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Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

JUST PUBLISHED: FILLIP 11: SUSAN HILLER THE STORYTELLER OF NEGATIVE SPACE

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

My essay THE STORYLLER OF NEGATIVE SPACE: WRITING  IN THE WORK OF SUSAN HILLER has just been published in Fillip 11.  The issue is currently available in print only, but will soon be archived here

My contribution began as a review of  Susan Hiller’s THE PROVISIONAL TEXTURE OF REALITY: SELECTED TALKS AND TEXTS 1977-2007 (JRP Ringier, 2008), edited by Alexandra Kokoli. Particular in the context of much contemporary interest in text- based artistic practice  and performance lectures, I was interested in Hiller’s insistence throughout the book that her talks and writings are not artistic work.

I wanted to unfold some of the implications and assumptions in this  decision, one which seemed particularly curious in a practice unfolding through a challenging of existing boundaries and, often, a focus on written text of various kinds.

Some sense of the contradications involved can be seen by placing Hiller’s observation “If talking and thinking were sufficient, and working with ideas was enough, why make art?” alongside an explanation of her no-art thought and writing that can only conceive of them through metaphors of artistic process and production: 

In a way, this is a collection of detours around the subject, circling in on it. It’s like a drawing, where the negative space is as important as the marks, and where individual marks don’t mean much on their own. In the process, I’ve found my lines of thought converging or overlapping to define a tentative shape that may represent a sighting or wish for something that will emerge more clearly in the future.

Re-reading the essay now I am also struck by how this relates to the book form. Hiller has made numerous book works throughout her career, but her practice has also remained relatively resistent to a satisfying monographic treatment.

Kokoli’s collection and, particularly, the earlier THINKING ABOUT ART: CONVERSATIONS WITH SUSAN HILLER edited by Barbara Einzig (Manchester University Press, 1996), remain, I think, the best book-based ways of approaching Hiller’s practice. 

An indication of the essay’s stance and language can be seen in the following extract: 

This essay, then, explores a reading where these conversations, statements, transcripts, notes, and written lectures are not separate from art-production, becoming more than a supplementary, ontological preoccupation. One consequence of such a “detoured reading” is  to become unsure of the spatial metaphors and language by which an artistic practice is understood.

Texts acquire uncertain status, individually and as a whole. I suspect Hiller’s recurring preoccupations – including psychic phenomena and ethnography- may offer up different meanings and insights when the work she produces to explore them is not positioned on one side or the other of an art-not art divide.

Re-framed, too, are questions of what legitimizes these texts. Of course, Hiller’s status as an established artist prompts the invitations in response to which most of these texts are produced. Yet Hiller’s way of responding often evokes different kinds of knowledge: the artist working with questions arising from their own practice alongside a scholarly focus on context and historiography.

Does status accrued as the former legitmize reflections in the guise of the latter, or instigate a particular artist-scholar practice? Are we to gain reassurance from Hiller’s “former-anthroplogist” status? If, as Hiller would seem to prefer, we foreground a particularly artist-led perspective, then what does that mean for texts that are denied a position in Hiller’s catalogue of art production? 

An initial strategy for thinking through these questions might be to think of Hiller as an oral storyteller. What links these texts – and differentiates them from the majority of her art production – is the direct physical presence and voice of Hiller herself, weaving variations on familiar themes, often – like the artist herself – known to their audience, with a meta-structure connecting (art) history with the individual (Hiller’s practice).

Note, too, that Hiller rarely strays from a conventional, expository prose style, with an absence throughout the book of the process notes, fragments, doodles, as well as unconventional grammatical or structural devices, that often figure in “artists’ writings”, both those construed as art works – Sue Tompkins’ texts, for example – or those positioned as in proximity to rather than being the art work – a non-definite distinction but one evident in recent art-writing journals such as The Mock and other superstitions and Material.

Fillip #11 features contributions from: Lawrence Rinder, Haris Epaminonda & Jacob Fabricius, Arni Haraldsson, Keith Bormuth, Alex Kitnick, Jamie Hilder, David Berridge, Michalis Pichler, Milena Tomic, Renato Rodrigues da Silva, Gabrielle Moser, Antonia Hirsch, Aaron Peck, Kim Dhillon, Kate Armstrong, Liz Park.

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OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: THE WANDLE PARK BROADSIDES

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 at 9:38 am

 

First Announcement by THE COMMUNICATION COMPANY, Haight Ashbury, 1967

 

VerySmallKitchen invite submissions for a series of A3 broadsides, to be published as part of The Writer’s House, a live writing and publication project as part of AWAY DAY, a three day festival of art and performance in Wandle Park, Colliers Wood, London, 29-31 May 2010.

There are no prescriptions as to the content of the posters, but submissions are invited which engage with how both event and park can function as a place of publication and distribution. For more details about the AWAY DAY event see here

A series of broadsides will be selected and distributed in Wandle Park, Colliers Wood. Copies will also be available for online download and included in a print publication of THE WRITER’S HOUSE project. 

Writers from any geographical location are invited to submit. The final selection will include a number of writers who are able to attend the event for live readings of their broadsides.  

Please send your contribution as a one page A3 black and white PDF exactly as you wish it to be published to David Berridge at verysmallkitchen@gmail. 

Also include a short 100 word bio, and indicate whether or not you are available to read your broadside during the event. The deadline is May 20th 2010.

READING NOTES: MARC CAMILLE CHAIMOWICZ AND A FOLIO FOR SECESSION

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 at 8:01 am

As part of putting together the VSK project for The Reading Room, I have been thinking about the folio as a form of publication, attracted by its sense of a gathering of materials, its openness to re-arrangement, how it could propose/be some new event, rather than/ as well as chronicling something that has already happened. 

I also like how the folio format fits with the shifts of activity that come from thinking about editorial work (and writing) as “assembling” rather than “editing.”

Some of these thoughts came from A Folio for Secession, by Marc Camille Chaimowicz, produced for his recent exhibition at the Vienna Secession (Nov 20 2009-Jan 24 2010) and which contains, as the folder flap announces:  

 a letter

some patterns

a text and

exhibition views

This text is alone on the cream card, haiku-redolent, the folio dependent on this careful juxtaposition, rhythm and shift of materials.  

Actually, the order of materials was somewhat different in my copy, as if someone had already re-arranged the materials into a – for them- more workable arrangement. In order there were: six patterns, printed on card; a facsimile handwritten letter on different sized headed notepaper,  from hotels from Los Angeles and Baden Baden; a brochure containing “exhibition views” and an essay by Silvia Eiblmayr. 

I wanted more but perhaps the folio is best conceived as a minimal juxtaposition and agglomerating. Something light, but also an amassing and clotting.  

The letters on their cream paper invite us to view the artist through his handwriting, the facsimile headed notepaper seeking a re-creation of an idea of luxury, alongside evidencing the often traveling contemporary artist.  

Letter begins with MC emerging from his LA hotel to scene of apocalypse which, after a moment of adjustment, he identifies as a film crew shooting a scene from Alien. The mix is one of a number of differences and connections that unfold in the letters chatty but formal informality, including, most principally, the relations of Vienna and LA. 

I felt the conceptual nub of this folio and Chaimowicz’s work was to be found in the following quotation:

It is given that as we focus on any particular subject, so that subject is liable to appear and reappear – in myriad form or as chimera- to haunt and envelope us (the conceptual distance between Wittgenstein’s Vienna and, say, the death of Michael Jackson is daunting – yet today’s cultural overload purports to such mental juggling…)

A favourite restaurant here is Ammo, which is run by Benedikt who is from Vienna… I am therefore sensitised to Vienna’s after image… there are connections beyond the anecdotal and it may seem an exagerration to suggest that pckets of L.A. were once more Viennese than Vienna… yet such was the exodus of radical thinkers, and such were the opportunities, that this equation is surely plausible… 

What I am proposing is that the fractured continuum of history was such that the true spirit of Viennese Radicalism was, in the 1920’s and 30’s largely transposed to California. 

Here then is a statement of the network that informs Chaimowicz’s work, both of his time in Vienna, his relationship to Vienna, Vienna itself, his own broader practice and the relations it involves and imbricates between high and low culture; art, design and furniture.  

Such concerns are central to Silvia Eiblmayr’s “Marc Chamille Chaimowicz Vienna Revisted…?”, which I read as organised around two quotations. The first, by MC himself, is at the beginning: “All one can do in 1983 is attempt to make art rather than make art.” The second, by Hermann Czech, concerns the notion of Mannerism:

Mannerism is an attitude of intellectualism, of awareness; and also a sense of the irregular ,the absurd, which in each case breaks the established rules. Mannerism is the conceptual approach to accepting reality at whichever level may be necessary. It enables the openness and the imagination to put into motion, and sustain, unexpected outside processes, too. An architecture of participation is possible only on the basis of Mannerism.” (13)

I imagine a methodology composed of a conceptual choreography between these two quotations. 

Writing of  Chaimowicz’s Vienna Triptych – a series of tall panels aligned along the wall, some patterned and some arrangements of photographs – Eiblemayr seeks to clarify this position. In the context of VerySmallKitchen – but also informed by Chaimowicz’s own writing practice – I found this to be outlining a form of writing. 

A writing. A folio. A writing (folio) studio. The strategy of the assembler encounters the folio. A writing assembling salon turns itself into a folio: 

Once again he [Chaimowicz] raises questions about public/ private dichotomies, and relates the intimate, personal interior that also incorporates the artist’s physical presence with the particular location and its visitor, the city, its history and the specific memories associated with it. 

In formal terms this means that in his work… he again maintains the status of his materials and resources open and moveable, refusing to categorise, preferring instead to sustain the tension of ambivalent determination between the everyday object and the objet d’art, the piece of furniture and the sculpture, the décor and the painting. 

In doing so he creates a performative space that draws the viewer in to form part of a theatrical experience, i.e. an experience that is real in terms of both space and time.

 


A good model for writing this, based on one piece in the Secession show: a wonky table that convinces you the floor itself is uneven.

A gathering of other themes speak urgently to contemporary practice via this cluster of materials: of theatricality, and of  – Chaimowicz’s phrase for his installations such  as Celebration? Real life (1972) – scatter environments.” 

I construct my own folio featuring this text and others by Chaimowicz: the appropriation of The World of Interiors magazine (for a book work accompanying show at Migros, Zurich 2006); the revealing interview in the recent FIELD WORK publication (a brief citation from which is  here).

A collected writings to come, hopefully, later this year.

 

All, as in the panels of Vienna Triptych, offer a certain space for folio-thought, a space also formed and forming in the parasol “scattered” in the installation at Secession, the appropriations of rug (on plinth), appropriated and re-configured  ( I wanted to say “sensibilised”) chairs and tables.    

JEAN FISHER: less concerned with the specificity of place than with the evocation of an abstract mental space in a visual structure that is equivalent to a musical score, in which quietude is orchestrated with crescendo, harmony with rhythm.

DEMOTIC ARCHIVES OF ART WRITING (1): RICHARD FOREMAN’S ONTOLOGICAL HYSTERIC THEATER: A MANIFESTO

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

A NOTE: I first encountered Richard Foreman’s ONTOLOGICAL HYSTERIC THEATER: A MANIFESTO in Kate Davey ed. Richard Foreman Plays and Manifestoes, published by NYU Press in 1976. It also appeared in Richard Kostelanetz anthology ESSAYING ESSAYS: ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF EXPOSITION (Out of London Press, 1975), from which the above images are scanned.  

I have included the essay in several workshops and gatherings of material – such as CRITICISM TOWARDS PERFORMANCE NOTATION, a short presentation as part of SPILL: OVERSPILL, and a workshop on the visual essay as part of the FREE PRESS workshop, some notes on which can be seen here.

Most recently, I returned to it as part of a presentation on artist uses of the diagram at London’s FormContent. I showed slides of Foreman’s essay at the point in my talk where I was trying to suggest what a diagrammatic artistic practice might be, thinking less about a practice of literally making diagrams and more about a practical and conceptual arrangement of a working practice as a diagrammatic spatial unfolding.

I also find myself thinking about this text in the light of current art debates on alternative forms of education. 

Foreman’s text remains vital for me in how it links together together traditions of essay, performance script, and open field poetics, as well as its establishing of a creative interchange between spaces of page, mind, and stage.

I find here writing that comes before, during and after the act of theatre making itself, that is about an event and process, but also an intensity of experience now (a “now” that is ever adaptable: the moment of writing, the moment of reading both pulsate in this text), as well as being a projection and prosthesis for a theatre activity that will take place in the future.

An essay shifting between registers – reflective and impetuous, handwritten, typed, photographed and drawn – to create a space in which thought is actively taking place, or at least is a possibility.

Foreman has written essays like this throughout his career, although not perhaps with the eclecticism of approach evidenced here. See, for example, “How to Write a Play” and “The Carrot and the Stick” (both 1976), reprinted (along with Ontologic Hysteric Manifesto) in the PAJ Art + Performance anthology of essays on Foreman.

I’m struck, looking at these texts, by Foreman’s observation in interviews that his texts are far ahead of his directing, that the texts evidence a spatial and thematic complexity his theatre productions themselves lack.

I’m also thinking of his scenographic sense of the multiplicity of space, always creating multiple points of focus and intention, anti-absorptively interrupting a moment – strings criss-crossing the stage in photos of many early Foreman productions –  how such forms of stage composition apply to the page and writing.

DEEP TRANCE BEHAVIOR IN POTATOLAND Photo @ Paula Court

 

I’ve not seen Foreman’s work live, his work the prime exemplar for me of a practice whose relevancy and urgency to my own work is a reconstruction through text and image.  

By re-printing the texts here, perhaps I’m hoping for the same effect as Foreman, when he posted his notebooks online with the invitation for others to use them in the making of a piece of theatre.

If those notebooks seem too close to Foreman’s own process to initiate an autonomous theatrical interpretation, perhaps the essay form – conceived by Foreman as an active think-performance-writing-space – can be prompt and tool for very different forms of writing, performance and other creative practice.

Regarding Foreman’s own practice, the manifesto re-printed here is testimony to an engagement with theatrical experience and space which now appears to be over.

READING NOTES: FOUR AFTER-QUOTATIONS AND SAMUEL BECKETT ON HOLIDAY

In Uncategorized on April 21, 2010 at 6:41 am

 

Reading as Publishing: Samuel Beckett on Holiday

 

In the week after READING FOR READING’S SAKE I came across a number of quotations that developed and nuanced the space of “reading as activity” opened up by that event. 

(1) “the artist, the work of art, and its viewers are connected through an intricate web of correspondences, and if one if really inside of that relation, everything corresponds. And one cannot really deal with a work of art without dealing with its correspondences, including one’s own life and its relation to others. It is a simple truth, but one that is so regularly obscured in practice that it has become a kind of mystery to us. ”  

David Levi Strauss, From Head to Hand: Art and the Manual (Oxford University Press, 2010), 165.  Read in Gordon Square WC1London, 12 April, 2010, instantaneously applying quotation to a networked “everything corresponds” model of reading. 

(2)”There is something about the way you put together – compose – your sentences, a deliberate effort to create moments of silence, of stillness, full stops, as though there would be rest marks in a musical score, or an end of bar that forces the reader to go back and start from the beginning.”

Joan Richardson, question to Stanley Cavell, “The Transcendental Strain: Stanley Cavell Talks with Bookforum”, Bookforum, April-May 2010, 5-6. Read on 15.55 train from Leeds to London, 11 April, 2010. 

Thinking here about the musical spaces between books, also how books could resist a linear read-through and consumption, shifting attention into a broader engagement with all levels of their material architecture. 

(3) “Surrealism is an honest, beautiful resilient tonic fermented into a delicately volatile mixture of liberty, sensuous play, psychic automatism, chance, humor and a biting critique of corrupt power in all its manifestations, from bourgeois miserablism to fascism.”

Jesse Gentes, quote from “Impossible Emancipation” (2009), cited in Patricide: Issue One: Documentary Surrealism , purchased and read at Cornerhouse, Manchester, 9th May 2010. 

Patricide posits continued presence of surrealism as grass roots, non-institutional praxis. Issue Two will be on “seaside surrealism.”

I made some notes for a possible contribution, but they lacked the sense of project I remembered from Paul Nash’s writings on the subject (first published in the 1938 issue of Architectural Review).   PROJECT: read widely in surrealist literature, but without concept of unconscious. 

 (4)”Reading is a favorite activity, and I often ponder its phenomenology. As I write this essay, the reading I do for it is a mitigated pleasure. Sometimes it feels like a literal ingestion, a bulimic gobbling up of words as thought they were fast food. At other times I read and take notes in a desultory, halting, profoundly unsatisfying way. And my eyes hurt.” 

Moyra Davey, Long Life Cool White: Photographs and Essays by Moyra Davey, (Yale University Press, 2008), 85. At home, evening, Whitechapel, London 12 April 2010. 

Photo: Moyra Davey

 

Davey talks of the flanerie of reading – a concept which captures the entwining intention between reading as WORK and as indulgence, and what circumstances determine the readers self-positioning on this spectrum of value.

For Davey herself the (w)readerly result is an associative, diaristic, unfolding essaying, and a photograph practice where a formal materiality of reading (and other activities – see image below) acquires its own (irr-)resonant psychology. 

Photo: Moyra Davey

 

SAMUEL BECKETT ON HOLIDAY: Walking into the Cornerhouse bookshop on 9th May 2010 I immediately noticed the photo of Samuel Beckett. It’s from Beckett: Photographs by François-Marie Baniera , including several, like those here,  of SB on holiday in Tangiers. I liked how this liberated Beckett’s texts from the moody black and white images that often appear on his books. 

In the context of “reading as publishing” I also liked how this photo appeared to published the emotion of my own experience of reading Beckett, finding a certain reassuring joy in the certain ontological ground (or non-ontological non-ground ground) that Beckett seemed to write. 

The photo also loosens up the relationship between Beckett’s life and work, suggesting a possibly more paradoxical and tangential relationship than the black and white icons which attempt to map Beckett’s physical image onto his writings and vice versa, like some primitive neo-Victorian science of physiognomy.

Thinking of the materiality of a book and its reading, that’s what I don’t want “reading as publishing” to be.

FROM BOA CONSTRICTOR TO FAT LADY FROM NORFOLK: CHARLES DICKENS AND THE ART OF READING ALOUD

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2010 at 7:13 am

On May 1st I will be presenting a reading as part of PREAMBLES AND PERAMBULATIONS, an exhibition at the Dickens House Museum curated by Island Projects. More about the event can be seen here

 On 13th April 2010, thinking about what I will read, I went to the Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street in Bloomsbury. On the top floor there was a small display dedicated to Dicken’s own practice of reading aloud. I noted Dickens specially built reading table that accompanied him on tour, particularly the small box placed on top and on which the hand holding the book would rest. 

 I wrote: This suggests that book reading is like a cumbersome prosthetic, how the act of reading in public is a complex act requiring a cumbersome architecture of body appendages and extensions. Rather than standing at the reading table, one crawls inside it to get more familiar with one’s own texts. 

I also examined a display case of the reading copies, from which Dickens read. These were subject to various methods of annotation, including pencil underlining and the highlighting of sections of text in red and blue. Inparticular I noted that Dickens sometimes crossed out paragraphs in the printed text, and replaced them with a handwritten alternative. I thought these might be slight rearrangements of grammar, possibly to bring out rhythms more striking for reading aloud. 

In the printed text of MR. CHOPS THE DWARF Dickens had crossed out a text which read:

There was the canvas representin the picter [sic] of a child of a British Planter, siezed by the two boa constricters…

and replaced it with the following: 

Then there was the canvas representing the fat lady from Norfolk, in a plaid frock and sash…

Whilst there may be some obvious reason for this shift apparent to Dickens scholars, I appropriated the shift between paragraphs as evidencing the demands of reading aloud, shifting from private absorption to public performance, and the transformations of matter, style, and story that necessitates. 

Coming downstairs into the library, I noticed in one corner a reproduction of Dickens reading table (the original upstairs had been in a glass case, which suggested a Dickens still reading, muffled, behind glass). But it lacked the small square – covered in the same dark red velvet – that Dickens rested hand and book upon (see image above). My response to the reading table had focussed upon that red square block. I wondered where it was, if the reproduction had ever included such a thing. 

I note some reasons for this fascination: its nature as building block, minimalist cube (fringed with a dark red tassle), mobility, wrist podium, something to be found hanging from every book like furry dice from a car window.

It is the block that fits the reading stand into the scale of Dicken’s body, giving form to a void space between human and object, reader and book, but such form is temporary/provisional/”blocked”. Hopefully, the block can levitate on its own if carrying around the reading stand proves difficult. 

In fact, I noted, the reconstruction [of the reading stand] is noticeable for its lack of animating props, its denial of the prosthetic nature of reading aloud. No ivory paper knife that functioned as a prop, never to cut paper; no jug of water; no cloth or towel. 

My image of how to use this reading table was becoming ever more physical. I IMAGINED DICKENS wiping his brow and the back of his neck with the towel like a boxer, sweat pouring onto the altered paragraphs of his page. I imagine a script of Dickens reading aloud that involves no books, just a choreography of sweat, box, jug, water, ivory paper knife.  From Boa Constrictor to Norfolk Fat Lady.

A few days after my visit to the Dickens House Museum I read the following quotation by Gertrude Stein:

She always said that that first visit had made London just like Dickens and Dickens had always frightened her. As she says anything can frighten her and London when it was like Dickens certainly did. 

SOURCE TEXT: Gertrude Stein, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B TOKLAS, (Penguin Books, London, 2001 [1933]), 92-3

*

Preambles and Perambulations: Past, Present and Future: Creative minds at 48 Doughty Street. Saturday 24th April 2010 – Saturday 8th May 2010.

ARTISTS: Larry Achiampong, Bram Thomas Arnold, David Berridge, Marco Cali, Maurice Carlin, Jeremy Evans, Anna Chapman, Pippa Koszerek, Yaron Lapid, Sophie Loss, Jane Madell, Penny Matheson, Aidan McNeill, Duane Moyle, Dermot O’Brien, Gary O’Connor, Claudia Passeri, Steve Perfect, Veronica Perez Karleson, Jonathan Trayner, Mary Yacoob.

Private View (entry free): Friday 23rd April 2010, 18.00 – 21.00. A conversation with the artists: Saturday 24th April 2010, 14.00 – 16.00. Performers and Readers: Saturday 1st May 2010, 14.00 – 16.00. Exhibition open: Monday – Sunday, 10.00 – 17.00. Normal museum admission charges apply. 

KAFKA THINKING STATIONS: A CHORA(L) SONG CYCLE

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm

 

KAFKA THINKING STATIONS: A CHORA(L) SONG CYCLE, performed at Testing Grounds, Permanent Gallery Brighton, July 18th 2009

 

 

KAFKA THINKING STATIONS: A CHORA(L) SONG CYCLE  is a text developed from five short sentences found in the notebooks of Franz Kafka. The piece was first developed and presented as part of TESTING GROUNDS at the Permanent Gallery, Brighton on July 18th 2009. On the 24th April it will be recorded in London as a choral radio play, directed by Joseph Thorpe. 

 The score is preceded by the following text, and for the performance on the 24th this is the only part of the text that performers will see prior to the event:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PERFORMERS 

 This is a text for a chora(l)* recitation to be performed by any possible number of performers, who may or may not be physically present in the same space. 

The distribution of texts amongst performers should be decided by the performers themselves as a reflection of the desired or actual group process.  All parts of the text may be regarded as vocal music, stage instructions, process notes or documentation and be performed or not as deemed appropriate. 

No instructions are included as to pitch, rhythm, tone, or speed. These are determined by each performer as emergent through sequential acts of word-concentration.

 ______________ 

*CHORA: “a temporary articulation, essentially mobile, constituted of movements and their ephemeral stases.” 

 

At the Permament Gallery KAFKA THINKING STATIONS took the form of a three part vocal performance with myself, Olivia Armstrong and Johanna Linsley. The piece was rehearsed once, and I distributed the following quotation by Jackson MacLow:

Performers must become acutely conscious of both the sounds they themselves are producing and those arising from other performers, the audience, and/or the environment. It is essential to the realization of Asymmetries that all performers choose as many aspects and details as possible of their individual realizations within the context of as clear an awareness of the total aural situation at each moment as performance circumstances allow. In many circumstances  -as when performers are dispersed within the space (e.g. around or in the midst of an audience or when performers and audience are identical), a procedure often followed in performances I’ve directed – each performer’s impression of the total aural situation will necessarily differ from those of the others.  What is asked for is concentrated attention to all sounds perceptible to the individual and an attitude of receptivity and responsiveness such that choices are made spontaneously, often seeming to arise from the whole situation. 

Schematically, this “whole” can be represented by concentric spheres: the inmost is that of the individual performer; next, that of the whole performance group; next, that of the larger social group, including audience as well as performers; next, that of the performance space including room acoustics, electronics etc.; and finally, the larger spaces within which the performance situation is situated: the rest of the building, the surrounding streets, neighbourhood, city (or rural area), etc., all of which may affect significantly the aggregate of sounds heard by each individual at each moment. The spheres are best conceived as transparent and interpenetrating – not static shells but concentric ripples travelling simultaneously out from and  in toward each center.

SOURCE TEXT: Jackson MacLow, THING OF BEAUTY: NEW AND SELECTED WORKS (University of California Press, 2008), 80-81.

 

We agreed that we would read sequentially through the thirty pages of the script, reading what we wished from each page, in whatever order. We held our separate performances together by agreeing that we would turn the page at the same time.

One discovery of this process was how much more connected we felt when absorbed in our individual acts of reading than when we tried to read looking at each other,  making the script into a too obvious fake conversation.

For the performance on the 24th, ten performers, director, writer, and sound engineer will spend one day together. The script will be read at the beginning of the day, enabling everyone present to identify questions and issues that determine the contents and approach of the ensuing workshop. The afternoon will be given over to a series of performances, each unfolding out into group led discussions and explorations that inform further readings. The resulting sound recording will be broadcast online as part of the PLATFORM RADIO PLAY PROJECT. More details to follow. 

In preparation for this performance, I went through the original script and made a series of annotations and drawings in black marker pen. I was trying to focus on the materiality of the page itself, focussing on my presence as a writer within a collaborative performance project.  When I met with Joe it was fascinated how he translated this markings into his own concerns as director, developing a through-line for the text as a whole.  

Whilst invaluable preparation, both of us will be leaving aside these interpretations in order to experience what emerges from the collective workings on the 24th.

Marc Camille Chaimowicz

 

A WRITER IN THE REHEARSAL SPACE: I am currently thinking through what it means to be a writer in a rehearsal space, how I can function, not as a provider of meaning and interpretation in regard to the text, but as some sort of facilitator regarding how its language, space and propositions could  organise our time together. 

In an indirect and sometimes contradictory way, I have been thinking about this through the following text by Clémentine Deliss:

…there remains a tension between responding on the basis of background knowledge – a certain precision reconnaissance and intentionality and travelling in the mode of the flâneur with less structure at hand. In my case, I want to know exactly whom it is that I need to talk to if i’m somewhere new. I don’t want to change the language of my practice. I know the intelligentsia is there. I just have to find it. So the last thing I want to do is to float into a location. I have to generate a meeting of intentionality between the other person and myself and for that I do the research before I go out there and I don’t compromise. 

Later in the same book, an overlapping set of issues get formulated by Marc Camille Chaimowicz as follows:

I think the photograph that I happened to find in Nantes of the Café du Rêve was a good example of a simple visual form that said everything I wanted to say. It implied a kind of sociability in a place where you get a wide cross-section of people, all dealing with their own solitude. They go to the Café du Rêve for a number of reasons: to pick someone up, or to get drunk, or to find warmth, or to engage in social intercourse. But because the title is Café du Rêve it also implies something else: that one can transcend and actually go into reverie. That’s a very simple example of what you are hinting at. The everyday in this photograph is not any old café. It has specificity.

SOURCE TEXT:  Jacob Bee et al eds. FIELDWORK (A/S/N MUTUAL PRESS, Edinburgh, 2009).

ART WRITING FIELD NOTES (3): EMMA COCKER

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

This is the final set of notes from contributers to the ART WRITING FIELD STATION in Leeds on March 27th 2010. It first appeared on Emma Cocker’s Not Yet There blog, which is prefaced by the following methodological statement: 

Operating under the title ‘Not Yet There’, my practice is characterised by a mode of restlessness – or wandering – that functions as both the subject of and motivation for my enquiries. Writing/text-based work (often developed dialogically through conversations with other artists) interrogates the critical and creative potential within experiences or conditions such as failure, doubt, deferral, uncertainty, boredom, hesitation, indecision, immobility & inconsistency, by exploring models of practice – and subjectivity – which resist or refuse the pressure of a single or stable position by remaining willfully unresolved. I am interested in exploring the ‘thinking space’ of practice by shifting attention from the notion of the ‘deliberate’ towards the process of ‘deliberation’; by insisting that purpose or meaning is not synonymous with the notion of achieving a ‘goal’.

Emma’s field notes are below. Notes by Rachel Lois Clapham and Mary Paterson are here and here

A hard copy edition of this text work will shortly be published. The project will be developed for VSK’s exhibition at The Pigeon Wing in September. 

FIELD PROPOSALS

In terms of responding to the David Berridge’s proposition of ‘Field Station’  I have attempted to map a field and propose it as a field station; the text/objects that I presented are both reflective and prospective, (like Breton’s ‘double headed-arrow’) they mark the territory of what has come before but also suggest a possible future use. 

I wanted to propose a series of maps as a response to the idea of fieldfield-maps: My hope is to use these ‘field-maps’ to help me to better understand what might constitute the ‘field’ of my own practice, and the method of my own writing, which I am increasingly coming to see as a restless practice, or a practice that uses the idea of restlessness as itsmethod. Thinking through field-station has forced me to think about ‘the field’ in terms of the architecture of my own art-writing practice, thinking about architecture as:

*  A spatial structure or model (what is its shape)

* Verb: The action or process of building (of assemblage) (how is it produced, what is it methods). Field as an act or of doing something: a sphere of activity, to put into action, a complex of forces that serve as causative agents in human behaviour.

*  Network: the way components fit together (how are connections made and re-made)

The maps correspond to:

* A mapping or rhizomatic field (the network of ideas, practice, bodies – field ascommunity). An attempt to articulate or map or chart or diagram a sense of my writing practice, which operates under the title, Not Yet There. The tension between or field created between different practices (art/encyclopedia; ‘knowing’/knowledge; the gallery/the academy).

Field Station – what constitutes a (art-writing) studio and how can this be made portable or mobile or taken to the ‘field’. Studio as constituted by a set of practices (produced); by the physical surroundings (belongings) and by what it affords (thinking space). NB) In order to build in spaces that are more speculative you have to build in spaces that are more speculative. Mind-mapping habitually presupposes a starting point, a point of original. Here my attempt is to remove the need for a fixed or determined start, or rather to replace the propositional of the conventional starting point with the notion of a potential Macguffin.

Open Field (as open space – thinking space)  – a template, work and tool. An imaginative proposition and an operational model. An attempt to articulate or map or chart or diagram the idea of the ‘field’ as open space, a space of thinking, a germinal terrain. Mapping the process of thinking, without this being about what that thinking is about; a mapping of a process and the producing of a map that corresponds to that process.

* An operational model: using the ‘field’ model as a device through which to explore my field of art-writing practice. A proposition of an essay as map, the essay as a network or proposed community of ideas. The field as essay.  Visual essaying (essay as rhizome). An attempt to use this open field as a device to lay down (or seed or plant) a few specific ideas. A model to be used: what is the field of this event?

Thinking through field:

* Clearing: an expanse of open or cleared ground

* Event: the area in which (field) events are held

* Space of Contestation: a battleground.

* Force/Agency: (physics) the influence of some agent, as electricity or gravitation, considered as existing at all points in space and   defined by the force it would exert on an object placed at any point in space.

 * Horizon: (optics) the entire angular expanse visible through an optical instrument at a given time or (photography) the area of a subject that is taken in by a lens at a particular diaphragm opening.

* Interconnectedness: (psychology) the total complex of interdependent factors within which a psychological event occurs and is perceived as occurring.

* Record: (in a punch card) any number of columns regularly used for recording the same information

* Playing the field – to vary one’s activities, a kind of promiscuous practice, “avoid commitment” – a restlessness

* Flat land – a non-hierarchical playing field

* Skilfulness: To respond to

* Incisive: the site of a surgical operation

* Classification: a data structure

THE ALL EDIE ALL ANDY ALL ME ALL YOU ALICE IN WONDERLAND II

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 10:59 pm


THE ALL EDIE ALL ANDY ALL ME ALL YOU ALICE IN WONDERLAND II  has just published in SYNTAX #2: TOO MUCH NIGHT edited by CS Leigh.  More information on Syntax Editions is available here 

 In its content, language and form, this essay explores my response both to Warhol’s 16mm film work, and the performance style of Mario Montez and Jack Smith. In the context of  VerySmallKitchen I am interested how the methodologies of these performers, the way they position themselves in regards to space, time, and notions of self, can be applied to the acts of expanded writing practice chronicled on this website.  

My interview with CS Leigh, around and out from his contribution to the exhibition WARHOL AND THE SHARED SUBJECT can be seen here. This is how the essay begins:


…This is rumours and whispers, started by Warhol himself, a delirious dream of a phone conversation with B, pieced together from pirated extracts on You TUBE. This is about Warhol’s 16mm films providing a working language for writers and artists in 2009. This is nothing new: once the 16mm films were talked about without being seen and that was their influence.

Well I’ve seen them all, I’ve forgotten much of them, and now I’m watching illegal bits, often filmed straight off the screen, legacy gone viral via atrocious image quality. I tried the DVD collections and 13 Most Beautiful… but now I’m back at my laptop, keyword “MARIO MONTEZ.” All with the same sense of self-collapse, impossible pose, as Henry Geldzahler on the sofa…

Before this, in January, I was in Other Voices, Other Rooms, the Warhol show at the Hayward gallery. Trying on headphones, watching cable TV shows, pleasurably, blankly bored, hopefully in the hyper-productive Warhol way. I pass a video fragment of Edie Sedgwick, where she remarks, slowly and thoughtfully, that Warhol should make a film of Alice in Wonderland, partly because of their shared AW initials.

Sedgwick laughs and says she knows that lots of things have those initials. She also emphasises how, unlike an earlier Disney version, Warhol’s AW would use real people because – I’m paraphrasing – there are so many fantastic people around who could play all the parts.

Other Voices Other Room was maybe a first draft towards AW’s AW. Confused, incoherent, and incomprehensible in its totality, it tried to treat Warhol’s oeuvre as a whole, without value judgements about film or video. It ended up as a microcosm of the issues faced by Warhol obsessives, curators or not, in 2009. In the Hayward I sat and watched whole episodes of cable TV shows, before heading through a room of digitally transferred 16mm work, noticing images but not stopping to experience the duration of what, in the cinema, had absorbed me.

Warhol never made AW, at least not literally, but not to worry. This article will propose a whole series of Alice in Wonderland’s. Because selves are multiple in 2009 in a way Warhol could only say “sure” about. The all Ondine  AW, the All-Edie, or The All-Andy, with Andy played by Marie Menken, two thirds over-exposed white out. You can hear Ronald Tavel shouting the lines. You too. The All-You AW. Sneeze if you forget your lines and I’ll whisper them to you, or look in the fridge. TASK: Map the structure of Alice in Wonderland onto Chelsea Girls, assuming the 1-1 scale of AW’s (both of thems) own maps…

A READING GROUP IN THE FIELD: THROW A LEFT THROW A RIGHT

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 10:49 pm

THROW A LEFT THROW A RIGHT was a collaborative project by David Berridge, Hyun Jin Cho, David Johnson and Pippa Koszerek. The project took the form of an essay and image based on a trip to the Langdon Hills plotlands site in Essex. The article first appeared in *Periphery, a printed newspaper and web publication produced and distributed in Great Yarmouth by YH485 Press. The original brief for the project was as follows:

Each contributor will be allocated one page, to include an image of their choosing plus 500 words of text. Both image and text may be found, appropriated or produced by the contributor. The text and image pairing may be related or incidental and the theme of periphery can be interpreted loosely. Contributors are welcome to collaborate with one or more persons.

*periphery will be launched to coincide with the opening of a four-day programme of moving image works by local artists to be broadcast on the giant televisions along Great Yarmouth seafront 17th-20th September 2009. *periphery will be printed on news rag as tabloid-sized edition of 1000 and made available to buy for the price of a Sunday paper in selected bookshops and online. Fifty editions will be used as chip wrapping in selected outlets throughout the town from Thursday 17th September 2009. 

The project was later presented and discussed as part of the London Fields project on 29th August 2009, curated by Harriet Blaise Mitchell.  Our contribution comprised the following/ text/score which is reproduced here with the intention of initiating further explorations of any kind that its words may prompt.

THROW A LEFT, THROW A RIGHT

*Substitute [text] with your own script.

Synopsis

 A reading group visit to the ruins of Dunton Plotlands [22 May 2009], a self-build community of holiday and permanent homes created by families from London’s East End between the 1870s and 1940s until the land was placed under compulsory purchase order.

 Actors

 GROUP MEMBERS  [Berridge, Cho, Johnson, and Koszerek], [DOG WALKER(S), MUSEUM ATTENDANT, EX PLOTLANDS DWELLER]

 Props

 Reading material [The conspiracy of good taste, Szczelkun; Cradle to Cradle, Braungart & McDonough; Arcadia for All, Hardy & Ward; Species of Spaces, Perec], empty food cartons, carrier bag, cameras, tripod.

Acts

1.

 (Centre stage – Farringdon Station, London.) – DAYBREAK

 A group [buy return tickets, coffee & baguette] and board (stage front) platform 1.

 (Backdrop- changing scenery.) (Audio – train rumble, conversation with four voices.) Discuss: how a reading group becomes a  text. What, where & how to read  (Context/ Place). [“We did not know what life was about, what work meant, how to find it, and how to behave or use our minds once we had found it. We were unequal to the task of fitting into an urban society.” (Hardy & Ward, 202)].

 2.

 (Traverse periphery of auditorium – Laindon Station – Dunton Visitor Centre)

 The group discover an unmarked shack that is falling apart. Between dilapidated shed and ruin it is reminiscent of allotments – those sanctioned urban-rural idylls.

 An antique Tesco carrier bag from 1988 is discovered (Re-vision scene: the plotlands, a history not only of its past inhabitants but also its transitory visitors.)

 The group continue onwards.

 GROUP MEMBER:  Excuse me , do you which way the visitor centre is?

 DOG WALKER:  Throw a left, throw a right, then straight ahead.

 3.

 (Stage right – Show home.)

 A prepared speech by the MUSEUM ATTENDANT at the one remaining and restored house, THE HAVEN, followed by an improvised conversation between the GROUP MEMBERS, MUSEUM ATTENDANT & EX PLOTLANDS DWELLER.

 4.

 (Off side – Accidental pulpit)

 GROUP MEMBER: Staircases. We don’t think enough about staircases. Nothing was more beautiful in old houses than staircases. Nothing is uglier, colder, more hostile, meaner, in today’s apartment buildings. We should learn to live more on staircases, but how? (Perec, 38)

5

 (Stage Left – Ampitheatre.)

The group stage their reading group [camera and tripod are set up, a series of packaging boxes are placed and replaced in time to several readings. “The tree is not an isolated entity cut off from the systems around it: it is inextricably and productively engaged with them. This is a key difference between the growth of industrial systems as they now stand and the growth of nature.” (Braungart & McDonough, 78 & 79)]

6.

(Curtain down – Laindon/ Fenchurch Street.) – EVENING

This new wave of East End inhabitants close their day’s holiday with conversations about their next projects.

 THE END**

 **Your enacting of this script may result in: an episode of dark tourism/ an expedition to a site of social history/ a stereotype of artistic activity/ ruin idolising/