Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


In Uncategorized on September 11, 2012 at 11:34 am



CARDBOARD PASTORAL: A journey into the countryside of Northern Kent interpreted through improvisation on cardboard and vocals/casio. In Spring 2012 Daniel Lehan and Jude Cowan visited Higham. The resulting collaborations were recorded on Flip video.


1. He Was Only an Acting Lieutenant





2. Danger Falling Blossom!





3. Under Here a Slow Worm





4. Rufus Runs Underneath the Pylons Rewiring a Rusty Crane Man





5. The Clouds Will Pass Over, the Raindrops Will Stop





6. Man In a Crane On the Water







More about Jude Cowan’s work  here and here. More about Daniel Lehan’s here.







In Uncategorized on September 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm



You can say anything… what will you say? Repeat lines of the offender? There is no off switch, no thumbs down. Celebrate, appreciate our period? Realize some potential in our now incredibly vast capacity, opportunity for freedom of expression? How?

My proposal, one attempt: reflexive, interpretive art writing with an ethnographic bent (critical appreciation), seeks to promote a theoretical model countering negative diagnoses of the modern metropolis―a strategy that might be described as aiming to reflect a period of so incredible the capacities of expression. What gives.

Ethnography, a non-method method, as Jamin’s “L’ethnographie, mode d’inemploi”, akin also to the intentions of some downtown New York artists of the 70s and 80s―art in the everyday―writing, as a way of Being meditative, observant (observational), quiet, not meaningless.  Also following Williams on the relationship between newspapers and advertizing, how advertizing ingested in our news stories now. [1] A desire to screen false fears, to lead healthy, helpful, immediate lives. The prose I hope for, yearn for, is in a calmness, observation, yet, honestly, what here in New York must be exasperatively auditory―sonic, energetic.

And includes object lessons; addresses multiplying spheres, contexts, environments. Social of course also architectural; technological, and natural. The streets here for example: gilded with barbed wire, the lights on all night, the perpetual alternating sirens and alarms signaling nothing but echoing complicated brief histories of immigration, economic disparity. The influx of new students always.



Today a man came to my door to ask how long I thought the injustices will continue. No, he said: “Do you think there’ll be an end to injustices?” I assumed it was a prank and returned to my desk but, then, I got up and returned to the tiny monitor showing me the street three floors and half a block away. I said, “How can I help you?”

He repeated himself, then said: “There’ve been a lot of injustices going on.” The camera switched to Arial view enhancing the reminiscence of the experience to a graphic novel I know, and then died. We were cut off and I stood there incredulous, my jaw gaped, until I’d stabbed the talk/hear button enough I was convinced the interaction must be complete.

I turned and sat at my desk again.  In my mind I ran down to meet the stranger. We walked down Wyckoff discussing the state of art. We thought of failing nutrition; diabetic campaigning, home land insecurity. We joked and laughed a bit, then promised to write.




Sensate intervals in the city have always been mediated. Yet, there are so many new versions. I feel slow. So slow in a world changing, travel, necessarily, Baroque Silences full of clacking keyboards, announcements, alerts, noise. Bass streams, foreclosures, permanent residences―what symbols emerge from some appreciation. Here’s the fear: that people are writing about the things they are seeing, reading, hearing, feeling, never in so many words. The responsibility! Ethics in an economy of clicks. Do pollsters qualify your reposted rapes, abortions? Like! And a terrific paradox: if you don’t have anything nice to say… The pantomime of cosmopolitan freedoms. It is difficult to be optimistic.

And this has already been written. One more: A sound check for monks, all monks all at once. Nature in machines, the slow breathlessness of nature in eternal machines―with a Black Sabbath riff off a haunted house.



Sarah Butler, What Writing, 2011



The Cost of Entry to Museums

In 1980 Geertz wrote “the instruments of reasoning are changing and society is less and less represented as an elaborate machine or a quasi-organism than as a serious game, a sidewalk drama, or a behavioural text.” [2]
What are the new instruments of reasoning, the tomorrow metaphors for society? INTERACTION, NETWORK, COMMUNICATION? That last not like two decades past terminology the paths of canals, railways, steamships, cars, and aero craft communication, but “straight to your skull” brand identity without the hyphen, relationalisms and trans intra supra nationalisms. Humanity forgets itself. What are the norms we today take for granted? …I’d like to think first about exhibitions.

In Exhibiting Contradiction Wallach discusses there was a lack of decorum for private collections made public. “Audiences were demonstrative, tastes eclectic.” [3] Inappropriate exuberance, voiced shock reaction. Where is your decorum? And now, artwork for contemplation or for entertainment. What is entertaining? Active construction of meaning? Is it so very much like an Opera then?




We walked down the street talking about gentrification; rent, student debt, health care and war, when it came up that we are the “first generation to have less than its parents”. Where did that information come from? Certainly at least this, is a localized concept. And, what does less mean? How do we quantify less. My grandmother, for example, is always scheming to “make less,” in the basement, in the garage, in the barn. She nearly escaped death in WWII. How do we qualify? What are the new new instruments of reasoning, the new metaphors for citizens. “Users?” Surely not all and in varying intensities.



Sarah Butler, Anthology Art Space: Chapter One (Botanic and Famous Accountants, Photographs) #1, 2010-2012



Our work will be co-edited, in the sense that we write things together, at times, not exclusively, but it’s been so delightful to exchange letters with you. [4]  “All my outpourings of words are just one long defense of a world to which words have no right of entrance…To discover intimations of a space and time outside the division of labor.” [5]

Patron/Artist. I wanted to suggest that the social ROLE of the artist is determined by the PATRON. As well as of course the VALUE of the PATRON is created by the artist. The responsibility of patron? The patron should be regarded as an artist, a maker of cultural significance―at anticipated and direct global effect. Where do these generalizations come from? Institutional critique, media, ideology, art. Who is the audience for arts in Bushwick? Artists. The social responsibility of the artist. We celebrate artist-run-centers. We make taste…but, we also make food. [6]




Ethnographic art appreciation that includes some measure of a person taking photographs; observing new work on line, in the street, and at school, the museum, and gallery. In department stores and in prisons—a relational, thick description. When will I read you again?




My project is about writing as something to be doing―may be in the way a painter paints. Not necessarily to create something pre-figured. But as a discovery, as a very physical mode of engagement with the world, extending also Sontag’s thinking on photography — that sometimes to say something, is just to own it. [7] I call what I do art writing, to mean writing that is art. However my writing is also sometimes about art, and so I’m told that is confusing. Am I a writer who writes about art? Or an artist who arts about writing? Do these need be mutually exclusive? Maybe that’s just writing. Here we have non-poet poets, futurist ilk, active, aware identity fabricators, psychological pro-sumers, Kline-ian bothness.




Sarah Butler, Water Sample, 2011



A dangerous dream: “if social conditions allow advertising to serve images that are justified in the deepest and broadest social sense, advertising art could contribute effectively in preparing the way for a positive popular art, an art reaching everybody and understood by everybody.” [8]

And finally, a response to previous critiques: I don’t write to be popular or accessible. I seek to address an audience who I imagine will have some previous knowledge of my subject, some resonance with my context.  But, for a popular, unspecialized audience, I hope my writing might come off as poetic reverie. You don’t have to understand the mechanics of e. e. cummings in order to “get” it, just like you don’t need to know the details behind a (bird) song to be captivated by it. Not that my work is anything close to par with cummings, bird songs. But, here’s a normative reliquary for some new beginning: life’s work.






[1] Williams, Communications (London: Chatto & Windus, 1966).

[2] Geertz, “Blurred Genres,” The American Scholar, 49 (Spring 1980).

[3] Wallach, Exhibiting contradiction : essays on the art museum in the United States (Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press, 1998).

[4] A brief note about different forms of address within my texts, sudden inferences about relationships and contexts never made explicit―I mean you, now (a reader if on an autumn’s night, a stranger at the door): on line and in the street; the gallery and salon, the classroom, studio, lab, and kitchen.

[5] Jorn in Wark, The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International (New York: Verso, 2011), 120.

[6] See The Patron’s Value.

[7] Sontag, On Photography (New York: Farrar, Straus and Girous, 1989).

[8] Kepes in Richardson Modern Art and Scientific Thought (Champaign, University of Illinois Press, 1971), 156.



More about Sarah’s work is here. She edits word servents.





In Uncategorized on September 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm





RACHEL LOIS CLAPHAM writes: A Writing Station is used to produce short texts live and in public. The WRITING STATION includes: Two typewriters, pebbles, white A4 80gsm and black carbon copy paper (it generally keeps things close to the ground).

The invitation is to type, punch-in and publish. There and then. The texts act variously as gift, context, conversation slip or document/ation at the discretion of the typist.



VSK: Can you say more about “close-to-the-ground”…

RLC: Close to the ground- for me, this is non networked, literally buried in its moment, in the soil. Also, with regards to the materials present- metal, ink, paper, carbon paper. There is something quite rooted about these materials coming from the ground. Save for the plastic covers on the machines that is!





TEXT:  By Rachel Lois Clapham. “For Charles Olson” and “For Alan Turing” from an email exchange with Alex Eisenberg.






Marianne Holm Hansen, For the Record, ongoing



Type (typos) was recognized as individual. (Some of us sixties poets were trying to find our own voices as opposed, that is, to what seemed an expected and traditional meditational and cryptic “English” inner voice.) That sense of the individual imprint, outside of tradition, outside of an inherited world of form, became immediate.

We used the Gestetner, the letterpress, the typewriter. Type became letter as literal and letter as object.



Elisabeth Mann Borgese… had trained a dog in the 1940s to type answers to questions on a special machine that fitted its paws. The success of this undertaking is still dubious in scientific circles, but the spectacle it made at the keyboard of its machine stuck in Joseph Cornell’s mind as one of the events of the century, and he supposed that all well-informed people were familiar with it. La Borgese’s accomplished beast’s habit of typing BAD DOG when it had flubbed a right answer had brought tears to his eyes. He… had no qualms about dismissing people tediously ignorant of such wonderful things.




For Open Dialogues, SOB BASIC  is part of NOTA: NOTES, which they describe as:


NOTA: NOT, NOTES, NOTER (NOTA), NOT/A, pressing on the time, place and quality of notes in relation to performance…. towards a sometime set of performance writing tools.


As part of our collaboration in Leeds, a gathering of materials on typewriter as art-writing practice by VerySmallKitchen can be seen here


Rachel Lois Clapham and typewriter at InXclusion, Leeds, 2012



… whilst a conversation on the typewriter with artist Marianne Holm Hansen in a coffee shop on Brick Lane became TYPE TYING TYPINGS TYPIST TYBE.






TEXTS: Collected from Writing Station at the conclusion of InXclusion, East Street  Arts, Leeds,  6pm 24th March to 6pm 25 March 2012.






The Olympia 66 splendid typewriter



VerySmallKitchen writes: …DocU, morphing into SOB BASIC after a deliberately erratum transcription of a skype conversation…  different aspects of the typewriter and how it might bbbbbe…  gathering sources from various histories and art and poetry, colleagues and contemporaries, towards new acts of individual imprint..

… actually, this dominates over any desire to actually type myself!… Where do I put the paper? people (under, say, 25) asked in Leeds. Can I do capital letters?…



(1)Simon Cutts’ poem “An ode for the recovery of an olympia splendid 66 typewriter originally designed by max bill in 1939….”  This is in Jerome Rothenberg’s A Book of the Book anthology and Cutts’ own A Smell of Printing: Poems 1988-1998. Just the title for now.


(2)The projects on Colin Sackett’s website under the heading Typewriting. As well as the specifics of each project, the suggestion of “Typewriting” as a distinct writing category, transferring and multiplying agency, breaking away from the machine itself, whilst confirming its materiality and history, ghosting into laptop and InDesign…



Colin Sackett, ‘A Sort of a Song’, 2011





KNEAD the linguistic material; this is what justifies the label concrete.

Don’t just manipulate the whole structure; begin rather with the smallest elements—letters, words.  Recast the letters as anagrams.  Repeat letters within words; throw in alien words, peavroog-se do; interpose letters that don’t belong, aacatioaanniya for action; explore children’s secret code languages and other private languages; vocal glides gliaouedly.  And, of course, newly coined lettristic words.




To bring down a military plane over Afghanistan. To welcome the sun. To water the plants. To roll back the hose. To unroll it again. To go on watering. To place the hose next to the wall. To displace shadows while displacing oneself. To go back to the typewriter. To worry about the ribbon, to wonder if it needs to be replaced by a new one. To control the desire for sherbets. To breathe painfully. To keep one’s anger low key, sweep away one’s worries. To take off the shoes and wear other ones, and enjoy the result. To see what time it is. To uncork the inkpots. To read “Mont Blanc” on the label. To glance at the watch and realize that it’s time  for the (bad) news. To put up with it.




A scaphocephalic X-ray: top-heavy. The bloodshot reels are tin eyes. Pince-nez of ribbon, legion of dishonour. Rictal mouth in mash of metallic teeth, German dentistry. Or: stand the thing on its head and the keys become strokes of electrified hair. Shock therapy. One scarlet lip, bitten and bloody. And the other? Black as human ignorance. Bridled, the scold who has swallowed her own children. The typewriter, long out of service, dictates the screenplay: Bring Me the Head of Emanuel Swedenborg. Stripped of flesh, this instrument is our first skull. It vibrates like a skin drum. An empty cranium filled with wormcasts. It writes the long house into being, as a form of apology; architect of its own ruin. Fingered to erotic frenzy, it talks code. The truths of the sense of the letter of the Word… are found in dump receptacles.


Provenance unknown. Thought to be in use for matters of business until the coming of the word-processor. In essence a memory-device waiting to be activated; to reveal, without human intervention, all the secrets of its infinite interior.




The other night out at the bars, I learned that Nietzsche wrote on a typewriter. It is unbelievable to me, and I no longer feel that his philosophy has the same validity or aura of truth that it formerly did. No other detail of his life situating him so squarely in the modern age could have affected me as much as learning this. He typed Zarathustra? Goddamnit, the man had no more connection to the truth than a stenographer!













NOTES: A & B (above) are from (A) Fred Wah, Faking It: Poetics & Hybridity Critical Writing 1984-1999 (NeWest Press, 2000) 246 and  (B) Guy Davenport,  Every Force Evolves A Form (North Point Press, 1987), 146.

(3) Oyvind Fahlstrom  Hipy Papy Bthuthdth Thuthda Bthuthdy: Manifesto for Concrete Poetry (1953) in Antonio Sergio Bessa ed. Mary Ellen Solt: Toward a Theory of Concrete Poetry, OEI No.51/ 2010, 257-260;  (4) Etel Adnan,  In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country (City Lights Books, 2005), 104; (5) Iain Sinclair, from “Commentaries: The Typewriter”  in Sinclair and Brian Catling, Several Clouds Colliding (Bookworks, 2012),  15; (6) Sheila Heti, How Should A Person Be? (Henry Holt & Co., 2012).



NOTA was recently part of SHOWTIME. More about that is here.






In Uncategorized on September 3, 2012 at 9:16 am









[Inhabitants of the structure have been moving up and up, navigating girders, racking and broken furniture for a period of time so long and unmeasured that it has become indeterminable and taken on a physical quality, a line that extends behind and in front of them, as though the structure has made manifest the duration of its ascent. They refer to themselves now as climbers, keepers of an unraveled clock.

At one station, their climbing slows as they stand in formation one behind the other, rows of hands holding onto cold poles like rehearsal room dancers. Where their elevation is automated, they clutch hand rests that chug slightly slower than their feet are carried, their bodies bending into choreographed contortions.

Beyond its intersecting tubes and almost vertical tunnels, the structure unfolds as a vast auditorium of steps. Built at a gradient not so steep as to loom, mentally exhausting in the suggestion of physical strain, the steps appear rather as geological features, rough grey hills of old road interrupted by stacked pavements.

The climbers stop for long periods and disperse, at times lying down or drifting up, along and back down the graduated bank of their arena. In a basin emptied of time they dwell on an ersatz ground, surrounded from all aspects and temporarily attached to a feeling of absent contentedness.]




Corridors of blue and grey, powder and charcoal.










[At times climbers feel restless and try to bisect certain levels. Scrolling through flicked and torn pages, they push away timber obstacles and turn leaves. At first, some considered descending and even tried, but found themselves on levels and platforms they had already crossed. Others began to recognise within themselves a feeling of reassurance, caused by their place within a construction of uncertain scale and on a journey of uncertain duration.

At various points the structure flattens out ahead, giving the impression that the ascent might be nearing its finish. During these times, the surroundings calm into settled washes of illusory blue-green.]




Red bricks enclose a space, out of which exits a tube of red and yellow plastic. A palm tree bends through primary coloured concentric circles.










[The distance of their journey shrinks and stretches. On walkways between scaffolds and shelves, climbers pace back and forth sketching scenery that lies beyond planed wood and welded sheets, closing their eyes to draft the contours of foliage and architecture. Rocky, cut glass and flagged surfaces, oddly shaped leaves, inhabitants engaged in unfamiliar cycles of activity and a tartan of materials and patterns appear to some in all their detail and nuanced difference; for others they expand far enough to retreat into anonymous unity, swallowed by their own sprawling mass. The site remains obscured by coloured tints and bleached out patches.]




Toes dipped, swirling water.









More about Charlotte’s work is here. As part of COPY she is in residence at Site Gallery, Sheffield as part of print it, 11 Aug-8 Sep 2012.








In Uncategorized on June 14, 2012 at 11:57 am

Yoko Ono, film still from Fly (1970)



VerySmallKitchen writes: Reading through publications at X Marks the Bökship I noted the prevalence of script/ score/ play forms in current practice, including work by Alison Ballance, Ruth Beale, Ella Finer, Holly Pester, seekers of lice, Cally Spooner and Gerry Smith, amongst others.

This led VerySmallKitchen to consider a score-based art practice as both actuality and proposition, finding a ground in the written text that instigates an ongoing flux of object, performance and publication that returns, moves away, between, transforms, forgets, re-writes, repeats and more that score from which it begins…



It was wanting to clarify this working- movement and momentum of the score as/for art practice over time that returned me to the work of Yoko Ono. As, also, a prelude to her forthcoming show at London’s Serpentine Gallery. A practice which, in varying degrees of proximity, often returns to the forms and specifics of Grapefruit, Ono’s collection of scores first published in 1964.

I focus here on Ono’s film scripts as – in relation to the contemporary work at the Bökship – an area that distills most clearly the tensions involved in the score form: an instruction that is also a self-contained gesture in itself; a public invitation that is also a form of private, solitary note taking and discipline; to Fly/ Fly as figure for thinking through score-based practice…



A proposition:


A. Score-practice as a restless, dissatisfied form, incomplete in itself, creating disjunctions of meaning and experience within and between different participants and times in which the score/ work exists.

B. Score-based practice demonstrates a simplicity of instruction and communication to proliferate problematics concerning both its own invitation and any response.








Perhaps this essay could be a score for reading the many script/ score based works in X Marks the Bökship: sentences and ideas applied to other projects and essays as instructional scores, initiating ways of reading other words and images. Such an approach – both as success and failure, concise instruction and incomprehensible request – is one way to consider what is at stake in Yoko Ono’s cinema.

In 1964 Ono introduced a sequence of her “film scripts” as follows:


These scores were printed and made available to whoever was interested at the time or thereafter in making their own version of the films, since these films, by their nature, became a reality only when they were repeated and realized by other filmmakers.

A dream you dream alone may be a dream, but a dream two people dream together is a reality.[1]

And to Scott MacDonald twenty five years later:


I think one of the reasons I’m not making more films is that I’ve done so many film scripts. I’d like to see one of them made by somebody else. Maybe one day out of the blue I’ll feel it so strongly that I’ll make a film myself again.[2]



Yoko Ono’s 25-minute film Fly (1970) begins from a score written in 1968:



Film No.13 FLY

Let a fly walk on a woman’s body from toe to head and fly out of the window.


It’s a sentence that says everything about the film, and also nothing. So an essay like this becomes an attempt to delineate those differences: the film as an idea; idea as instruction and invitation; the film as executed by John Lennon and Yoko in 1982, in a New York apartment, with 200 sugar-solution stunned ants and the (also stunned) actress Virginia Lust; the film as historical lens and, via Youtube, contemporary manifestation (that’s Ono herself as contemporary, and our own work as we retrospectively engage with the nexus of issues Fly raises).

Another beginning for Fly features a cartoon in a newspaper. As Yoko tells Scott MacDonald:



A cartoon in a newspaper gave me the idea. There’s this woman with a low-cut dress, and a guy is looking at her, and the guy’s wife says, “What are you looking at!” and the guy says, “Oh, I’m looking at a fly on her.” I wanted the film to be an experience where you’re always wondering, am I following the movement of the fly or am I looking at the body? I think that life is full of that kind of thing. We’re always sort of deceiving ourselves about what we’re really seeing.





A set of SIX FILM SCRIPTS BY YOKO ONO are dated Tokyo, June, 1964. A later set of THIRTEEN FILM SCORES are attributed to London, 1968. Both were part of a broader practice of scores Ono used as the basis for musical compositions, performances, and paintings, first collected together in her 1964 publication Grapefruit. Many scores continue to be interpreted and installed up to the present.



Yoko Ono, Six Film Scripts, page from Grapefruit (1964)



All the scores invite responses of various kinds, and thinking about the specific nature of such invitations begins with the materiality of the scores themselves. So in Grapefruit the placing of a single score on a white page foregrounds a distinct, almost sculptural identity, whilst scores are also grouped into chapters, including MUSIC, PAINTING, EVENT, POETRY and OBJECT. When Scott MacDonald re-printed the film scripts in Screen Writings, Ono requested he keep spelling errors and unusual punctuation as accurate reflection of “the informal Fluxus aesthetic of the time”.

Considering such material manifestations leads to philosophical and procedural questions: Does the score need to be enacted? Is the display of the score as an art work itself a performance of the score? If the scores are “instructions” then is the result what is instructed, or something other that emerges from performing those instructions, perhaps unrealised to those who presumed themselves to be instructor or instructed, or some other less defined participant?



Yoko Ono, film still from Fly (1970)



Apt for exploring these questions is Ono’s own beautiful condition of IN-STRUCTURE, first formulated in a program note for a concert in Tokyo in 1964:


Something that emerged from instruction and yet not quite emerged – not quite structured – never quite structured… like an unfinished church with a sky ceiling.





The film scripts as a whole evidence Ono’s grappling with all the material, perceptual, temporal, and event characteristics making up the film making/ watching process. Instructions include: cut out a disliked part of the screen; make a film of an entire life from birth to death; make a travelogue without leaving the apartment; chase a girl on a street with a camera. In BOTTOMS the score reads: “String bottoms together in place of signatures for petition for piece.” In OMNIBUS FILM Ono suggests giving multiple directors the same footage and screening one after another the differently edited films.



Yoko Ono, film strip from Bottoms (1966)



Collected together, the film scores become an essay in the pervasive workings and influence of cinema. As an experiment to this end, Ono proposed to Scott MacDonald burying a film underground for fifty years:


Any film, any cheap film, if you put it underground for fifty years, becomes interesting [laughter]. You just take a shot of people walking, and that’s enough: the weight of history is so incredible.


The films themselves work with this weight in various ways. Consider Bottoms (1966), which demonstrates how Ono’s films are often not about what they are obviously about:


For me the film is less about bottoms than about a certain beat, a beat you didn’t see in films…. comparable to a rock beat. Even in the music world there wasn’t that beat until rock came. It’s the closest thing to the heartbeat.


Ono also emphasised to MacDonald how ”I enjoy the editing part of filmmaking most of all; that’s where the films really get made.” Bottoms post-production work involved an interplay of sound and image comprising interviews with participants, including comments about how boring the film was likely to be, and excerpts from Ono being interviewed by the British press.

Form was always intimately tied to content for Ono. Asked to make a follow up on breasts, she agreed on the condition that it would involve only a single breast.




A film like Fly opens itself to diverse viewings: “One of the interesting things about watching the film Fly is that one’s sense of what the body we’re seeing is about, and what the film is about, is constantly changing.” Or: “In Fly, Ono expresses her own search for personal freedom, as well a concern with the role of woman as passive object…. Fly can be read as a metaphor for the split self.” [3]

For Ono, introducing a screening of her films at the Whitney Museum in 2000, both the fly and the woman were autobiographical. All these readings – even those that admit multiplicity upfront, inevitably miss some of the endless perspective shifting her films consistency of focus prompts, quite how it locates us on the edge of completely different positions.

To think about Fly is to adapt another Yoko Ono score that asks the audience to look at a round object until it becomes square and vice versa. Or, I think watching the film again on youtube, body becoming fly, victim becoming voyeur, vice versa and back again.






Compare Fly with such contemporaneous films as Michael Snow’s Wavelength (1966-7)(which Ono saw and admired) and Warhol’s Henry Geldzhaler (1964). All three films share an interest in sustained focus, but understand the relations and consequences of this duration differently.





Ono’s fascination with the editing stage of film making is one distinction. If for Warhol the persistence of the camera’s gaze causes a crumbling of Geldzhaler’s public self, then for Ono the female body is still, almost deathly so, throughout. Geldzhaler’s restless shiftings on the sofa are transferred to the act of looking itself.

Snow’s film, meanwhile, famously zooms across a New York apartment to where the film frame becomes filled with the waves in a small photograph pinned onto the wall. Ono’s camera gaze literally leaves the room through the window, seeing first the New York roof tops and then – a movement that also defines Apotheosis (1970, attributed to John Lennon) – a move up into the sky.

There also seems to be a different personality of power in Ono’s film. In Snow and Warhol, the incessant camera and/or the length of the film reel very evidently organise the film. In Fly it is more the various flies and the body itself that have this quality of holding the viewer to a particular duration. When Yoko does focus on the dynamics of the camera – in Rape (1969), where a woman encountered on the street is pursued aggressively by a camera crew that force their way into her home – the engagement with the camera gaze is much more violent and direct than in either of her male contemporaries.

Each film maker, of course, produces a contradictory cinema which leaves me wondering if, in another writing, these three films might rotate between these different positions. Each also has their own forms of playfulness. In Ono the camera’s proximity reveals a delight in the flies dextrous, musical movement, evoking the choreographies of Merce Cunningham. There is also Ono’s extended vocal soundtrack for Fly – that seeks to improvise the contact point of voice, fly, camera and Lust’s body.

Consider this, too, in relation to how Ono’s film making was aesthetically and practically rooted in particular domestic, social and professional relationships. Early films, such as No.1 (Match) (1966) were made after George Macunias acquired temporary use of a high speed scientific film camera; and all Ono’s film work can be read as a collaboration with John Lennon (films were attributed to whoever had the original concept, but were worked on collaboratively).

Such a position was articulated in Ono’s short essay On Film No.4 (1967), where she observed:



The film world is becoming terribly aristocratic, too. It’s professionalism all the way down the line. In any other field: painting, music, etc., people are starting to become iconoclastic. But in the film world – that’s where nobody touches it except the director. The director carries the old mystery of the artist… This film proves that anybody can be a director… I’m hoping that after seeing this film people will start to make their own home movies like crazy.





Fly ends with sky. Both as actual movement, idea and metaphor, sky – and a gesture of the camera or eye upwards – is ever present in Yoko’s work. Take the project “Half A WindShow” at London’s Lisson Gallery in 1967:


TV to see the sky: This is a TV just to see the sky. Different channels for different skies, high-up sky, low sky etc. y.o.


Or the more specific SKY EVENT for John Lennon of spring 1968, with ladders for climbing up to view the sky, being careful not to “talk loud or make noise, as you may scare the sky.” Or this, from her letter TO THE WESLEYAN PEOPLE (1966):


I would like to see the sky machine on every corner of the street instead of the coke machine. We need more skies than coke.


To move in the sky, of course, is to fly. Also in TO THE WESLEYAN PEOPLE, Ono writes: “Another Event that was memorable for me was “Fly”, at Naigua Gallery in Tokyo. People were asked to come prepared to fly in their own way. I did not attend.”





Other works include billboards at five locations in Richmond, Virginia (1996), each bearing the word FLY, both score itself and enactment of the earlier:




Summer 1963


When this is presented in monographs, the assumption seems to be that this is the act of aerial suspension, not the insect, but it is the pun of these two identical words that provides one tool for reading the films own doubleness, how explicit actions and instructions are ghosted, articulated and not, by the implicit.

Consider, too, other one or two word declarations in Ono’s work, how they function ambiguously, with their intertwining of simplicity and impossibility:






I saw Ono at Tate Britain during the 2004 Art and The 60s: This was Tomorrow exhibition. The discordant music and entrapped body that I remember from her short performance seemed to vanish when it came to the Q&A. Are there any new Beatles CD’s planned? someone asked.

I got impatient, put up my hand and asked about the legacy of the work in the exhibition for artists working today. “What is important” said Ono, looking out into an audience reflected back at themselves via her trademark shades, “is what you do now.”

The evening concluded with a large vase that Ono smashed with a sledgehammer. Let’s meet in 10 years and put the vase back together again, she said. There then followed a ruck to get a piece of the vase, during which Ono – neglecting to collect email addresses from the frenzy – was ushered away by security.



Yoko Ono, film still from Fly (1970)



Likewise, Ono’s film scores are not, despite her requests and protestations, straightforwardly saying: Make this film. They are, more broadly, instigating a situation in which certain relations of gender, power, death and violence, are evidenced. The insights might not be experienced by the person enacting them, or only later, mediated through film, and/or distance, maybe of continents and decades, or not.






Back to flies. Ono’s most sustained engagement with the insect- Fly was not Fly at all, but Museum of Modern (F)art, which begun as an advert in the Village Voice in December 1971, purportedly for an exhibition at MOMA.

Attempting to visit the exhibition meant possibly encountering a man with a sandwich board outside. The board said that flies had been put in a glass container that had the same volume as Ono’s body, and which was then placed in the middle of MOMA’s sculpture garden. The flies were released, and a photographer dispatched to document their travels around the city.

The flies, it was claimed, were identifiable by the odour of the artists favourite perfume, which had been placed in the container. Handbills invited passers by to join the search, and the catalogue for the “show” identified locations where the flies had been, with arrows indicating the precise location.

Perhaps it is more appropriate to think of Ono’s films, too, as constructions of a particular kind of landscape that need not necessarily distinguish between score and idea; instruction, intention and inhabitation. A sky cinema is one name for such a landscape. But is the sky projected, or the screen for a projection, or the film itself? In this later case, what is the camera?

I watch the film again. It is there, for example, in the moment two flies turn their attention to one another, on a flat desert landscape between two rocky tors that might once have been (Lust’s) shoulder blades. A fly on a nipple. Or a fly into a vagina, recalling Nam June Paik’s score for Dick Higgins’ Danger Musicwhich instructs: Creep into the Vagina of a Living Whale. Moments when the landscape of vision is without its normal censorings, although the same freedom proposes us voyeurs and necrophiliacs.

For the reader/ listener/ viewer of Ono’s works, too, this sense of landscape encourages a reading that cross-pollinates between aspects, media and times of her score-based practice. So the tactility of the painting instruction scores can expand our sense of the kinds of relation prompted by the film scripts, and vice versa; whilst the techniques of the Bottoms soundtrack leads to an expanded reading of the vocal improvisations of Fly: Ono’s guttural vocals variously a special kind of news report, interview, sports commentary and écriture féminine.






Ono’s contemporary response to the 1968 score Fly was her 2003 decision to re-imagine the work as an installation. Six video monitors and DVD players in a darkened room installed at eye level on plinths, showing the same film.

The frame has always been central to Ono’s film project – a special measuring instrument was constructed to ensure correct placement of the buttocks in Bottoms – and the video monitor offers another level to this originally 16mm work, transferring a work originally screened at the Elgin Theatre, New York in 1970 into a more (domestically associated) constriction.

More broadly, I think about Ono’s work reading Dorothea Von Hantelmann’s 2010 treatise How to Do Things with Art. This focusses on Daniel Buren, James Coleman, Tino Seghal, and Jeff Koons to argue change occurs through “dependency on conventions” rather than any fictive critical position outside them. [4]





Sometimes the arguments in Hantelmann’s book suggest a development of score-based practice beyond Ono’s concerns – particularly Seghal’s purely oral practice of script and score, on the level of both the score and its realization, documentation, contractual and archival arrangements with gallery and collector.

More often, however, what emerges from the practices Hantelmann chronicles is the high level of control such work involves, its risk of imprisoning work, ideas, audiences and artists within constricted notions of material, audience, location, economy, effect and now.

Counter to this, Fly, and Ono’s score practice more broadly, emerges once again, to be valued for its messy, domestic, conceptual, gendered, contradictory, turbulent, instructive and helpfully misleading engagements with enactment and possibility.






Go and find all the skies throughout a scored based art practice.






[1]Introduction to “SIX FILM SCRIPTS BY YOKO ONO Tokyo, June 1964” reprinted in Scott MacDonlad, ed. Screen Writings: Scripts and Texts by Independent Filmmakers (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995).

[2]Scott MacDonald, “Interview with Yoko Ono,” in Yoko Ono: Ideas on Film,” Film Quarterly, vol.43, no.1 (Fall 1989).

[3]Scott MacDonald, “Interview with Yoko Ono,” ibid., and Chrissie Iles, “Erotic Conceptualism: The Films of Yoko Ono” in Alexandra Munroe with Jon Hendricks eds. YES: YOKO ONO (New York, Harry N.Abrams, 2001).

[4]Dorothea Von Hantelmann, How to Do Things with Art (Zurich, JRP Ringier, 2010).


Yoko Ono’s TO THE LIGHT is at the Serpentine Gallery, London, from 19 June-9 September 2012. More info here.





In Uncategorized on June 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm



on the back telegraph pole slow

underneath the pylon truth

green tallow fly taking back tree

fell off field now & cycle pump

separating ice combined lapse

rib my metal roof last week behind ear

currency years at combined IQ of marble

if this were the final emergency exit window

it was undercranked fire extinguish home

slipped through as snow train coming


a grey lake break blue x carriage

I want you for my wake graffiti

persons cannot touch gas tower burns distance

pack it up pack it in so signal same again

one continuous fuck boils in milk then

“HOLD” MAKE “HOLD” hanging garment sky

always must’ve been within outdoor of us

reservoir writ large unended pattern time

depth to the neck terminating at Doncaster

double A double B double C & as water circles


I turned a sheep the Celsius tips return

one delta zero nine floating nipple sun

why don’t you just concrete it mixes

and it will be if breathing ‘fuck’

black bale snow pail now approaching Newark

bring me my jacket gum under the table

you got rubble trouble the shellsuit rips

the allotment changes hands pushchair farm/tyres

disposable/ disponible down with the sisters

a sheep turned like receiving a body



you just have to be telegraph enzyme patrol

brassic canal side cooked swan on water

monstrosity oeuf lumpy protest batter

feels hard today windfarm heart glue

a round house on glass wing decisions

with all windows a net cast dyes the world

and bricks in a V pylon song to the sea

and a dead lion tree volting foam axes

disbanded moss electric water face

come track come site & units to let


night is sighing 5 past your face

we want you to enjoy generator room blues

superbly stoned abandoned works are steal

your back street brisket is powered by dead skin

cupping the rose miles are equal to loss

there is a way to then wind yr own road

standing to the wind our morning ritual

this hay is fake I cannot tell from birds

some brown is wicked so often across fields

others just nib my hand on the fence


just like everything else into the sound place

held dapper gallery through chemical phone

your eyes are the eggs matches into my stricken

the untold version so open the magpies chest

land internal so a horse meat breath

lichen this to burnt circle landing

we are going home no wood becomes forest

12 deers & lighthouse liquid nose for glass

cannot deroof England then exit the window

imperial finish the bridge where they grow




hold on window perfect salmon face

the bush is spared a rose window does it

mass joke archive how erased villains warn

curtailed torso thrust a baptist shoe

your words hundred now a pillow wink inky

you can help by balance with kite

big hand old placid white spruce madras

I curtain blossom it itch gallic tincture

so that wood entrails because I can’t look

cornerstone led in love though lipsed with salt


constance is a hierarchy doused spider hour

under your slipping bag notching the paper cast

summertime awkwardly it is not Mars

with the peacocks all maybe thirsty for tit

you suggest like scarab or in tunnel cut

seven three seven two were not we breathing

sickly is tungsten is way outs arrow undressed

the hard flinched public for it divides en route

push apart to open pen ultimate in pencil

the first to be pressed to lock saw town


sorry about the table silicone distortion organ

you have your self puddled for what end ear or sink

moon closer than mocha to shortly arrive in Headcorn

so if a skull softens after all gears labelled

a handle is a handle even Frascati madam

perforated in blightly link without crown

I’d like to burn carpets are blister trains

bucket sand at your peril lumpy fact to work

red worms and reed worms that gone wither

capsize if it fits it to break then jump



More work by Lucy Harvest Clarke here and Stephen Emmerson here.



In Uncategorized on May 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Márton Koppány, Hungarian Masterpiece Summer 2011


I don’t see ANY (qualitative) difference between words, asemicity, silence, leaves, and their falling. As I told you before, when I feel easy they are all the same (invitation).

– Márton Koppány





On 14/11/11 as part of an email correspondence discussing a potential collaboration and/or publication to accompany his visit to London in March 2012, Márton Koppány sends David Berridge a jpeg entitled Evergreen.

“I’m not a photoshop user” writes Márton. “What I’m using is a basic image editor from the nineties, it knows relatively few tricks, which is in harmony with my needs.”


DAVID: I have been thinking about how nature functions in the visual images you create, also tracing the leaf as it occurs in histories of avant-garde poetry. The leaf as  the basis of a conversation between Charles Reznikoff and Lorine Niedecker,  for example, and how, going back to Goethe, the leaf proposes a morphological space connecting poetry and natural history….

MÁRTON:  It’s good to find coincidences. Leaves are an inspiring topic. Here I send you two more leaf-related pieces of mine, one of them (Cursive for Bob Grumman) was made a few weeks ago, the other one (Fall Leaves) is several years old and related to a project initiated by Dan Waber to write variations on a bpNichol theme.


Márton Koppány, Fall Leaves



I like a lot those “objectivists” whose work is more or less available for a non native speaker with a limited (broken and reduced) English like me. (Zukofsky so far has seemed to be too difficult.) Beside the works I like the characters as well. I read several essays on Oppen by Mike Heller, and found touching Oppen’s life and personality. I don’t know Reznikoff’s and Niedecker’s conversation, but love their poetry.

DAVID: The Reznikoff- Niedecker piece was not an actual conversation, but a going through each of their collected works copying  out and juxtaposing leaf references. So, for example:


LN: I’ve been away from poetry
many months

and now I must rake leaves
with nothing blowing

between your house
and mine

CR: The branches about the street-lamp
are so thick with leaves, it shines
only on a flag of pavement;
leaf behind leaf the night rings.



MÁRTON: It is cold here in more than one sense of the word. Hungarian democracy has been successfully undermined and now the game is apparently over. We’re rather helpless but still hope for the best – or at least for something better.

I’ve been lately too concerned about the situation, and haven’t produced new pieces for a while. BUT the prospect of my trip to London is something that helps me keep going in these days.  My main worry is an autocratic, proto-fascist state – but let’s hope for the best. And let’s talk poetry.


VerySmallKitchen invites Márton to  compile a 16 page A5 pamphlet, to be printed in an edition of 20 copies, on the occasion of his visit to London in March 2012. The booklet will be printed on an RZ 370 Risograph, whose available inks are green and black.


MÁRTON: Your plan helped me to put together (the first draft of) a small book, spanning thirty years in ten pages (plus notes, our potential exchange, your potential poem/essay etc.).

My idea was to write (quote from myself) a bunch of works that I consider a string of annotations, self-comments. Sometimes the commentary-piece is much older than the one commented  – but that doesn’t make any difference from the reader’s perspective, I guess. It was very helpful that leaf also means page both in English and Hungarian. The whole small thing is about leaving, falling, staying, keeping going.  (At the very same time.)



Because it is a string of annotations, it starts with a piece which is an annotation in itself: a reflection on a bpNichol theme. I tried to take into consideration the potentialities of the riso print as well when selecting the works. Ellipsis No. 15 is pale blue – but, if my understanding is correct, it will be pale grey in the print, which is perfect for my purposes. The other pieces are black and white or green and white.



Márton Koppány, Ellipsis No.15



The working title of the book is Evergreen. I’ve numbered the pages (see the file names) in the order I imagined them in the book:

Fall Leaves
I’m leaving 1-2
Colon (Eroica)
Ellipsis No. 15
I’ll Regret It





DAVID: Central to our proposition for the book and dialogue seems to be the leaf/page connection, how explicit or implied that is….

MÁRTON: The leaf/page connection is similar in Hungarian. The leaf/leaving connection doesn’t exist in Hungarian on the level of the words, it only exists on the level of the ideas.


Márton Koppány, Hungarian Vispo No.1


DAVID: I was thinking of Thomas A Clark’s chapbook After Marvell which is a series of ‘blank’ pages of different shades of green… and about identification – identifying plant varieties, but also what aspects of the poems become identified/noticed by the reader –

MÁRTON: Evergreen is a ginko. How to (not) remember a question mark and its fruit, the full stop?


Márton Koppány, Evergreen


DAVID: I’ve been making notes towards a taxonomy of where and how the connection of leaves and poetry becomes apparent. Lots of pairs: leaf/ page is one, but also seeing the analogy on different scales – leaf/ word, leaf/letter-

MÁRTON: We don’t need a rigid system. The scale is different in each case/correspondence.

DAVID: Another set of connections unfold from Goethe’s metamorphosis of the leaf, about how forms – leaf forms, letter forms – emerge and change-

MÁRTON: Leaf growing into a question mark (Evergreen) and leaves growing (multiplying)into an ellipsis (Cursive); punctuation mark botany: leaves in motion. The wind.

Did you notice that in Cursive the “direction” of the leaves is reversed in one instance? I mean the first and the second leaf are connected in a way which is not possible in nature.

Cursive is also the surmounting (or appeasing) of that impossibility. My friend, the dedicatee of the poem, didn’t notice it at first. (But he noticed other things that I hadn’t been conscious of.)


Márton Koppány, Cursive – for Bob Grumman



DAVID: In the William Carlos Williams poem An Alphabet of the Trees the leaves aren’t letters they are hiding letters –

MÁRTON Blank hides “blank” in Ellipsis No 15. Abstract botanics. In Still we only have the faint reflection of some branches in the water. It also looks like a writing (or deletion), I guess.



Márton Koppány, Still



DAVID: The leaf now and as a thing to come-

MÁRTON: The leaf is its own past and future. Endless recycling of a torn leaf (page) in I’ll Regret It. Every F is individual (Fall Leaves). There’s only one of “them”.

Colon (Eroica) is a human creature trying to keep open (the opportunity of) a meaning. If he/she collapses, the upper dot falls down and the colon (printed in Arial) disintegrates.



Márton Koppány, Colon (Eroica)


DAVID: Noticing and not noticing, the poet learning to identify plants and/or the poet engaging with natural history as a form of poetics. Language and writing as forms of compost. In The Magpie’s Bagpipe Jonathan Williams says of Charles Olson:


Olson knew there was something called “rhododendron” and something called “grass,” and he had trouble even telling those two things apart. One was bigger than the other, but that was about it. He had no eye for nature.





Throughout December 2011 and January 2012, whilst this correspondence is being conducted, Márton distributes the Hungarian Vispo series as jpegs emailed to his mailing list.


DAVID:  Do you know the work of Cia Rinne? There are two distinct aspects to her practice – one a visual/ conceptual poetry side, the other a documentary practice in collaboration with the photographer Joakim Eskildsen. In a project for VerySmallKitchen Cia writes:


I think that working with visual poetry and conceptual pieces is often like an escape, a sphere where you can neglect rules, concentrate on such – seen in a wider perspective – ridiculous things as language, meaning, and sound, so maybe they are not explicit. I feel that if I want to say something important I should rather do it in a text; although there are many pieces reflecting my other practice, working with the Roma for instance, I would not want conceptual writing to become a mere means for an agenda. It can feel like mere luxury to be working with such pieces when you have knowledge of what is happening in the world however, so I guess a balance is good and necessary both ways.


By focusing on leaf  I assume a certain resonance, that there is something here that is applicable more widely (and politically). I also agree with Rinne that if something needs saying then it is best to say it directly. Which makes poetry and writing a zone of play and escape (where we might understand what the practice of those words involves).


Márton Koppány, Hungarian Vispo No.2


Given what is happening in Hungary at the moment, this discussion and the poems you sent out, could say something about how you were thinking through all these issues and how/if/ should they be present in our dialogue and book…

MÁRTON:  Lately I’ve gotten interested in topics that have direct political consequences – mostly because it is reaching out for me, almost in a physical sense. But history (my family’s history and through it: anybody’s history) has always been in my head and always influenced my work.

I believe in directness and I don’t believe in it. It brings to my mind Dick Higgins famous bon mot: we can talk about a thing but can’t talk a thing. (Or something similar – I quote it from memory.) And as one of our common favorite writers Kafka says (this is not from memory):


The point of view of art and that of life are different even in the artist himself. Art flies around truth, but with the definite intention of not getting burnt. Its capacity lies in finding in the dark void a place where the beam of light can be intensely caught, without this having been perceptible before.


“Directness” brings to my mind social realism as well and the good advice in my teens about how to write. On the other hand visual poets are also famous for “going beyond”. Beyond language, beyond the usual forms of reflexivity…

I’m a born sceptic and have always had some reservations. And although I’m suspicious about language (that is why I tried to get rid of lexical poetry in the late seventies) (beside the practical advantage of getting rid of my mother tongue and reaching out) (the two things went together), when some of my friends (whose work I love and admire! that’s a different matter!) optimistically state that asemic is more direct, and closer to….


Márton Koppány, Hungarian Vispo No.3


I politely disagree. I don’t see ANY (qualitative) difference between words, asemicity, silence, leaves, and their falling. As I told you before, when I feel easy they are all the same (invitation). But I believe in directness too because we always try our best to “tell the thing” and “show it”. That’s always the case! Getting (or remaining) “closer” – that’s a different thing, which implies indirectness.

It would be great to say/do the “how” when we say/do the “what”. That would be the utmost concreteness in the right sense of the word. “Concrete” poetry frequently brings to my mind Pascal: “Few men speak humbly of humility, chastely of chastity, few doubtingly of scepticism.” And the Brechtian “alienation effect” is a struggle with/ solution to the same dilemma. And in my youth I had to learn to read between the lines in the press. (As I see those times are coming back now.)

In Hungarian Vispo (I’ve sent you two so far and there’s a third one which I’ve put aside and will show a little bit later) I react to my situation. Hungarian democracy is collapsing and a new (proto) fascist state is in the making. I was depressed for months, left facebook partly because I couldn’t catch up partly because I felt I couldn’t share my new experiences.


Márton Koppány, Appassionato


We don’t understand it first. It is different from our expectations. It can’t happen today etc. Plus everybody has his/her problem. Life is not easy either in Hungary, the UK or anywhere else. Anyway, I went to the demonstrations and felt less isolated for a moment. (See: directness.) But after a while the whole mess started inspiring me. (So I must be grateful.) I felt more energetic and conceived several projects. (Your invitation certainly had a positive effect too.)

The majority of my fellow citizens are still inert, even applauding, they tolerate or like the new regime – beautiful. Let’s talk “their” language (which is mine!) the language of naivety. Naivety is the new style: we don’t see, don’t hear. We accept their (changing, self-contradictory) arguments. We approve. Of course my poems are meant to be critical, but the direct form of criticism is self-criticism. Naivety is the peak of dialectical thinking.

I wonder how we could relate these matters to our book. Do you have any idea? This hypocrite version of naivety (the contagious illness in my country) is the very opposite of being close to the “thing”, the very opposite of being direct. We could get from one point (the leaf) to the farthest opposite (naivety) (which is very different from alienation as well), and back again. Writes Kafka:


Hiding places there are innumerable, escape is only one, but possibilities of escape, again, are as many as hiding places.


And as you probably noticed Hungarian Vispo No. 1 paraphrases Gomringer’s famous Silencio.


Márton Koppány, Hungarian Vispo No.4 (Curiosity)


DAVID:  Yesterday I came across a letter from John Ruskin where he talks about being given a book as a gift and finding a leaf has been placed between two pages. I like to think of that gesture as another bringing together of leaf and book – the book “pressing” the leaf, the book also giving the leaf the feel of a secret. Secrets, though, that possess a directness (there’s a leaf in the book!)

MÁRTON: The idea of inserting the Hungarian Vispo in a small black, white and green book sounds very good to me! It would be just the opposite of the situation that John Ruskin comments on in his letter. I mean: we would insert pages (dealing with political surrealities and abstractions) between leaves (or at least between pages dealing with leaves, with singularities, and with the unique process of leaving).

Yes, perhaps we could emphasize the difference between attention (even if it is only peripheral because it cannot be anything more) (even if it is a failure) and the bad faith of naivety (in the above sense). Attention to the (one) leaf, to the process of leaving etc. on one hand. Turning away from our situation and from the “elements”, on the other hand.


One can disintegrate the world by means of very strong light. For weak eyes the world becomes solid, for still weaker eyes it seems to develop fists, for eyes weaker still it becomes shamefaced and smashes anyone who dares to gaze upon it.


DAVID: I’m reading Lee Rourke’s book on fables, moving from Aesop to Kafka, Walser, Borges and on to contemporary flash fiction. I realise some sense of “Fable” has been one frame for how I have tried to think about writing and poetry, the cluster of meanings and images in your poems…

MÁRTON: Yes, fables is an interesting cluster. I loved them in my youth – and I’ve already realized that my Hungarian Vispo was a reaching back to them – although it wasn’t conscious. And it also might be a more general pattern that I used earlier as well.





MÁRTON: Nothing is urgent about the book, but today I had a “vision” about it, which is perhaps more elaborated than the previous ones. The basic idea came from your last message, your reference to the Ruskin letter, and what I wrote in my response, that we could/should change the situation into its opposite, inserting “pages” between “leaves”.


Márton Koppány, I’ll Regret It


That would be an interesting situation, and in harmony with my recent interest. And our correspondence can be quite well grouped around it! The last impulse came yesterday from my recent piece, Hungarian Passport (From Exile To Emigration), and from realizing how close its structure is to Cursive – for Bob Grumman. And we could count on the different connotations of Exile and how they are related to “falling” and “leaving”.


Márton Koppány, Hungarian Passport (From Exile to Emigration)


Here I send you the nine jpegs that I’d like to include. We could add the notes, I mean the edited version of our correspondence. I imagine a simple color publication – xerox would be fine with me. The A5 size would be fine, BUT landscape format instead of portrait.


Fall Leaves
Hungarian Masterpiece Summer 2011
Hungarian Vispo No.1
Hungarian Vispo No.2
Hungarian Vispo No.3
Curiosity (Hungarian Vispo No.4)
Hungarian Passport (From Exile to Emigration)
Cursive – for Bob Grumann


MÁRTON: My basic idea about the Ruskin paraphrase is that by wrapping pages in “leaves” (instead of finding leaves between the pages of a book), I would emphasize that all those “political” messages are informed by my basic (but also unfathomable) experience about the “fall of leaves”, which is a natural process, although humans can spoil it, and add to it unnecessary (extra) suffering.



MÁRTON:  Maybe Cursive should be left out completely. Cursive has its own irony (the changing “direction” of the leaves, which makes cursive, paradoxically, cursive), but most people would miss that effect (especially if the size of the motif is reduced), and would associate it with a different irony, related to the leaves themselves (framing a book of politically motivated poems), which would be against my wish!

DAVID: I’ve been going through our correspondence putting together a draft of the book.  It seems from our emails that we have a three part structure to what we have been doing:  (1) the original Evergreen draft manuscript; (2)  the debates around poetry unfolding from your Hungarian Vispo series, which also found gestural focus in Ruskin’s act of locating a leaf in the pages of his book; (3) the formulation of a second Evergreen.

Working through this material has led me to conceive of a publication composed solely of our dialogue, without images. There are practical reasons for this, about the ability to reproduce your colour images and how, perhaps, their best mode of distribution is the internet.

Our print publication emerges for me as a response to your question: ”I wonder how we could relate these matters to our book. Do you have any idea?” It tests and models and makes space for the after effects of (your) poems, the space they create when they themselves are not present in their original form, but have become talk, rumour, argument, story, fable…

Such a decision also picks up on the refusal that recurs in the text – your writer’s block in response to  events in Hungary, also the “refusal to write” in response to political situations as we might understand it in the career of George Oppen. It felt right to give space to this condition, not as an absolute, but something variable and ever present within a writing practice.


Márton Koppány, Csend (Silence) – for Geof Huth


I looked up Norma Cole’s To Be At Music: Essays & Talks, remembering something she wrote about George Oppen’s years of refusing to write. Instead, I found this:


That’s not memory it’s a picture as though it is still a possible action shaking like the idea of a leaf.





A print edition of this exchange was produced by VerySmallKitchen at X Marks the Bökship as part of Evergreen, March 30th, 2012. Thanks to Eleanor Brown for her assistance, hospitality and printer. See also texts of work from the night by SJ Fowler, seekers of lice, Claire Potter and nick-e melville. A set of “visual translations” by David Kelly is here.

Images in this post were previously published in Otoliths, Eratio, experiment-o, and On Barcelona, as well as in the following collections:


To Be Or To Be; the Runaway Spoon Press, 1997
Endgames, Otoliths, 2008
Modulations, Otoliths, 2010
A Motion (e-book), cPress, 2011


See a previous VerySmallKitchen exchange with Márton Koppány here.




In Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm


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.

Texts from EVERGREEN are available elsewhere on VerySmallKitchen. See work by SJ Fowler, seekers of lice, Claire Potter and nick-e melville. A dialogue with Márton Koppány is coming soon.






In Uncategorized on May 9, 2012 at 10:49 am



VerySmallKitchen is part of eShelf, a new project curated by Rahel Zoller and X Marks the Bökship which describes itself as follows:



eShelf is a collection of artists’ online publishing activities and a series of events introducing digital publishing projects, initiatives and resources.

At eShelf, online publishing activities will be collected and compiled into an A – Z online index. There will also be a series of live events hosted at X Marks the Bökship, where publishers can introduce their projects to other publishers and individuals working across similar platforms.

The aims are to:

Introduce a selection of online independent publishing activities

Show examples of creative and experimental uses of online publishing

Bring together publishers working across similar digital platforms

Offer advice and resources available to artists and independent publishers



The project’s first live component has been two nights at the Bökship, one on May 2nd for the publications A-N, and the rest of the alphabet  on 9th May 2012.



Tine Melzer, Language Games, project for VerySmallKitchen, 2011

Tine Melzer, Language Games, project for VerySmallKitchen, 2011



For this event eShelf circulated the following set of questions, that also serve as a useful primer for interrogating a broad range of online projects:


What is the name of your online publication / activity? Can you give a brief description of it? How long has it been going for? How long are you planning to continue for? Why did you decide to go online? Did your project previously exist in another format or is it intended to in another format in the future? How often do you publish? Is it easier or harder than having a print based publication? Do you use eShops to help with your distribution? Do people want to pay for what you are doing? Who is your audience? Are you more aware of them being online? Is there an audience for print on demand publications? How do you promote yourself? Were you influenced by a similar publishing activity and who else is working in a similar way to you? What software / hardware do you use? Do you work with designers / programmers / tech kids to develop the project? What are the costs involved? What things need to be developed to make what you are doing easier? Do you look at other online publications? Can you suggest other projects for the eShelf?





In thinking through VerySmallKitchen in the context of eShelf I present four separate takes:


(1) a scrolling talk-back through recent posts; (2) a non-mesostic nonetheless; (3) a bibliography; (4) VerySmallKitchen as (fictional) character and container.






…  the most straightforward way to get a sense of VerySmallKitchen – one consistent with its blog format – is to scroll back through its archives. So we start with this post from Ohad Ben Shimon, the last of a six month residency on the blog which has involved a series of writings, dialogues, images, and video works. Then we have this review of The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard. This new publication from the Library of America is the first time Brainard’s work has been easily available, and I wanted to insert this book into the kinds of contemporary practice on VerySmallKitchen. As well as a review making some of those connections explicit, I also re-printed Brainard’s  Wednesday, July 7th 1971 (A Greyhound Bus Trip)…

…Then we get a series of posts which present texts written and first performed for the VerySmallKitchen Evergreen night here at X Marks the Bökship: Leaves, a chapbook by SJ Fowler, as well as texts by Claire Potter and seekers of lice, followed by some new writing by Cia Rinne, a Berlin based writer and artist. I originally contacted Cia after reading her interview with Steven Fowler in 3AM magazine, interested in her separate practices as a minimalist, visual, conceptual poet and as a campaigning documentary maker working with Roma gypsies. So these pieces, whilst belonging to the first practice, were selected after that editorial dialogue, thinking how those two practices connect as well as differ…



Márton Koppány, Hungarian Vispo, 2012



…After this we have some projects by Ariel Goldberg, a writer and performance artist in San Francisco, and EDITORIAL, a PDF chapbook by nick-e melville. This was another part of the Evergreen night, and also began as an installation for I AM NOT A POET, an event co-curated by VerySmallKitchen and Mirja Koponen in Edinburgh in August 2011. This is followed by a week long correspondence between Ariel Goldberg and Ohad Ben Shimon, which was published as another one of Ohad’s residency posts. So I think what emerges here is this sense of unfolding dialogues, connections, seeing where projects and discussions go, in different locations, media and over time…



Ariel Goldberg, Part of the epistolary novel, and performance “The Photographer,” March, 2012

Photo: Ohad Ben Shimon




… If we scroll down further we have a preview of an article by Roger Luckhurst from the new issue of Corridor8, which is now published in print. One of the key historical inspirations for VerySmallKitchen has been the editorial work of Richard Kostelanetz in anthologies such as Essaying Essays and Scenarios. So when the UK art periodicals Corridor8 and both published special issues showcasing current artists in relation to RK’s work, I wanted to distribute and promote that on VerySmallKitchen, as well as organise a discussion that took place on March 10 2012 at The Wild Pansy Press Portable Reading Room at the Leeds City Art Gallery, which this post was also an announcement for…

… then going back into March 2011 we have more of Ohad’s residency, which inparticular explored the diary form, self-images and representation of the artist’s lifestyle,
often writing as a further part of other exhibitions and residencies themselves concerned with a live recording of thought and response…



Neil Chapman, from Memo Seven, project for VerySmallKitchen, 2011



… moving on, here, is a gathering of materials around the typewriter in art practice . One of the forms of research the blog has encouraged has been these gatherings of sources, notes, and quotations. Alongside this project was a post on Marianne Holm Hansen’s FOR THE RECORD, a series of images and a dialogue that came out of a conversation in a coffee shop…



Marianne Holm Hansen, typings from FOR THE RECORD



Finally, for this sampling, we have a set of materials around  A PIGEON, A KITCHEN AND AN ANNEXE: SITES OF ALTERNATIVE PUBLISHING, a show VerySmallKitchen took part in at Five Years gallery curated by Ladies of the Press, which explored past, current and future VerySmallKitchen projects within the present of the exhibition.



Paolo Javier and Alex Tarampi, from OBB (forthcoming,VerySmallKitchen, 2012)



This project by Lisa Jeschke and Lucy Beynon was part of the exhibition and is very conscious of its movement between installation, performance and web forms… and here, finally finally for now, is a dialogue with Marit Muenzberg on publishing, which we conducted alongside our jointly published  hard copy book Uh Duh by Sarah Jacobs….

For an overview of projects in 2011 see here. See publications here.






V:Finding it long and incomprehensible I delete an About statement on the VerySmallKitchen blog and replace it with “connections of reading, writing, language and art practice, inside and outside the VerySmallKitchen.”

E:This foregrounds senses of container and character, being both specific and open-ended, proposing a space whilst not fully aware of either its contents or its architecture.

R:The blog emerges through invitation and its consequences: (1) To people I have worked with, sometimes related to a previous event, and/or sustaining a dialogue begun elsewhere; (2) the invitation itself is the introduction.

Y:Or someone sends me work, and I am the respondent to an invitation. All this mediated through the limitations and possibilities of a wordpress template.

S:There’s something about art and writing, its display and publication, that I seem to find obfuscating. My notes for what I want VerySmallKitchen to do are full of phrases like “presents the work itself.”



Sandra Huber, Sleep/ Writing/ Rooms, VSK Project, 2011



M:The right relationship – delete “balance” – of work, ideas, process, context, scene, project, theory, conversation, space, again and again, away from noun in the direction of noun, then away…

A:Who doesn’t want to read work in this way. Who doesn’t want to show work in this way. Presenting avant-garde writing as web norm, like porn or trolls. An old friend gets back in touch and asks in an email:


Are you VerySmallKitchen? No idea what you’re talking about but it looks great.


L:VerySmallKitchen operates on my reading habits. It successfully cultivates a practice of reading widely and closely in specific fields, whilst removing the need to consume others cultural agendas as primary. Or: I read less mainstream art magazines lately.

L:VerySmallKitchen becomes a way of cultivating affinity, articulating specific models of practice that underly and connect related projects, such as AND Publishing, X Marks the Bökship, Intercapillary Space, and the  Maintenant reading series and interview project…

K:In the VerySmallKitchen I understand why Ian Hamilton Finlay called his garden Little Sparta, barricaded himself in, and declared war on the Scottish arts council…

I:Which (K) is an attempt to articulate how personal and emotional are our individual definitions and activities of “publishing.”

T:That, really, I am saying “football” and you are saying “oxyrynchus.” Although there are other times when I am saying “oxyrynchus” and you are saying “football.”

C:I’ve been excited to read a study of expanded paperbacks that, in The Medium is the Massage and I Seem To Be A Verb,  found a dynamic, text-image, film inspired form for the ideas of Marshall McLuhan and Buckminster Fuller. I think a VerySmallKitchen should work in this way…

H:VerySmallKichen is also non-virtual exhibitions, readings, and discussions but the blog is where its mix of work and idea, of individual writer in relation to contemporary and historical contexts (including the blogs own resources and structures), can be most effectively attained.

E:For each short lived magazine or blog, there are others – such as Coracle – that become life long projects. To commit to a project is to move away from other models of doing things, towards a clearer sense of yourself as model and critique.

N:The VerySmallKitchen begins when a space of practice is sensed. This can be understood as a landscape or an architecture, but the only guide to that larger structure is individual writings and art works that demonstrate and propose.






An Endless Supply, Curwen Sans type specimen (An Endless Supply, 2012).

Paul Buck, a public intimacy (a life through scrapbooks) (Book Works, 2011)

Bulletins of The Serving Library #2 (Dexter Sinister, Fall 2011).

Jeffrey T.Schnapp and Adam Michaels, The Electric Information Age Book: McLuhan/ Agel/ Fiore and the Experimental Paperback (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012).





Kenneth Goldsmith, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age (Columbia University Press, 2011).

Christian Hawkey, Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010). See also the wider editorial project of the DOSSIER series in which this title appears.

Pierre Joris ed and trans. Exile Is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader  (Black Widow Press, 2012).





A number of writings, by myself and others, offer further perspective on VerySmallKitchen as (fictional) character and container, how this might unfold editorial method and the workings of invitation:



(1)SOME OF THE HARDEST PLACES TO MAKE BOTH EFFICIENT AND BEAUTIFUL, a project for the Swedish webzine Valeveil, which includes:


…talk about a traffic flow nightmare!
The fridge is big
and the stove is in the wrong place so you have …

…talk about a traffic flow nightmare!


Most of these kitchens
are not really small. … Ahh….. in my area,
these are

really small kitchens!


my kitchen is very small, but that doesn’t mean …

very little kitchen best small kitchen very small
ants kitchen
                very small kitchen ideas


(B)A text by Ladies of the Press on the figural (jam-) notion of a Very Small Kitchen:


Necessity for selection, cannot have 100s of jars of jam if you have one shelf and one table, one chair one spoon, plate, cup and so on.  This is what you might end up with if you use Haiku as inspiration for interior design. Economy of means. And intimacy. How many of us can actually fit into a very small kitchen at any one time? It says something about the type of relations that contingently have to happen in a very small kitchen. And activities. Like cooking, eating, and talking.






So far the eShelf alphabet is:







Ghost Knigi

How to Sleep Faster

if:book uk

Je Suis une Bande de Jeunes


Lozen up

The Metapress

New Models for Publishing


Preston is my Paris

Publication Studio


A new project is added each day.




Tamarin Norwood, These Are Not Poems, installed at I AM NOT A POET, 2011



NOTE: This post was written as an announcement for the night at X Marks the Bökship on 9th May 2012. It is also VerySmallKitchen’s preparation and script/score for the presentation itself, where, as with other eShelf projects, a talk is accompanied by the websites projection on the wall of the Bökship…




Now visit the eShelf.






In Uncategorized on April 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm



“One finds again and again the presence of another world, like a solid ocean bottom from which the restless waves of the ordinary world have drawn back; and in the image of this world there is neither measure nor precision, neither purpose nor cause: good and evil simply fall away, without any pretense of superiority, and in place of all these relations enters a secret rising and ebbing of our being with that of things and other people.”

Robert Musil, Toward A New Aesthetic, 1925



“This is the territory of the writer, the realm in which his reason reigns. While his counterpart seeks the solid and fixed, and is content when he can establish for his computations as many equations as he finds unknown, there is in the writer’s territory, from the start, no end of unknowns, of equations and of possible solutions. The task is to discover ever new solutions, connections, constellations, variables, to set up prototypes of an order of events, appealing models of how one can be human, to invent the inner person.”

Robert Musil, Sketch of What The Writer Knows, 1918








It’s another monochrome day in the Hague.

The white lilies near my window have yet to decide if to blossom or to wither.

The glass table I’m writing on is peacefully chaotic and cold.

The French radio is playing some songs in Portugese.

This is planned to be my last diary entry/post as part of what turned out to be a half year residency at Very Small Kitchen.

What have I done? What have I written about? Where was I all this time?

I’m assuming it had to do something with writing and something with art.

But what is this something? This I do not have an answer for.

What do I know now that I didn’t know before?

Well, I have a better sense of the power of the word, the desire that writing fuels upon, its singular force, its passion and its limitations.

But one should not turn to nostalgia when one concludes. The dictionary definition of conclusion states that a conclusion is when a statement or question comes to an answer or when an idea or thought is settled. The etymological origin is taken from the latin conclusio which also means blokade and/or siege. Siege also means a seat: The place where one has his seat; a home, residence, domain, empire.



Ohad Ben Shimon untitled 2012



So con-clusion might also be thought of as a space where one has a seat – a chair.

I am sitting on a chair now. I always sit on a chair when I write. I almost never tried writing while standing up or running. It might be a nice exercise but something tells me that the chair has served me as an appropriate vehicle to transport without actually moving anywhere.

Something in putting your ass on a flat surface gives rise to focus and concentration. Waking up, brushing your teeth, drinking coffee, sitting down, etc. It belongs to the world of order. And it is no coincidence that siege also refers to the anus or rectum. Order. Domination. Control.

So to conclude this residency I would like to take the opportunity to thank my chair, that has served me throughout the last half year. It can now serve as both the tool (object) and the subject of this last post – the conclusion – the seat – the chair, and by both being the subject and object of this post emancipate me and lift the dualistic burden or blockade off my shoulders or ass and let me do whatever I feel like doing at this moment which is to shake that ass.



“As is
you’re bearing

a common

Commonly known
as desire

No need
to dress

it up
as beauty

No need
to distort

what’s not

to be

Pick your

eyes ears

sex and

to show
the populace

Take your

your accuracy

Listen to

talk to

and others
will also


of the burden-
their own

and grief.

What began
as desire

will end



Allen Ginsberg, Written in My Dream by W.C Williams, 1984







The following is edited from emails between Ohad Ben Shimon and VerySmallKitchen 24-27th April 2012.


OHAD: I’m thinking we should omit the first quote, what do you say? It’s quite essential to Musil’s thinking but I’m not sure it works good with the general flow. I thought it might be nice to post it with a link which is a video work of mine from 2009. Not sure yet I want to use it. Let me know what you think. I also like the idea of a video link of Beyonce and 50 Cent doing shake that ass/naughty girl. Not sure about that.

VERYSMALLKITCHEN: There’s something good about the Musil pair – how it emphasizes that returning to, repeating, in new arrangements/ formations of words, the attempt to define the “another world” and/or the “territory of the writer.”

Reading your text I’m thinking about what Blanchot says about the writer as the figure removed from the world of action into the world of literature which then, at the works completion, excludes the writer who ends up in “essential solitude.” About this, too, from the new The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard:



        You know, it’s really funny this kind of writing. This “trying to be honest” kind of writing. For several years now I’ve been doing it, and getting better and better at it. Getting closer and closer to a point (a place) in my head I call the truth.
        But now I’m beginning to doubt that very point (That very place).
        I mean, what I’ve been working towards just isn’t there anymore (Zap.)
        Do you know what I mean?
        I mean, the closer I get to the truth the less I know what the truth is.
        Wish I could make myself more clear but ——– right now I can’t.” (313)



Perhaps your video dramatises what Brainard asks: as a work and a practice as a whole unfolds: what do you get closer to? And what are you thinking about the Beyonce and 50 Cent? I like its provocation, erupting into this select gathering of Musil, Ginsberg and Williams but-

OHAD: Lets skip Beyonce. It was just a dancing feeling I was in at that time. Maybe you get closer to an image. an image of your self but also an image as such.

a clear image. a crystallization of a sort. see through the clouds, the hard times, the chaos, the struggle, the life of an artist. you find out that it’s a lot about a certain image of an artist but beyond or underlining this image or myth of the artist there is something pure, something child-like something magnificent that should be cherished and I don’t care anymore about what the fuck society or my parents or whoever else thinks an artist is. an artist, and art is the essence of life. anybody can tell me differently but fuck that.





there is always this self doubt… especially in jewish traditions…do not make a not make an image, etc. the 10 commandments. fuck that.

you command yourself daily to sit at that fucking chair and do the job. i do not know many people who do that with such belief besides the pope and that is where art meets religion. but it just meets. it goes on to a new and yet unknown territories. and this is the quest. this is the journey. if you are a writer or painter or sculpture or whatever this is your quest. going there. to that place. figuring out. finding out what its about. focus is essential. and in a way solitude might be a consequence but you don’t choose for solitude. you chose for something bigger than yourself. you chose for life. and for the good in life.

i see the points alongside this quest in mathematical terms as i explained in my previous exhibition at 1646 in the hague. they are derivatives. you derive certain things along this time line that is called life or the process of art you are busy with and those derivatives are meaningful. somehow its like you are packing your bag along your quest and not from the get go. and these derivatives can and will serve you and others along the way.

the way is forward. art is essential and people are good and bad and both. so as i said just shake that ass.






This is the final post of Ohad Ben Shimon’s VerySmallKitchen residency. See also post one, two, three, four, five, and a correspondence with Ariel Goldberg.

More about Ohad’s work is here.