE. The book is the outcome of the nine month long Critical Communities project organised by Open Dialogues and New Work Network.  Two groups of writers – in London and Leeds – met to explore the practice of critical writing on and as new work.  

Click here to buy RITE. 

Following on from a series of micro-presentations where each member had two minutes to showcase their work and interests,  the London group members commissioned small pieces of writing from one another.  The following piece of writing was commissioned by Mary Paterson, after I causally remarked in a Bloomsbury hotel bar that “Twitter is Gertrude Stein for year 2009.”

I have updated this bold statement – and my attempt to substantiate it – for its re-publishing here, although I haven’t twittered since I wrote it, so maybe the trans-historical zeitgeist it describes is 2009 specific.

Gertrude Stein uses Twitter. She doesn’t call it that. 

Gertrude Stein lost the continuous present. Then she found it again. She called it twitter.

Alice B Toklas thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. She sends the occasional e-mail, but nothing more.

Gertrude Stein twitters all day and night. 

Gertrude Stein twitters in the park the park.

Twitter twitters twitters twitters twitters.

Gertrude Stein says a text is a text but twitter.

She is aware that it is easy to parody what one is parodying.

That it is not necessarily funny to be funny when one is being funny or not being.

Gertrude Stein knows the limits of twitter.

And all those who twitter in 2010 are being Gertrude Stein.

They are not being Alice B Toklas of that Alice B Toklas is very clear.

And so is Gertrude Stein. Gertrude Stein is very clear.

And to say “I am eating my lunch” is to be Alice B Toklas.

But to say “I am eating my lunch and it is a brown cow” that is Gertrude Stein.

And it is Twitter if it is 140 characters or less.

Which it is. And 2009 is. And Gertrude is but not Alice. 

Gertrude Stein is so into twitter that she has terminated her MySpace profile. 

Gertrude Stein still uses Google Chat but only practically.

It is twitter that offers Gertrude Stein the chance to connect to her earliest work such as Tender Buttons.

The space of the rectangle and the character limit define a space the mind can move through writing

The space defines and the space is to be filled and in so doing it is defined

Which is like a city or a global economy and Gertrude Stein knows it.

Gertrude Stein knows it is also the war.

She knows it is it when it is and Twitter is isn’t it.

Gertrude Stein has many followers on Twitter although not Ernest Hemingway who is dead.

Gertrude Stein follows nobody.

Some suspect that Gertrude Stein might not be Gertrude Stein.

Some suspect that Gertrude Stein is Penelope Cruz.

Gertrude Stein knows that she is Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude Stein knows that she has always been Gertrude Stein and that the accumulated mass of her tweets proves it.

Gertrude Stein says you can always tell a true Mondrian from a copy and hence she is Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude Stein knows that Twitter proves she was right all along.

Alice B Toklas thinks most of Gertrude Steins followers look like idiots.

Gertrude Stein agrees but only looked very quickly.

Gertrude Stein is twittering now and has twittered and is.

Gertrude Stein and the twitter rectangle right now.

Twitter twitter twitter twitter twitter twitter.

Gertrude Stein would like to tell Picasso about twitter but he has most fortunately.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas at home in 1923, pre-Twitter.


RITE will be launched at PSL Gallery Leeds on the evening of March 26 2010 6.30-8pm. The event will include propositions on the subject of art writing and live readings by RITE contributors. Contact or for more information and to reserve your place on the guest list. The launch is presented by ‘In a word’, part of the York-based curatorial agency Writing Encounters  and supported by New Work Network and PSL (Project Space Leeds).

RITE Contributors include Emma Bennett, David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham and Alex Eisenberg, Emma Cocker, Hannah Crosson, Amelia Crouch, Chloe Dechery, Tim Jeeves, Emma Leach, Johanna Linsley, Joanna Loveday, Charlotte Morgan, Mary Paterson, Jim Prevett, Nathan Walker and Wood McGrath.


In Uncategorized on March 20, 2010 at 9:53 am


The e-flux Reading Room, New York


Two projects by VerySmallKitchen have been selected to be part of THE READING ROOM in Berlin, curated by Dominique Hurth and Ciarán Walsh. Both Writing Exhibitions and Essaying Essays will feature in what Hurth and Walsh term “a curated archive of artist’s printed projects.”  

My proposal for THE READING ROOM explored how the form of both publications occupied an overlapping space between print and online, magazine, exhibition and essay. The format for each publication – each contributer has 3 pages of A4 – was rooted in a hard copy concept of publication, but for convenience and economy the publication has been distributed almost entirely as an online PDF. THE READING ROOM is thus a chance to re-imagine both the individual contributions and the whole publication as a printed object.

Because of the relaxed yet specialised reading experience THE READING ROOM hopes to cultivate (see below) I have been thinking of both publications as unbound folios, that enable both authors and readers to approach the materiality of each contribution. The writers and artists involved have all been asked to re-imagine their contributions for this possible new format.

The curators describe their project as follows: 

The Reading Room is a project based in Berlin with the aim to maintain, archive and represent products of contemporary art practices evolving within printed and published formats. Through archival methodology, critical reflection and strategic methods of presentation, The Reading Room will focus on these representations of contemporary practice that both utilise and interrogate the published form as their primary medium.

In addition to the traditionally understood artist’s books, monographs or exhibition catalogues, the published format is now widely utilised as a primary site for various art practices. Often secondary when compared to the established presentation space of the gallery, the act of publishing has diversified and widened into self-contained body of artistic method and research. The Reading Room will focus on the publication as medium and context for artistic practice, in which the artists choose deliberately and critically the publication as support, while using its materiality, edges and frame as tools for both visual and semantic expressions. 

An event by Amalgum at the ICA Reading Room, London


The Reading Room will only consider books, printed material, publications or magazines that are actively interrogating or reconsidering the textuality, materiality and context of their chosen medium: works by artists who use the concept of publication or book as a primary and independent mean of artistic production without serving purely the representation of earlier artworks or illustrating physical artworks. 

The Reading Room is based on former institutional “Reading Rooms” (such as the one of the British Museum in London), and functions as such: it will be open for public viewing, with those wanting to use it being required to make an appointment and also register beforehand their particular interested in the publications or project. The Reading Room takes its initial presentation location from the idea of the “Salon”, gathering its printed matters under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host. The visitors and readers of the Reading Room will ring the bell of a private apartment, climb up the stairs to it, and then be able to sit in a study room. Refreshments will be served. 

The organisers of The Reading Room will maintain a curated monthly selection of approximately 25 publications that can be seen at one time. Those will be chosen based on changing criteria, such as topics, size, colour, content, and links to each other. A monthly index will be published online. By special agreement, the remaining publications of the archive can of course be read and viewed, next to the monthly selection.


In Uncategorized on March 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

In April I will be taking part in Reading for Reading’s Sake, a four day event at the Islington Mill in Salford, exploring “reading as activity.” As part of my preparation for that event, I have been gathering together ideas, texts, quotations and notes concerning acts of reading.

One aspect of this work is finding particular performance structures for the reading of certain texts.  The structures seem to be ways of finding public modes for private acts of reading, thereby proposing a space where reading is “published.” I am interested in the transformations and translations evidenced by this act into showing and telling.  

Reading Room at Jinhua Park Pavillion, China by Herzog & de Meuron


The following text is a script for reading Kurt Schwitters’ poem  Wound Roses Roses Bleed (1918). Recent interest in Schwitters has often been based around the methodological implications of the Merzbau. Focussing on the poems, highlights a different set of concerns. I use them to create group structures over space and time, propose forms of (dis-)sociality, and elucidate how poems can be active plans, texts, and sources, in the same way as the notes, re-constructions, and images of the Merzbau’s various incarnations. 

(1) I am interested in vocal performances; (2) In voices working together without bodies; (3) The process of making a performance being an illustration of the process of the group; (4) Arriving somewhere, meeting people and the group formation taking place through reading; (5) Through the performance through the text; (6) Through the text through the performance; (7) No rehearsal; (8) The process of the group orienting itself to itself is foregrounded; (9) Foreground and background both; (10) Therefore I propose the following:


I will arrive on _____/_______/______ at __ __. There will be a space available for us to work in. By “us” I mean myself and whoever is there. Each of us will be provided with a name badge labelled “KURT”.

All of us will answer to the name of “Kurt” for the duration and only speak to one another through this name. As an introduction, I – Kurt – will read the following text whilst copies of the poem are distributed:

Hallo Kurt! Kurt here. Kurt must spend an hour performing the text according to the time constraint indicated. Kurt may speak any word from the script at any time in any order within the time constraints listed. Have you got that Kurt? Kurt should focus on reading at all time and Kurt must be attentive to how reading is also a speaking and group process. Thank you Kurt. Kurt, we start now. Thank you. The text, Kurt, is: 


Poem 23 circa 1918. Time durations have been added.


Wound roses roses bleed

Wound colossus wound wound

Roses languish languish roses

Torrid wound torrid torrid

Languish roses languish languish

Wound torrid wound wound

Roses torrid torrid roses

Embers trickle trickle ember

Embers trickle trickle ember

Bleed roses wound torrid

Languish wounds rose blood

Night languish roses night

Night wound blood blood

Night bleed night

Blood night blood




Wildwoodwondrous silversound

Wildwoodsoothing silversound


Silence trickle blood

Kurt Schwitters Merzbau (Teilansicht: Grosse Gruppe), um 1932 zerstört (1943) Foto (Repro): Kurt Schwitters Archiv im Sprengel Museum Hannover © Pro Litteris, Zürich



(1)Because the reading of this text constitutes an act of construction in time and space, it may be useful for readers to consider the following assessment – by Pierluigi Nicolin – of why Schwitter’s Merzbau has proved so popular amongst contemporary artists and architects:

the new and irresistible fascination of the incomplete… the act of assembling a multitude of plastic forms and materials, found objects, “spoils and relics” that were enclosed and partly walled up so that they could serve as records of previous states. Incomplete on principle, growing, changing constantly… The theme of assemblage has become a basic condition of the new globalized world… Taken as components to be assmbled rather than designed from scratch, the various frames, curtain walls,  escalators, elevators, ceilings, floors, etc. and sometimes even pre-packaged models of buildings represent an archive of solutions for the deisgner of metropolitan megacomplexes… composed of accidental patterns… Lateral motion, three-dimensionality, fortuitousness… emphasizing horizontal structures… creating symbols of centrality rather than aiming at convergence at a point, the new Merz architecture emphasizes tangents, vanishing points, twists, and crossings, without renouncing the expression of a certain Piranesian drama in the predisposition of its new figures.

SOURCE TEXT:  Hans Ulrich Obrist and Adrian Notz eds. Merz World: Processing the Complicated Order (JRP Ringier. 2008), 22.

(2) Because when I read this text it immediately suggested this process. Actually I didn’t read the Kurt. I just saw Kurt on the page, saw the Kurt systems of repetitions, bleedings from Kurt to Kurt. I saw this as a massive extension in Kurt folded in upon itself with a system of linear Kurt extension in time that was also simultaneously compressing and enfolding Kurt in and out of Kurt. For this reason a glimpse of Kurt torrid on the page was also to imagine an experience in its own Kurt time, dizzy, uncertain of its acoustic Kurt-space wound. In the reading aloud of the text Kurt was for the first time reading Kurt fully for the first time as Kurt reading. Prior to this I had hardly absorbed the specificities of Kurt structure, the lines before Kurt and the single space following Kurt around. 

(3) When the hour ends all Kurts share a meal together during which Kurt identity is eaten and participants return to their prior names then exit. 

(4) TRANSLATION BY JEROME ROTHERNBERG in Jerome Rothernberg and Pierre Joris eds. Kurst Schwitters pppppp poems performance pieces prose plays poetics (exact change, cambridge, 2002), 9.

(5) For information on LITTORAL’s  The Merz Barn Project, restoring  Schwitters last Merzbau at Elterwater in the Langdale Valley, Cumbria, see here.


In Uncategorized on March 17, 2010 at 11:57 pm


On Friday 19th March, as part of the Question Time project, I will be reading with Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg and Mary Paterson at Cafe Carbon, an evening exploring art and climate change in the aftermath of COP15. The evening is curated by the The Gluts (Gina Birch, Kaffe Matthews, and Hayley Newman).

Part of our reading involves a representation and reconsideration of our Statements of Intent project. According to the original project description:

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change. 

I previously wrote about this project  here.  The full archive of the project can be seen here.

Cafe Carbon is the third in a number of projects working with the Question Time archive to think through the implications of our time in Copenhagen. It follows on from two projects commissioned by CSPA (Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts): a curated transcript of our Copenhagen interviews for CSPA Quarterly  and three podcasts from our archive of interviews and encounters. 

My own project since December has been a fictional novella based on being in Copenhagen during COP15. This project uses fiction as a space for  exploring the relationships between politicians, activists, NGO’s, artists, and other groups that made their way to Copenhagen for the conference. It utilises fiction as proposition and provocation, creating a fantastical melding of these diverse groups, separated in actuality but endlessly intertwining in the novella’s never-conversation. We are organising a salon to present this work, and new writings  by Mary Paterson and Rachel Lois Clapham. More details available here soon.

The Ladies of the Press


Also on Friday night The Ladies of the Press will be creating a live magazine. I first worked with LOTP (Ana Čavić and Renée O’Drobinak) at the Permanent Gallery last year, as part of my Testing Grounds performance. In their own words: 

The Ladies of the Press* are Ana Čavić and Renée O’Drobinak: a performative publishing duo based on a contemporary art practice that re-imagines the role of the publisher into a theatrical persona. Each project focuses on ‘enacting’ a publication, extending the act of performance in to the realm of print by citing the page as the primary outlet for the work, thriving on a collaboration between the Ladies of the Press*, each participant and the space that surrounds the publication.

Friday’s Cafe Carbon will also include performance and presentations by  The Planetary Pledge Pyramid; Kristian Buus; The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination; and Emily James .


In Uncategorized on March 10, 2010 at 12:16 am

FROM AN EMAIL: Hi Jin, here is A TIME LINE FOR A ONE MINUTE LECTURE: Introduction: 0-10  Art writing field station; 10-20 Project Poetics (after Tatlins Tower); Case Studies: 20-25 The Office for Soft Architecture; 25-30 Paul Thek’s 4-Dimensional Design; 30-40 Poet Talk Architecture: Meyerhold Lectures to Eisenstein; Methodologies: 40-45 Rothko’s studio; 45-50 Olafur Elliassons studio; Conclusions/ Possibilities: 50-55 Anti-Object; 55-60 The electromagnetic Infrared. All best, David.

THE ART WRITING FIELD STATION implies a built structure. What would that structure be, and what kind of structure (conceptual or actual) is brought into being by the discussions and ideas that occur at field station events? This set of materials by Hyun Jin Cho (images) and David Berridge (words) was first developed as a 1 minute presentation on this subject. After an initial conversation I  wrote the above outline, and text and images were then developed by each of us separately. 

NOTE: The following quotations are what I thought would make a 1 minute lecture if I talked very fast. After a run-through of this lecture was timed at 13 minutes, I read only those words in bold. 


0-10  Art writing field station

the art writing field station implies a built structure…. maybe the actual structure in which the field station events are housed… or maybe a conceptual structure implied by the nature of those events… maybe we invent a machine that translates conversation into built form

 10-20 Project Poetics (after Tatlins Tower)

instead of speculating on the technical feasibility of its construction… it is more productive to think about the tower’s actual history as a model and a project that openned up a new dimension of this intermediary and transitional architecture, which also may be called an architecture of possibility… a crucible of possibilities and inspirations, not a utilitarian blueprint. 

Case Studies

 20-25 The Office for Soft Architecture

I tried to recall spaces, and what I remembered was surfaces. Here and there money had tarried. The result seemed emotional. I wanted to document this process. I began to research the history of surfaces. I included my own desires in the research. In this way, I became multiple. I became money.

 25-30 Paul Thek’s 4-Dimensional Design 

Design a labyrinth dedicated to Freud, using his photo and his writings.

Design a Torah.

Design a monstrance.

Design an abstract monument to Uncle Tom.

Design a feminist crucifixion scene.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

30-40 Poet Talk Architecture: Meyerhold Lectures to Eisenstein

His [Meyerhold’s] lectures were mirages and dreams. The listener would jot down something feverishly. But on waking up, he would find “the devil knows what” in the notebooks. One can recall in the finest detail how brilliantly Aksyonov analyzed The Merchant of Venice, what he said about Bartholomew Fair and the triple plots of the Elizabethan dramatists. But one cannot remember what Meyerhold said. Aromas, colours, sounds. A golden haze over everything. Elusiveness, intangibility, secret upon secret, veil upon veil – not seven of them but eight, twelve, thirty, fifty! 


40-45 Rothko’s studio

 Rothko’s work in the studio revolved around processes of trial and error: testing various mixtures of paint, drying times, hanging heights, and so on, and making adjustments. And, again, looking – for hours, days, even weeks. 

 45-50 Olafur Elliassons studio

 the studio as a place where things are made as well as administered… both the romantic idea of the workplace and the administrative notion of the office. The very act of naming the studio resembles both the ‘discovery’ of a new terrain and the gesture of creating a brand…. a “dyanmic aggregate of flows and productions (informational, material, economic) (…) a four-dimensional object in space-time… it is a microcosm, a “small city,” and a “model for community.” (173)

 Conclusions/ Possibilities

 50-55 Anti-Object

We no longer need to fist freeze time into an object… Today, we do not depend on the mediation of objects to intervene directly in time. Time has become something more immediate. Space has become continuous with time.

 55-60 The electromagnetic Infrared.

 The infrared is a shape that causes and inflects other shapes. Its presence is that of a morpholgical seed growing holographically within, and leaving its characteristic distorting signature on the shapes around us, within the world of concrete appearances.


Svetlanya Boym, Architecture of the Off-Modern(FORuM Project, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008)

Paul Thek, selections from “Teaching Notes: 4-Dimensional Design”, in Harald Falckenberg & Peter Weibel, Paul Thek: Artist’s Artist (MIT Press, 2008), 393-395.

Lisa Robertson, Occasional work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (Vancouver, Clear Cut Press, 2003).

Sergei M.Eisenstein, Immoral Memories: An Autobiography (Peter Owen, 1985), 76-77, bold mine.

Morgan Thomas: “Studio Vertigo: Mark Rothko” in Wouter Davidts & Kim Paice eds. The fall of the studio: artists at work (Valiz, Amsterdam, 2009), 32-33.

Philip Ursprung, “Narcissistic Studio: Olafur Eliasson” in The fall of the studio: Artists at work, 175.

Kengo Kuma, Anti-Object (Architectural Association, London, 2008), 31-32.

Swanford Kwinter, Far From Equilibrium: Essays on Technology and Design Culture, (Actar, Barcelona), 162-3.


In Uncategorized on March 9, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Sara Lane Studios March 7th 2010

Last Sunday night the ART WRITING FIELD STATION met for a conversation about the meaning and possible applications of Marianne Holm Hansen’s lexicon of art writing. Actually, I probably shouldn’t call it a lexicon. One of the fascinating things about this project is how difficult it is to even find a short hand word for describing it in conversation. Score? List? Diagram? Drawing? Minutes? I have yet to find a word  that feels right.  

Given this difficulty it seemed useful to start with some definition. Helen Kaplinsky looked up each word in a large, hard backed dictionary. Each definition was read aloud, before being covered in glu and the page sealed. Several times we asked for clarification, to hear a definition again, but it was too late, glued and gone.  

Helen notes: “The reading process is a meeting between two bodies of knowledge, and in this meeting the pedagogical body of the book is destabilized by the subjective touch of the human body. This project allows for elaboration for further performances or to present the work in publication form. A further performance may include re-reading the pages where the definitions once were, most probably consisting of a jumbled nonsensical reading of various definitions which have coalesced.” A previous project enacted something similar upon the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Kaplinksy’s performance brought to mind a number of book-writing-art projects, where the textual encounter instigates a process of  book destruction or transformation, including John Latham’s 1966 digesting of Clement Greenburg and Marcel Broodthaers act two years earlier of embedding unsold copies of his books of poetry in plaster. 

All these works work with and against a fetishistic reverence for the book object, relating to the actual and implied content by rendering it as (devastated) form. So Latham’s act of book eating was focussed upon Clement Greenberg’s essay collection Art and Culture; whilst Broodthaers act was a personal ritual marking the shift from poet to artist.  Helen’s performance had a considered and meditative tone, but its  implications for the book itself were just as severe!  

In preparation for the evenings discussion, Marianne Holm Hansen had cut out all the words on her list from another dictionary and placed the small pieces of thin paper in a petri dish. This also balanced construction and erasure,  the small slips juxtaposed with a dictionary now composed of gaps and piecemeal pages,  where new words fitted into the skeletal gaps to create new orders. It was hard, if you needed to, to find a particular word in the petri dish, the definitions becoming lost in their new materiality. We noted the slip for POEM had the definition for PNEUMATIC fitting perfectly on its backside.  

After 15 or so minutes, Helen stopped reading and wondered what length her performance should be. It would have been good to read and paste the whole list, but it quickly felt like this would take several days! The time of listening to the definitions, made Marianne observe that only words that were emotions should be kept on the list. This was the original focus of the for the record project, but the Five Years session had expanded into more general minute taking, including phrases. This seemed now to have been a mistake, too akin to what would be Marianne’s own process of note making, and not true to  the rather different process required by for the record.

As for my own notes: I became aware of our own additions – often adding “ed” to words to shift language into a dynamic state. I noted the relation of a word to its definition seemed paralleled by the relation of the word to the whole list. I enjoyed the humor of focussing on the minutiae of language definitions (What should one do when words – mis- or alternatively spelled – are not in the dictionary?). I noted how, once the word became separated from its original context, all its other possible definitions became operative once again.  

Also on Sunday night I presented a text piece FROM SCORE TO HOUSE TO ISLAND TO DINNER TO STORY TO POEM. The text had been a series of writing experiments, in response to the leixcon, conducted throughout the preceding week. I’d proceeded through the experiment as they occurred to me, not sure what was taking shape, later editing the text and fragments into a new body, freely moving around and editing without fidelity to the original exercises. 

FROM SCORE… was interested in an ethics of relationship: what did it mean to write in relation to the Marianne’s list? Often I found the text itself offered the best language for its own description. For example, my own attempts to articulate the lists unfolding pattern gave way to a description drawn from the vocabulary itself:

it digests, it manifests, it misspells, it conducts

it backwards, it dreamed, it fixated, it forced

Starting from an interest in score and script I ended up trying out a number of poetic strategies – syllabics, for example – interested in the imposition of these fixed systems, perhaps an appreciate of the Oulipo strategies, but more flexible. For example, part of my text entitled  “A Short Adventure Story” corralled such words into genre, in doing so enabling them to function in multiple ways: 

 I scratched. The slippage was slippery. Suspended in reverie, relinquishing control, I rephrased. I turned into a transitional threshold. The coming together of two different things worked: Secure and writerly. Unconsciously influenced, I worked backwards. Under the weight of things, I shared and I spammed. 

Later, layer upon layer was malleable. I interrupted, patient and performative. Outside, interactioned, I needed poems. The multiplicity, incorporated, hammered on top of tools. I needed and mis-used, playful and hands on. I modeled. It was just how I liked it: practice was provisional and potential projected.

Wanting to think through the workings of constraint, I came upon this quotation by Vanessa Place: 

Because I do not believe in the parsing of condition and content, I think it is a false advantage not to reveal form, and that the more intentionally hidden the constraints, the more the work proves a coward’s coup, where the shot is not called, and responsibility dodged, but all credit taken for whatever’s dug up. I also think it equally pathetic to assume every constraint should be revealed, as many matters bubble beneath our meanings. Show all the cards you like, and then there’s the dealings of geography and psychology, matters of some fact and great fancy, there’s mutation and desecration, and the hope of better things, there’s candlesticks and sealing wax and the pink buds of a pig’s wings. 

We write now, are read then, and inbetween the writing and reading lies the incipient sublime and a future quite conditional. Whether we are reluctant gods, or those who elbow in, the consciousness of the concrete means our creations go on regardless of our intentions, willed free though wrought determinate. Rather than pretend not to be casting in clay, or trying to duck the consequences of conception, he author must lean in, attempting to force as much as possible from a form while constantly compressing its constituents. It’s candy-making and atom-splitting, fission with a toy surprise inside.

SOURCE: Vanessa Place, “Form: Revealing or Not Revealing” in Christine Wertheim and Matias Viegener eds. The Noulipian Analects (Los Angeles, Les Figues Press), 87-8.

For ten minutes I read FROM SCORE…. alongside, over the top, underneath and inbetween  Helen’s dictionary reading. Listening whilst reading turned the dictionary entries into novelistic narratives, that I couldn’t quite grasp, but which were rich in character and incident. There was a considerable energy generated by this juxtaposition of texts, each with its own mix of specificity and variation, something of which is captured in the photographs below: 


Hyun Jin Cho was interested in consequences of writing the lists twice. She discussed a proposal to cook two of the same food stuffs, as a way of highlighting the similarity, difference and impossibility of replication. But what food stuffs would best illustrate this? Jin suggested burgers. Later in the evening, Matthew Mackisack presented a series of responses to the lexicon, improvising around three words inparticular: (1) reverie, (2) control and (3) performative.  

Matthew talked around issues of the “picturable,” whether words conveyed a sense of the visual, and where and how there might be a space for thinking beyond the visual. In regards to Marianne’s list, control was a way of asking whether forms of writing were allowing some thoughts and disallowing others. One mental exercise for exploring this issue was to look at the chart without knowledge of where it came from and to ask, as Matthew did, “what situation could have given rise to these words?”

Matthew’s method highlighted the list as a score for a conversation, or a more formal spoken discourse. This evoked memory palaces – the list as mnemonic – as well as how talk figures as poetry in the work of, say, Steve Benson, David Antin and – on a more performative, self-styled “demotic” level – Chris Cheek.  Cheek’s description of his writing process is, like Antin and Benson, a further elucidation of a POET TALK ARCHITECTURE. I wonder, in this context, how much these words also apply to Marianne’s list:

 … models of poetic writing practice drawn out of engagement with demotic tensions between self, community, neighborhood and the public sphere. Documents in conversation with the demotics of attention, not to say at times mundane, but complex occasions of linguistic experience – open to off-the-cuff commentary and exquisite interference, uninvited intervention and reflection. Ways by which the ordinary can be rendered extraordinary. Writing thought through at every stage, full of decision and with a sense of mediated, conscious performance in every aspect of its making; a hang of interstices, jolts, between utterance and silence (given that both cod categories remain porous to the other).  

 TEXT SOURCE: Chis Cheeks preface from his recent collection part: short life housing (Toronto: The Gig, 2009), ix.

I write down another phrase from Matthew’s talk: “transfer idea across.” I unfold this into a tentative definition of  the process of for the record: to translate for and into unknown future(s).