Posts Tagged ‘writing exhibitions’


In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

A score from my sequence A Curriculum Out of A Conversation There is Nothing That Is Not The Lesson appears November 5-29 2010, as part of INSTRUCTIONS FOR INITIAL CONDITIONS at Drift Station in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The scores mix short phrases, found texts, and one word poems, continuing the minimalism of my chapbook THE MOTH IS MOTH THIS MONEY NIGHT MOTH (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2010) more directly into a mode of research and enquiry.

Thus the title is followed by the poemwrd “FODL,” by the short tale “into his fears of singing in public his tongue was inserted” and, at the bottom of the following A4 page:

b e c a u s e y o u ‘ r e a l l p r a c t i t i o n e r s a l r e a d y

A subsequent text reads:

autobiographical content community based community discourse in comprehensive sequences conservative contexts for continuity in conventional critical citizenship in defining design development discourse form and content hidden implementation implicit institutionalized language of intervention in sequence of master narratives of null performance art and performative disruptions in performative implications of “poor”  poststructural predictability of preexisting  prescriptive problem-centred procedural structure of recapitulation in reified as script sequential social/historical determination of stereotypes in structure student influence on in teaching models transformation of

The text forms a sequence, but is also open to re-arrangements, and the addition of new material, although quite how closed and open it is as a system remains uncertain. Texts should be submitted as an invitation ot the curators to select and display as appropriate.





The concluding five texts of the sequence, one per page, are as follows:






Add a dog.
Blink your gog





See the full document of A CURRICULUM OUT OF A CONVERSATION  as a PDF here. INSTRUCTIONS FOR INITIAL CONDITIONS is curated in collaboration with Parallax Space. The curators describe the project as follows:

The “initial condition” is a term used in Chaos Theory referring to a simple starting point that, when the system is set into motion, is radically transformed into an unpredictable result.  The works in this exhibition describe an initial condition by which an artwork can be made or enacted, taking on the form of instructions that are exhibited as artworks in and of themselves.

They run across traditions and disciplines: some act as a catalyst for acts meant to be carried out immediately, while others are purely poetic calling for no action, or are conceptual or impossible to be realized and can only be completed mentally. Viewers are invited to engage the works as they see fit, either here in the gallery or later at a location of their choice.

The works in this exhibition are the result of an international open call, using the internet as a medium to both solicit and “ship” works.  Over 120 artists from six continents sent works, which were limited to an emailed file that could be printed in black and white on an 8.5 x 11” sheet of paper. These limitations served to show that art fundamentally is not about materials, media, or financial resources but about ideas.  We were surprised and delighted by the diversity of the art works received and proudly present them to you.

At the opening on November 5th there was a performance by Parallax Space’s Bill Graham in collaboration with members of the Mighty Vitamins. It invited members of the audience to help create constantly-changing sonic loops.

I’ve been wondering how these scores/texts of A CURRICULUM would move into sound, whether and/or how these words and phrases would remain.I find some of the space I am seeking here in Brandon La Belle’s essay “Genet on Holiday, or proposals for a dirty ear: where he writes:

Hiding, going undercover, ducking the spotlight, on the move, behind the lines or out of bounds, in the cracks, skirting the issue, out of sight, beyond the pale, out of earshot, past the divide, covert or masked, slippery or slick, – mr slick, ice cold or slimy and slithery… – he remains hard to know, difficult to gauge, unknown to most of us, but somehow always present: surprised by his actions, who is he anyway? What is the point, where is the origin, who knows the secret, the original mark of difference and identity, so as to know to affirm to name to underscore the line of thinking, the directive, the language around which all words and actions circulate? Lost or losing the way, turning surface into a game, words into theatre, self into trickster – I twist the map into a ball, crumple it up and toss it into the street where the wind carries it…

Jean Genet leaves the house to roam the countryside, picking up hustlers and sailors along the way, himself a child a thief a poet a lover all intertwined into the formation of a different kind of dance; he aims to remain on the edge of the language that keeps sex and criminality on either side, love and politics divided, poetry and friendship at odds… I linger over Genet because he shows the way through the twisted roads of the body and the law, where presence is always already more than itself, and wedged into the economy of desire dictated by the markings of the social; misfit derelict hustler fag romantic outcast ragpicker fuck-up loser – the pirate nation comes to haunt the castle by revealing, through a surreptitious counteraction, what is always already housed within.

Yet what Genet uncovers is the means to withstand the very promise of opposition – his is a meandering antagonism, a horizon masking the view with an uncertain presence, one that camouflages the scene with its own inherent patterning, a kind of overwriting to a point of pleasure and honesty, reporting or tracing while pricking the skin. (17)

SOURCE: Cathy Lane ed. Playing with Words: The spoken word in artistic practice (CRiSAP/ RGAP 2008), 17.



A catalogue of INSTRUCTIONS FOR INITIAL CONDITIONS is forthcoming as an online PDF, along with an essay by Parallax Space curator Marissa Vigneault. For the moment, my only information about the show is this sequence of images, and a few more online here.

Curious to note what scores remain legible in such a format, how the others function in their supposed illegibility, and the respective proportions of landscape and portrait amongst the 120 artists included in this show.



In Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Photo: Egon Stemle


This Saturday 13th November at 2pm I am giving a talk as part of Art/Writing: Writers, Writing and Exhibition-Making, an event at The Dock in Carrick on Shannon in Ireland. It is the first in a series of three Art/Writing Talks, curated by Fiona Fullam. On Saturday the other speakers will be Declan Long and Tine Melzer.

Fiona describes the Art/Writing Talks project as follows:

The Art/Writing Talks consider and explore the intersection of art and writing. What forms can art-writing take and how and where can this kind of work be disseminated?

Art-writing could be said to include critical writing, reviews, related theoretical or philosophical writing, art-writing – which links the visual and the textual, and also textual visual art. Where and what are the links between these and what kinds of knowledge can be produced at these points of intersection?

What could be lost or gained in moving beyond conventional discursive approaches into using visual and textual material? Are notions of authorship affected by the interdisciplinary nature of this kind of work?

Tine Melzer, The Complete Dictionary (2003)

For my talk I have been thinking through different and possible relations of writing and exhibition making, and have been conceiving of three distinct sections.

In the first I am thinking through a number of recent projects, all of which posit a different relation of writing and exhibition making. These include WRITING/ EXHIBITION/ PUBLICATION at The Pigeon Wing, DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS at the AC Institute, New York and THE SHADOW OF A TRAIN (curated by Mirja Koponon at Totalkunst in Edinburgh), which see writing refracted through various notions of curating and script-making.

In the second section I want to explore some historical and contemporary sources for exhibition making. This is a potentially enormous list so I am working on some performative structure that will enable, say, 100 examples in five minutes... Actually, I have changed my mind here and am focussing on the relations of writing, book and exhibition and how much vocabularies such as publishing, distribution and exhibition are transferrable. Book as exhibition? Exhibition as publication? Still unfolding…

Finally, I want to try and unfold some meanings and understandings of this model of the (art-) writer. I will post more notes and references from this talk on the site next week, but for the moment I wanted to highlight a couple of references that I have returned to repeatedly, and which this talk seems an opportunity to explore more fully:

(1)Joseph Grigeley’s notion of “Exhibition Prosthetics”. This explains how exhibitions have always been surrounded by writing (press releases, proposals and so on) but that this writing can understood differently within a new concept of the exhibition as a prosthetic body.

(2)Falke Pisano’s notion of a practice that moves both freely and transformatively between different sites of page, performance, exhibition, statement, title, content and on. As Pisano writes in her artists book Figures of Speech:

Between these different works there is a circulation and exchange of language, ideas, and forms. A transfer from one work to another often involving a change of status, a reflection within a different context or a further elaboration on an idea. Several formulations come back in different works; formulations of ideas for works become works; descriptions of works are used in preceding or following works and there is an exchange between descriptive or explanatory texts about the work and the work itself.

It is this notion of fluidity, what precisely it means, and how we might understand it, that is at the core of this talk and the practice (my own and others) that I am using it to try and dilineate. In several recent projects I have been interested that the fluidity seems to go along with a more radical transformation of form that also suggests a stop or blockage.

This was certainly true of the online Assemblings – Essaying Essays and Writing Exhibitions – that were made into an exhibition-in-a-box for The Reading Room in Berlin. It was also true of the summers collaborative talk on Kurt Schwitters (with Marit Muenzberg) that I re-made as a text for the forthcoming translation issue of dear sir magazine.

The Reading Room, Berlin

Another useful model for thinking through these issues is John Kelsey’s recently published Rich Texts: Selected Writing for Art (Sternberg Press, 2010). Debates about art writing have often involved shifting it from being “on” art practice to being both “on and as.” So what is that “for” doing?

Kelsey’s texts include journalism, catalogue essays, press releases, Top 10 listings, and introductions. In his preface Kelsey finds a metaphor for his writing practice in the Microsoft Corporation’s RTF document file format, which can transfer material between platforms whilst maintaining its human legibility. Kelsey goes on:

Many of the texts included here attempt to  engage (and perform) the problem of their own participation within (and extension of) the networked, communicational space they share with art. They are produced on the same screen that’s used to visualise, organize, and mobilize contemporary art, and so no matter what they say, or however inaccurate their perceptions and judgements may be, they know they are close to art, in fact simultaneous with it. (7-8)

Tine Melzer and Kaspar Andreasen, The Grass is Greener on the Other Side (2005)

Kelsey goes on to observe how these texts were produced amidst a number of other professional tasks, including the founding of Reena Spaulings Fine Art in New York, and a collaborative writing practice as a member of Bernadette Corporation. How do these practices relate to writing? Kelsey concludes:

… these “rich texts” are also immediately involved with the question of how to elaborate (habitable) rhythms of production today. The reason for avoiding the professional identity of either a writer or an artist, a critic or a dealer, is to bring ourselves closer (and in a more fascinated way) to the problem of how art works under its present conditions. To get closer to a possible and paradoxical definition of art through assuming art’s increasing loss of distinction from other communicative activities. Doing several things at once has been a way of remaining unemployed even in the midst of constant, inescapable employment. Writing, too, can be a form of unemployment within employment, and so is closer than ever to art. (8)

That central to any practice of writing is the articulation of some model of relation of writing and art is picked up on by Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw in their editors introduction. Suggestively, they suggest the identity of the “hack” may be a useful pseudonym or mask, citing Kelsey’s own statement that “To play is not to calculate profits, it’s to explore multiple forms of distance from oneself. If the critic is always right, the hack is always there – always in play.”

Having cited all this at length I should say that, working on Saturday’s talk, I have been pondering my own relation to this set of ideas, wondering if its actually describing the context I find myself in, or something else, or how precisely this pattern of similarity and difference works.

I’ve also been wondering if there is some way of thinking this through that draws on the various reading-lamp sculptures of Josef Strau. I’ll report back next week.

NOTE: Two further events in the Art/ Writing Talks series are scheduled. On 27th November, at Spike Island in Bristol at 2pm, Daniel Jewesbury, Tamarin Norwood and Jesse Jones will discuss Text and Context. A final session on 11th December, sees Maria Fusco, Maeve Connolly and Kevin Atherton gathered around the theme of Place and Possibility at the Goethe Institute in Dublin. See the schedule here.


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. 


In Uncategorized on August 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm


Emma Cocker, Field Proposal (2010)


THE DEPARTMENT OF MICRO- POETICS will be in long-distance residence at the  AC Institute, New York as part of Exchange Value (Sep 9-Oct 16 2010). Co-ordinated from London by VerySmallKitchen, the Department offers ongoing research into the histories and contemporary manifestations of  micro-poetic practices, conceived of both as a form of writing and a quality and practice of invitation, economy and relation.

For EXCHANGE VALUE the Department compiled an exhibition in the form of a box of ideas, scores, drawings, maps, lists, books and wall texts, sent from London to be installed by curators at the AC Institute space in New York.  

The Department currently includes projects by Rachel Lois Clapham, Emma Cocker, Matt Dalby, James Davies/ If P Then Q, The Festival of Nearly Invisible Publishing, Marianne Holm Hansen, Márton Koppány, Marit Muenzberg/ LemonMelon, Tamarin Norwood, Mary Paterson, Seekers of Lice and Mary Yacoob.  The DEPARTMENT is a working space and new works and texts will be added throughout the month, along with updates on the departments research. 

Marianne Holm Hansen, For The Record (2010)


The Department has also extended an invitation to New York based poets, editors, and artists to consider how they might make use of the Department as a work, exhibition and/or performance space. Residents are invited to make an intervention in the space for gallery visitors, and to have a correspondence (in any form) with the Department in London. New York Artists in residence include Kai Fierle-Hedrick and Rachel Zolf, Paolo Javier and Jill Magi. More information about their projects – including events, publications, installations and performances – will be available soon.

On gallery opening days, THE BULLETIN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS will be published in London, emailed to the AC Institute and distributed in the space. Copies of the template will be available in the space for visitors to contribute their own issues of the bulletin, exploring an open model of publication and research, and how diverse forms of exchange and distribution can be represented in the gallery space. 

THE DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS participates in the possibilities and crisis of poetries non-monetary economy of gift exchange.  It is  curated/ Assembled by David Berridge/ VerySmallKitchen. For more information contact David at More to follow….


In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 8:41 am



Márton Koppány, The Secret, from Endgames (Otoliths, 2008)



Opening Event Friday 3rd September 6-9pm.

Exhibition/ reading room open every Fri-Sun 12-5, or by appointment.

See The Pigeon Wing website  for new additions and full program of events.

For their residency at The Pigeon Wing, VerySmallKitchen presents a month long exploration of how writing moves (or not) between the locations of WRITING/ EXHIBITION/ PUBLICATION.  Throughout September The Pigeon Wing will be both work space and exhibition,  with a program of exhibitions, readings, performances, research projects, libraries, and screenings, exploring an abundance of forms and practices at the interface of writing and art practices.  

Notes, essays, scripts, scores, propositions, live writings, scrawls, appropriations, assemblings and dissemblings, accretive structures and/or deletions,  are some of the strategies to be explored by a range of contemporary practitioners from the UK, Hungary, Ireland, the US and elsewhere. Throughout the exhibition, the gallery will also provide a focal point for the THE FESTIVAL OF NEARLY INVISIBLE PUBLISHING, a programme of self-organised events happening throughout the world, evidence of which are submitted to the gallery for archive and display.

The unfolding exhibition is organised around four key areas: WRITING LIVE, THE DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-POETICS, EXHIBITION/ PUBLICATION, and ASSEMBLING (the last presenting a remarkable exhibition-within-an-exhibition from Franticham/ Red Fox Press’s unique archive of rare assembling publications from 1970-2010).  Whilst many artists have created texts and installations specifically for the space, others will produce work that unfolds at each of the live events, whilst other scores and contractual arrangements unfold at times not publicly announced.  As part of Deptford X a final weekend will see artists working in the space leading up to a final performance event and feast. 

See the website for full timetable of events.  As well as opening and closing performance events, the schedule currently includes: Ignite and Reprise: Films by Matthew MacKissack; LemonMelon Publishing Seminar; DISSASSEMBLING CANNON by Phil Baber; Aphorism as Art Practice seminar; conversations with Simon Cutts and Francis van Maele; and month long writing residencies from Press Free Press, Julia Calver, Hammam Aldouri (assistanted by Helen Kaplinsky) and Tamarin Norwood.  

THE PIGEON WING also operates an open house/ reading room on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Individuals and groups whose work relates to the research topics of the exhibition are invited to present their work, join us for an informal conversation, come read and consult the library and other materials.  Projects unable to make it the gallery at these times, may submit materials online. Viewing by appointment outside these times. 


Hammam Aldouri

Phil Baber


Julia Calver

Maurice Carlin

Anne Charnock

Rachel Lois Clapham

Emma Cocker

Simon Cutts

Matt Dalby

James Davies

Sonia Dermience

Karen Di Franco

Marianne Holm Hansen

Sarah Jacobs

Joy as Tiresome Vandalism

The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press

Helen Kaplinsky

Mirja Koponen

Márton Koppány

Freek Lomme/ Onomatopee

Matthew MacKisack

Marit Muenzberg/ LemonMelon 

Tamarin Norwood

Pippa Koszerek

Mary Paterson

Press Free Press

Red Fox Press

Colin Sackett

Seekers of Lice 

Mary Yacoob

WRITING/EXHIBITION/PUBLICATION is curated by David Berridge.  The event includes the FESTIVAL OF NEARLY INVISIBLE PUBLISHING, open for submissions throughout the month. 



Performances by Julia Calver, Press Free Press, Helen Kaplinsky, Tamarin Norwood

Fri 17th September  7pm Matthew MacKisack: Initial and Reprise. Three films.  

Sun 19th  September 2pm Aphorism as Art Practice Sunday

Sat 25th September  2pm LemonMelon Publishing Seminar with Marit Muenzberg  and James Davies,  including Phil Baber’s performance DISASSEMBLING CANNON

Sat 2nd- Sun 3rd October LIVE WRITING

Artists in residence in the space throughout the weekend include  Matt Dalby, Rachel Lois Clapham, Marianne Holm Hansen, and Press Free Press.

Sun 3rd October  7pm closing meal/ performance event

Performances include Julia Calver, Matt Dalby, James Davies, Marianne Holm Hansen, Press Free Press, and Helen Kaplinksy. Plus- 



In Uncategorized on June 24, 2010 at 6:59 am


Mirja Koponen, The Shadow of a Train, 2010


This Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 25-27 my script The Shadow of A Train will be installed at the Totalkunst Gallery in Edinburgh, curated by Mirja Koponen with responses from Sara Sinclair and Stephen Goodall, as part of the Suitcase Series/ Betamaps Festival. On Friday 25th at 3pm there will be a conversation with the artist Gerry Smith (details here).

The project began with two paragraphs by the Russian writer Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, which can be read here

These were made into a script. Mirja distributed the script to a group of artists in Edinburgh and elsewhere, and in June they met to discuss the project.

MIRJA: We ( Mirja, Sara, Stephen) got together in the gallery last week to discuss the score.  While we had all had different amount of time to engage with the text, we all had somewhat similar responses to the score. We all felt that it drew some kind of faint ring around us, while we could not quite grasp it. It did not yield to us something of itself that was palpable. The words were there, but were not in some sense meaningful, apart from their own very particular ring. We felt we could not iterate what we expected from the text, and how the score was meanwhile replacing these expectations yet with something else. We felt the text(s) were very evocative, physically so almost. None of us had felt compelled to read the score in linear fashion, but had rather worked through it in parts and sessions.  Our thinking had started with what we know – how to think in terms of sensing/translating into visual. This included various visual  interpretations of the text itself. 

Discussing the score together and finding out more about how we collectively had felt about encountering it,  we opened the idea of the exhibition not being not so much a visually legible space, but happening(s) in the space during the three days we had set aside to ourselves as ‘the exhibition’. We also discussed the idea of the process of transformation itself  being the very subject of the exhibition, i.e. it not showing an exhibition as an ‘outcome’ but rather a solicitation for yet a next stage in the process. We run through the scenarios of working with this idea by inviting the audience to participate in some situation we would set up.  We then veered towards a different kind of suggestive approach. There is an archipelago of texts set up by the score, and they all need a certain amount  of adjusting from the reader, as they rub against each other during a reading. We thought to attempt three different approaches to the whole process, that would require a similar shift in ‘reading’, three entirely different (visual) syntaxes that would all flow out of the score, but settle on three altogether different planes.   

The result was the following plan of action that will take place this week:


So, for the first day we want to provide a direct ‘interpretation’ of the score; a space for medi(t)ation of it.   The score itself is provided in an aural form, read by multiple voices, and the viewer in the gallery is invited to experience it directly sitting in a chair while facing the street through a large picture window. The city scene provides an everchanging visual ‘score’ to accompany the aural one, while the viewer is visible through the window onto the street, in turn  herself becoming the ‘content’ of the exhibition space.  In this case, each experience of the score is an individual’s interpretation. The exhibition is a ‘terminal’ that lets go of the text in order for it to live on in the viewers memories of it. 

Mirja Koponen, The Shadow of a Train, 2010



The next day we want to shift the focus on the process of ‘translation’ as the mode of being for the work. We want to exhibit the rest of the various interpretations of the score in short text form, as an exhibition of multiple takes, a collective body of projections each replacing another. We have selected three of these responses that will get ‘imagined/illustrated’ in three ways, once by each of us. We will exhibit these illustrated moquettes alongside the collected textual interpretations of the score, which itself is omitted from the space.  This approach produces some new materials and strategies that can be used for further work in various ways.


Finally, for the third day, we will perform the text into a (visual) form. We will focus on the refrain ‘black garden’. We will bring with us choice materials including but not limited to text/paper/paint/scissors/books/rock/various forms of ‘black’. We will proceed to grow the garden in situ, in real time, by any means that seem appropriate at that time. We will work as (visual) artists, each according to our own preferences and predilections, while also responding to the situation as a collective whole. Everything will be possible, and everything will be at risk. This approach is entirely outside what can be planned for, and therefore this is all that can be said about it.


The Shadow of a Train – reading in TotalKunst, 3 Bristo place, 20th June 2010




The performance part of the project began last weekend, with a group reading in the gallery, which Mirja described as follows: 

The score of the upcoming exhibition is read in two variants for DISTANCE – from a distance, for creating a distance. The first reading forms a dialogue, the second reading a three voice choreography.

She also sent the following notes on the event: 

The Shadow of a Train – reading in TotalKunst, 3 Bristo place, 20th June 2010

Brought into the space: two printed versions of the script, an ‘old one’, and a ‘new one’. Three readers, unknown to each other. 

The script was read twice, first time between two people, myself and the poet John Mackie. We played the first Dragomoshchenko paragraph with a pre-recorded voice of the writer David Berridge, the author of the script, and then read in turns, sitting on the opposite sides of the room facing each other. I asked John to read until he felt it was enough, then I would pick it up and would on my turn do the same. 

In this way, we would have to feel the text, and also to give in to the rhythm of the reading, our own and the other’s. What emerged, was a dialogue, where we had to subtly negotiate the turn-over point. It felt very personal, yet at the same time we both intuitively worked around the fixed structure of our given text. As the two versions were slightly different, there were also moments when the text read outloud deviated from what the other participant was following on the page, the text buckling off the page, meandering and then returning to what is fixed. 

These slight vagaries in reading acted like  a short recourse of thought into something private – like a momentary lapse in concentration, an intrusion of a memory – or as an erosion, or a brief collapse of the structure of the text.

The next reading was between three people, myself, John Mackie and the artist Rocio van Jungenfeldt. John had read the text before, Rocio had not. We would again read according to our own sense, taking turns. This reading formed very differently, not a dialogue but a choreography. As we had only two copies of the text between us, we ended up  simply passing them around, working together. We chanced upon a common rhythm  that was first tentative, punctuated with pauses as question marks, then increasingly playful, as we began spontaneously  to work into the reading layers with multiple voices. 

John, an experienced reader, easily memorized passages of the text and addressed other readers directly, animating the reading by imbuing his own volition into it – a kind of love affair with the text. This made the focus constantly shift between the world that the words were transporting us into and suspending us in, and the chemistry of the  forming relationships between people in very close proximity. 

All this reading was weaving in and out of  the sounds of the street, the café, and John Mackies sound piece playing in the gallery. It’s audio track records the sounds of  a sea coast, winds, sea swelling and surging and waves crashing to the shore. The words washed over us similarly, allowing the kind of relaxation of focus that makes you senses clearer and keener. 

While the feel of the architectonics of the score was never lost during the reading, the contingencies presented by reading in live time with an un-fixed procedure invited us to step into the text and engage with it, visit it while inserting ourselves in it, so shifting our roles from being an observer, or a witness to the text to that of an owner and  a maker of it for that short stretch of time.  


In Uncategorized on June 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm

The above project is an extract from Gerry Smith’s The Universal History III. An installation shot of the complete work as part of this year’s Edinburgh College of Art MFA Degree show is below.  Gerry describes the whole project as follows: 

 The Universal History III is a “non-self portrait” made up of 396 postcards, each of which has a quotation from one of the non-fiction books in my library. The quotations were selected from pages which were chosen at random, and the intention was to discard the obviously quotable( no spectres haunting Europe here!) The relation between postcard and book is maintained via colour coding, and the work is arranged in alphabetical order by book title. The postcards are displayed on frames which are in effect collapsed bookshelves.

Gerry notes that before sending the email containing this text, the spell check picked up that he had written “bookselves” instead of “bookshelves” and that this same pun of shelf/ self appears in his Essential Reading project. 


VerySmallKitchen will hold a conversation with Gerry in Edinburgh at the Totakunst Gallery on June 25th at 3pm. More information about that event, and some notes by Gerry on his book works, can be found here.


In Uncategorized on May 4, 2010 at 6:36 am


'Y-The Black Issue' Issue, curated by Sonia Dermience, 2010.


VerySmallKitchen, in collaboration with Short Term Solutions, will hold a public conversation on connections of writing, exhibition and publication, with Sonia Dermience on Friday May 21st 7-9pm. 

The conversation will unfold from a consideration of ‘Y-The Black Issue’, a publication and exhibition project curated by Sonia Dermience /In residency at Far Away So Close, which she describes as follows:  

The exhibition Y is a decor, a mise-en-scène for action whilst the publication Y is a script for a project motivated by the desire to combat the darkness and cold. For the exhibition, which takes place in the context of a small seaside city, deserted in the winter by tourists, the artists assembled material to create a large scale installation. The publication Y is conceived as a collectively created artists book, a black and white reader in which the contributions overlap to mirror its process of creation. In pocket book form, it highlights the relationship between the curators, artists and designers through the gathering of fragments of conversations, poetry and images about SAD (seasonal affective disorder), melancholy, northern lights, weather, countryside, second residencies…

All welcome. The conversation will be a round table facilitated by David Berridge, Karen Di Franco,  Marit Muenzberg and Mary Paterson . 

This is a semi-public event at  the Short Term Solutions studio space in Bethnal Green. To reserve a place and receive directions please email David at

CURATOR BIO: Sonia Dermience (born 1971, lives in Brussels) founded Komplot in 2002, a curatorial collective concerned with nomadic creative practices, trends of specialisation and the infiltration of spaces. Projects such as ‘Vollevox’ or ‘Architecture of Survival’ explored new terrain in relation to objects, spaces, artists and the public.

She has conducted extensive research into post ’68 collaborative art practices in Belgium; organizing seminars and making two documentary films with Kosten Koper. This research is on-going with ‘Marcel’, a collective film and the itinerary exhibition, workshop and publication ‘Y-The Black Issue’. Komplot founded The Public School in Brussels, November 2009, in a joint venture with a residency program at Nadine. 

This conversation with Sonia is the first in an itinerant series by VerySmallKitchen exploring the relationships of writing, exhibition, and publication. The second will take place in Edinburgh in June at the TOTALKUNST gallery. Email for more information.


In Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm


Richard Long, Sixteen Works, Coracle, London, 1984.



The following essay, “The Gallery and the Book” by Thomas A Clark, was first published in THE CORACLE: Coracle Press Gallery 1975-1987 (London, 1989) on occasion of an exhibition at the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, from 7 Nov 1989 to 14 Jan 1990.

It is reprinted here with the intention to insert into contemporary art writing debates and practices its clear working through of  relations and questions of art and writing, publication and exhibition, how all parts of that relationship propose and enact forms of (architectural) space, order, and hospitality.

It also invites us to conceive of those debates via a working concept of pastoral.  Thanks to Thomas A.Clark for permission to reprint. More information about his work can be seen here. For information about CORACLE see here.

Often the most subtle and affecting pleasure of an exhibition occurs around and between the exhibited works, in the space the exhibition brings to life. As a glade is something other than the trees but which would not exist without the trees, so the pieces in an exhibition may make a clearing in which they are at last present to themselves, in which relations between works become more evident, in which natural light can come to play. Since the moment when pictures stepped out of their frames and sculptures came down from their plinths, this sylvan idyll has been common and artists have understood that an exhibition should be something more than a gathering of finished works. To compose a living, changing space, a charged context, is part of the strategy of contemporary art.

This orchestration of space aims at something extra, an added grace. Yet the result may be so convincing as to seem the very condition of the works, their natural air. In a sympathetic space, a work may suddenly come into focus, with all its details, its tones and overtones, sharp and clear. The movement from one work to another, the dialogue between them, the extent of wall or floor they are able to hold, the light that falls upon them, all these factors begin to be felt as the exhibition takes shape. Where the artist or curator is insensitive to such considerations, the exhibition will remain inert, a number of separate pieces. Where such care is taken, the gallery is made new. 

The exhibition, in this sense of a bright glade, is not for sale. It exists only for those who can perceive it. It is real but immaterial, comes into being when the works are hung and is dismantled when they are taken down. It may be more lovely than the works themselves. The finite nature of such a space, its lack of commercial motive, the way it often occurs at the farthest reach of the artist’s intentions, is a guarantee of its purity. It may be as fine as a quality of air or as tangible as a challenge. It may be a test for which the artist has long prepared himself or the element in which he moves, a part of his regular practice. Just as we can turn our attention from the particulars of a landscape to breathe the air ,so the visitor can turn aside from individual works to appreciate the surrounding space.

Those galleries are best which allow their spaces to be modified in interesting and adventurous ways. Those galleries are best which are capable of such modifications. An exhibition which moves to different venues is seldom successful in the terms I am trying to indicate. It is either too loose, a mere number of pieces, or too tight, a constructed environment to be placed within another environment. A resonant space, which is the result of a sensibility responding to a particular set of circumstances, to a place, is seldom managed with travelling exhibitions.

If the gallery is not seen just as a place to present work (or to exploit it) but is respected as a space with its own discretions and possibilities, then the chances of an inventive use of space are more likely. How light enters a room, for instance, its shifts and moods throughout the day can be of constantly changing interest. An exhibition visited at different times of the day, or on different days, can change dramatically in its colours and tensions. The relative size of walls, the sight-lines, corners and alcoves, may suggest solutions in hanging which are specific to particular works. All this can be held and understood within the space created by an exhibition. Another exhibition in the same room will work differently with the given conditions.

Although considerations of space are now a commonplace of good artistic practice, I have teased them out here because I believe that perceptions arising from these considerations, or analogous to them,  have been carried over valuably into the making of artists’ books. The best book works show an understanding of book form as acute as the artist’s awareness of gallery space. As in ill-conceived exhibitions, the least interesting artists’ books treat the book as a portmanteau for the housing of separately conceived works. Where the form is handled well, the movement within the book and its integrity as an object are as satisfying as felicitous space in a gallery.

The first, and in some respects the most incisive, conception of the artists’ book is that it is an exhibition which can be taken away. Where the energised space of an exhibition lasts only for a certain time, where it is unique to a particular gallery, in a book everything stays in place. A book is a permanent exhibition. Its dimensions are specific, its imaginative space boundless. It can be bought for a small sum of money and owned by many people. The aura and prestige of unique works are broken to allow a freedom and idealism more associated with poetry than with fine art. The lightness and flexibility of the form, like the openness of space, tempts the artist closer to the edge of risk.

Whatever its size, a book may be give the status within an artist’s work equivalent to an exhibition. It will usually receive the same care and consideration. It is not a minor work, an accessory to the artist’s involvements in more conventional forms. A book may realise aspects of an artist’s work which cannot be adequately contained in a gallery. The major works of some artists may appear in book form and may or may not be translated later to a gallery space. For many artists, the opportunity to make a book is considered no differently from the chance to show in a gallery, each project being worked out according to its possibilities and circumstances.

At this point it is, perhaps, necessary to distinguish artists’ books from other publishing ventures. The artists’ book is not a catalogue. It may bear little or no relation to an exhibition. It is a new work and not a record of previous works. Artists’ books are quite definitely distinguished from livre d’artiste. The latter is essentially an aspect of printmaking and bears the same evidence of authenticity as does the original print: edition number, fine paper, expensive price, traces of the artist’s hand. etc. In contrast, the artists’ book is often cheap, mass-produced, and seldom involves the artist in its printing. Where the livre d’artiste exploits notions of rarity, expertise and connoisseurship, the artists’ book usually subverts such notions.

Just as an understanding of language nurtures the sense of space, book works are most successful when the conventions of book-making are respected. It is within these conventions that innovations are made and an improvisatory freedom is enjoyed. Good artists’ books look matter-of-fact rather than extraordinary. However beautiful their production, they tend to neatness and control rather than extravagance. Eccentricity is usually precisely that, the departure from a carefully defined centre. It is when the genre becomes invisible that the work is most revealed. As in all post-modernism, there is an awareness and enjoyment of materials and styles but these are worn lightly, treated as natural concerns rather than indulgences. 

The page, for instance, might be thought of as an area of white wall on which a text or image can be located. As a picture would most probably be hung at eye-level, so the classical situation for a single word on a page is somewhere just north of centre. Once this is appreciated, any departure is felt as such. It becomes meaningful in its relations to the convention. As pictures hung near the floor or in an asymmetrical arrangement will be read in a particular way, so typography also has its topography. By movement away from the classic proportions, the wall or page is made evident. 

There are, of course, further conventions which govern the sizes of books, the binding, paper, continuity of pages, etc. These can all be used or avoided in the making of a book work. Reading through Simon Cutts’ “odeon ocean“, we come across the title page in the middle of the book. It is a surprise! Has the book been collated wrongly? What would happen to the order of the pages were we to reassemble the book ourselves? This is, of course, an example, of the sort of humour we expect in Cutts’ poetry, the sort of game that he usually plays with language, although in this case the language is that of book production. The device is made possible by, and draws attention to, the fact that the book consists of a single sewn gathering which has simply been reversed to create this deliberate mistake. It is less of an avant-garde gesture than the risk of someone who is playfully at ease with the conventions. 

A more pervasive but no less acute sense of the book’s properties and possibilities is shown by Richard  Long in books such as Twelve Works and Sixteen Works. The format of these books is characteristically restrained and workmanlike. Text works are set in sans-serif type in black or, occasionally, red ink. Yet, within the austerity there is considerable variety and movement. The ideas and contents of the works vary a great deal and the lay-out of the words on the page is consistently inventive. Each work is isolated by the left-hand page being left blank. This gives them an outdoor clarity or the emphasis of works on a gallery wall. All is in accordance with Long’s preference for an impersonal, geometrical art. Long works within the space of a book in exactly the way that he works in a gallery; in an alert, professional manner, the context allowing the work its full power, the clarity of the work ordering the space around it.

Richard Long, Twelve Works, Coracle, London, 1981.


In Hamish Fulton’s Song Of The Skylark, a similar confidence is carried through a single long work. The book consists of a number of texts annotating short walks or runs round Fulton’s home near Canterbury, each walk or run taking up one page and the pages accumulating to make a complex, many-faceted work. As each walk was complete in itself, so each page is self-sufficient but the discipline of running and walking regularly over the same territory provides a rich collection of periodic or intermittent occurrences. To read through  the book is to absorb an amount of similar and dissimilar information, the recurring experiences providing a firm structure for Fulton’s lyrical perceptiveness. It seems perfectly natural when a sequence of two-mile runs is interrupted on the seventh day of the seventh month, when he takes just seven pages. There is no need here for the production to draw attention to itself, since the idea of an artist making a book is perfectly assimilated.

Hamish Fulton, Song Of The Skylark, Coracle, London, 1982


I have chosen these few examples from books published or produced by Coracle  Press because, although their output is varied and often eccentric, they have consistently understood that a complete assimilation of the book form may well result in a modesty of production. They have no so much insisted on the book as an object as allowed it to function as a space. Just as Coracle’s gallery space was informal and welcoming, so they have welcomed the artist into the production process, often to achieve a remarkable balance between the format and the work. More generally, the freshness and idealism, the disinterestedness and tact that we may find applied to the orchestration of space in a gallery, is characteristic of the whole enterprise of artists’ books. I think they come from the same source, an awareness that the creative process is a vocation that extends beyond the production of separate, self-enclosed, unique works.


In Uncategorized on April 26, 2010 at 9:38 am


First Announcement by THE COMMUNICATION COMPANY, Haight Ashbury, 1967


VerySmallKitchen invite submissions for a series of A3 broadsides, to be published as part of The Writer’s House, a live writing and publication project as part of AWAY DAY, a three day festival of art and performance in Wandle Park, Colliers Wood, London, 29-31 May 2010.

There are no prescriptions as to the content of the posters, but submissions are invited which engage with how both event and park can function as a place of publication and distribution. For more details about the AWAY DAY event see here

A series of broadsides will be selected and distributed in Wandle Park, Colliers Wood. Copies will also be available for online download and included in a print publication of THE WRITER’S HOUSE project. 

Writers from any geographical location are invited to submit. The final selection will include a number of writers who are able to attend the event for live readings of their broadsides.  

Please send your contribution as a one page A3 black and white PDF exactly as you wish it to be published to David Berridge at verysmallkitchen@gmail. 

Also include a short 100 word bio, and indicate whether or not you are available to read your broadside during the event. The deadline is May 20th 2010.