Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on May 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Nick Davies, d PlsUR of d Txt

Nick Davies, d PlsUR of d Txt, collage and dummy phones, Unto This Text, Gallery333, Exteter Phoenix, 2012

A: I went to X Marks the Bökship because I was interested in the convergence of writing and art practice, both its connections to experimental poetry and fiction, but also in what was different about the writing and publications found in such a context.
B: Along with similar spaces including Banner Repeater (London), Motto (Berlin), and Section 7 (Paris), X Marks the Bökship is a venue for the distribution of this work but also where it is performed, discussed, and, sometimes, also written.
C: Pick up a book, open it, look through it, maybe read a few paragraphs, close it, put book back on the shelf, pick up another.
D: Participation in the whole life cycle of a publication informs the aesthetic of the space: between a gallery and a bookshop, a space adaptable for performances and book launches, a Riso printer by the window, a counter for publications that becomes a bar.

A display of publications by Preston is my Paris at X Marks the Bokship

E: Francis Ponge writes of “an effort against “poetry””; “We are something other than a poet and we have something else to say.” He asks himself: “Is it poetry? I don’t know, and care even less. For me it’s a need, an involvement, a rage, a matter of vanity, and that’s all.”
F: In a dialogue we conduct by email Nikolai Duffy writes:

          For me, reading, often, is a balance between glimpses and fades, connections and           gaps. Semantic fields slide and frames of reference come and go in much the same           way as my moods come and go.

G:I propose a residency to Eleanor Vonne Brown, proprietor of X Marks the Bökship, to visit a day a week, to read through and respond to the material, alone, when the space is closed.
H:On his Blutkitt blog SJ Fowler writes of when:

          genre definitions between avant garde poetry and art die away and the practice of           text becomes the join between what has been previously perceived as two wholly           different artforms.

I:Reading publications at X Marks the Bökship I find a sociable writing often taking the form of play scripts, with stage directions that make propositions about space, characters and relationships.
J: These texts might be staged on a spectrum between full theatrical production and poetry reading. Sometimes this sociability of writing is intended mostly for its shape on the page and its private reading.
K.People thought Robert Walser wrote in his own private language, on hotel notepaper, cardboard and till receipts. He wasn’t, it was Sütterlin, a particular script taught for handwritten German.


Alison Knowles, model for The Big Book installation. MAN AARG! includes a study of Knowles’ bookworks

I group together publications I read on my first day at X Marks the Bökship. A copy of Modern Art in Everyday Life has been annotated by an anonymous author. In Sara MacKillop’s re-publication only those annotations are maintained.
In Nick Thurston’s Reading the Remove of Literature, the design of the University of Nebraska Press English translation of Maurice Blanchot’s The Space of Literature is retained, although each page consists solely of Thurston’s annotations.
In RO1& BRtZ d P1sUR ov d Txt, Nick Davies (Nik DAvEz) offers a translation into textese of Roland Barthes’ The Pleasure of the Text, partly, he observes, as a way of exploring the distinction Barthes proposes in his own book between pleasure and bliss.
Davies’ process draws on textese computer programs, which don’t correspond to any individual users vocabulary. Nor do they share Barthes’ vocabulary, so Davies must invent his own textese to complete the project. The opening paragraph of Barthes text (in its original Richard Miller translation) reads:
          THE PLEASURE OF THE TEXT: like Bacon’s stimulator, it can say: never           apologize, never explain. It never denies anything: “I shall look away , that will           henceforth be my sole negation.”
In RO1& BRtZ d P1sUR ov d Txt this becomes:
          D PLSUR OV D TXT: Ike Baconz simul8R, it cn sA: nevr apolojyz, never XplAn. It           nevr denyz NEtin: “I shaL L%k awA, dat wiL hNs4th my s0l neg8shN.”
Legally, Davies suggests he may have produced a “new work,” no longer covered by the original copyright. Beyond legal criteria, his translation explores the adaptability of Barthes use of the paragraph as chapter and essay in its own right. If these micro units equate to gestures of thought, how is this also evident in the text message?
Davies tests the efficiacy and potential of all these formats. Joe Scanlan’s Red Flags arranges source texts by Joseph Schumpeter, Milton Friedman, Edward Said and Thorstein Veblen using a colour code system that indicates sections of the originals which have been added, left intact, moved, altered, and re-written.

Joe Scanlan, Red Flags, castillo/corrales

In all these examples, the reader-artist gives material form to their acts of reading, confidently altering or deleting the source text. Other times, as in the score that comprises the cover of Neil Chapman’s Glossolaris, such procedures are combined with the imaginative reverie of the reader, a sense of each individuals collaboration with a text in creating its settings and characters.

Chapman invites the reader to look through their book collections for words or phrases that instinctively connect to the planet Solaris of Stanislav Lem’s science fiction novel. Then, Chapman instructs:
          Use the words or phrases to create short scenarios. This is a meditative process.           Start with one word or phrase. Stare at it until it gives up an image. Take the time           you need.
All of these examples see reading as an engagement with space and time, with writing less to do with creating new original texts than a foregrounding of that scenography.
Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés is one continued source for a spatial arrangement of text in white space, which Marcel Broodthaers responded to by rendering each unit of text as a solid black block.
Michalis Pichler’s Un Coup de dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard (sculpture) presents Mallarme’s text as a single prefatory block of text before replacing both the original and Broodthaers’ version with cut out “voids” that shift reading and writing towards both an idea and experience of sculptural form.

L: My initial plan is to write a bibliography – thinking of Arnaud Desjardin’s The Book on Books on Artists’ Books where he quotes Simon Ford’s idea (concerning Situationism) of the “bibliographic moment” that arises at a certain point in a “subject’s living death.”

Arnaud Desjardin, spread from The Book on Books on Artists’ Books

M:Publications produced in tiny editions, without ISBN’s, sometimes without any contact information. If a copy is sold, then when I go back the next week to read it, the chance has gone.
N: This is not a bibliographic moment.
O:Cid Corman’s The Famous Blue Aerogrammes is a collection of poems scribbled on air mail envelopes, a form more suited to a poetics of breath and occasion than literary journals or paperbacks.
P:A “scene” formed by all publications at X Marks the Bökship, although that is also a gathering of singularities, whose authors may not read each other’s texts, or regard each other as colleagues.
Q:Which is again why the playscript form is a useful model, not as something staged in a particular sense of a theatrical production but a form for proposing locations, actions, and characters.
R:A space of enquiry akin to Karl Larsson’s stage directions in Consensus (The Room) indicating a room which “may be described as…”, “The building may be described as…” and “The neighborhood may be described as…”

Karl Larsson, Consensus (The Room), Paraguay Press.

S:Do you have a copy of Forty Faultless Felons?
T: When forms such as notebook or journal seem more appropriate for this essay, it is as something made at the end of a process of writing and re-writing, not improvised at the beginning or during.
U: The sense of quest and search, which Rachel Blau du Plessis in The Pink Guitar, equates to “the psyche bound for glory.” Such structures of apotheosis equate more to sermon than essay, she says, are not practice.
V:Ponge writes:
          I resume my maniacal, my voluptuous snail-like wanderings… This snail, alas!           leaves no silvery trace… While I am distressed by the bad taste of this last phrase,           the clock strikes three a.m…
W: Send 1000 copies of your contribution. Richard Kostelanetz will assemble them together in 0.5″ by 11″ books. The title is Assembling.
X: The example of John Berger moving to France (although moving to France is not necessarily what this example is about).
Y: Suddenly aware of the position of my body at the table, the expression on my face, how hungry I am, how heavy is my head.
Z:These questions are those writers in any context negotiate explicitly or indirectly. For myself, I found the questions were much more open and fluid in a space such as X Marks the Bökship because-
                    I stop myself and begin reading writers whose work explicitly negotiates a                     position both towards, about, and amongst things, aware of the vast generality                     of that category, needing such expansiveness, space of/for the obvious:
Today I brought my own books to read.

Reading at X Marks the Bokship during launch of Noooo by Nathan Witt

Things by Francis Ponge is a translation of poems into English by the American poet Cid Corman. As well as its presentation of Ponge’s work, the book shows the different elements of Corman’s own practice: translating, editing his journal Origin (where some of these poems first appeared), corresponding with poets including Louis Zukofsky, Charles Olson, and also Lorine Niedecker, who writes to Corman:
          Origin 9 here – well, F.Ponge is a serious person and he’s right – there’s a sense as           well as and above precise dictionary meanings.
As Corman writes in his Preface to Things: “language in the brio of its re-lations, our delectation, gone with it.”
Beginning with short poems – The Insignificant, Young Girl, The Last Simplicity, Ponge/Corman’s Things moves into the familiar subjects of the later’s maturity: still-life of cigarette, blackberry, candle, and mollusc.
From this a shift into attempts – Flora & Fauna, The Pebble – to see both object, word and mind moving in and over time, The Notebook of the Pine Woods expanding that further into page forms of dated entries, letters, the published text a form of draft and work book.
Corman’s arrangement is not wholly chronological, but it concludes with Still Life & Chardin and Le Pré/ the meadow, sequences which read here like death-notes, attempts to sum up the writerly attention to Things as they approach both a metaphysics of self and world and what Ponge calls the “funereal,” final arrangements of typographers.
Corman’s own essays offer examples that include traditional critical prose, assemblages of quotations, and letters re-made into poems. In “The Idea of a Mandarin Orange: A Discourse” in his essay collection Where Were We Now, Corman writes:
          This not a Ponge-type/ research piece – the poem in search of a science: the words           of a thing. This is rather an effort to see what it is seen/once what is seen worms its           way into words.

Project Paper edited by Ana Schefer and Teófilo Furtado

MAN AARG:ESSAY, POETRY, ART PRACTICE by David Berridge will be published by NØ Demand, the imprint of X Marks the Bokship, in June 2013.



In Uncategorized on May 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

The following are three sections of Ohad Ben Shimon’s 2 blue cups on two different corners of the table, forthcoming from VerySmallKitchen Books in June 2013.
the morning
it comes
it rains
it coffee
it happens
it mornings
it silence
it occurs
the morning is an event

my narrative capabilities are destroyed
all I can do is describe what I see
name things
making connections is hard these days
nothing seems to fit into one coherent whole
a totality
fragments of a reality
a fragmentology
and you are in the middle
you move around
in between
close and far
you are the writer
attaching your words to objects
watching them
naming them
in hope that one day it will make sense to someone
and the ends come closer
they arrive faster
once you used to start something
and it took you a while to get there
nowadays you start
and it ends

a line
many people running
they seem like they can steal my laptop
rain on the ground
some guy is smoking a big joint
the tram lines run
we just finished our performance
it was nice
elegance says one street sign
r&b says another
plastic bags
an orange umbrella
a strong smell of weed coming out of a coffeeshop
a burger king
someone says ‘money’
more umbrellas
more plastic bags
a bike
a tram
a guy with a coat looking at my laptop and bags
2 guys laughing
a few girls throw some redbull cans into a garbage can
a guy in a rickshaw
a theater building with the sign ‘macbeth’ on it
below it another sign says ‘to see or not to see’
2 spanish guys with cotton hats saying ‘amsterdam’
im drunk
im ok
with a black coat on a brown bench
another rickshaw guy passes
some guy says bye to a girl
bad fashion
a flashlight
to work around things
to shift them
to replace one with another
to exchange values
to redefine
re re re
to rest some place
to let it rest
to change your ways
to come back to them
to change again
to create sockets
pockets of air
the breath
reaches a high point and a low point
somehow somewhere sometime
you always find yourself back on the saddle
it’s never really gone
what has gone are layers of times
somehow somewhat peeled off by their own movement
and you imagine a place
a list
where all these changes take place
whilst at the same time not really taking place
the internet and the computer
are helpful for that illusionary space
it’s there and not there
it allows you to dream
to expand
it harbors your imaginary right and wrong doings
by presenting an ordered software and hardware
to renegotiate your own order
your own mechanism
the state of your affairs
the never ending
yet always already ending
life that you are living today
and the next day
and the next
so rewire
whatever energy is left in you
make it happen
reach that land
it is there waiting for you
you called for it to appear
don’t hesitate
make way
you will become
you will become
The following dialogue was conducted between VerySmallKitchen and Ohad Ben Shimon during the writing of the book:
VSK: I wrote some questions for you today – about the book, the book to be, the book as it is, the book as it is being imagined, will be and won’t…. where does a book begin and where does it end?
OHAD: i think a book begins at the point when all other plans don’t seem to work out.. funny as it is, the strongest form of self expression is actually the last one we think of…perhaps we don’t allow ourselves that freedom. once we feel entitled we create a title. a ‘book’. it ends when someone forces you to end it. and that brings on a new restriction to once again search for that freedom, perhaps in the form of a new book.
VSK: Do some experiences look wrong on the page or perhaps “too right”?
OHAD: i try to see all experiences as part of this thing we call life and in that sense always ‘right’. what’s in the book is not the experience. it’s just the transformation of that experience into an artistic form, in this case text. so in a way all the experiences look wrong on the page as they don’t represent exactly the experience. the only true or ‘right’ experience in the book and on the page is the one the reader is having, because for him or her it is the first time they have the experience of reading such things.
VSK: What else does a list do?
OHAD: i’m thinking here actually of a list as a registration of desire. of things you want. so a list can create desire in the mind of the reader. now the question is a desire for what.
VSK: Does writing encourage fidelity or fiction?
OHAD: i believe you can’t run away from your own writing. in that sense it has always been a form of fidelity for me, even when it’s introduced as fiction. the reader will always find your blind spot whilst reading or you will eventually find it given sufficient time. 
VSK: Is a notated day different to a not notated day?
OHAD: not really. i see breathing, walking, swimming, eating, basically many everyday actions as forms of writing if they’re on some page or not.
VSK: When do you read this in the future?
OHAD: in mornings.
VSK: When do details affirm and when do they erase?
OHAD: it’s an exchange. they affirm their own presence. the presence of the detail. but at that same very moment they erase the whole. that’s why i can’t really get my head around them. they are slippery creatures.
VSK: How does the text function as gift?
OHAD: it’s wrapped. in the same unexplainable material that life itself is wrapped in. it requires the reader to unwrap it.
VSK: How does the text function as instruction?
OHAD: maybe it’s an instruction to keep my eyes open. perhaps in the form of note to self.
VSK: Is it some sort of record that is breaking?
OHAD: yes it’s a record that is breaking but the record itself remains intact. what is being broken is language. it’s in a constant state of self annihilation. the text is at once a living organism in the sense that it has a breaking force and at the same time it is a residue or cinder.
VSK: Aren’t you really just trying out a form of magic?
OHAD: only if this form of magic has some kind of thera-poetic power like the word abracadabra.
VSK: Does the writing imagine you or someone else?
OHAD: of course. the image-nation. 
Ohad Ben Shimon’s 2 Blue Cups on 2 Different Corners of the Table is forthcoming from VerySmallKitchen in June 2013.
For more about Ohad’s work see here. His VSK Residency posts are here.


In Uncategorized on May 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

2 DSC00819
mauritius island map
The trick is not putting the fire too high.
He scoops out crispy moons.
licking the nose of the lost English.
One saw a cicada
flew barking in the ether
angry as an ancient monster,
doused in dirt.
harvest had finished
so there wasn’t much
storm and all the trees
take you to the coral reef.
curled with lashes
but being unfamiliar
Hama Suthoo
who calls for his starship, mouth mouthing
eating jamballac
as they hang from the branches.
it’s too late, and her cold hasn’t gone.
Bol renversé: Literally ‘upside down bowl’, a special rice dish
5 DSCN0241
Hallowe'en2 (2)
Kiran and I stay in her mother’s old home. Like a little wattle and daub Tudor dwelling the house is made from beams from the mountain and painted white, but roofed with corrugated metal sheets. Her mother and father built this haven helped by the oldest children. Dev, second son, carried the longest log.
Last night we went up to the place where they had found the trunks and branches. Long ago there had been a big storm and all the trees had blown over. The government announced that anyone could take the uprooted, broken wood.
The clouds cleared and we beheld the starry archer aiming his bow beyond Port Louis. The children stayed in the minibus, chattering.
The minibus company has grown into a major service with seven buses and four charioteers. Dev and Jay do not drink; not Red Label, not sweet Johnnie Walker. But sometimes they do on Bank Holiday because then NOBODY wants to drive.
This VSK Project is a sample from Jude Cowan Montague, The Goodroyals of Terre Rouge, published by Dark Windows Press in 2013.
Jude and Daniel Lehan’s CARDBOARD PASTORAL is a VSK Project here.