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In Uncategorized on October 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm


Matthew MacKisack, Initial & Reprise installation view, 2010



Matthew MacKisack writes: The Radio of the Future – the central tree of our consciousness – will inaugurate new ways to cope with our endless undertakings and will unite all mankind. … The main Radio station, that stronghold of steel, where clouds of wires cluster like strands of hair, will surely be protected by a sign with a skull and crossbones and the familiar word “Danger”, since the least disruption of Radio operations would produce a mental blackout over the entire country, and temporary loss of consciousness. [1]

The first play written for British radio was Richard Hughes’ Danger (1924), a one-act melodrama set in an unlit and flooding coal mine. As the author later remarked,

Our audience were used to using their eyes; this was a blind man’s world we were introducing them to. In time they would accept its conventions but how would they react on this first occasion? Better make it easy for them, just this once. Something which happens in the dark, for instance, so the characters themselves keep complaining they can’t see. Perhaps we could get the listener to turn out his lights and listen in the dark. [2]

‘Listen in the dark’ is exactly what the Radio Times advised its readers to do. In an attempt to foreground the ethics of making it ‘easy for them’, of the naturalistic illusion, and in the spirit of a Khlebnikovian ‘flight from the I’, Richard Hughes’ original script has been revised and edited according to contemporaneous Russian formalist theories – themselves a response to Futurist aesthetics – of ostranenie, or defamiliarization.


[1]  Velimir Khlebnikov, The Radio of the Future, 1921
[2] Richard Hughes, The Birth of Radio Drama, B.B.C. Home Service, 1956





A, B,C



A gallery in a Welsh coal mine.


A. [sharply] What’s happened?

B. The lights have gone out!

C. Where are you?

A. Here.

B. Steps stumbling.

C. Where? I can’t find you.

A. Here. I’m holding my hand out.

B. I can’t find it.

C. Here!




A. [startled] What’s that?

B. It’s all right: it’s me.

C. You frightened me, touching me suddenly like that in the dark. I’d no idea you were so close.

A. Catch hold of my hand. Whatever happens, we mustn’t lose each other.

B. That’s better. – But the lights! Why have they gone out?

C. I don’t know. I suppose something has gone wrong with the dynamo. They’ll turn them on again in a minute.

A. I hate the dark!

B. It’ll be alright in a minute or two.

C. It’s so dark down here.

A. No wonder! There must be nearly a thousand feet between us and the daylight.

B. I didn’t know there could be such utter darkness as this, ever. It’s so dark, it’s as if there never was such a thing as light anywhere. It’s like being blind!

C. They’ll turn the lights up again soon.

A. I wish we’d never come down this mine! I knew something would go wrong.

B. Where are the others?

C. They’re just on ahead, not far.

A. Suppose we get lost!

B. We can’t get lost.

C. I wish you hadn’t wanted to drop the others! I’m afraid of the dark.

A. It’ll soon be over.

B. And I wish we hadn’t left behind those lamps they gave us! [Pause] Listen!

C. Steps heard.

A. There’s someone coming!

B. [Distant, muttering] Of all the incompetent idiots, turning the lights off just when a party of visitors were seeing the place! Call this a coal-mine!

C. Hello?

A. Hello? Who’s there? Of all the stupid –

B. What’s happened? Is it all right?

C. Is it all right, indeed! Leaving us suddenly in the dark like this!

A. But has there been an accident?

B. God knows! I’d expect anything of a country like this! They’ve got a climate like the flood and a language like the Tower of Babel, and then they go and lureus into the bowels of the earth and turn the lights off! Wretched, incompetent –

C. Well, I suppose the only thing to do is to sit and wait for the lights to go up again.

A. There’s no danger, is there?

B. No, there’s no danger.

C. I’m beginning to think it’s quite fun.

A. Well, if you can find any fun in breaking your shins in the dark –

B. Why, don’t you call it fun, being in a pit disaster?

C. But this isn’t a disaster, it’s only the lights –

A. Of course! You don’t think it would be fun if it were a real disaster, do you? But the lights going out might have meant a disaster – and imagine telling everyone afterward! Let’s –

B. Yes?

C. Let’s pretend it’s serious.

A. What do you mean?

B. Let’s pretend it’s a real disaster, and we’re cooped up here for ever and will never be able to get out.

C. Don’t joke about it.

A. Why not? There’s no real danger, is there?

B. Well of all the morbid –

C. Let’s pretend the roof has fallen in, and they can’t get to us.

A. [Uncomfortably] Very well … [In mock solemnity] Here we are, my dear, buried alive! Alas, they’ll never find us! [Reverting] Well?

B. I’m so frightened!

C. What of?

A. About the roof falling in.

B. But it hasn’t; it’s only pretense.

C. Yes, but when I pretend, it seems so real.

A. Then don’t pretend!

B. But I want to pretend! I want to be frightened!

C. [In mock solemnity again] We shall suffocate, or starve, or both, my dear, in each other’s arms.

A. Even death shall not part us.

B. Don’t! It’s too awful.

C. There’ll be articles in the newspapers.

A. [Delighted] I wish I could read them!

B. You can’t have your funeral and watch it.

C. A distant explosion, with a long echo, swelling in volume.

A. Good God!

B. Let go! You’re throttling me! Let go of me!

C. Another explosion, nearer, followed by the hiss of water.

A. The dust! It’s choking me! I can’t breathe!

B. Stop screaming! How do you expect to be able to breathe if you’re screaming all your breath out?

C. Pull yourself together! We’re alright; we’re not hurt.

A. We’re not hurt. But listen!

B. Water heard louder.

C. Water!

A. [Sotto voce] Be quiet. Don’t let her hear!

B. What’s that roaring?

C. It’s only the echo.

A. Can’t we find the others?

B. I don’t think we could; it wouldn’t be much use to us if we did.

C. [quietly and sharply]. Oh, good God! Good God!

A. They’re no better off than we are.

B. Listen! That must be them!

C. Voices heard singing.


A, B and C:


Hlaha! Uthlofan, lauflings!
Hlaha! Ufhlofan, lauflings!
Who lawghen with lafe, who hlaehen lewchly,
Hlaha! Uflofan hlouly!
Hlaha! Hloufish lauflings lafe uf beloght lauchlorum!


A. That must be the others. They can’t be very far off. Let’s call to them.

B. Sound carries a long way in a tunnel.  But listen.

C. The roar gets louder.

A. The echo’s getting louder! It isn’t an echo! It’s water! The mine’s flooding! We’re going to drown!

B. The voices are again heard singing, closer this time.


C, A and B:


Hlaha! Loufenish lauflings lafe, hlohan utlaufly!
Lawfen, lawfen,
Hloh, hlouh, hlou! Luifekin, luifekin,
Hlofeningum, hlofeningum.
Hlaha! Uthlofan, lauflings!
Hlaha! Ufhlofan, lauflings! *


C. I wish I had their faith. It’d make dying easy.

A. I don’t want to die yet! I won’t, I won’t!

B. It has got to come some time; isn’t it better for it to happen now, in your lover’s arms? Death might have parted you – but instead he’s joining you closer together.

C. I want to live!

A. Do you think I don’t? Do you think they don’t? They’re singing hymns!

B. Look, instead of talking like this, let’s do something; let’s make some sort of an attempt at escape!

C. What do you propose?

A. Look for some way out. We can’t stay here and drown, like rats in a cage.

B. But if you start to walk, you’ll start to run; and if you start to run, you’ll panic, and go mad in the dark. I’d rather die with my wits about me!

C. I’d rather not die at all!

A. Keeping still is the only thing for us, if we don’t want to lose our heads. Remember how far into the side of the hill we are. What earthly hope do you thinkthere is of finding our way out?

B. Here it comes! Listen!

C. Rush of water quite close now.

A. Yes, it will be on us in another five minutes.

B. Pray Heaven it finishes us off quickly.

C. Think of dying somewhere out in the open, in the sunlight! Me able to see you, and you able to see me! What bliss it would be!

A. It’s strange how little we wonder what will happen to us. In five minutes we’ll know ourselves, all three of us. I’ve always wanted to travel. Now I’m going to.

B. My poor dear!

C. I’m beginning to feel excited about it, like a child going to the seaside for the first time. Aren’t you?

A. I never looked at it like that.

B. The water’s coming! It’s over my feet!

C. Courage, courage.

A. I don’t want to die – I hate it! I want to live!

B. Don’t make it harder.

C. Only for an hour more! There was something I wanted to say to you, and I can’t remember it … I must remember… it’ll be too late soon.

A. Do you think you’re the only one dying before his time? I tell you, every man dies before his time, even if he lives to be as old as Methuselah!

B. It’s up to my knees!

C. [Very quietly] Don’t clutch at me like that, it won’t do any good.

A. But the water – the current’s washing me away –

B. I’ve got you! And I’ve got my other arm round the wooden thing!

C. Hold tight then!

A. If only I could see you!

B. Just think of the things I had meant to do!

C. Shut up about the things you had meant to do! Will you realize we’re all in the same boat, and it’s as hard on me as you – or worse, a thousand times worse!

A. You hoary old sinner, why can’t you prepare to get out of the world?

B. Let’s pray.

C. Pray if you like – I can’t.

A. [Hoarsely] Help! Help!

B. Hold your self in.

C. It’s so close.

A. Help me!

B. It’s no good; no one can possibly hear us. The only thing is to keep calm. It won’t be long now.

C. Tapping heard.

A. What’s that? Listen!

B. Help!

C. Shut up. We need to listen.

A. Tap, tap.

B. It’s up to my waist now.

C. My God! It’s someone tapping. [Shouts] We’re here! Further along!

A. [Calmly] Is it? They’ll find our bodies, that’s all.

B. They’ll find us if they’re quick enough! [Shouts] Further along – that’s right!

C. They can’t possibly be quick enough.

A. Help! Dig quicker! We’re drowning!

B. Stop it; they won’t be in time.

C. [Quietly] I won’t leave you.

A. How do you know they’ll let you stay with him? What do you know about death? I tell you death isn’t heaven and it isn’t hell. Death’s dying. Death’s being nothing.

B. Knocking grows louder.

C. It’s up to my chin! Help me!

A. Let me lift you.

B. [In a childlike voice] Say it isn’t true, what he’s been saying.

C. Hurry up – smash your way in! We’re drowning!

A. They must be nearly through! God, this suspense! How much longer?

B. Look! There’s a light! A hole in the roof! Quick, quick!

C. Sound of strong blows, then sound of coal falling; sound of cheering.

A. They’re though!

B. Quick, below there! Catch on to the rope!

C. I’m an old man!

A. There’s a girl here!

B. I’ve got the rope.

C. She’s fainted.

A. Pass her up – she’ll be alright.

B. Pass the bight of the rope round her shoulders!

C. All right up there? Have you got her?

A. Got her. Now the next.

B. Up you go – the water’s still rising!

C. No, after you; you’re more value in the world than I am.

A. Nonsense, you first! Quick, or there won’t be time!

B. You’ve got her to think of – now, haul away up there!

C. No, no! Lower me!

A. We’ll have you up first; there’s no time to waste. Right?

B. I’m all right. Lower away again. Down there, catch hold! Have you got it? [Pause] Hey! [Pause]  Have you got it? [Pause] He’s gone!


* Velimir Khlebnikov, Incantation by Laughter, trans. Paul Schmidt (1910 / 1985)



Script based on Richard Hughes’ A Comedy of Danger, written and first broadcast 1924, published as Danger in ‘Plays’, London: Chatto and Windus, 1966; revised by Matthew MacKisack for performance in October 2011 at Soundfjord, Unit 3B – Studio 28, 28 Lawrence Road, London, N15 4ER .  Performed by Carla Espinoza,  Lauren McCullum and Leo Ashizawa as the Opening Event of Cast & Figment: Radio as Metaphor & As Such.





More about Matthew’s work is here.



In Uncategorized on October 14, 2011 at 2:05 am


thetextisthetext: an exhibition of word images, a self-styled smith/melville mash-up, is taking place at Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh 8-18th October 2011.  Asked about the origin of the project Gerry Smith writes:


There was no original (written)proposal as such, just a series of events… Tom Leonard  put me in touch with nick-e melville, much in common but coming at it from different positions, and I mention the possibility of doing a text show.: around that time, Catherine Sargeant left a positive note in my comments book at the MFA degree show ( I had known her work from seeing it over the last few years at the SSA Annual Exhibitions, and I had been impressed with it) and I decided that if we were doing a text show she would have to be on board – so I contacted her…


From top: Lisa Temple-Cox, Moulages; Gerry Smith A Library Is Print In Its Gaseous State; Catherine Sargeant/ Dorothy Alexander, Lift Riffs.


… nicky and I drew up a list of who we should invite to participate and a series of meetings took place /invites were sent. Once I final secured a venue, we all met to discuss our work and what we could do – the criteria for the show was that it was to be experimental; either collaborations or working outwith or normal media (which is why I chose to do an animation piece). The only person who wasn’t working with text in some way was Becky Campbell – I happen to like the work that she was doing and thought it might be interesting to see what she could do with text ( a few years ago, my Art School Lift – see website – was an attempt at a text-based work adopting an “unobtrusive” approach similar to her own ).

Over the duration, a couple of people dropped out and they were replaced with Shandra Lamaute and Greg Thomas.  I’ve taken a somewhat organic approach to the project, letting the collaborations and works develop… I helped out with some practical things regarding the use of PVC texts, but that was about it


VerySmallKitchen writes: Thetextisthetext is reconfigured here through materials supplied by Gerry Smith. Experiencing the exhibition in this way prompts a realignment of relationships between art work, artist statement, email, press release, and installation. Some works and ideas of the exhibition at Patriothall are lost as the show fits into this new format, whilst others attain new form and prominence…




a series of commas – arranged almost like parenthesis (in response to the question “what is it like to be stationary?”)

an Arabic phrase: he advances one leg and draws back the other (in response to question “or or or?”)


Shandra Lamaute, Belong

show & untell

The collaboration between Becky Campbell and Shandra Lamaute is about process, communication, and interpretation. The project involved a series of dialogues, in person and by post, which finally culminated in a question that each person asked of the other. The display of the answers to these questions represents the process of their correspondence.

The project was developed as an exploration of how they could connect and collaborate with each other while still retaining their own artistic autonomy and identity. They approached the work with an understanding that they each came from different places (Scotland and the United States, respectively), they each have different modes of representation, and they explore different conceptual bases/subject matter. Through all these differences, there was a thread that connected both of their practices to one another: process.

It is through the similarities of their modes making that enabled them to create and allow their collaboration to manifest. Once they explored this connection, they decided to push the boundaries further, at the same time solidifying the concept and act of a collaboration, by allowing the other person to decide how their final letter should be presented within the show.




Catherine Sargeant and Dorothy Alexander write: Patriothall Stanzas are a collaborative work by Catherine Sargeant and Dorothy Alexander. The words/phrases used in these stanzas are taken from notes that artists in Patriothall leave to themselves around their studios.  Notes are left for many reasons: reminders of what is stored in a place, potential titles for paintings, things to do before leaving the studio at night etc.

Catherine gathered together this bizarre collection of words, which Dorothy turned into poetry.  Catherine then used found materials, slate and mirror to complement the poems.  These were chosen to imply the presence of the studio as a place of protection and also introspection.





Dorothy Alexander writes: FINAL WARNING is a series of poems in which techniques developed out of found poetry have been applied to an extract from the front page of a national newspaper. Poems were constructed from vocabularies formed by searching along and down through the paragraphs of the newspaper article. Letters, words, lines were then ‘re’placed in direct relation to their original positions within the base text.

Found is posited here as an ecopoetic, not only because of its inbuilt credentials as a recycler, but, more pertinently, for the non-hierarchical and inclusive nature of its processes. It invites acts of multiple attention (down to the smallest detail). It encourages heightened responsibility, in both writer and audience, for engagement with larger issues and strengthens resistance to notions of outside agency.


A PDF version of Sermons Hurt Curb Me from FINAL WARNING is here.




the pieces in this show typify what melville likes to do: erase, enlarge and examine.

there is a sentence, a bigger (incomplete) word, and an even bigger fragment.

he has also attempted to make worthless junk mail into commodities, with other tippex work available for closer scrutiny.








Greg Thomas writes: Articulation arranges the names of every bone in the human body by syllable count and stress position. It is concerned with the analogy between skeletal and phonetic articulation – consonants are bones, vowels are sinew, or blood or bile – and the idea that every act of naming and containing the body creates another body in sound, just like no act of social or cultural definition can defuse the essentially radical potential of being anything in time. Sing it to yourself.

Limbs Climb is a neat, clean poem. It shows what it says (except it could be a tree or a tendril or a leg). This might make you happy.

BodyinsOUND; Liminalanimal; Virtue and Sinew (card poems) are the titles for other poems that didn’t need to be written.





Alexa Hare writes: Embers is a new work for “The Text Is The Text” which sets text/lyrics from some of the artists involved in the show to a piece of music written and performed by Hare.

Gerry Smith writes: Alexa Hare’s Embers is a vocalisation of text extracts I sent her. They were taken from Roubaud’s The Great Fire Of London (English translation of). Her original intention was to create a piece of music from texts supplied by all those taking part, but in the end she opted to do Embers as apiece on its own.





… The text used in NV+7 for Isabel, before the structured substitution of its nouns and verb, originally read: “Something has disrupted the laws of the Universe” (Kelly, The Book of Lost Books, p426). December 2009 was the last time two full moons appeared within the same calendar month. Finally, if Lost in Translation gets the better of you, Yahoo’s “Babel Fish” might come in handy!

Noise is a concrete poem which attempts to represent computer noise.





Lisa Temple-Cox writes: The work made for this exhibition is part of a series of experiments derived from a process of self-portraiture as medical specimen. Derived from the didactic cast, or medical moulage, still used in teaching hospitals today, they seek to explore notions of identity as seen through part-features or disembodied faces.

The language of self-implied in the masks is made explicit by the snippets of text: conversations, references, reversals. The language of self is written on the skin: the closure of the eyes blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead. These things are of us, but not us, and piece-meal are encapsulated, half-hidden before the medical gaze.





thetextisthetext is at Patriothall Gallery, 1 Patriothall (off Hamilton Place), Stockbridge, Edinburgh, 8th-18th October 2011. Tue-Sun 12noon-5.30pm (Closed Mondays).


In Uncategorized on October 10, 2011 at 12:12 am

seekers of lice, creamy language, installation for I AM NOT A POET, Totalkunst Gallery, Edinburgh, 2011


VerySmallKitchen writes: Recent talks, exhibitions and workshops have lead VerySmallKitchen to consider its relationships to teaching and pedagogy, how its explorations of writing, language and art practice can create and unfold within a diverse array of learning situations…

The following document is a draft that will be revised as appropriate over the coming months, as well as supplemented with other materials (book lists, essays, notes…).

The STUDIO project is also part of VerySmallKitchen’s residency at London’s X Marks the Bokship, an outline of which is here.





VerySmallKitchen is currently exploring ways of teaching connections of writing, language, and art practice. The work emerges out of a number of projects over the last year, notably Art Criticism Now and Art/ Writing/ Talks in Ireland, as well as sessions devised for MA Dance Practice at Laban in London, A FRANCIS PONGE POETRY STUDIO for Cannon magazine, the SUMMER SCHOOL OF SILENCE at I AM NOT A POET, and Writing (The) Space at The Wild Pansy Press project space/ University of Leeds.

Ongoing involvement with Free School projects organised by Edward Dorrian/ Five Years Gallery has also been key…

Like the projects on this blog, this teaching concerns distinctions and overlaps in/ between histories of conceptual writing, experimental poetics, fiction, criticism and the essay, both the content and forms of such work, how it is distributed and published, and the practical and theoretical understanding of the practice of writing itself.

If the project has a hunch it is that this focus on writing practice – and various histories of literature –  produces something related to but different from the recent “educational turn” in art practice or the re-consideration of publishing and writing principally within frameworks of graphic design…

… A focus upon acts of reading and responding, how the individual nature of these acts can also become communal, public forms, or private, idiosyncratic forms, as necessary….




VerySmallKitchenSTUDIO has several strands. A basic outlining of bibliographies and materials, often in areas for which there are no readily available resources of materials; the development of STUDIOS’s of such materials that can be used in different teaching contexts; a practical and theoretical exploration of distinct forms of pedagogy that emerge from this work. If such forms promote particular histories, in an educational context they also  offer supports and techniques for studying and working more broadly…


nick e-melville's EDITORIAL for I AM NOT A POET invited public alteration of the day's news...


Studios have so far been developed and used for workshops in Art Writing and Criticism, focussed particularly around notions of “Essaying”; Minimal Poetries; Olson’s Projective Verse; Artist Talking/ Lecture Performance. Between now and December – as part of a residency at X Marks The Bökship I am developing a  studio around scripts, scores and the re-print in contemporary art writing…

Materials will be published on this site as the project develops. For more information contact David on Here is a brief outline of the various studios so far:





A consideration of how writing relates to/ as/ around/ on/ about/ with art practice. The studio proposes histories and practices of the “essay” as a linkage between these different practices, exploring tactics of “essaying” across criticism, performance, fiction and poetics. It explores how writing functions at different stages in the life cycle (of itself, the art work, the exhibition…).

A key source here is Richard Kostelanetz’s Essaying Essays anthology, both as an actual gathering of texts, and (given the texts unavailability) a proposition about a way of working between various writing and art practices. The introduction to the text is here.



Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez Xerox on paper, 29.7 x 42 cm for XALPHABET / 26 Xs by 26 Artists


Thomas Jeppe Xerox on paper, 29.7 x 42 cm for XALPHABET / 26 Xs by 26 Artists


As it unfolds, the studio moves towards an erratics of writing, as a way of conceptualising both acts of writing themselves and the uncertain contexts of commission and publication of a writing practice at all stages of its life cycle, informed also by a “Literature of the No” as formulated in Enrique Vila-Matas Bartleby and Co.

In this studio the prevalence of (post-) conceptual notions of site, institutional critique and document, are utilised but also placed alongside histories of New Journalism, experimental poetics and fiction, which offer different and conflicting priorities and methods. Different forms of paradox as a structural principle of the studio is articulated in the following quotation by Nathanael:


“my own need to very aggressively resist, or think through, what an essay is or might be and to find my own way to a text that isn’t one, that isn’t one that’s compliant with a particular form, right? That doesn’t interest me. I understand these forms viscerally. They’ve been inculcated right? But I don’t want that. So in a sense, the thing that’s internalized, the sense of having to be kicked out again, even though we can sort of agree that there’s no outside, but somehow there’s that tearing or rending that has to happen – or breach out of which might emerge this thing. That is this particular text.”

SOURCE: Kate Eichorn and Heather Milne, Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women’s Poetry & Poetics (Coach House Books, Toronto, 2009), 64-5.





This studio explores the histories and contemporary practice of minimal writing, both as a practice in itself and as a way of thinking about writing and art practice more broadly. Starting points include the poetry of Aram Saroyan, concrete poems, scores by Yoko Ono and Alison Knowles, the small ads of Dieter Roth, and the one word poem issue of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s POTH.


Yoko Ono, Cloud Piece, 1963


Seen as historical progression, the studio moves through diverse histories of poetry, music, fluxus and conceptual work, to such current practices as (the pwoermds of) Geof Huth and Jonathan Jones, James Davies, and Márton Koppány. A preliminary consideration of some of this work is the essay SMALL AD SWEETHEARTS OF THE IMAGE VIRUS DO-POETRY which can be read here.


Márton Koppány, Csend (Silence)

The studio also explores projects such as Coracle, where minimalism can be observed not just as a page based textual form but as a wider aesthetic, a form of architectural intervention and curatorial methodology… See Thomas A.Clark’s 1989 essay “The Gallery and the Book” reprinted on VerySmallKitchen here.

…Epigram, aphorism, pun, (anti-) haiku, also become forms of compression under consideration, contributing to a constellation of concerns around thought, language, instruction, score, condensery, application…



In a teaching context, what characterises this studio is how a wide range of work can be presented to participants in a short time period. Whilst this must not oversimplify the work, it does offer a particular teaching situation regarding the relationship of material and class time, readings and responses, that should be experimented with.

… This VerySmallKitchenSTUDIO is also useful for exploring the boundaries between literary and art practices (minimal poetry. conceptual art, musical score…) particularly the notion of what is expected of texts, how they are read, published, distributed, what responses they invite or refuse…

For example, how such texts explore a relationship of writing and sculpture through their focus on materials and presence in space, is one focus that has emerged, drawing on this quotation from Ian Hamilton Finlay, talking about the relation of title and word in his formulation of the One Word Poem:


“I am a little fascinated just now by the idea of one-word poems… My idea is, that the one-word poem should be composed of a title plus  one word. All (true) poems have form, and in this case one should see the title and the word as being 2 straight lines, which come together to forming a corner: the corner is the form of this poem. Only, these corners must be so constructed as to be open (opening) in all directions. That is the paradox.”

SOURCE: Ian Hamilton Finlay, A Model of Order: Selected Letters On Poetry and Making (Glasgow: WAX366, 2009), 39.





This double VerySmallKitchenSTUDIO began with a study of Charles Olson’s manifesto-diagram A CURRICULUM FOR THE SOUL (below) and a publication project after his death that saw words from the diagram allocated to different poets who wrote a chapbook with that title. The studio is interested in exploring the model of learning, publication, and economy that can be unfolded from this.


Subsequently, the studio has explored Olson’s teaching as demonstrated in texts such as “A Bibliography on American for Ed Dorn”, as well the implied and stated methodologies of numerous correspondence and poetics essays, principally “Projective Verse” (1950), an exploration that continues in collaboration with Open Dialogues Writing (The) Space project.

This studio involves lineages of writing and thinking which can be traced from Olson to 2011, considering, for example, the notion of a research-led practice, as well as gender focussed critques and readings of Olson by Susan Howe, Kathleen Fraser and Laura Mullen. It also considers related contemporary projects such as the Olson Now documents and the CHARLES OLSON: LANGUAGE AS PHYSICAL FACT section of EOAGH.

The studio has also sought to respond to a particular aspect of Olson’s practice – as it is distilled in a lexicon of “field poetics” or “projective verse” – by exploring the notion of a PHRASE POETICS.


Rachel Lois Clapham and Emma Cocker, re-. installation view, Wild Pansy Press Project Space, Leeds, 2010


… explores such lexicons and coinages alongside, for example, Brecht’s “alienation effect” and Artaud’s theatre of cruelty” or Harald Szeemann’s “self-institutionalisation” of himself as the Institute of Spiritual Guest Work. It explores how such working phrases function for their authors, as well as the independent life they then have, where they might be constructively misunderstood and reinterpreted…

Weaving between the two different aspects of this studio, we might ask how, for example, both methods relate to, for example, Jill Magi’s recent CADASTRAL MAP, which, whilst enacting an Olson-like research of place, also seems to start investigating from a position deliberately more defined, counter to, resistant of such a self-claiming expansionist poetics:


“The cadastral map is drawn as if from an aerial view, composed by surveyors to determine land ownership for the purpose of taxation. The cadastral map does not indicate where the land is fertile, swampy, or rocky. It does not indicate knolls, forests, valleys. Nor does it express the collaboration and exchange between farmers or those who move through the land. Its lines respect one purpose, one knowledge, state sponsored commoditization.


Jill Magi, installation for DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS, AC Institute, New York, 2010


“I enter as a writer, one kind of mapmaker, needing to ask, is traditional nature writing in English a cadastral map?… is “nature writing” still our flawed point of origin, creating ideas of the land and nature that tend to erase people and local knowledge as we go?” (108)


Magi’s essay offers an answer as its conclusion:


“At every turn, degrees of legibility, a focus that comes in and out, position-depending. Don’t look away. Listen, there is history. Earth and bones beneath your map give weight back with each authoring step.” (110)

SOURCE: Jill Magi, Cadastral Map (Bristol, Shearsman, 2011).





Finally, this studio begins with a focus upon presence of talking among contemporary arts and writing practice. It explores the reliance upon models of stand-up and storytelling, and how these have come to replace early reliance upon the format of the academic lecture.

The studio is currently in a more embryonic form than the others and emerges as a direct response to recent events in London, including electra’s Dirty Literature festival, and Performance as Publishing at the South London Gallery.

The studio explores the interrelation of the talk and the printed text, focussing on the work of Steve Benson and David Antin, whose very different forms of “talking” attain published form as “poetry.”

How such talking poetry constitutes a particular form of talking and thinking is explored in the work of Leslie Scalapino and John Cage. As with the minimal poetry studio, this can be then related to different forms of art practice, and to talked based forms of scenography and choreography, such as in the work of Guy de Cointet and Tino Sehgal.


nick-e melville reading of collated interventions at the conclusion of EDITORIAL


… consideration of talking within the learning situation brings focus to the forms by which we engage with such material, conceptualise and enact discussion upon our own practices.

… The question of how a practice might itself explore and involve talking on many different levels is of central concern to this studio. Hence an interest in the following quotation from Chris Cheek on his own practice:


“The talks attempt(ed) to perform a variety of strategies for public-private discourse. Titles of the texts and therefore some more general enframing were announced in advance of the series. Otherwise what occurred was utterly in the moment, though each day had a provisional series of talk strategies. For example, whilst each talk was improvised and responsive to the site on each occasion, ideas of: scale, perspective, contradiction, deliberate misunderstanding, anecdote, vernacular obsession, fictive quoting, imposed character, cartoon depiction, carnivalesque interpretation, historicising, demonising, sports commentary, theoretical exposition, emergences (and emergencies) of catchprase, listening to prerecorded texts or previous talks on headphones whilst talking (thereby mobilising conflict between listening and uttering), overhearing fragements of passing conversations… and so on were mobilised. Sometimes I toyed with direct address to those I could see participating as listening watchers in the window, Sometimes I imagined that there was a friend there, when in fact there might well have been nobody present at all. Sometimes I thought I was talking to the taxi cab call operators, sometimes passers by. My guess was that this work would offer a doubting interface.” (191)

SOURCE: Chris Cheek, THE CHURCH- THE SCHOOL- THE BEER (Oxford Ohio, Critical Documents 2007).


John Cage, Lecture on Nothing(thanks to Tim Griffin for drawing this to my attention)

Opening page of John Cage, Lecture on Nothing, from SILENCE: Lectures & Writings (1961)




If the STUDIO is a gathering of books, and a gathering of ideas and methods that come out of those books…

…I have been thinking about how to translate this into teaching situations in the broadest sense, both planned and unforeseen, both to convey information about histories that inform the present, and construct teaching structures where that which is not to do with information can unfold…


Mary Paterson leads a silent memory walk of Edinburgh as part of the Summer School of Silence at I AM NOT A POET


Below, then, are a series of tests that appear at present to be useful ways of questioning this material, both the individual studios and how each reverberates through the others, towards an active pedagogy and practice of reading and (art-) writing:


how each studio can re-figure itself over varying time lengths (say, 1o minutes to 10 weeks and more) and formats (talk, lecture, seminar, workshop, event, performance, blog…).

how each studio records a particular historical and  contemporary practice, whilst providing tools for thinking about writing and artistic practice more broadly…

how each studio is a distinctive set of materials yet also open to exchange and dialogue between (the nature of its modularity)…

how the studio balances individual and chora(l),  consensual and agonistic, thematic and grammatical…  defines a moment and commits to an (open) unfolding…





Thanks to Mirja Koponen, both for co-curating I AM NOT A POET and for taking the photographs of that event here. As this project takes shape I note it as one part of a broader conversation in which other colleagues and collaborators are also engaged. See, for example, some notes on Open Dialogues critical model, NOTA Workshop.


In Uncategorized on October 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm



Emmett Williamssweethearts, first published in 1966, is an erotic love poem made entirely from permutations and arrangements of words and phrases found using the eleven letters of its title. Reprinted in 2010 in a facsimile of its original edition, it has to be in this square format so the reader can flick through the pages of its first section and see this coupled erotics of story and type unfolding through proto-cinematic letter patterns. Further on, declamations are found within a grid of sweethearts 11 letters wide and 11 repetitions deep. The swart seether that sears her wet wheat, or he heats her wee sweet ears.

I first read these pages, too, as typographical patterns, like those with which the book begins, words growing and shrinking, when suddenly the sears and wet wheat of it emerges, the proximity of Williams’ painstaking word search to flesh and sweat. Re-issued in 2010 sweethearts enters into and creates a history and practice of minimalism as one site where art and poetry converge. Not that this convergence is straightforward. sweethearts, with nested hearts of Marcel Duchamp’s Cœurs Volant on its black covers, has its back cover on its front and vice versa, highlighting the reversals and disruptions that such fusions may necessitate.

Aram Saroyan’s coffee coffee, another strictly lower case book title, is also recently republished, by New York based Primary Information. Many pages of coffee coffee comprise a single word centered on the page: though, for example, building, or ring, to quote three with which the book commences. Other times a word is repeated, Saroyan exploring how often a word needs to be repeated to get the balance of type and page, word, idea and space. Bird is a three line block of bird/bird/bird and cigarette needs four repeats. There’s the title, too, of course which, like sweethearts, is another poem.

In Saroyan’s Door To The River: Essays & Reviews from the 1960s into the Digital Age, poems in coffee coffee emerge as in part as a stoned poetics: “I was getting stoned and looking very hard at things because I was going too fast, I felt. I wanted my writing to slow up, and the one-word poem finally gave me the feeling that it wasn’t going by too fast.” This wasn’t, of course, the only way to response to the moment or practice a minimalist poetics. Saroyan’s close friend Clark Coolidge later commented: “I couldn’t understand how there could be just one word. One word always led to another in my mind, helplessly.” [1]

Then and now, coffee coffee articulates movements between scenes and practices of art and poetry. In 1967 coffee coffee was published by Vito Acconci and Bernadette Mayer’s 0-9 Press, an offshoot of 0-9 magazine, in which Saroyan also appeared, which in retrospect seems to function as an intersection between conceptual art, performance, New American poetry, and experimental music. In 2009 Primary Information republish coffee coffee, despite Saroyan’s books being downloadable online, and a hard copy publication of Complete Minimal Poems by Ugly Duckling Presse. For Primary Information it seems necessary to have a hard copy of this book, not to make its contents available, but as an object/ statement/ proposition about publishing and PI’s own practice.


General Idea: AIDS Stamps (1988)

General Idea: AIDS Stamps (1988): Offset on perforated paper inserted in Parkett magazine, no. 15, 1988.


Reception changing decades after something is made is part of Gregg Bordowitz’s essay on General Idea’s Imagevirus in Afterall’s One Work book series. In 1987, General Idea rearranged the A-I-D-S acronym into a logo: a neat box with the first two letters on top of the second two, the format and the red, blue, and green colours appropriated from the LOVE logo of a 1966 Robert Indiana acrylic canvas. The negative space between colours could be varied and the logo reproduced in different formats and sizes. Between 1987 and 1994 it appeared in gallery exhibitions and the covers of medical journals, as wallpaper, on billboards and public transport, as street sculpture, jewellery, and on lottery tickets.

Simplicity contributed to its repeatability, Bordowitz highlights, although, in these early years of the AIDS crisis, the work functioned differently depending on the viewer’s proximity to the virus. If you had AIDS, Bordowitz writes, then Imagevirus “is an extension of you. You are the word made flesh, a representative of the virus, and your reach extends deep into the atmosphere. Breathe in, feel your powers.”


General Idea's famous AIDS logo, an appropriation of Robert Indiana's LOVE sign of the 1960s. The artists created the logo as a form of branding, and then applied it to media and advertising strategies, callign the infiltrations that followed Imagevirus.


In 1987, when Bordowitz was a direct activist with ACT-UP, Imagevirus and the relationships of art and politics it demonstrated, was harder for him to appreciate: “many of us felt like we had to abandon the conventions of modernism to better link our art directly to the protest movement against government inaction.” In 2011 Bordowitz can see how General Idea did not do this, but “re-figured the styles and tactics of a homosexual avant-garde using the threat of viral infection as their model for identity politics.”

Bordowitz also understands this shift of the last twenty years through a turn to poetry. He cites dictionary definitions of poetry without which, he says, Imagevirus cannot be understood. Poetry brings a “special intensity… to the to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm… something regarded as comparable to poetry in its beauty.” Quoting Wallace Stevens ‘Anecdote of the Jar’ Bordowitz writes how poetry “plays with these varying positions to create constellations of experience.”

It is in a more general discussion of language that Bordowitz comes closer to the experimental devices of sweethearts and coffee coffee. AIDS could stand for other things, he observes, although habit and repetition “compels me to read this as the acronym for a fatal disease.” A minimal poem is where materials and means of language become inseparable from both the message and its own mechanics, potentially viral, code-like and tweet, a piece out of time embedded within it. If poetry is apposite for the age, let’s check with the poets.

Published by the Manchester based poetry press If P Then Q, ntst: the collected pwoermds of geof huth comprises 775 one word poems or pwoermds.  The form unfolds most directly out of Saroyan’s own explorations of the form, including – in his 1968 collection Aram Saroyan – lighght, eyeye, and morni,ng. Other sources include Ian Hamilton Finlay’s one word issue of Poor. Old. Tired. Horse magazine in 1967, in which the title could be any length, and Simon Cutts’ Coracle gallery and still-operative press, where minimalism becomes a utopian neo-pastoral proposition about fusions of form and content embracing book, space, and conviviality.




Huth’s pwoermds have no need of titles. Mixing playfulness and studied manipulation, Huth adjusts the materiality of a word to bring together its sound, typographical presence, and felt meaning(s): twinns, say, mmssft, thingk, woeird, and voluptuouuousness. Humour of the individual words becomes a foil for a psychic intensity and ambition evident when pwoermds agglomerate into lists revealing the jagged ambitions of their entanglements and re-makings. Take this 2007 sequence which first appeared on Huth’s dbqp blog: thevolution, complext, educution, onwed, nelsewhere, couldn’t’ven’t, uition, questiong, ideaghless, nothingng, o)ught(s, emember, an/swer.

ntst mostly spurns the white space and one word per page of Saroyan’s coffee coffee, preferring archival lists of words organised by previous publication (mostly on Huth’s blog or in small press and self- published poetry chapbooks and magazines). Pwoermd has a sense of occasion, as in two sections that compile writing that ocurred during International Pwoermd Writing Month. Pwoermd is so immersed in manipulable printed language that this itself provides the most appropriate taxonomy. There are collections titled the woords and wreadings, for example, the sequence of the later fusing word and book form, by beginning foreward, then proceeding through pairs of narrarator/ readear and memeory/ kmowlwdgw.

Attuned to their own organicity, pwoermds also turn to nature, aware that their manipulations can offer new ways of perceiving that combine object, environment, and experience into sunbrook, toothwood, shadowl, toadmud and pondsun. Each pwoermd wants to be a tactile, literary-edible experience, providing the reader with their own wthrd woord phlesch pflesch wr;t:ing organasm, to summarise ntst via one quick reading-movement through it.

There’s a pwoermld out there. In April 2010, Jonathan Jones’ The Sticky Pages Press published from Brussels the fullcrumb series: 20 small booklets, some a single sheet of folded A5 card, others small 4-6 page chapbooks. All an arena for a particular category of near edible pwoermd. The pamphlet or/th/or, for example, offers pwoermdists excavations of literary history from shapesphere through wordthwordth via kakafkafka; whilst nulojism focuses on the errhotic – one page invites the reader into the intimid/ fungle/ nurdge/ sighz/ growns/ shuther. The poeworms booklet lists procedures, which can only be detailed via further pwoermds, paired methods of: un(ear)thed/ exwhom; sourceaura/skullership; psychedlicate/ inksense; vampyhrric/ extinkt.


The Sticky Pages Press, The Fullcrumb Series (2010)


Jones wrote a note on his Belgian Waffle blog in May 2010 which elucidates how he sees the pwoermd, and from which I’ve extracted the following: “The pwoermd is trespass… Frankenstein language… The pwoermd is disobedience… The pwoermd is physical. Skeleton language. Bonus letters. Work out! Flex and articulate those joints! The pwoermd is a word made of machines. But what makes it go? The pwoermd is old. Gnomic and riddled… The pwoermd is unspeakable… Think is to thong as tongue is to thing. The pwoermd is joyous. Textual excess… Language full tilt. The pwoermd is toothsome… Pop it in your mouth… The pwoermd is Now. And then. And still coming…. It forces you to do time. The pwoermd … IS.”

Heimrad Bäcker’s transcript, was published in German in 1986 and in English in 2010, and, presenting the holocaust through the language of its remaining archival documents, offers a more directly applicable example of minimalist methodologies. The text comprises fragments of this archive, each page of transcript a presentation of an archival fact: the first transport departs from the aspang train station on friday 10/20/39 at 22.00 hours. Another: later a man named kerper came as the authorized representative from berlin for the gold teeth.

Bäcker’s archival sources are numerous, including maps, letters,  minutes, legal documents, statistics and registers. In seeking an appropriate method of response, transcript rejects inventing language: “It is enough to quote the language of the perpetrators and the victims. It is enough just to stick to the language preserved in the documents. Concurrence of document and horror, of statistics and dread.” Bäcker accounts for the artistry of transcript as follows: “When I quote, there is nothing literary about the quotation (except in sequence, repetition, omission; except for the system of transcribing). This is what makes it different from narrative.”

Applied to other historical moments, the need to invent reappears. Jeff Derksen’s choreographed sequences of aphorisms model how these contrasting engagements with mnmlsm could be related, particularly as a part of a practice spanning art and poetry (Derksen is part of the art collective Urban Subjects). In Transnational Muscle Cars, the opening pages of “But Could I Make A Living From It” contain the following, among many others: “That’s a nice sunset you have there”; “I’m three years younger than the term Third World”; “Canadian dollar?”; “It’s the apex where the sexuality’s spiced in”; “Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin”; “1976: 0.0961.”

Like Bäcker, Derksen wants to present not describe, but his 21st century neo-capitalist Canadian world order finds documents warping between discursive categories, writing and speech, under pressures of position, mass media, sexuality and capital fluidity. Neither the white space of Saroyan or the condensed word manipulations of Huth seem possible strategies for Derksen. Transnational was published in 2003. In relation to Saroyan, Huth, Jones, and Williams, as well as our current financial crisis, its literary strategies both critique and elucidate.

Throughout all the texts here the minimal unfolds as a contradictory form: found-invented, formulaic-aesthetic, embedded-critical, rooted-nomadic, evidencing a (micro-) complexity that justifies the renewed appreciation and publication in 2011. A place to focus and act in discerning precise relations of art and poetry, word and thing, the pressures of being both meditative icon and tweet, pwoermd and corporate acronym, balancing extreme pwoermd condensation with uncertain linguistic flux.



New possibilities in the present unfold as new historical texts are brought back into distribution. Republished in 2010 Inserate/ Advertisements by Dieter Roth is a collection of texts that first appeared as small ads in the Anzeiger Stadt Luzern und Umgebung newspaper in 1971-2. Anzeiger published 114 ads before it decided to discontinue publication. Roth observed of the pages of advertising: “Those pages are brutal, they’re like a gigantic junkyard. So I thought I’d just stick a little tear in them.”

Roth’s “tears” put both possible readings of that word into play through combines of casual and affected, daily and sequenced, both an alternative to the selling all around and a transposition of such transactions into faux fabular lyricism and subjective opacity. To start at the beginning of the project, with texts appearing on 17, 19, 24, 26 and 31 Mar 1971 respectively: A tear is better than an evil word!; Two tears are better than one tear!; A word is almost as good as a tear!; A tear is not a word!; A stone is not a tear.




[1] Clark Coolidge in Lee Bartlett ed. Talking Poetry: Conversations in the workshop with contemporary poets (University of New Mexico Press, 1987).


This essay first appeared in Issue 12 of Kilimanjaro magazine.  My CLOSE/ LANDSCAPE/ OPEN/ READING/ BOOK (REPEAT), an essay on Roni Horn, appears in Issue 13.


In Uncategorized on October 3, 2011 at 2:15 am


07 / for verysmallkitchen


– one
– pleasingly
– didn’ts
– strings
– mindless
– webps
– two weeks
– <br>
– übrý
– Geschenke
– dave david davidson
– flanger
– techno
– murmur
– htsm
– hbc
– plainblack
– b sp
– hangovercity
– little myth
– a million shouldhaves a day
– plenty of time
– whitechapel
– five-o’clock-freak-out
– rainy
– TESCO (extra)
– an X from me
– that was nice
– (out)
– holding pencil, ready to for writing
– 62127
– wwwwww wwwwwww
– cramped
– nervous
– feverly
– pass this on (knife)
– another
– sans serifs
– travelling list
– hyphen
– <br>
– piep.
– mit Quittung
– as soon as you go
– sit set sad
– offline
– mercystreet
– nackt
– unbound
– google lists
– backup service
– plan to follow
– things to forget
– September 14th 2011
– very small kitchen
– bigger bedroom
– systematic changes
– low
– highlighter
– zwergnase
– kidsnoharm
– endless endeavor
– lightbox
– extension
– lies
– for varying degrees
– download enhance
– getting close
– l@#1!
– beware
– nothing in particular
– rename
– renew
– ask me
– frowny
– ninetofive
– löä
– good luck
– list of lists
– milkymist
– quick coffee
– keyless
– aus
– tommorrow already
– lästig
– because i know
– maybe
– finishing
– lagos
– Mary.
– pheasant
– choosing
– paypal
– delayer
– so sorry
– dibelief
– conjunct
– Farbton / Sättigung
– raisin
– schreihals
– meadows
– Life’s Good ; )
– needokeep
– koppla
– anstrengend
– roman
– kloot
– only only
– 1:1
– hurt
– ggbfls
– bloß weg
– mops
– berlin
– even
– 5 am
– forcefully lowercased



VerySmallKitchen writes: Stefan Riebel visited X Marks The Bökship on September 5th, 2011, the first day of my four month writer-in-residency. He was visiting London to perform with Filipa Guimarães at the Wimbledon Collage of Art. A week later Stefan emailed the text above,  the seventh installment of his ongoing project somethings.

somethings is a series of language works Stefan sub-titles a gathering of “specific intentions, descriptions, poems and illusions.”  In a broader methodological statement this description turns prefaces a litany:



07/ for VerySmallKitchen was sent to me as a list in an .rtf file, as above but in Helvetica Neue. It appears on Stefan’s web site as a word grid that re-orders itself every 30 seconds . This mutability is evident in other works in the somethings series which, as well as their appearance on his web page, are realised by being projected and editioned as letter-seed kits/packets.

In an email, Stefan described the images in this VSK Project as “documentation of former realisations.” He noted “i do not have one illustrating the word set for verysmallkitchen, maybe you have an image for it ?”  I decided 02/10/11 to realise the following text:



… I recognise words/ entries as notations of things we talked about,  looked at, and moved amongst. Other words, which might also be transcriptions, remain mysterious. Perhaps the notation is in a language I/ both of us don’t know, which includes any English/ German.  Compared to transcription, notation accepts it has already forgotten. This gift holds in its distance-making.

Even as we talk together context is multiple (places/ languages/ moods/ times). This is only (politely) evident in the text, which could never be true to a single encounter, so is always layering infidelities upon infidelities. To try and trace its logic through a trail of referents is to admit the reader’s ridiculousness.

Error and Misspelling are not useful categories for reading. Punctuation or acronym are as immediate and vernacular here as speech and vice versa. Journal as data entry. Statements of emotion and mood might be html. Semi-colon and bracket make a smiley face.  The robot’s I remember is as funny as Joe Brainard’s.

This text holds close – through words and title – to (our) encounter.  It seems wrong to emphaise impersonality. Language’s non-personicity here (to invert a phrase Alain Robbe-Grillet uses of Roland Barthes’ texts in WHY I LOVE BARTHES)  is not smoothed by an evident constraint or system, nor known by its (appropriated) source. I should focus instead on the personicity your text offers evidence of.

To accommodate these tensions go empty the words into your city. This happens when words are projected in gallery or on a shop front or turned into seed-letter packets. When there are “only” the words – as in 07/ for VerySmallKitchen – it is the reader’s intelligence that becomes city via a meaning not threatened by sudden re-arrangements, ever attentive to the specifics of any multiple scaled event.

One example. Disblief ( I think) is dibelief.. .to (nearly) die keep the I but lose the plurality. Then blink. No internet. A conversation is an equality of berlin and raisin. Realise. If this is a new grammar then of course a proper name brings its own full stop as (almost) part of itself.








More info about Stefan’s work here. Co-founder of the institut für alles mögliche (institiute for all kinds of things) Stefan is now collaborating on the  Abteilung Für Alles Andere (department for everything else) which will run from September 2011- September 2012 as “a temporary office / laboratory / initiative for art and everything else.”

Films from Stefan’s UNTITLED project were included in I AM NOT A POET at the Totalkunst Gallery, Edinburgh  in August 2011 and are online here. View the complete series here.


In Uncategorized on October 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm


“An individual need only possess a single sponge during the span of his or her lifetime. The sponges neither wear out nor diminish in absorbency. Most of the original models are still in circulation. Nathaniel inherited his from his father, who had previously acquired the sponge from Nathaniel’s grandfather. [ . . . ] The sponge compacts all that it absorbs into its core. Such is its efficiency that the area occupied by the compacted matter gains no measurable increase in volume during the course of a generation. Nathaniel envisions a future in which a sponge passed down a bloodline eventually accumulates, after many centuries, so much human detritus that it collapses into a shit singularity, and ultimately devours whole solar systems.”

2011. Ink on paper. 7 x 7.25 in.




“The extreme absorbency of these sponges guarantees that they are perpetually sterile. For this reason, it is common practice to both wipe up household messes and clean one’s genital and anal territories using the same sponge.”

2011. Ink on paper. 7.5 x 7 in.




“Nathaniel recalls his grandfather’s tales of toilet paper use; of how at times one could wipe and wipe and wipe after defecating with no indication of a progression toward cleanliness. Of course nowadays toilet paper has been replaced by superabsorbent synthetic sponges, which leave no trace of solid matter, nor liquid, nor even bacteria, upon their surfaces after wiping.”

2011. Ink on paper. 7 x 7 in.




This is the third post of Paul Antony Carr’s 3-month residency in the VerySmallKitchen. It follows Paul’s VSK Project here, which presented an aspect of his EXCERPTS project.

Nathaniel’s Perpetual Motion is a new strand of this project, and a series of image-text pairs have appeared on VerySmallKitchen since August. See part one here  and part two here.