WRITING/EXHIBITION/PUBLICATION began last night at The Pigeon Wing ,and the opening featured readings by Julia Calver, Tamarin Norwood, myself (reading a text by Helen Kaplinsky) and Press Free Press. Pippa Koszerek was also documenting the event in shorthand.
All of these artists have projects unfolding throughout the month. Here are short statements by each artist on their project, followed by a coda on the “secret performance” of installing Matt Dalby’s Visual Poem Boxes before last night’s opening (and a statement by Matt on the project):
SUNBEAM and FOREST exist inside an interminable argument which takes place at the level of the forest floor. They argue over who forms the ultimate frame for their ongoing dialogue. This work switches on and off through various iterations as SUNBEAM slips into periods of silence and then ‘reawakens’ in new ideas. Performances throughout the exhibition; texts in the space to take away.
Inoperative Minutes. In the two weeks leading up to the opening of WRITING/EXHIBITION/PUBLICATION Pippa Koszerek will intensively study Shorthand from notes passed on to her by secretarial support staff during her recent residency in Dundee. In an act of public/private recording Pippa will act as the sole documenter of the opening reading/performance event taking place at the Pigeon Wing on 3 September. The resulting notes will be displayed in their original form throughout the month for visitors to decode and re-interpret.
During this month Pippa will be concurrently taking up her acting role as Secretary of the Dickens Museum as part of the three month Island Projects exhibition Beyond the Dustheaps where part of her position will include the exploration, study of and adaptation of Dickens journalistic use of Gurney’s Shorthand system.
Considering both secretarial and journalistic uses of shorthand and the latent potential of the space between notes and official records, Pippa will participate in The Festival of Nearly Invisible Publishing, undertaking a three day residency at the Pigeon Wing in the first weekend of October culminating in a presentation of her findings for the approval of Pigeon Wing visitors.
The text which I read last night was entitled Script for the Initiate which Helen describes as follows:
Script for the Initiate. A script will be read on the opening night of the exhibition by writer and curator David Berridge. The text has been collaged from multiple press releases for exhibitions seen by the artist over the past year.
Her project throughout the month is a collaboration with Hammam Aldouri:
The Artists Assistant: Acts of Obedience (Nebulous Readings). Premised upon a contractual agreement, this collaborative work sees the artist employ an assistant who is granted conceptual authority. For the period of the exhibition the assistant will give instructions to the artist. In this case the assistant will task the artist each week to read a given text in gallery space. These readings will not be announced but the scripts will be available to view, alongside the contract which binds the collaboration.
I want to look at writing in terms of ‘writing into existence’, and specifically in terms of writing not approaching its object but rather pushing it away, and instead approaching a represented version of that object which exists only because the representation writes it into existence. In this context, the prospect of ‘writing live’ presents contradictions I would like to explore both in writing and through a video intervention into the space. By intervening in the ‘liveness’ of the writing residency, I hope to present and contextualize some of the productive contradictions that arise in the practice of live and site-specific writing.
Press Free Press
Press free press present A TIME FOR WORK, a month-long durational activity. Within the space, they mark their non-space. This is their office. Two workers will operate under conditions of increased and decreased resistance, navigated by voices communicating from outside the city. They will attempt to map the exhibition through the means at their disposal: by writing, processing and editing a document that exists in constant flux.
press free press is a poetic collective: finding, constructing and demolishing language following the invitation of language poets and performance artists; writing language that is poetry or performing poetry that is language.
The rota for A TIME FOR WORK can be seen here.
One other “secret performance” that took place yesterday was the installation of Matt Dalby’s Visual Poem Boxes. Matt’s instructions on installing the boxes had indicated:
The boxes should be distributed in small clusters of perhaps no more than three of each size in locations where they may not be immediately obvious. They should perhaps seem to be incidental to larger works around them.
So when the show was installed I opened the box containing 18 6cm x 6cm boxes and wandered the space deciding where to place them in accordance with this instruction.
A smaller set of 3cm x 3cm boxes are also part of DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS project at the AC Institute, New York (where the curators of the space will conduct a similar performance of installation) and for this context Matt wrote the following statement about the project:
The visual poem boxes grew out of a series of visual poems. The visual poem boxes grew out of card constructions. The visual poem boxes grew out of a collection of street cutlery.
The visual poems were created in ink on paper and derived from letter forms. Derived from ascemic writing. Derived from Chinese characters. Derived from Caroline Bergvall’s Plessjør.
Caroline Bergvall’s earlier book Fig provided Matt with a first glimpse of innovative poetry at the beginning of 2008. His first experiments were in visual poetry and were unsuccessful. Most of the next year was spent concentrating on sound poetry.
Plessjør provided a clue to approaching visual poetry in a more physical way. The boxes originate with an earlier project to construct card forms with otherwise conventional poetry covering the faces.
The construction project was revived as a way to present street cutlery. That is abandoned cutlery collected from the street.
Critical discussions of work with friends, the work of a friend who had cut a deep slash in the pages of a book led to the decision to transfer the visual poems to boxes, to cut them from one face of each box.
The boxes are absences and ambiguities. The letter forms, the reasons for choosing the letter forms, the possibility of the letter forms constituting part of a word or utterance, any mark on paper recognizable as print is missing.
The visual poems are absences. The space inside the boxes is absence. The darkness inside the boxes mimics ink. It is ambiguous if the visual poems are cut or drawn.
There is tension between the handmade and the manufactured.
The visual poems they come from are made by hand. The boxes are made by hand. The visual poems on the boxes are cut by hand. But it is not apparent how the boxes are made.
The boxes could be produced in volume with existing manufacturing techniques. The slow transformation of the visual poems by copying from sketches to inking from inked version to visual poem box would stop.
Without whom: Helen, Gary, Lou, Graham, Jen.