A. Márton Koppány
VerySmallKitchen writes: Following last months
Evergreen event at X Marks the Bökship, David Kelly AKA “not just another saint” Erkembode began a series of visual translations of the evenings talks and performances. Collected here are the full set of responses, based on the events video archive.
Looking at Erkembode’s images connected to a number of other projects on VerySmallKitchen and elsewhere, including Mary Yacoob’s time-based letter drawings, and Claire Potter’s reading for Maintenant Croatia, itself unfolding from repeated Youtube viewings of another Maintenant reading.
A thinking through of these impulses is interspersed here with Erkembode’s images as a further layer of response, sociality and transposition…
B. SJ Fowler
This work extends an interest in/with response, expanded notions of reading, translations and continuations between artists, mediums, and occasions. In this relation – and in the act of its own making – such work evidences a deliberate awareness of (a moment in) time, as constraint and form giver…
Work is made conversational. This is a particular take on conceptual writing’s engagement with the appropriation of existing texts. By taking other artists’ work as source – an artist one knows or is in proximity to through a somehow local network of practitioners – there is less sense of an “other” discourse brought into poetry – The New York Times or traffic reports in two of Kenneth Goldsmith’s signature outputs – and more a participation in a shared, self-aware, unfolding process…
If this is evident, say, in the pair form of the Camerade events curated by SJ Fowler, it is also proposed in the textures and strokes of each of Erkembode’s images, in the spoken time codes of Claire Potter’s Maintenant performance, and in Norma Cole’s consideration of Poets’ Theatre, where she writes:
The projects of Poets’ Theatre are communal. They accrete and gather momentum, a kind of critical mass, building on local relationships in time. Someone is writing – often the “someone” is a composite, a dyad, the multiple author – writing for known members of the future cast so the future is here and now. So even the primary or originary moment of writing is expansive, interactive, a function of the vitality of ongoing conversations in a community. The boundaries of the community are permeable and shifting, since it consists of singularities, to use Agamben’s term. Individuals express interest in participating. This interest is incorporated. So the dynamics of the participants, a kind of multiple person, or mega-organism live in solution in continuous flux.
SOURCE: Norma Cole, To Be At Music: Essays & Talks (Omnidawn, 2010), 54.
C. nick-e melville
David Kelly writes in an email 19/05/12:
My interest in visual translations probably stems from a period of producing what I call speed-paintings, usually giving myself 60 minutes to create 60 paintings – building a momentum, allowing a freedom from prudence – and then to ‘read’ through the finished collection. Of late my attention has been drawn to the spoken performances (manifestations) of concrete/visual poetry and how my own art practice relates and responds.
The process of creating these visual translations is primordially instinctive, in terms of compulsion and the materials put to use – the nearest to hand, not out of laziness but so as not to lose the moment in which makes the process. Often whilst creating visual art I am simultaneously writing, stream of consciousness, memories/fears, and exclamations/interjections. It is from this same place that I wish to produce an entirely visual language.
In listening to the poetry readings from the
evergreen event at X Marks the Bökship – these translations are a visual outcome (I was not present at this event; my translations are made from recordings taken of each reading). It is an attempt to join the rhythm of how someone speaks, the rhythm of what they are reading – a digestion of words, the breaking down and rearrangement of grapheme into gestural form and of sounds to pigmentation, colour.
Language is of course not just the written or spoken word. It is, or perhaps can be (amongst so many other things) shapes, colour, impressions of thought. These are just some of the entities I wish to dig up, communicate and read within my process of visual translation.
p.s on this search results page each description for the readings at X Marks the Bökship has a button which asks TRANSLATE. Once clicked however it answers TRANSLATION UNAVAILABLE.
D. seekers of lice
One of the pleasures of Kelly’s project here- and many others presented/ enacted/ documented on the Erkembode blog – is that alongside this exploratory poetics of compulsion and community, they encourage this viewer to more basic question making. Why this colour, this kind and speed of gesture, mark-making, type of paper? A has become B and it’s worth pretending for a moment it is a straightforward transaction, even if both quickly refract and multiply, maybe don’t even exist so distinctly.
What about a voice and reading necessitates the use of collage for Márton Koppány and seekers of lice, this entry of the photographic into a realm of (scanned) hand and paper? I sense an instinctual process but ponder its more concrete eventualities…. How much is the texture, speed, colour of these images informed by the frame of the video recorder, the faces excluded or gathered around, room and street sounds, the camera passed to another when operator becomes performer…
Erkembode notes how this project of “visual translations” is informed by his own reading and writing practices, making him both anthropologist and informant between overlapping zones of text and image. Likewise, many of the authors here see their writing related to, as part of, and/or in cohorts with, a visual practice.
So I am left with some kind of translation amongst and within, layered, across, that seems close to how Christian Hawkey’s describes his Ventrakl collaboration with George Trakl. Hawkey is formulating his relationship to a poet who died in Krakow in 1914, but these ideas of “ghost” as co-author are usefully fed into notions like Norma Cole’s above, articulations of absence-presence within the textual-social formulations proposed and evidenced here:
Books – of the living or the dead – are the truest ghosts among us, the immaterial made material… a collaboration between the living and the dead is the meeting of ghosts because writing is, in the purest sense, an act that sets the fiction of one’s self aside. It is also a form of friendship. Agamben: “Friendship is this desubjectivication at the very heart of the most intimate sensation of the self.” And in taking up multiple procedures of writing and translation – transwriting, transrelating – one aim was to prolong the friendship of our ghosts as long as possible.
SOURCE: Christian Hawkey, Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), 6.
E. Claire Potter
Other frames for these images take them beyond a local network of artists and occasions. The frame for
EVERGREEN was leaves, emergent from discussions with Márton Koppány, picking up on the leaf in his own visual work to explore poets’ relationships to natural history, from Goethe’s studies of leaf metamorphosis to the objectivist leaf of Lorine Niedecker and Charles Reznikoff.
Erkembode’s project also offers a productive way to read around illustration and book design, as discussed by Matt Jakubowski (in a recent article for Hyperallergic on “Sunandini Banerjee and the Book artist”).
Through its difference, Jakubowski’s discussion clarifies how, in the work discussed here, movement between YouTube, blogs, live events and different artists can be understood as repeated acts of publication (and transformation) that de-emphasise the single book object (that may or may not exist at some point in this ongoing cycle). Banerjee also highlights the paradox of making evident a process and a source whilst simultaneously erasing those fidelities:
It is not just a question of assembling images. One is reading, remembering, recalling, reinventing, rediscovering, associating — all at once. One is picking up on certain words or motifs and then chasing them down the alleyways of representation to see what they finally look like when you stand face to face. … After it is over, I can never remember how it was that it came to be done.
F. David Berridge
Two of these “Visual Translations” – by nick-e melville and SJ Fowler – previously appeared on the Erkembode blog alongside embedded video of the readings/performances. For this new consideration, I wanted to foreground the translations themselves, but each image links to that source reading.