I have to summarize the talks we’re working on in a paragraph for the press things. Bad.

But since the talks are coming together now, perhaps it’s a useful time to draw things in a bit. What’s coming out above all is the importance of the form rather than the matter. I want the poetry to be in the structure and the order, not in the words. I’m not ‘exploring’ this in the talks, ‘exploring’ is too timid a word. The talks are asserting and performing a certain relationship between form and matter.

This brings with it the theme of silence, gaps, crossings out, ellipsis etc, as the matter itself recedes into the background. There are resonances here – to a point – with the Barthes Utopian vision of the Rustle of Language. Long quote below from Barthes 1989:78-9.

We are keeping hold of the matter, but it is backgrounded. The matter is necessary texture, but it is more than just a silent placeholder for the fact of speech. We will not drown one another out entirely in the Conversation Piece, and the What To Do talks will keep hold of their words too, even though the emphasis will be elsewhere. There is a correlation between the matter and the form, and it’s in this respect that the talks are performative, demonstrating what they’re describing. We are going to use the space of the words to address the suspended space between subjectivities. …

I don’t like doing this. Writing adverts for artwork is a terribly bad thing to do. I’m trying to make this paragraph of mine not end up sounding kooky or hyper-intellectual or cute or flouncy. How about this piece of committee-designed

Conversation Piece and What To Do are two related talks devised by TN and AH especially for A Stain Upon The Silence. The talks are blank. They are an exercise in keeping hold of cancelled words in an attempt to give shape to the forms that contain them. In Conversation Piece the space left by the words occupies the space between subjectivities and between … What To Do beats time for a series of

assert the form of


Conversation Piece and What To Do are two related talks devised for A Stain Upon The Silence.

” – not wanting to look, but looking. [there is nothing – except being.] Because of the violence of the scene though, [Only what surrenders itself to the image appears,] it wasn’t even a relief to know that they were only dead figs. [and that everything that appears is, in this sense, imaginary.] “