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Posts Tagged ‘VSK project’

VSK PROJECT: FOR THE AUDIENCE by CLAIRE POTTER

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm

 
 
 
empty_chairs
 
 
 

[I stand before a seated audience.]

 
 
 

There’s three things that I’ve got with me. There’s PaperWork magazine that is over there on the table; a print-out – with some notes – of the text that I have in PaperWork magazine; and also my notebook, which I might refer to at some point.

So the text that I have in PaperWork magazine is called Exercise and it operates sort of like a poem within in the book. The unique thing about PaperWork that I decided to use in my work is that it is loosely bound with an elastic band so that you’re able to pull the text out- I’ll be able to find it really easily as it’s crumpled from the last time I did this.

So yeah, it’s here. And when you release it from the book it then operates as a script for performance. But without using this one, I’ll use the one with notes on and I just want to try a few things with you first and then develop some of the ideas. So it’ll take about fifteen twenty minutes, something like that.

 
 

ME: Yeah of course the object is the thing itself…

 
 
                                                                                  Oh yeah the thing that I wanted to mention as well is that the text is like…when it operates as a script…is like a dialogue between three characters. So you’ve got a sculptor, an art critic and an object. And it’s kind of about the miscommunications and misunderstandings of desire those three parties can have within an art practice.

 
 

ME: Yeah of course the object is the thing itself, or it can be a fetish. Its materiality and its body are crucial. Its materiality or its body are crucial of course the object is the thing itself. All day everyday objects are asking me to be things. All day everyday objects are asking to be things.

To become a thing the object must transcend its corpus. It must make us sick with sadness. To transform… To transform the object… to… for the object to become things it must transform, it must transcend itself, it must transcend its corpus to become a thing so that it’s no longer and object. The thing must transcend itself, transform from its corpus and become the thing.

What the hell are you talking about? Can’t see that I’m plagued that I’m sick with nostalgia, I’m just rot and memories? Sick with nostalgia, rot and memories…

 
 

[I walk off-stage and out through the Fire Exit door.]

 
 

                                                                                  … Sick with nostalgia. What the hell
are you talking about? Can’t you see that I’m plagued that I’m ill with nostalgia that
everything I touch becomes a thing? Why you…What you talking about; phantasms and refrains? …

 
 

[I return to the stage, through the same Fire Exit door.]

 
 

                                                                                                                                   …I’m just
nostalgia and rot. What you talking about? I must become a thing…

 
 

[I step over cables and crouch behind a plinth with a computer on it. I am not visible to the audience.]

 
 
                                                                                    … I must become a thing. Thing.
 
 

[I raise my head and address the audience.]

 
 

                                                                                                                                  This is
the object that’s talking now.

 
 

[I crouch again.]

 
 

ME: I must become a thing. I must become thing. I must become a thing. I must become
thing.

 
 

[I leave the stage and roll back a partition door that separates the performance space from a workshop. I enter and have a muffled conversation with two people who are not at the gallery for the event.]

 
 

Excuse me, erm I just wondered if you could do me a favour? I’m doing a performance next door and wanted to ask if you could read something out for me? – Yeah by all means. – It’s just that line. Yeah, yeah, three or four times. – Three or four times? Now? – Oh, whenever you’re ready.

 
 

[I return to the stage side and replace the door.]

 
 

ME: I make performative objects, y’know, the object in itself is the medium – like money – and ultimately I want to make money. Ultimately…

VOICE ONE :                     I must become thing.

ME:                                                         … Ultimately I want to make money. Ultimately
I want to make money.
 
 
VOICE ONE:                     I must become the thing.
 
 
ME:                       No you misunderstand me sculptor, or else you’re regurgitating, the object must undergo a transformation, it must produce its own effect.
 
 
VOICE TWO:                                                                         I  must become thing.
 
 
ME:                                                                                                                It’s in the ‘the’
sculptor, do you understand me? We must find ‘the’ murder weapon, not ‘a’ murder weapon. ‘The’ murder weapon not ‘a’ murder weapon. The object here decides to become thing. Can’t you see? A thing as it so plainly desires.
 
 
                                                                        Kathryn will you do something for me, if you
don’t mind? – Yeah. –Will you just come over here?

 
 

[Both KATHRYN and I walk behind and away from the audience body and the stage to the gallery window and have an inaudible conversation. Meanwhile IAIN enters the gallery late and stands behind the audience.]

 
 

Hey! Iain! Do you want to join in? – Yeah sure. –OK…

 
 

[Break in footage. All goes black for half a second though thirty seconds have actually
elapsed and I am now in a hut at the far end of the gallery space.]

 
 

KATHRYN: All day every day.
 
 
IAIN:             What the hell are you talking about? Can’t I am plagued that I am ill…
 
 
KATHRYN:                                                                                                         All day every day,
objects are asking me things.
 
 

IAIN: …with nostalgia. Everything I touch becomes a thing. What are you? Why are you talking about phantasms and refrains? I am nostalgia and rot. What the hell are you talking about?

 
 
KATHRYN:                                                         All day every day, objects are asking me
things.
 
 
ME:                                                                                                                     I must become
thing!
 
 
IAIN: …Can’t you see that I am plagued, that I am ill with nostalgia…
 
 
ME:                                I must become thing!
 
 
IAIN:                                                                                                         … that everything I
touch becomes a thing. What are you? Why are you talking about phantasms and refrains? I am nostalgia and rot. What the hell are you…
 
 
KATHRYN:                                                                                                                           every
day.
 
 
IAIN:                                                         …talking about? Can’t you…

 
 

[I leave the hut and address IAIN.]

 
 

                                                                                                                     Iain, will you begin
with the line ‘Cease! Desist!’?
 
 
IAIN: Cease! Desist! Can you hear it? Endless demands. Cease this trickery!…
 
 
KATHRYN: All day, every day, objects are asking me things.

 
 

[KATHRYN and I have another inaudible conversation at the window.]

 
 

KATHRYN: All day, every day, objects are asking me things.
 
 
IAIN:                                                                                                                            …I am bound
to the symbolic! Desist in your demands on me.

 
 

[I return to the front of the audience to address JESSA inaudibly.]

 
 

IAIN:                                                                   Cease! Desist! Can you hear it? Endless
demands. Cease this trickery. I am bound to the symbolic
 
 
KATHRYN:                                                             All day! Every day objects are asking me
things.                                              All day! Every day objects are asking me things.
 
 
JESSA:                                                                                        I must become thing. I must
become thing!
 
 

[JESSA moves from the audience to another window to the left of the stage.]

 
 

                                I must become thing!
 
 
IAIN:                                                          Cease. Desist. Can’t you hear it?
 
 
JESSA:                                                                                                           I must become a
thing.

 
 

[I lead all participants to the far end of the gallery space, behind the large hut structure, obscuring us from the audience.]

 

[Two minutes pass. All participants simultaneously shout their lines twice. I lead participants back to the audience and collect my papers from the stage.]

 
 

Thank you.
 
 
 
 
______________
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This text is available as a PDF here.
 
 
More about Claire Potter’s work here.
 
 
See PaperWork magazine here.
 
 
 
 

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VSK PROJECT OHAD BEN SHIMON: 2 BLUE CUPS ON TWO DIFFERENT CORNERS OF THE TABLE

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

book_photo_1
 
 
 
 
The following are three sections of Ohad Ben Shimon’s 2 blue cups on two different corners of the table, forthcoming from VerySmallKitchen Books in June 2013.
 
 
 
 
23.11.12
 
 
 
 
the morning
it comes
it rains
it coffee
it happens
it mornings
it silence
it occurs
the morning is an event
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
my narrative capabilities are destroyed
all I can do is describe what I see
name things
making connections is hard these days
nothing seems to fit into one coherent whole
a totality
instead
fragments of a reality
a fragmentology
and you are in the middle
you move around
in between
close and far
you are the writer
attaching your words to objects
watching them
naming them
in hope that one day it will make sense to someone
and the ends come closer
they arrive faster
once you used to start something
and it took you a while to get there
nowadays you start
and it ends
 
 
 
 
24.11.12

 
 
 
 
leidseplein
amsterdam
a line
lights
many people running
they seem like they can steal my laptop
rain on the ground
music
bikes
some guy is smoking a big joint
the tram lines run
we just finished our performance
it was nice
elegance says one street sign
r&b says another
people
plastic bags
an orange umbrella
a strong smell of weed coming out of a coffeeshop
a burger king
someone says ‘money’
more umbrellas
more plastic bags
surfaces
cigarettes
haircuts
coats
girls
guys
keys
a bike
a tram
a guy with a coat looking at my laptop and bags
2 guys laughing
a few girls throw some redbull cans into a garbage can
a guy in a rickshaw
a theater building with the sign ‘macbeth’ on it
below it another sign says ‘to see or not to see’
2 spanish guys with cotton hats saying ‘amsterdam’
me?
im drunk
im ok
with a black coat on a brown bench
another rickshaw guy passes
some guy says bye to a girl
bad fashion
a flashlight
 
 
 
 
25.11.12
 
 
 
 
to work around things
to shift them
to replace one with another
to exchange values
to redefine
reshape
remaster
remix
re re re
to rest some place
to let it rest
to change your ways
to come back to them
to change again
to create sockets
pockets of air
the breath
reaches a high point and a low point
somehow somewhere sometime
you always find yourself back on the saddle
it’s never really gone
what has gone are layers of times
somehow somewhat peeled off by their own movement
and you imagine a place
a list
where all these changes take place
whilst at the same time not really taking place
the internet and the computer
are helpful for that illusionary space
it’s there and not there
it allows you to dream
to expand
it harbors your imaginary right and wrong doings
by presenting an ordered software and hardware
to renegotiate your own order
your own mechanism
the state of your affairs
the never ending
yet always already ending
life that you are living today
and the next day
and the next
so rewire
refine
recruit
whatever energy is left in you
make it happen
reach that land
it is there waiting for you
you called for it to appear
don’t hesitate
make way
you will become
you will become
 
 
 
 
//
 
 
 
 
book_photo_2
 
 
 
 
The following dialogue was conducted between VerySmallKitchen and Ohad Ben Shimon during the writing of the book:
 
 
 
 
VSK: I wrote some questions for you today – about the book, the book to be, the book as it is, the book as it is being imagined, will be and won’t…. where does a book begin and where does it end?
 
OHAD: i think a book begins at the point when all other plans don’t seem to work out.. funny as it is, the strongest form of self expression is actually the last one we think of…perhaps we don’t allow ourselves that freedom. once we feel entitled we create a title. a ‘book’. it ends when someone forces you to end it. and that brings on a new restriction to once again search for that freedom, perhaps in the form of a new book.
 
VSK: Do some experiences look wrong on the page or perhaps “too right”?
 
OHAD: i try to see all experiences as part of this thing we call life and in that sense always ‘right’. what’s in the book is not the experience. it’s just the transformation of that experience into an artistic form, in this case text. so in a way all the experiences look wrong on the page as they don’t represent exactly the experience. the only true or ‘right’ experience in the book and on the page is the one the reader is having, because for him or her it is the first time they have the experience of reading such things.
  
VSK: What else does a list do?
 
OHAD: i’m thinking here actually of a list as a registration of desire. of things you want. so a list can create desire in the mind of the reader. now the question is a desire for what.
  
VSK: Does writing encourage fidelity or fiction?
 
OHAD: i believe you can’t run away from your own writing. in that sense it has always been a form of fidelity for me, even when it’s introduced as fiction. the reader will always find your blind spot whilst reading or you will eventually find it given sufficient time. 
  
VSK: Is a notated day different to a not notated day?
 
OHAD: not really. i see breathing, walking, swimming, eating, basically many everyday actions as forms of writing if they’re on some page or not.
 
VSK: When do you read this in the future?
 
OHAD: in mornings.
  
VSK: When do details affirm and when do they erase?
 
OHAD: it’s an exchange. they affirm their own presence. the presence of the detail. but at that same very moment they erase the whole. that’s why i can’t really get my head around them. they are slippery creatures.
  
VSK: How does the text function as gift?
 
OHAD: it’s wrapped. in the same unexplainable material that life itself is wrapped in. it requires the reader to unwrap it.
 
VSK: How does the text function as instruction?
 
OHAD: maybe it’s an instruction to keep my eyes open. perhaps in the form of note to self.
  
VSK: Is it some sort of record that is breaking?
 
OHAD: yes it’s a record that is breaking but the record itself remains intact. what is being broken is language. it’s in a constant state of self annihilation. the text is at once a living organism in the sense that it has a breaking force and at the same time it is a residue or cinder.
  
VSK: Aren’t you really just trying out a form of magic?
 
OHAD: only if this form of magic has some kind of thera-poetic power like the word abracadabra.
  
VSK: Does the writing imagine you or someone else?
 
OHAD: of course. the image-nation. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ohad Ben Shimon’s 2 Blue Cups on 2 Different Corners of the Table is forthcoming from VerySmallKitchen in June 2013.
 
 
For more about Ohad’s work see here. His VSK Residency posts are here.
 
 
 
 

VSK PROJECT JUDE COWAN MONTAGUE: THE GOODROYALS OF TERRE ROUGE

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

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

THEATRE OF OBJECTS: A DIALOGUE WITH SEEKERS OF LICE

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm

 

seekers of lice, The Blue Notebook Journal Vol 3 No 1 (2008)

 

 

VerySmallKitchen: Several of your texts adopt the forms of play scripts. Is this best understood in relation to the category of poets theater, outlined in David Brazil and Kevin Killian’s The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater?

 

seekers of lice: Poets theater is not something I identify with. I use play to include the idea of a drama and of playing. Playing within the text and with conventions of the genre. Scripts, yes – because that points to something beyond the text, to a staging including other elements which aren’t specified.

 

VSK: When did you start using script forms? What elements of the conventional play text did you adopt?

 

seekers of lice: dumb show were the first scripts. I like to use the formal layout of conventional play texts. It provides a structure which is immediately recognisable so that if you write STICK: followed by some words, those words are seen as something spoken by a character who is a stick or is called Stick.

 

VSK: The focus on objects in your work suggests other models of theatre: Joseph Cornell’s boxes, Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise-

 

seekers of lice: The characters in dumb show were objects I was making at the time – wax and pigment painted balls, polyps and boxes. A version consisting of a cardboard box of wax polyps with the THEATRE OF OBJECTS scripts was exhibited and later bought by Dusseldorf Library.

 

VSK: What do you mean or not mean by “character.” In The Bride of L’Amor-mor-l’amor characters seem to be types. Is that always the case?

 

seekers of lice: Yes in The Bride there are roles rather than characters. I was interested in dumb show– and also LOUSE FACTORY – to see if the objects could become subjects. They are treading a line between subject and object.

 

 

 

 

And the idea for The Bride came from things I was making at the time. But I feel much more aligned to the aesthetic of Dubuffet and early Oldenburg than to the refinement of Duchamp and Cornell.

 

 

…whereas Claes Oldenburg sears his page with a mud-luscious Whitmanesque catalogue of the materials of art, and for Oldenburg the list is inexhaustible because he is for an art that is everything, everything that is “that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum,” and preferably everything that is not self-consciously refined, in other words that is raw, quick, smelly, holy, many small “sweet and stupid” acts of ungracious side-splitting, nose-blowing living that are supposed to be left for keeps in dirty abandoned corners.

Oldenburg’s Store has that unkempt look; the items hang in blobbish disregard for civilized order; the store articles are sculptured in relief with muslin strips dipped in plaster and placed over chicken wire, then painted with enamel to give the business a high dripping festive gloss.

These environments, situations, spaces are not going any place; they’re not on the market for immortality; they’re just not negotiable at all, except for tempting traffic with the eye and heart that is looking for more or less anything, or ready to stumble on something; and even that is saying too much, or too little, and no doubt Robert Whitman is right when he says that “this whole business has been complicated by people who say all smart things . . . “

Jill Johnston Village Voice, 6 Jul. 1961, 13.

 
 
 
 

VSK: It’s interesting to see affinities and art histories being constructed around an emotion or tone…

 

seekers of lice: Yes that’s a good way of putting it – the influence of a tone or sensibility. I would add Kharms to my list, and Philip Guston.

 

VSK: Viewed in the context of the scripts the objects propose a scenography-

 

seekers of lice: The physical objects from the boxes? I see them as seductive in a tactile way, but mute, dumb, unthinking.

 

VSK: And in relation to the words?

 

seekers of lice: I see the objects as haptic, visual… completely outside language. I’m interested in putting things next to each other and seeing what happens, words next to words, objects to objects and words next to objects.

 

VSK: The dumb plays are published by The Theatre of Objects. Is this a personal repertory company? It relates to your seekers of lice pseudonym.

 

seekers of lice: seekers of lice isn’t a pseudonym, it’s a space to inhabit with its own separate existence.

There was a manifesto for objects, demanding the space to speak. So Theatre of Objects was an imagined theatre not of seekers of lice but of the objects themselves. Benjamin Buchloh writes about the “object theater of fluxus”. I wondered what an object theatre was.

 

VSK: There is a distinctiveness to scripts –

 

seekers of lice: Yes, I see the scripts as different to other forms: scripts as dialogues, the spoken word interacting between separate characters, consecutive speeches are read as responses in some form to the previous speech. They point to an existence beyond the writer.

 

 

But the page presence is always important as well. I am continuing to use the play form in eg Poem to be Felt, published in VLAK 3, 2012.

 

VSK: Poets Theater confounds any straight forward transition/ translation of text into space. In your own work the book form itself is the primary performance –

 

seekers of lice: dumb show took different forms, eg the shine on the nose was published in The Blue Notebook as a tipped in A7 sheet of translucent paper with a hand-painted square of manganese blue. A note said:
 

The first script, the shine on the nose : dumb show is published here. Each copy of the journal contains 1 page of the 10 page script. The complete script is distributed through the different copies.

 
So that was a kind of performance. And the performance of LOUSE FACTORY was in its distribution.

 

VSK: In LOUSE FACTORY the use of the paper bag requires a brevity. It becomes an ideogram, an object, a sign for a new form of distribution that simultaneously makes the work ephemeral-

 

seekers of lice: The plays on paper bags were indeed exploring forms of distribution. They were used in bookshops for purchases without any explanatory comment. I wondered how a script could exist when each recipient ended up with a third or a quarter or a fifth of a play. So each page (bag) had to have an independent existence.

They were very visual texts, playing with patterns and spacings of words and letters. The space of the bag is the arena for action. The scene could be framed in any environment it reached.

 

VSK: The texts are not, for example, instructional scores. They are more about their own language…

 

seekers of lice: The texts are things I have made and put in the world. They are presentations not explanations. I don’t conceptualise how they might be used.

The frame provides a context and a meaning. I like Weiner’s position, that art is what happens when you stop making metaphors, stop mediating the world through words which give the appearance of making sense of things, of translating reality into assimilable form.

 

 

 

Weiner says: “This is the reason why people like Carl Andre are such good artists. They’re not telling you what to think, they’re telling you to stand still and watch how your thoughts no longer work.”

Work which is not intrinsically metaphorical can then be used by people for their own purposes as a metaphor– as he puts it: to find your own place in the sun.

 

VSK: And the form of the paper bag is well suited to an enactment or performance of these ideas-

 

seekers of lice: The change to printed bags allowed me to design and control the layout, yes the ideogram of the text, very precisely. I hoped it would also speed production.

In fact I was using a basic computer printer and the bags were too thick to go through, so I had to open up the bottom of each bag, print it and then refold and reglue the bag. So production was very very slow!

I liked the boldness of printed text which was possible, and the factory production- line feel – closer to mechanical reproduction with me as machine.

The single gesture, the liminal, the infrathin, the peripheral – how much to move someone? Just reading an essay on Bonnard which links Duchamp’s infrathin with Bonnard. Yes I was/am interested in slightness.

 

VSK: How does slightness take form in your work?

 

seekers of lice: Slightness – the idea that art doesn’t have to be spectacular or dramatic(!) to create a profound effect. Also as a strategy, in finding ways to distribute work. Paper bags are ephemeral but function as a mode of circulation. I make the work and other people distribute it for me. So an individual bag is slight but its value to the recipient might exceed that.

Slightness. Lightness. A sliver inserted into the world. Finding a gap in which to operate. Buchloh again: “Fluxus doesn’t aspire to radical transformations of everyday life but to ludic practices which open up sudden ruptures within that system’s mesmerizing totality and numbing continuity.”

I had a short correspondence by email with a librarian at MOMA’s art library. She wrote:

 

Got your package today. Thanks for sending the books. They look great. I didn’t understand your name at first, but it hit me about 6 weeks ago when I was riding the subway home….

 

So I also regard the name as a work. This reminds me of Christian Morgenstern, “Korf erfindet eine Art von Witzen” or, according to Google Translator “Korf invents a kind of jokes”:

 

Korf invents a kind of jokes,

Act until many hours later.

Everyone listens to them with long while.

But as a scale if geglommen still,

will you suddenly alive at night in bed

smiling like a rich baby blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VerySmallKitchen: These questions are explored differently in The Bride of L’Amor-mor-l’amor. Its length asks how your works are structured and develop, what sort of resolution they seek, if any.

 

seekers of lice: I see The Bride as a different sort of text, more formal and artificial. At the time I described it like this:

 

The Bride of L’Amor-mor-l’amor is an abstract conceptual work. It uses different vocabularies for different speakers which are married when the words of the Bride and Groom are literally combined, first word by word then with each of their words severed and rejoined to make new words.

Specific vocabularies are drawn from fairy tales such as Bluebeard and Donkey Skin, from works of philosophy and from the procedural fiction of Kafka. Simple construction using ‘as’ ‘is’ ‘and’ and ‘or’ are used to counter the forward movement of the line.

The layout reflects the initial opposition between the bride and groom; when they are married the text becomes centred. The use of bold type in the final dance is to suggest emphasis.

 

So for me it follows a conventional trajectory. I wanted an opposition between the bride and groom. He uses the language of romance and her speech is supposed to be overtly sexual. The action takes place in the restructuring of their language.

 

VSK: How does voice work in your plays? You have included CDs with books, worked with your children to record texts-

 

seekers of lice: I was interested in what happens when objects are given a voice. I’ve since discovered in Martin Esslin’s Theatre of the Absurd Christian Morgenstern’s sandwich paper lying lonely in a wood which

 

“…Commenced, from fright, there is no doubt,

To think. Commenced, began, set out

 

To think, just think, what here combined,

Received (by fear) – a thinking mind ….”

 

Das Butterbrotpapier (the sandwich paper) ends up being eaten by a bird. Reading the scripts aloud raises questions of how these texts can be read, how intonation can be used, how the characters can be presented.

The readings I made with my children (not out of sentimentality – they were available and could be bribed to participate) were of quandaries. I liked the idea of the repetition of “or” acting as a drone. I made a short recording which just had the “or”s threaded together to make or-or -noise.

At the same time I made a recording of farcical tricycle which I put on a short promo disc for William English. Listening to it 3 years later I realise the extent to which I saw them as different voices, different characters.

 

seekers of lice, creamy language, 2011

 

 

The reading, the sound is important to me – I like to create the desire to read aloud or mouth the words, to feel the physical shapes. When I did creamy language [an installation for I AM NOT A POET, Totalkunst Gallery, Edinburgh, 2011] I was pleased that Mirja’s son walked in to the gallery and immediately started reading aloud from the walls.

 

 

But more of an indicator for the evolution of Cointet’s practice was The Paintings of Sophie Rummel, 1974, in which Viva stood before twelve of the artist’s new paintings composed of red letters and numbers on white canvas (consisting of license plate and phone numbers found randomly, together they seem like nonsensical signage, or else eye charts).

Ultimately, for audience members these became paintings and texts at the same time that they were representations of paintings and texts–in short, props. Viva read aloud from sheets containing the exact same text, introducing different potential meanings by using a variety of intonations and rhythms of speech as she revisited the passages over and over. Is it praise? Adoration? Puzzlement? Depending on the intonation, “1256” could be a tragic number.

Marie de Brugerolle, “Enigma Variations” in Artforum, Summer 2007, 413.

 

 

 

VSK: As well as the forms of the texts themselves, it is the circumstances of how such writing is produced that offers parallels between your own work and poets theater. In To Be At Music: Essays & Talks Norma Cole 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. (54)

 

 

seekers of lice: I don’t identify with any of this at all.

 

VSK: Really? Why not!? If there’s not the performance context Cole talks about, your texts still seem to evidence this originary moment that is expansive, interactive –

 

seekers of lice: Isn’t that true of all art/writing?

 

VSK: You don’t want to conceptualise your work like this.

 

seekers of lice: I don’t conceptualise my work. I’m only interested in doing it and getting it out there. So I’m not a Conceptual writer/artist.

 

VSK: Cole also quotes Brecht: “One might say that everything hangs on the ‘story’ which is what happens between people.’

 

seekers of lice: Are you asking what happens between the text/writer and the reader?

 

VSK: You told me before that the plays of Gertrude Stein are not intended for performance. Why is that?

 

seekers of lice: I’m distinguishing between reading and theatrical performance with sets, costumes, action, conflict, resolution etc, or a theatrical performance within that context.

I think theatre requires action and the dialogue is only a part of that, not necessarily the most significant element. In Stein’s plays I feel the dialogue is the action. I think that is also true of The Bride. Giles [Goodland] said he would like to see it set to music like Edith Sitwell’s Façade – I like the idea but need a composer.

 

VSK: When you saw Einstein on the Beach recently did that offer any connections to thinking about staging?

 

seekers of lice: No. I thought the music and singing in Einstein on the Beach were fantastic, and the dancing, but was less convinced by the staged set pieces.

I wonder whether dumb show could be performed; or rather become part of a theatrical performance; perhaps in the manner of a Bauhaus / Oscar Schlemmer performance with dance and acrobatics? Perhaps LOUSE FACTORY could be performed as a cabaret. I think it’s a possibility because they are very open texts.

 

 

 

 

Fundamentally I agree with Martin Esslin: “Theatre is always more than mere language. Language alone can be read, but true theatre can become manifest only in performance.” So they – dumb show and LOUSE FACTORY – are scripts for a potential performance.

 

VSK: A default performance style in poets theater and also in art writing performances at venues like X Marks the Bökship is the artist and their friends in everyday clothes holding A4 typescripts or books and reading them aloud.

 

seekers of lice: I prefer the intimate unmediated relationship between reader and text, the scale of performance that produces.

 

VSK: Perhaps again, as with the bags, you need a form that reduces and restricts in order to reveal…

 

seekers of lice: Yes I like the scale, the smallness of the disembodied reading.

 

VSK: LOUSE FACTORY opens with a manifesto for the absurd. Is the absurd a category for these scripts, for theatre, the body, and your practice as a whole?

 

seekers of lice: dumb show and LOUSE FACTORY play with the ridiculous and absurd. The tradition of the absurd includes verbal nonsense, clowning and fooling.
 
 
 

Oskar Schlemmer, Triadic Ballet costumes, 1926


 
 
 
For me the risk in writing is being prepared to risk stupidity, dumbness and the laughable in order to write something which is not just a parody of writing, or of poetry – not something which merely looks like art.

So bolt in moebius dispute ends “no armour / be ridiculous I am rid- / / iculous.” I’m always verging on the ridiculous – or trying to.

 

VSK: I relate this to a forcefulness in your writing. To articulate this quality, I’m thinking of texts by Maggie O’Sullivan and Hélène Cixous, some hybrid model of poet as shaman, linguistic animism, écriture féminine…

 

seekers of lice: I’ve not read O’Sulllivan or Cixous and I’m resistant to écriture feminine. I believe gender is irrelevant to the way I work.

I want to be a man; as Eileen Myles wrote, why can’t we all be men? This is why I like an ungendered name – not because I’m trying to make a mystery, but because I don’t see it as relevant. But Beuys is one of my heroes.

 

VSK: You feel regret after a performance. Is this from the failure of the absurd to fully exist as public discourse?

 

seekers of lice: No, regret at my failure to do justice to the performance. Discourse after all is running hither and thither so very open to the absurd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about seekers of lice here. See also in the VerySmallKitchen creamy language, leaf/leaves and LILMP.

This dialogue was conducted by email July-Sep 2012. THEATRE OF OBJECTS, a collection of play scripts, will be published by VerySmallKitchen in Nov 2012.

 

 

 

 

NEW VSK PUBLICATION: THE LAST WARD by STEPHEN EMMERSON

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm


 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
Stephen Emmerson writes: The Last Ward is a series of 6 A3 posters and a 6 track CD. Each track title corresponds with one of the visual poem titles. They should be considered part of the same poem, working symbiotically rather than responding to one another.

      1. polygun
      2. speech is written in capitals
      3. time runs backwards as well as forwards and will one day meet
      4. pylons
      5. voices in radiator falling through sink
      6. you are not a concept i am familiar with

 

 
 
 
AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN EMMERSON
 
 
 
1.

I think instructed reading, or innovative reading, is an interesting way to frame a work that may otherwise have been freed from authorial control. i.e. the audiovisual pieces are in one way open and abstract because they do not utilise a regular written language, however, by giving an instruction or guideline on how to read the work it becomes more definite.
 
 
2.

The choreography of the reading came about as an attempt to examine the notion of reading as creativity. I am also interested in obstructing the reading of any given work, and I think it’s interesting to see how closely someone might follow any given set of essentially arbitrary rules.

The interest in sound and visual comes from reading as well. I mean when we read a text we are taking visual cues and transforming them into sound, and I see the audio aspect of this work as being a way to cue up the visuals and hopefully open up the possibility of a different way of reading.
 
 
3.

The starting point for The Last Ward came from a quote by Trotsky. He said: ‘England is the last ward of the European madhouse’. I began this work during the riots last year.
 
 
4.

Yes – all of these images began as writing, if you look closely you can see letters and parts of letters, fragments of typewriter keys, and pen strokes. Yet in these images there are repetitions of glyphs and patterns within those repetitions that to me at least makes this something very close to writing.

I think you give up a certain amount of specificity of meaning when you begin creating something like this – to some extent that’s the point, but at the same time I’m creating a frame to read or examine these works within, and knowing when and why they were written makes them much more specific to a certain time and place, and even pushes it towards certain critical boundaries. But the reader will know more about that than me.
 
 

5.

There was a lot of editing, I mean I think it took the best part of a year to create the images and the audio. There were lots of different versions. It’s funny that you talk about endless new touches of paint, because sometimes that happened and pieces were ruined and I had to start the whole process over again. I think the details are very important, just like in any other kind of writing, the whole is nothing without them.

With the audio it was much the same, some of it was recorded live, but it might have taken many takes to get just right, some of the other pieces were more programmed, and that’s a totally different way of working.
 
 
6.

The collaboration with Lucy Harvest Clarke is a work that does reveal the process to some extent. We started by taking a notebook page and folding it down the middle. Lucy wrote half a line, (3 – 6 words) and then turned the page over so that I couldn’t see what she’d written, and then I’d finish the line. It’s kind of like an exquisite corpse.

The first part of that work, which was published on VSK, was mostly written on train journeys so there’s loads of repeated imagery and words like ‘window’ and ‘pylon’ that keep cropping up. I think we were both shocked at just how complete those pieces turned out, being that we couldn’t see what the other was writing.

Having the hand written versions alongside the printed text brings a visual aspect to the work where the urgency of the writing is revealed. It also lets the reader into our state of mind at the time of writing whilst allowing the same words to be revealed as a different version of the same poem.
 
 

7.

Even if I’m creating audiovisual work its still centred around language, so I feel it’s more centred around poetry than visual art per se.

For instance – in August I’m exhibiting a William Blake poem-installation in Camberwell that includes audiovisual work centred around a large pentagram with a typewriter at each point.
 
 

Stephen Emmerson, Albion, 2012


 
 
People coming to see the work will be invited to sit inside the pentagram and channel Blake whilst using the typewriters to create a text. Aside from channeling Blake, which is a reference to his paranormal conversations, this method can also be seen as a way of translating audiovisual work into text, the fact that I won’t be creating any of the text doesn’t necessarily mean that I am not the author, nor does it mean that I am more interested in the audiovisual than the text, it simply means I’m more interested in how people read, because again, this work is about reading, and about translating, and I think if you’re interested in that as an author then you are better off staying away from text.
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 

THE LAST WARD by Stephen Emmerson is available for £6 (plus £1.50 UK P&P). Please email verysmallkitchen@gmail.com for postage details if ordering from outside the UK.

 
 
More about Stephen’s work is here.

 
 
 
 
 
 

VSK PROJECT: SISYPHUS, OUTDONE. Theatres of the Catastrophal [EXTRACT] by Nathanaël

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm

 
 
 

[…]

 
 
 

§      If there were a concordance between the place of birth and the place of death,

 
 
 

§      The photograph makes more of disavowal. For example: “I admit to closing       more books than I open.” [51] It disavows the line and it draws a line. A face, for example. It is not that I cry, but the summary made, by the photograph, of proximities. The face, for example, driven into its pain. And the impression (sense) of leaving with one’s eyes. As though looking were a form of desistance. Mine, first, because I am the one looking.

 
 
 

§      Between the mailbox and the train is the attendant question: is it possible to photograph the sound of the train. To move the sound into a frame.

 
 
 

§      Posed differently, I might scratch with Christine Lavant at the little door, “tandis que je gratte à la petite porte, /

 
 
 

§      mendiant dans la ferme des souffrances.” [52] The transposition to a different key.

 
 
 

§      In time. [53]

 
 
 

§      Thus creating the following tautology: I might scratch with Christine Lavant at the little door, while I scratch at the little door. The erstwhile hinge is tandis que; it groans as does wood that is swollen.

 
 
 

§      Ferme, which is close, close. The close of sufferings. Misindicating the substantive in favour of other, mitigating, proximities. That ferme might also signal a trap door in a cement floor, at a particularly vexing moment of redirected intention.

 
 
 

§      A translation is not a tautology. It is something else.

 
 
 

§      Doubled (over).

 
 
 

§      Nor is it citation.

 
 
 

§      The fantasy of (this) translation is that it is repeatable.

 
 
 

§      For example: “Your voice lingers here in the fore-cast.”

 
 
 

§      No assurance is given as to the qualification of the sound as it is scratched onto the retina.

 
 
 

§      The eye itself is not sound. [54]

 
 
 

§      A complete set of small green encyclopædia. Each of the XXV volumes is green and each spine has gilt lettering and is imprinted with the outline of the Empire State Building. All XXV Empire State buildings fit into a small box, which is carried comfortably under the arm for several blocks. Published in 1931 [55], they occupy approximately two linear feet of floor space, and are each four inches tall.

 
 
 

§      Tautology: the Empire State Building is inaugurated in 1931. The encyclopædia account for this. Which is to say that I invent it.

 
 
 

§      I invent the concordance in and of the present.

 
 
 

§      “And here the time of memory is precisely the time I am describing.” [56]

 
 
 

§      Gunpowder green tea in this America.

 
 
 

§      It is the concordance which invents [57] the present.

 
 
 

§      The sound and the rail line. The low wall and the fence, clipped in places, allowing for unauthorized foot traffic. Covered over and clipped again, such that the fence bears visible stitchings replenishing holes which are less visible and apt to disappear. The distances are altered precisely by these alterations. It is then possible to posit the disappearances of the walkers who walk in anticipation of these breaches. The removal of foothold and course.

 
 
 

§      Over three kilometres of undocumented passage multiplied by the number of traversals.

 
 
 

§      Thus: “I know what I am looking for without […] having to exist.”

 
 
 

§      Wittgenstein’s injunction – the having to – corroborates his certainty. What is obliterated with the knowledge of what is sought is the self-seeking. To my unsound eye, the repeated phrase, “what I am looking for” is excised from the page as I tender it to myself, removing ontology from view leaving certainty (alone). The reinstated text translated by Raymond Hargreaves and Roger White renders: “I know what I am looking for without what I am looking for having to exist.” In the time lapse, delay, the corrected version reads wrong, and it is the negative which remains: “without what I am looking for.”

 
 
 

§      The concordance is in: without.

 
 
 

§      Then what is the relationship between obsolescence and the negative?

 
 
 

§      “When other socialist countries discarded Marxism-Leninism as a way of life, the GDR ceased to exist altogether.” [58]

 
 
 

§      In a falsely posed problem of improbability, two people carry one body through two doors. Understood thus, one body is transported with difficulty by two people. The body is the body of a person, carried first through one door, then another. They disappear with the body, past the turnstile. After, they are there again; it is the same body. The person is not dead to begin with. First, there is a person, then there is a person, dead; the bearers of the dead do not know it. Neither at the beginning nor at the end. They are carrying a person. I watch as they do this. They enter, go out, the body is so big, bigger than itself, so heavy, heavier than itself, a leg drags, the bearers falter. Back and then forth. They go through the swinging door, the pair of glasses on the face, knocked askew.

 
 
 

§      A door open in two directions at once.

 
 
 

§      I made wishes for each of the horses, and drank green tea, and wrote you ardently.

 
 
 

§      The body functions as its own anachronism. To posit a temporality is a way of overlooking time.

 
 
 
 

 

[…]

 

 

NOTES
 
 
 

[51] Absence Where As, 13.

[52] Christine Lavant, Un art comme le mien n’est que vie mutilée, 208.

[53] I have just this instant come upon the most wonderful concordance; the unwitting compression of the English phrase “in time”, yields the French: intime, which means intimate – adjectivally and substantively. That intimacy could be – is – substantive – // self-existent – // there is tea now in the unbroken pot; (From a letter, sent. Henceforth, unattributed quotations are indicative of such letters.)

[54] “não compreendo o olho, e tento chegar perto.” Hilda Hilst, A obscena Senhora D, 21.

[55] The same year that Geli Raubal, Hitler’s niece, committed suicide. Wittgenstein, 18.

[56] Wittgenstein, 18.

[57] –contrives.

[58] Karl Gernot Kuehn, Caught, ix.

 
 
 
 
 
 

This is an extract from SISYPHUS, OUTDONE. Theatres of the Catastrophal by Nathanaël, to be published in October 2012 by Nightboat Books.

More about Nathanaël’s work here. An extract from The Middle Notebookes is on VerySmallKitchen here.

 
 
 
 
 
 



VSK PROJECT JUDE COWAN AND DANIEL LEHAN: CARDBOARD PASTORAL

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.

 

 

 

 

VSK PROJECT CHARLOTTE A.MORGAN: INCOMPLETE PRODUCTION SCENE VI: ASSEMBLY, ASCEND, A SENTENCE

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VSK PROJECT LUCY HARVEST CLARKE & STEPHEN EMMERSON: WITH ALL WINDOWS A NET CAST DYES THE WORLD

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.

 
 
 
 
 

VSK RESIDENCY OHAD BEN SHIMON (7): 24 APRIL 2012

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

 

 

 

 

24.4.2012

 

 

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
Truth

Commonly known
as desire

No need
to dress

it up
as beauty

No need
to distort

what’s not
standard

to be
understandable.

Pick your
nose

eyes ears
tongue

sex and
brain

to show
the populace

Take your
chances

on
your accuracy

Listen to
yourself

talk to
yourself

and others
will also

gladly
relieved

of the burden-
their own

thought
and grief.

What began
as desire

will end
wiser.”

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

AN EXCHANGE

 

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 sculpture..do 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.