Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on January 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Portrait by L. Ying



There is no more stage. There are no more footlights. You are among the people. Then be modest. Speak the words, convey the data, step aside. Be by yourself. Be in your own room. Do not put yourself on.


Speak the words with the exact precision with which you would check out a laundry list…The poem is nothing but information. It is the constitution of the inner country. If you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. You are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. Think of the words as science, not as art. They are a report.


(Leonard Cohen, How To Speak Poetry, from Death of A Lady’s Man, 1979)




Writer Statement 1


What should a writer be stating? Should it be something rebellious like ‘Viva la revolution!’? Should it be something gentle like “I love you’ or should it be something morbid-smart-ass like ‘Writing is like death and death is the end and that is the limit and trying to go beyond that limit is futile’ and all that kind of stuff?


No, those don’t sound like real statements. They sound like somebody wanting attention.


Maybe a writer is somebody who wants attention? Maybe he is seeking attention? Maybe he just doesn’t want to be alone? Maybe that is the feeling he is transferring to the reader?


The writer writes.

The statement states.

That is the inherent contradiction in a Writer’s Statement.


A writer tries to hide by writing, not to state something.


So in fact he is not looking for attention. He is trying to draw attention to his writing so that he can escape in the meantime. It’s like a decoy. Writing is a decoy.


He writes in order to erase himself.


This should be my Writer Statement:


“I am a writer and I am going to disappear. While you are reading this I am already somewhere else. You will never find me.”


Portrait by Veniamin Kazachenko



Writer Statement 2


To write a Writer Statement means that I already admit that I am a writer in first place. Only a writer can write a writer statement. Someone who isn’t a writer shouldn’t be writing any kind of writer statement. But if I am already stating that I am a writer isn’t that what the statement should be proving? That I am a writer. That I write. It is a confession that I am a writer. A writer statement is a confession that one is a writer.


I confess.


I am a writer.






My nose hurts.


At first I thought it hurts because its growing,
growing from all of my lies like Pinocchio.


I imagined myself walking around a little Italian village
and meeting some guy who would promise to make me real,
to make me real famous.


Then I sat around and thought to myself that writing is like lying,
because it always misses the point
there is always something else I want to be talking about,
but I end up talking about what’s in front of my nose.


What if I were to stop writing?
Would my nose stop growing?
Would it stop hurting?


But writing is what makes me feel real.


And how would I become real,
how would I become real famous,
if I were to stop writing?


Would I be able to become real famous by stopping to write?
Maybe stopping to write would make me real?
Maybe It would make me focus more on life
and less on telling all these lies.


The Thinker (After Rodin), Ohad Ben Shimon, 2012



Maybe my nose will stop hurting,
and my lies would stop lying,
and I would be just ‘one of us’,
a good old jew boy with a big nose.








The following exchange took place by email from 23rd-25th January 2012.



VSK:  That’s a very interesting statement by Leonard Cohen isn’t it! Particularly those ideas of “information” and “report” and how those might sit with us now.

I’m thinking about this alongside your previous residency writings – that sense in the last post of observation, reportage in some ways, in the bar…. the way that from post to post I feel as a reader I can follow a series of kinds of attentions, not a linear flow but a series of distinct positions…

Out of the Cohen comes a cluster of terms and concerns through which to think about writing – the ambiguity of how it feels and effects: “state” and “statement”, different notions of paying attention, being attentive, and wanting attention. How “attention” changes when it is something to be received not given!

The concerns of the writer leading to the creation of a text which has its own life to lead…


OHAD: I was thinking of the notion/definition of art, as such, and here referencing the Conceptual Art’ preoccupation with who defines Art. The problematic of the artist defining what is art in comparison to the writer stat-ing or the relation between the writer and the state.

Perhaps then we can say that the space between writing and art practice is defined by a double failed negation. The Artist in his or her attempt to define what is art or who is an artist and the writer on his or her behalf to make any clear statement about writing.


VSK: Given what we have been discussing about writing in an art context, I enjoy this sense of “writer’s statement” in relation to the more familiar “artist’s statement” and the particularities/ peculiarities/ contexts of that form… that writing is somehow counter to the writer or the writer’s thoughts and intention- how that “counter – to” works itself out…

So if this ‘writer statement’ is impossible even as it is acted out then it suggests there might be other ways we can talk about this, which also returns to certain literary forms such as fiction, poems, fables..  we also turn to everyday experiences and anecdotes to try and find another way of speaking this, or to find an energy that might feed into our ‘writer statement’ even as it escapes it…


OHAD: I like very much you pointing out that the impossibility of a writer’ statement being acted out (and indeed it is reminiscent for me of the artist statement) can lead to or suggest other detours to talk about it… you mention literary forms… and I think visual forms can also function as such detours… perhaps that’s the dance/oscillation between the textual and the visual in my practice.


VSK:  In The Writing Life Annie Dillard tells a story of a writer who would repeatedly stop writing and go out for a walk, come back home, then type up the whole story again, hoping that each time the impetus of the walk followed by typing enabled the writer to build up a momentum that continued the story for a few lines or pages. In this way the novel was written…


OHAD: Well, it took me a while to figure out some images and I played with some options.. At last I came to three different portraits of me. I wanted to stay away from any kind of theatricality due to Cohen’s low-key reference but eventually I couldn’t…it was stronger than me.


VSK: I like the ending – a real punch line! Interesting to think of punch line as art writing strategy…


OHAD: I would like to suggest the figure of the philosopher/thinker here as perhaps an essential link in order to make the bridge and complete the ‘picture’.



More about Ohad’s work is here. See also Post 1 , Post 2, and Post 3 of his VSK residency.







In Uncategorized on January 23, 2012 at 1:58 am



The latest VSK e-book is SOME FAMOUS SIGNING EVENTS by Francis Raven, published on the occasion of US National Handwriting Day. The book begins with an epigraph from Jacques Derrida’s Signature Event Context:


readable even if the moment of its production is irrevocably lost and even if I do not know what its alleged author-scriptor intended to say at the moment he wrote it.


whilst according to the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, who sponsor National Handwriting Day:


There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words… use a pen or a pencil to rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry. Handwriting allows us to be artists and individuals… Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.



As WIMA remind us, January 23rd is also the birthday of John Hancock who “was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and is famous for his large, bold signature.”

For Raven this celebratory e-book is the latest outcome of several projects exploring the play between signature and significant,  including – after Pessoa,  “a great sad hope for me”  he writes – a group show of the self and  a signing of the “significant natures” of  Beuys, Goya, Picasso, Warhol and Rothko. Note the chronology.

Signatures copied, forged, repeated, photo shopped… In Raven’s projects a signature is both copy, forgery, image, and authentication. Aesthetic and philosophical questions, but artists’ estates, auction rooms and SOPA see it otherwise…



As Annette Messager writes in a short note published in her WORD FOR WORD monograph:


Many other collection albums are made throughout the day, for example, I try to find my best signature, the one that would best define me, I scribble my name hundreds of times with different handwriting on notepaper and then I classify them according to my preference.





simile of
llie signature nf the general agent fit






on consignment, for
sum by






money, to more (discretion, with
out limit assigned, without object specified






in the chamber assigned to him, and with
the bonds of






enrolled bills signed by the presiding





Continue reading here. Please note that the special National Handwriting Day Book Launch has already happened:







More about Francis Raven’s work is here.






In Uncategorized on January 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm


Work gathered here was originally part of the  I AM NOT A POET ASSEMBLING, distributed at Totalkunst Gallery, Edinburgh on Aug 21st 2011, at the conclusion of I AM NOT A POET, a two week festival exploring connections of language, writing and art practice, co-curated by VerySmallKitchen and Mirja Koponen.

Participants in the show – which took place from 7-21st August – were invited to contribute an A4 sheet to a loose leaf b/w printed assemblage, whatever they wished to appear under the title of I AM NOT A POET.

Here are jpeg versions of projects by (from top) Colin Herd,  Kim Walker and (below) seekers of lice, Peter Cant/ Alex Eisenberg and Tamarin Norwood.




The full ASSEMBLING is online here, with contributions from:


Magdalen Chua, Emma Cocker, Peter Cant & Alex EisenbergJennie Guy, Colin Herd, Mirja Koponen, Shandra Lamaute, Michelle Letowska, Jow Lindsay, nick-e melville, Iain Morrison,  Marit Muenzberg, Tamarin Norwood, Mary Paterson, seekers of lice, Gerry Smith, Kim Walker, and Samantha Walton.






In Uncategorized on January 17, 2012 at 12:43 am


VerySmallKitchen and LemonMelon are delighted to announce the first title in their collaborative book series: Uh Duh by Sarah Jacobs.  The author describes the book as follows:


The conversation between a poet and an artist at their first meeting was recorded. An extract from the transcription is presented:

‘So how would you where would you how would you describe what you what you do?’


According to Dr.Simon Morris:


This poet and artist are a slippery pair. The gaps left by their absent presence are clearly visible on the page as a space for the reader to interact with the text. The particularity of their laughter disturbs me…ha, ha, ha…heh, heh, heh. Like David Bowie’s laughing gnome I can’t quite catch them yet at the same time get left imagining a scary encounter over lunch in which the pair squirt caviar and honey at one another in a Paul McCarthyesque carnival of filth, whilst their transparent words collide in mid-air, smash into one another and leave us quite spent. Writing this tough is a car crash.


Uh Duh by Sarah Jacobs, LemonMelon & VerySmallKitchen 2012 | £8 | Softback | 30pp | 15 x 21 cm | ISBN 978 1 908260 11 6


The conversation continues:




Please join us for a performance reading of Uh Duh at X Marks the Bökship on Wednesday 25th January at 7pm.

X marks the Bökship,
210/Unit 3 Cambridge Heath Road
E2 9NQ


Uh Duh is also available for purchase here.












In Uncategorized on January 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Sandra Huber, from Sleep/ Writing/ Rooms, 2011





Sandra Huber SLEEP/ WRITING/ ROOMS  part one, part two, and part three

Nathanaël, The Middle Notebookes [extract]

Aodán McCardle,  ‘abair’: ANARCHEOLOGY part one and part two

Paul Antony Carr, Excerpts: Tadeusz & Gregory

Tine Melzer, Language Games Part One: On Colours and    Part Two: On Games




Tamarin Norwood, The Locations of Six Domestic Figures

Maurice Carlin, Notes on The Self Publisher

Jill Magi, An extract from SLOT


Matthew MacKisack, (A Comedy of) Danger

Stefan Riebel, somethings 07

Nico Vassilakis: Staring Appendix Part One

Neil Chapman, Memo Seven

Alison Ballance, Other Gardens – Version 12





from lilmp by seekers of lice, 2011


2011 began with two e-chapooks, lilmp by seekers of lice and  BULLETINS by Mary Yacoob. Later in the year came FOURTH THING by Fiona Templeton, as well as e-book versions of  Other Gardens -Version 12 by Alison Ballance and Memo Seven by Neil Chapman. The year concluded with  From the Occult Diary of Hosni Mubarak by Paolo Javier and Matt Jones.


from BULLETINS by Mary Yacoob, 2011




The first VSK Residency was Paul Antony Carr, who used the his time in the VerySmallKitchen to compose NATHANIEL’S PERPETUAL MOTION, a new narrative strand of his Excerpts project.


Paul Antony Carr from Nathaniel's Perpetual Motion, 2011


The image-text combinations were published in groups of three. See post one, post two, post three and post four.


Ohad Ben Shimon, from Post (2) 2 Dec 2011


Currently in residence is Ohad Ben Shimon. See (1) 14 November , (2) 2 December and (3) 20 December



Co-curated with Mirja Koponen, I AM NOT A POET took place at the Totalkunst Gallery, Edinburgh, 7-21 August. See here for the full program.


Jennie Guy’s Selected Crônicas


Tamarin Norwood These Are Not Poems



Magdalen Chua’s Passages of Silence: Justified Right, Flushed Left

Peter Cant and Alex Eisenberg, Instructions/Constructions

Mary Paterson, Memory Exchange

Emma Cocker’s Close Reading (C.O.P.V, 1950)


seekers of lice Creamy Language




“Failing to Work on So Many Levels” : Gerry Smith at I AM NOT A POET


Gerry Smith, Window Pieces, I AM NOT A POET, 2011





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 suggest and take place within a diverse array of learning situations…

This 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, which involves compiling an essay and bibliography on the use of scripts and scores in contemporary art writing, to be published in March 2012.


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






The Tropisms of Nathalie Sarraute

Dick Higgins: What Are Legends: A Clarification

Guy de Cointet’s  ACRCIT

Jerome Rothenberg curated a selection of poems and criticism on the influence of Robert Motherwell’s The Dada Painter and Poets anthology.

James Baldwin’s Stranger in the Village

Special Issue on the Occassion of the Richard Kostelanetz Bookstore  at Kunstverein in Amsterdam.


Guy de Cointet, from ACRCIT (1971)





READING ENSEMBLE/ READING AS PUBLISHING a script for a collaboration with Jennie Guy that was performed at the Galway Arts Centre on January 22nd. This is Jennie’s pile of books:



KITCHEN ESSAYS include Small Ad Sweethearts of the Image Virus Do-Poetry, a survey of minimal poetries across writing and art practices, and Artists Talking at The Doubting Interface, on monologue, stand up, performance lecture and conversation in/as art practice.

A trip to Dublin to talk at the Art Criticism Now at The Lab, Dublin on 26th May was a great chance to begin to get a sense of  ART WRITING IN DUBLIN: PUBLICATIONS/ EXHIBITIONS/ PROJECTS  –  of which the first issue of ALLOTROPE (below) was one example.


Allotrope, Issue 1, 2011


Linda Short’s article I AM HIDING IN A ROSE: SWEENEY REED & CONCRETE POETRY explored the exhibition Born to Concrete: The Heide Collection. at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Victoria.

At the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, Gerry Smith and nick e-melville curated THETEXTISTHETEXT, under the frame of “visual poetry vs text art exhibition match.”


nick e-melville, junk mail, 2011





VerySmallKitchen starts 2012 with a new hard copy book series in collaboration with LemonMelon.  Our first title is Uh-Duh by Sarah Jacobs, which she describes as follows:


The conversation between a poet and an artist at their first meeting was recorded. An extract from the transcription is presented: ‘So how would you where would you how would you describe what you what you do?’

As well as the LemonMelon series, other hard copy projects include titles by seekers of lice and Paolo Javier.

In collaboration with Maintenant/3AM and Szépírók Társasága, VerySmallKitchen also will host a London visit by Márton Koppány from 28th March to April 1st 2012.  Details of publication, exhibition and performance to  follow. A dialogue with Márton is here.



Finally, VerySmallKitchen is excited to be part of A Pigeon, A Kichen and an Annexe: Alternative Sites of Publishing at Five Years Gallery in February, curated by Ladies of the Press, who have invited VerySmallKitchen, Pigeon and Annexe to work collaboratively on an exhibition. More info soon.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in these projects in 2011.  As Alison Ballance begins Other Gardens- Version 12:


Seeds were put into place to grow. Now they are sitting in a room above a garden with a radio on hum hum hum. An Eye sighs and cherry picks and gets lazy. A nudge please – I want to be lost please please carry on, look harder…