verysmallkitchen

Posts Tagged ‘Open Dialogues’

NEW EXHIBITION AND PUBLICATION: A_IMPOSSIBLE READER and SPILL: ON AGENCY

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2010 at 9:19 am

Some work I produced as part of the SPILL: OVERSPILL writing project in 2009, has taken new form as part of  A_ Impossible Reader, a project by Open Dialogues  and Marit Muenzberg, exhibited in After Live, at the Norwich Arts Centre (4 Sep-30 Oct). As Open Dialogues describe the project:

A_ Impossible Reader is incomplete, unbound, personal and portable. It is (not) a record, (not) a document, (not) a marker of absence, (not) a work of art.

A_ Impossible Reader is a specially designed and made series of publications containing texts from SPILL: Overspill, an Open Dialogues project exploring the event of criticism in relation to performance and the SPILL Festival 2009.

Each reader is displayed in the gallery at intervals throughout After Live and contains a randomly curated variety of texts from SPILL: Overspill. If a text exceeds one page, it remains incomplete. A_ Impossible Reader is a partial document of Overspill, or a partial document of SPILL, or a work of art in its own right.

A_Impossible Reader also comes with its own assembly instructions for the curators of the exhibition: 

To be printed and assembled inhouse by Norwich Arts Centre, print 3xA4 sheets, cut according to cutting lines, fold once parallel to the long side, slot into each other as on sample provided, cut A4 printed sheet with cover in half, wrap one cover/bellyband around folded assembled booklet aligned with the open edge of booklet, seal with sticker.

So far, I’ve only seen the various incarnations of A_Impossible Reader as online PDF’s. It’s a startling transformation of the generally straight reviews on the SPILL: OVERSPILL blog, opening them out both into a new found materiality of their textual existence, and into a new autonomy of presence separate – and/ or differently related – to the performances from which they originated. 

A_IMPOSSIBLE READER is also a subtle and agonistic answer to some of the complexities of the SPILL:OVERSPILL project and the problems and possibilities of writing in (contractual) proximity within a performance festival. Curiously, if A_IMPOSSIBLE READER opens into the full possibility of a writing practice in proximity to performance, it also does so through illegibility and anonymity.

To this extent, A_Impossible Reader is usefully viewed alongside SPILL: ON AGENCY, the Pacitti companies publication about the festival, edited by Robert Pacitti and Sheila Ghelani. Here, alongside a spread for each of the performers, there is a gathering of essays by SPILL_OVERSPILL writers. Many of these are engaged with the same questions: what is the residue of a performance (and a performance festival)?  

Should a writer in such a context be engaged with the specifics of a particular artists work, or be using it as material for their own investigations?  How, even (feeling dissatisfied with this last sentence) to articulate the possibilities/ actualities of this relationship?

You can purchase a copy of SPILL: ON AGENCY for £15 +P&P here.  My own essay BACK ATTHE SOUTH POLE AGAIN: CRITICAL FRAMEWORKS OUT OF PERFORMANCE  begins as a postcard and, looking back at it now, it’s a curious document, turning to fiction and an almost cartoon imaginary to try and answer the disappearance of performance and the desire for it  to have unfolded/ remained as memory unfolding into methodology:

I’m thinking about all the shows I saw in SPILL, six months after, on a small biplane about to land on the South Pole. I’m trying to articulate the residue of each performance, what stays in the mind, what emerges through  thinking, writing, and ___________. I’m wondering if these residues, in whatever form they take, can be some sort of framework, through which I can think about the performance itself, my writing about it, performance and writing more broadly, about all that is proposed and enacted here. 

Sound, talk, slogan, inscription, metaphor, critique, script, poetry, assemblage, history, polemic. It’s snowing. Through my goggles and the window of the biplane I can see physical evidence of melting ice caps, polar bears stranded on the remnants of huge ice bergs. I wonder if I’m overly preoccupied with the utility of these performances, or if the simplicity of my Antarctica could cause the plane to crash.

Both and more. An essay like this is a good opportunity to at least pretend towards such a utility and see what happens. A soft bump and we’ve landed. I hope my clothing is warm enough. I assumed a good knowledge of contemporary performance art would in itself be enough for an Antarctic winter.


A CAUTIONARY PREFACE: … It plays with its fiction and its reality both, with a script not adverse to examining its own premises even when it seems to function as a child to adult telling-it-how-it-is. On the night I saw the show, I felt as if the audience responded more to this second function, with parents audibly chuckling at some revelation of adult behaviour because “I also said (or did) that.” Such audience responses confirmed the script as truth-telling, ignoring or absorbing its self-critical aspects.

Leaving the plane I’m greeted by the Camp Entertainments Manager. She immediately warns me against whimsy and over-intellectualism, both fatal in such a landscape. I say I have three methodologies I want to use to explore the Antarctic, each one of which is devised from a performance I saw during the SPILL festival. These are:

 

(1)Puppet Writing

(2)Incorporating Refusal

(3)Song Notes

 

The rest of the essay unfolds these three methodologies.

SPILL OVERSPILL writers were David Berridge,Rachel Lois ClaphamMary Kate ConnollyAlex EisenbergEleanor Hadley KershawMary Paterson and Theron Schmidt. 

Advertisements

NEW VSK CHAPBOOK IS PUBLISHED: WORK IN PROGRESS by MARY PATERSON

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Mary Paterson’s WORK IN PROGRESS is the third chapbook to emerge from the ART WRITING FIELD STATION. It is available for online consumption and PDF download here.

As Mary explains in her introduction:

This text is written by Mary Paterson, with memories by Simon  Zimmerman.  The text is a work in progress for Mary Paterson’s writing residency at the Live Art Development Agency.  It was read aloud by Simon Zimmerman at Art Writing Field Station, curated by VerySmallKitchen, at East Street Arts, Leeds on Saturday 27th April 2010.  During the speech, Simon was invited to insert his own memories into the text, and  they appear hear as verbatim transcriptions of the words he spoke on that day.

A description of the Art Writing Field Station in Leeds can be seen here. Mary’s own notes on the project can be seen here. Another text by Mary, comprising “a field analysis of Art Writing Field Station according to Instruction, Memory, Performance, Quotation and Time” – and written within the time constraint of the train journey from Leeds back to London – can be seen here.

Mary’s text reveals what can be at stake in the notion of WORK IN PROGRESS: the texts, books, writings such WORK-PROGRESS is constituted by, and the libraries, book cases, and archives that they become part of; the relation of material objects to memory; written and oral; private thought and event; transformations wrought when one process, person, media makes space for and invites another into its own WORK-unfolding.  Other PROGRESS-ions, too, for the reader to decide. 

RECALL: At the ART WRITING FIELD STATION in Leeds, Simon reads Mary’s text aloud. He stops at moments where the text asks him to choose his own memory. He pauses, decides what to tell and speaks on. The result is a shift to a different kind of language, presence and concentration in both reader and listener. He returns to reading the text before him, but it seems somehow different, trajectories scrambled and multiplied…

Now another set of transformations occur as both Mary’s script and Simon’s memories take the form of an online chapbook. For this reader, the text is more continuous, more a whole WORK-between Mary’s voice and Simon’s, combined in a shared written script, separated only by font shift…. 

But, as the title tells us, it’s only one moment in an ongoing PROGRESS, and the continuity of words on the page offers uniform foil to the transformations of each reader and each act of reading, the potential up-rising of our own memory interjections…

Mary Paterson’s MEMORY EXCHANGE was recently part of VerySmallKitchen’s FIVE SCORES FOR WANDLE PARK. Read the score for that project here and for more about Mary’s work see here.

EVENT THIS FRIDAY: A CURRICULUM OUT OF A CONVERSATION: PEDAGOGY, PERFORMANCE AND FEMINISM AT THE ICA

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2010 at 9:43 pm

 

Martha Rosler, Losing: A Conversation With The Parents, 1977, 18:39 min, color, sound

 

On Friday 21st May 12-2.15pm I will be part of Live Weekends: Futures and Pasts at the ICA, curated by Tim Etchells with Ant Hampton and Lois Keidan. I will be taking part in a discussion  on pedagogy, performance and feminism, curated by Mary Paterson in the “Some of the Pasts” strand of the event, which the ICA website describes as follows:    

Over three days the gallery is transformed as the site of an ongoing investigation on the power of performance, as a succession of invited artists, curators and writers linked to the field frame investigations on the exuberant and influential past of the form. Audiences can arrive anytime, stay, leave and return at any point. Conversations, interviews, slideshows, mini-performances, video-screenings and all kinds of playful hybrid interventions unfold in the gallery as different perspectives on the archive are explored. Personal recollections sit next to attempts at authoritative time lines, inexplicable images and sounds sit next to narratives and interactions of different kinds. 

Mary’s shift will begin with a screening of the Performance Saga interview with Martha Rosler, before opening into a discussion with Sonia Dermience, Martin Hargreaves,  Rachel Lois Clapham, and Theron Schmidt around themes and questions arising from the film. As Mary writes in brief for the session:  

How is performance different to its documentation? How can you communicate about past performances? What is it about performance, that you might want to communicate? How do artists and artworks become present to audiences in the future? What roles can an artist/ art practice play in creating knowledge about the past? What kind of framework do you need in order to understand the past?  

What role does writing have in taking control of the debate? What are the different relationships between performance, documentation, and different kinds of public?

My own contribution to the event is currently entitled A CURRICULUM OUT OF A CONVERSATION. I will be writing throughout the film and discussions, working towards a piece of writing that explores a boundary between documentation and curriculum. 

The eventual text aims to give a sense of what was seen and said, but by presenting the material orientated to the future rather than – maybe as well as – the past or present. It will be a programme of study/ attitude/ stance (words subject to change). 

This gives the session a written legacy, but maybe not what anyone intended. The writing may turn out to be at odds with or in contestation with the original event and its participants. It could include space for later re-workings or be defiant in its singularity (or some combination). I will navigate this boundary of the event for its own sake, and the event as material for something else. 

Martha Rosler, Losing: A Conversation With The Parents, 1977, 18:39 min, color, sound

 

Several sources have been formative in thinking through this project. The first is the notion – in the writings, of, say, Charles R. Garoian – that performance and live art (and experimental writing practices) involve methods and attitudes equivalent to radical pedagogies  of, for example, Paulo Freire and Ivan Illich. Is this true?  It’s certainly an assumption I’ve felt underpinning much of the work documented on this site.  I would like this piece of writing to test this proposition.

The second starting point is an art-writing practice of talking, and I have been thinking through the work of John Cage and David Antin, as well as (since I saw the film yesterday)  American: The Bill Hicks Story

These – in very different ways – structured, planned, and improvised practices of talking, are of course different from how I imagine the discussions on Friday will unfold. But they unfold questions about the prompt for speech, what kind of thought it enables, and how that speech is represented (if it is) on the page. I am looking to explore these further through A CURRICULUM FOR A CONVERSATION.

A THOUGHT: Conversation – and conversation worked into writing – appears suitable for a radical pedagogy/ curriculum, because it unfolds around and about  a subject, rather than pretending to define something. It does not package information that is exchanged like money for goods, but offers a model accomodating of what David Graeber has written of Bourdieu and Vygotsky:

Bourdieu has long drawn attention to the fact that – always a matter of frustration to anthropologists – a truly artful social actor is almost guaranteed not to be able to offer a clear explanation of the principles underlying her own artistry. 

According to the Godelian/Piagetian perspective, it is easy to see why this should be. The logical level on which one is operating is always at least one level higher than that which one can explain or understand – what the Russian psychologist Vygotsky referred to as the ‘proximal level of development.’

 

SOURCE TEXTS

Charles R. Garoian, Performing Pedagogy: Toward an Art of Politics (State University of New York Press, 1999).

Joan Retallack and Juliana Spahr, eds. Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary (Palgrave Macmillian, 2006).

ART WRITING FIELD NOTES (2): RACHEL LOIS CLAPHAM

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2010 at 11:37 am

This is the second in  a series of notes surrounding the ART WRITING FIELD STATION in Leeds on Mar 27 2010. As I wrote in an introduction for the previous posting by Mary Paterson – which can be read here –  I am fascinated by the form of the “note” that emerges in these writings: 

The notes are not what precedes the event, nor are they what comes during or afterwards, be that a written document, a sound recording, an oral tale or private memory. Rather, the notes are writings that, taking place at a fixed moment in the process they are part of, evidence all others. 

More about Rachel Lois’ work can be seen here.

Her VSK Project THE FINGER can be seen here

An instructional score for the NOTES for the ART WRITING FIELD STATION is here.

NOTES ON NOTES (FOR ART WRITING FIELD STATION) 

Here are some typed, online notes that mark my thinking for NOTES at ART WRITING FEILD STATION LEEDS, or NOTES ON NOTES.

Initially, in preparing for NOTES, I started reading David Berridge’s via Clayton Eshleman’s gloss on ‘Plan for Curriculum of the Soul’ a double page text work by Charles Olson, printed in 1968 (1). This lead me somewhat indirectly – by way of another commission I was writing at the same time (2) to Olson’s longer, more oratorical, ‘Projective Verse’ from 1950. (3).

Over the course of the previous weeks I have also been talking about other (related) work with a small group of collaborators David Berridge, Emma Cocker, Mary Paterson and Alex Eisenberg (4). Many of whom will be presenting at ART WRITING FIELD STATION and in proximity to NOTES on the day I perform it.

In the process of coming to NOTES – sporadic (often cursory) reading, collating various bits of online quotes, scraps of articles and materials – I have made copious notes in my usual system (5). Meanwhile, it has become difficult to delineate which things stem from these starting points; which ideas I encountered in the original texts, and which on various commissions, trips, artworks and conversations with friends. So by way of setting out an ecology for NOTES in the context of ART WRITING FIELD STATION, or delineating a certain ‘field’ for this particular work, I have concerned myself here with what is in these notes on NOTES (5b).

I have devised a very loose index.

* Things more clearly related to the idea of FIELD – geographic (and soil based), conceptual and/or systemic (technologic))

** Things that may be me citing something in a text by Olson, or perhaps picked up in conversation with Berridge, Cocker, Eisenberg or Paterson. (6)

*** Things that are my idea but can be tangentially related to the conversations or texts stated above.(7)
////

Grid Lexicon

I really liked geography classes at school. Visits to rundown inner city council estates in Warrington to look at bad examples of social housing (ill advised field trips), never once looking at a map of the world (or of any country) and using wooden set squares to collect data – for example, the number of daisy’s, types of grasses, certain insects – in a meter sq of field. It was usually a scraggy school field or fell bit of land that may or may not have magic mushrooms growing in it. We would later return and analyse these field findings back in the classroom. This is the only thing I remember from High School. That and arm wrestling boys (and often winning) which does not have anything to do with the idea of a field, grid or NOTES. Until now. * I remember thinking the method of the set sq seemed a brilliantly simple and cool (impartial) way to find, gather and sort things out. As a constraint the grid made sense, it imposed order. I remember thinking at the time that this all seemed very neutral and fair. Whatever grew or fell by chance into the set square as it was lay down was given attention, pored over.

 

In a way that says it all, or at least enough….

But I also want to transpose some other fragments/scribblings as they appear in my notes on NOTES:

Grid form as a field of composition * / **, as something worked by infamous mid Twentieth Century American minimalists, which leads me to Micheal Fried and his equally infamous essay on theatricality and ‘literal art’ (7b) – art which radically (and for Fried pejoratively) effected a drama(tization) of its object-hood and so implicated the viewer bodily in its completion. The notes go from the body, on to site specificity, through theatricality and neatly into performance. (This journey from grid to critical writing to performance does not look so neat in my handwritten notes.)

Mathematics *. X and Y axis *. Grid as productive constraint, grid as writing technology *, working with a different syntax *.

Grid as an unnatural way of working (my notebooks speak for the fact I don’t work like this), a constraint for the notes to push through.

The syllable rules and holds together lines **
Breaking writing down into component parts.
A serial(ization) of writing. *

Expanding the constraints of the page * where all marks, left hand/right hand, beginning and endings, are distributed with equal weight. They can only be pointed to or reinforced as different by the addition of more(equal) marks on the page; such as under linings, CAPS, exclamation marks. (Thinking of Olsons ‘Plan for Curriculum of the Soul’)

Form is never more than an extension of content * / **
(A wonderfully rich, aphoristic note/NOTE) (8)

/////

Field *

A writer in the open * / ***

Writing as +1 to the field * – as +1 to writing *, +1 to the event *

FIELD COMPOSITION/COMPOSITION OF FIELD in which movement from one perception to another….. **Writing that sticks close to its generative moment of perception/cognition. **

Page * as generative space, not receptacle for finished ideas.

Materials that are handled in a series of objects in a field in such a way that a sense of tensions are made to hold, and to hold exactly inside the content and context of the poem which has formed itself, through the poet, and then into being **/ *

///

Then there are some bits that relate more explicitly to the body in relation to FIELD, which features quite highly Olson’s thinking on the ROOM * / ** / *** of writing in both Plan for Curriculum of the Soul and Projective Verse. Also a strong fascination for me, if the notes in my folders can be judged qualitatively/quantifiably:

Percussive writing **

A physical composition **

Writing openly, presently, simultaneously

Moving index(ically)

A writing that maps lines walked * / **

One of the pressures of writing is bodily.

The FINGER and hands and pointing – diagramming physically

The breath of the author punctuating NOTES ** / ***

Breath is the speech force of language, writing is an object that the body has an impact upon. **

Amidst this I think about notes in the pejorative (8b) :

How writing notes always makes you look away from an event, the event- toward your notes/notebook (unless you write notes without looking at your page?)

Notes as unfaithful, unserious, un thought-ful.

Notes as a crutch to performance, to memory, to a practice.

Notes as unfinished, unimportant, unprepared, uncritical, un-publishable, work in progress, as private.

Notes as a learning device for a novice or anorak (Train Spotter) as opposed to notes of a scientist (an expert) – still unpublishable in a scientific / expert context?

Notes made from a performance that make a work mobile and divorce it from its site.

NOTES as pick-up sticks ** / *** ‘grabs’ from a practice – shallow grabs from something else, something deeper, something more sustained. NOTES as tips of icebergs (rather than the icebergs themselves?). (9)

Aspects of NOTES that I am currently experimenting with.

Scale- How important is it for the individual diagrams/gestures to be seen as such (by others should they wish in the moment of writing/performing?). What is the difference in scale between 3 x 3 yellow lined post its, 5 x 7 white fiches and 12 x 12 large pieces of white card? Could the elements be big things- like tablets or objects?

One element is fixed never moves – it is returned to (and marked over continually like a lexicon of the grid activity, a margin, a note of the NOTES). This could be groundwork *

Timings- I am drawn to regular moments over the course of NOTES by an external device. These moments are prompts. The prompts may or may not be marked as such in NOTES.

The hand of the author, pointing and the FINGER how it can diagram physically within the composition.

In what different ways one element that is continually returned to as blank.

How hesitancy or doubt might show itself in NOTES

How NOTES are unfathomable, and no-one can read them whole. They are fictional, unfaithful (to themselves and to the event). How they might be moved away from the event?

How the space outside the grid is important (Nb. 7b)

Underlining as pointing (Nb. FINGER)

Sound of NOTES being made (Nb. Percussive writing **)

How certain gestures will pre-scribe or anticipate the event/the conversation – and others will come during, or after. Others will not be related to the event. How to NOTE these differences.

///

Notes on NOTES (on NOTES)

(1) Taken from here.  

(2) (W)reading Performance Writing. A Live art Development Agency study guide. Downloadable at www.thisisliveart from April 2010. A brief introduction here.

(3) Available in full online  here.     

(4) ROOT with Mary Paterson and Re- with Emma Cocker as part of the RITE publication launch 2010 (RITE contributors are David Berridge, Alex Eisenberg, Mary Paterson, Emma Cocker, amongst others, but not Charles Olson), Writers House on the invitation of David Berridge and Pippa Koszerek (Hard copy notes only about this project at present. Dates May 29-31st ), Question Time with David Berridge, Alex Eisenberg, Mary Paterson as Open Dialogues. Nb. Pippa Koszerek is another collaborator of mine, our having worked on FREE PRESS together (with David Berridge, Karen Di Franco, Matthew MacKisack, Sophie Mellor and Ashkan Sepahvand).

(5) A modular system it could itself be a rumination on notes (although not necessarily the work NOTES I speak of here). It is a system regularly subject to change by the author, and under constant scrutiny as to regulate cost versus my needs in terms of flexibility, provisional dimensions, page capacity, efficiency of storage and ultimate archival (endpoint) quality. A5 black plain page moleskin notebooks are the most expensive experimented with so far at 13GBP for one hardback notebook. Lovely though these are they seem to be the notebook of choice amongst many of my peers. It can get confusing at meetings and seminars. An extra identical moleskin for the table, Sir? ** Cost also prohibitive for someone with potential compulsive note writing disorder. Also not flexible enough (removing pages seems wrong). Standard A4 paper in plastic wallets with homemade ‘titles’ is very flexible- notes changing sets (and so projects) on a regular basis – and is the cheapest by far (circa 1GBP per wallet note-set) but this is not very aesthetically satisfactory. Too redolent of pillaged communal stationary cupboards and WORK (not the good kind). Absolutely no precious archival qualities. The large white plain (I might go back to gridded soon)Fiches index cards I am currently using – 3.99GBP for 100 – seem to combine the optimum blend at present. Cheap, totally singular, as in modular, and pleasant to have/hold. Plenty apt for little diagrams. I wrote in them from a recent talk entitled ‘What is conversation for’ – an evening of conversation with the art writer Yve Lomax (in conversation with herself). Looking back on my Ficheborne note-cards, have a nice speculative (light) circular feel that would not have felt appropriate in any of the other note technologies discussed here.

(5b) I’ve done this in an altogether non Harvard style, in fact in a way much more akin to an exercise in which I randomly look out of my window with a pair of cheap binoculours and try really hard to ‘accurately’ chart the stars *.

(6) Do we use last names in notes?

(7) This charting* itself of course being endemic to noting, or having a certain note like quality to it, in terms of indexing, condensing or documenting. It’s a self conscious exercise transposing these much more scrappy notes into this clean blogpost. The reasons for it are multi-fold. For the before of NOTES = a making sense in advance, an anticipatory staking out the territory*, a speculative mapping* of the area for this work to come. For the after of NOTES = for the fact that you put work out there and it rarely ever comes back ** Notes then, by way of something to come back to. Being something like the splash-back (however unfaithful, unreadable or unlikely it might be) from the act of just throwing something out there *** or pissing in the wind ** that can be the experience of making work. (Although having nothing left is better than something sometimes, especially something like inane notes.). Coming back to the BEFORE for a minute, it feels like there is something at stake in making public the BEFORE (BEFORE NOTES) given the constellation* of ideas/texts here, also because this BEFORE is the crux of my note-taking, where I think my notes might matter most. (It makes me wonder in what way the notes I make are not usually public or published?) I also just made a note on my current Fiche(the one that I always have on the go entitled GENERAL – ie not project/commission specific- that this is the most speculative text I have written for this blog in some time.

(7b) Michael Fried, Art and Objecthood, Artforum 5(10) (1967): 12-23

(8) By now I have reconciled the salient difference between notes and NOTES. There is a difference. But it is constantly on the move.

(8b) I find there’s a lot in the pejorative.

(9) A question of quantity/quality. Is this weight issue, this mobility – if this is what the issue is, which is not to simplify it at all, if it is even an issue in the proper sense – endemic to all words/writing?

ART WRITING FIELD NOTES (1): MARY PATERSON

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 at 9:30 am

This is the first  in a series of “notes”  related to the ART WRITING FIELD STATION in Leeds on March 27th 2010. The notes are not what precedes the event, nor are they what comes during or afterwards, be that a written document, a sound recording, an oral tale or private memory.

Rather, the notes are writings that, taking place at a fixed moment in the process they are part of, evidence all others. This first set of notes, by Mary Paterson , is published under a title, below, that willfully demonstrates this transgressive chronology of notes.

More information about Mary’s work can be seen here

NOTES TOWARDS A NAVIGATION THROUGH UNBOUND: FROM U FOR UNBOUND TO A FOR AUTHORITY

In 2009 I began a residency at the Live Art Development Agency.

 

res•i•den•cy [rez-i-duh n-see] –noun,plural-cies.

1. residence (def. 3).

2. the position or tenure of a medical resident.

3. (formerly) the official residence of a representative of the British governor general at a native Indian court.

4. (formerly) an administrative division of the Dutch East Indies.

[[“residency.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 31 Mar. 2010. .]

I have been looking at Unbound, which is the Agency’s online publication and distribution arm. Unbound is an online shop for books, documentation and the paraphernalia surrounding live art. It is also a commissioning platform for new works, and as such it stocks art historical text books like (for example) Body Art by Amelia Jones, as well as limited edition, commissioned artworks made to mark the Live Art Development Agency’s 10th birthday, which are exclusive to Unbound.

res•i•den•cy [‘re-z&-d&n-sE] –noun, plural -cies

1. an often official place of residence

2. the condition of being a resident of a particular place

[“residency.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 31 Mar. 2010. .]

At the Art Writing Field Station event in Leeds last week, I presented some notes towards the text I’m writing for the residency. I described Unbound as my field of study. “Imagine that we are looking.” I wrote, “Imagine that this is what we find – a series of resources labelled Unbound; a metaphorical sheaf of published and commissioned paraphernalia connected to the suggestion of live art. Imagine that this website Unbound is the field of study.”

But a field of study is normally a finite entity, and Unbound is not finite in two important ways. Firstly, it is effectual: unlike an archive, it does not simply claim to record a set of influences, but also to define those influences and shape the discipline. Secondly, it points to resources, but does not map their contents. You have to click on the elegant photographs, enter your credit card details, and wait for a parcel before you can access the knowledge described on Unbound.

res•i•den•cy [rez-əd-ən-sē] –n, pl -cies

: a period of advanced medical training and education that normally follows graduation from medical school and licensing to practice medicine and that consists of supervised practice of a specialty in a hospital and in its outpatient department and instruction from specialists on the hospital staff

[“residency.” Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 31 Mar. 2010. .]

But it is this oblique relationship to knowledge that interests me about Unbound.

residency: The position or term of a medical resident; The position of a musical artist who commonly performs at a particular venue; The condition of being a resident of a particular place; The home or residence of a person, especially in the colonies

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/residency accessed 31st March 2010

Unbound does not represent knowledge, but it does give information about it. And information is, of course, another kind of intellectual resource; arguably, one that is more relevant to contemporary living than the weighty facts of knowledge.

I remember sitting round the kitchen table when I was 11 or 12, helping my brother learn the capital cities of the world so that he could pass an exam. He was sliding round the kitchen in his socks and he learnt the capital cities by rote, to the rhythm of his body making laps of the table.

No-one needs this kind of knowledge anymore. It’s all available on the internet, and so accessing the internet is more important than being able to remember words or phrases. This amounts to a change in status that I think of as a change of location. The names of the capital cities of the world are no longer resident in the bodies of schoolchildren. Instead, they live in a shared, virtual system that everyone can access, but which no-one needs to possess. It is a change in status from knowledge to information.

residency: The location that a student is deemed to live for the purpose of funding.

www.learnnowbc.ca/course_finder/glossary.aspx accessed 31st March 2010

What does it mean to have access to “a shared, virtual system”? Is it the same thing as “virtual memory”? Or “cultural knowledge”? Or “common sense”?

residency: Please refer to the Residency Classification Guidelines.

www.umich.edu/~regoff/tuition/explanation.html accessed 31st March 2010

In Leeds, I asked Simon Zimmerman to read out the text I had written, which was about memory and meaning. I asked him to insert some of his memories into my text. He talked about childhood games with his sister, and about travelling on buses with his aunt. When he spoke his memories he lifted his head from the script, and the left corner of his mouth rose in a shy smile. Everyone in the room was captivated.

residency: they tax anyone who lives there, regardless of citizenship;

www.answers.com/topic/multiple-citizenship accessed 31st March 2010

It reminded me of the time when something traumatic happened to a friend of mine. The event was so traumatic, that to describe it was to hold an audience’s attention. After I had described the event to people, they would retell the story elsewhere. Soon, people who did not know my friend would tell the story of the traumatic event. Sometimes I would find myself in a crowd of people where I was known as the person who had a friend who had been affected by this traumatic event. One or two people admitted that they were jealous of me for being so close to such a shocking incident. Nevertheless, they restyled my feelings into their own language. The event had become “common knowledge”, or “cultural memory”, or perhaps “virtual sense.”

Main Entry: domicile/ Part of Speech: noun/ Definition: human habitat/ Synonyms: abode, accommodation, apartment, castle, co-op, commorancy, condo, condominium, crash pad, dump, dwelling, habitation, home, house, joint, legal residence, mansion, pad, rack, residence, residency, roof over head, roost, settlement

http://thesaurus.com/browse/residency, accessed 31st March 2010

After Simon had finished speaking at Art Writing Field Station, we had a short discussion. Emma Cocker (who made a presentation later that morning in relation to rhizomatic diagrams on graph paper that refer, obliquely, to the knowledge and information of her studio and her practice) said that she had been thinking about ‘residency.’ She said (rhetorically): ‘What does it mean to take residency inside someone else’s text?’ Simon said that he was interested in parasitic writing – writing that lives off another source.

Main Entry: dwelling/ Part of Speech: noun/ Definition: home/ Synonyms: abode, castle, commorancy, den, digs, domicile, dump, establishment, habitat, habitation, haunt, hole in the wall, house, lodging, pad, quarters, residence, residency

http://thesaurus.com/browse/residency, accessed 31st March 2010

Aren’t we all parasites? Quotations, definitions, references, libraries, archives, styles, fashions, networks, nods, winks … the building blocks of culture are other people’s ideas. Or, as it says on the gates of the British Library, ‘An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them’ (Stephen Fry). Or to put it another way, we’re all ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ (Isaac Newton). Or, to put it another way, the moment when you know you are an adult, when you know that you are symbolically present and able to participate in your culture, is when you realise that everyone else is making it up as well (Mary Paterson). Authority is the relative value that we ascribe to cultural artefacts, which turns them into shared experience, implicit or otherwise.

par•a•site [par-uh-sahyt]–noun

1. an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

2. a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.

3. (in ancient Greece) a person who received free meals in return for amusing or impudent conversation, flattering remarks, etc.

Perhaps the difference between being a parasite and being a resident is ‘any useful or proper return.’ While a residency is defined by its location, a parasite is defined by its (lack of) production. My work in relation to Unbound is parasitical. It uses the resources to gain nutriment, without offering any of its own. But it is also about location – the location of knowledge, the location of information, and the location of meaning.

The Parasite is the name of several fictional characters that appears in Superman comic book stories published by DC Comics. …

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasite_(comics) accessed 31st March 2010

RITE LAUNCH: WHY TWITTER IS GERTRUDE STEIN IN 2010

In Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I will be in Leeds on Friday 26th March for the Yorkshire launch of RITE. The book is the outcome of the nine month long Critical Communities project organised by Open Dialogues and New Work Network.  Two groups of writers – in London and Leeds – met to explore the practice of critical writing on and as new work.  

Click here to buy RITE. 

Following on from a series of micro-presentations where each member had two minutes to showcase their work and interests,  the London group members commissioned small pieces of writing from one another.  The following piece of writing was commissioned by Mary Paterson, after I causally remarked in a Bloomsbury hotel bar that “Twitter is Gertrude Stein for year 2009.”

I have updated this bold statement – and my attempt to substantiate it – for its re-publishing here, although I haven’t twittered since I wrote it, so maybe the trans-historical zeitgeist it describes is 2009 specific.


Gertrude Stein uses Twitter. She doesn’t call it that. 

Gertrude Stein lost the continuous present. Then she found it again. She called it twitter.

Alice B Toklas thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. She sends the occasional e-mail, but nothing more.

Gertrude Stein twitters all day and night. 

Gertrude Stein twitters in the park the park.

Twitter twitters twitters twitters twitters.

Gertrude Stein says a text is a text but twitter.

She is aware that it is easy to parody what one is parodying.

That it is not necessarily funny to be funny when one is being funny or not being.

Gertrude Stein knows the limits of twitter.

And all those who twitter in 2010 are being Gertrude Stein.

They are not being Alice B Toklas of that Alice B Toklas is very clear.

And so is Gertrude Stein. Gertrude Stein is very clear.

And to say “I am eating my lunch” is to be Alice B Toklas.

But to say “I am eating my lunch and it is a brown cow” that is Gertrude Stein.

And it is Twitter if it is 140 characters or less.

Which it is. And 2009 is. And Gertrude is but not Alice. 

Gertrude Stein is so into twitter that she has terminated her MySpace profile. 

Gertrude Stein still uses Google Chat but only practically.

It is twitter that offers Gertrude Stein the chance to connect to her earliest work such as Tender Buttons.

The space of the rectangle and the character limit define a space the mind can move through writing

The space defines and the space is to be filled and in so doing it is defined

Which is like a city or a global economy and Gertrude Stein knows it.

Gertrude Stein knows it is also the war.

She knows it is it when it is and Twitter is isn’t it.

Gertrude Stein has many followers on Twitter although not Ernest Hemingway who is dead.

Gertrude Stein follows nobody.

Some suspect that Gertrude Stein might not be Gertrude Stein.

Some suspect that Gertrude Stein is Penelope Cruz.

Gertrude Stein knows that she is Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude Stein knows that she has always been Gertrude Stein and that the accumulated mass of her tweets proves it.

Gertrude Stein says you can always tell a true Mondrian from a copy and hence she is Gertrude Stein.

Gertrude Stein knows that Twitter proves she was right all along.

Alice B Toklas thinks most of Gertrude Steins followers look like idiots.

Gertrude Stein agrees but only looked very quickly.

Gertrude Stein is twittering now and has twittered and is.

Gertrude Stein and the twitter rectangle right now.

Twitter twitter twitter twitter twitter twitter.

Gertrude Stein would like to tell Picasso about twitter but he has most fortunately.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas at home in 1923, pre-Twitter.

 

RITE will be launched at PSL Gallery Leeds on the evening of March 26 2010 6.30-8pm. The event will include propositions on the subject of art writing and live readings by RITE contributors. Contact lottie@newworknetwork.org.uk or sz@roomman.co.uk for more information and to reserve your place on the guest list. The launch is presented by ‘In a word’, part of the York-based curatorial agency Writing Encounters  and supported by New Work Network and PSL (Project Space Leeds).

RITE Contributors include Emma Bennett, David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham and Alex Eisenberg, Emma Cocker, Hannah Crosson, Amelia Crouch, Chloe Dechery, Tim Jeeves, Emma Leach, Johanna Linsley, Joanna Loveday, Charlotte Morgan, Mary Paterson, Jim Prevett, Nathan Walker and Wood McGrath.

VSK PROJECT (1): RACHEL LOIS CLAPHAM: THE FINGER

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2010 at 11:46 am

The above video is FINGER by Rachel Lois Clapham, made for The Diagram at London’s FormContent project space. See  images of the day and the full program  here.  

RL describes THE FINGER as “focussed on non verbal physical gestures as writing… made in response to a continued dialogue with David Berridge and Alex Eisenberg regarding writing on and as performance.”

We discussed the video via SKYPE and the following words and phrases, written in my notebook at the time, are a preliminary frame for thinking through and out and into the ways of The Finger:

How can it mean as writing. Diagrammatic. Doing what we were talking about. Pointing. Connecting. Liveness. Task. It has to respond. Hand work. Lowly. PLOUGHING. Hand. Base. Ground.  Finger. Action/Text. RL’s having fun. Bataille’s BIG toe. 

A summary of my presentation – which this video concluded – is here.

Go here for more on Rachel Lois’ work.  

Her video essay THE SCORE  – part of our Question Time project (also with Mary Paterson and Alex Eisenberg)  here.