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I’ve just spotted online the Jolly (Good) Show review I wrote for a-n. It opens: “People don’t like it when you get your shoes lost under the desk and you slope around the office in your tights. It’s not professional.”

It occurs to me this is the second review I’ve written involving tights. The other one is at Kultur Fabric: a fictional exhibition I invented by writing its review. And then there was that plan I had involving all the tights with holes in, which never amounted to anything. I do still have all the holey tights, in two large cardboard boxes.

Lots to think about following the Art/Writing Talks at Spike Island on Saturday.

I plan to write out a response in the coming weeks, but for the time being below is a slideshow recording of my own presentation, which considers the possibility of reciprocation between art and writing and between practice and everyday life.

This was the second of three Art/Writing Talks curated and chaired by Fiona Fullam, and also presenting were Daniel Jewesbury and Jesse Jones.

The first of the talks was at The Dock, Carrick-On-Shannon on 13 November, with speakers David Berridge, Declan Long and Tine Melzer: David Berridge writes more about the event here. The final event will be at The Goethe Institute, Dublin on 11 December, with speakers Maria Fusco and Maeve Connolly.

On the train yesterday I was reading the London Review of Books (having unrelatedly had a pot of tea with four words in its name at the LRB Cake Shop the very same day) (and cake).

One of the articles is Do Not Scribble, Amanda Vickery’s review of two new books on letter writing: The Pen and the People: English Letter-Writers 1660-1800 (Susan Whyman) and Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters (Dena Goodman). Vickery writes:

“No lady’s desk was complete without a secret drawer in which to hide valuables and letters. A place of privacy is central to Goodman’s conception of the autonomy of the letter-writer. The secrétaire guarded a lady’s secrets and advertised her claim to thoughts of her own.” (LRB Nov 2010: Vol. 32 No. 21, p.36)

Advertising one’s secrecy is contradictory. (We can talk about gender or colonialism here if we like, or about artist statements.) Keeping things in a known secret place makes the secrecy a public practice, and only the detail of the secret remains private. If the compartment weren’t generally known about, it follows, then the secrets would only be half valid, the private mind being significant only in relation to the public perception of that mind. (The artist’s anguish.) There is still plenty of space for secrecy within the detail of a secret, but its nature changes somewhat when its form is prepared for in the carpentry of a desk.

Instead one might choose to keep a secret compartment with, secretly, no secrets in it at all, or to hide secret things in another truly secret compartment while leaving nothing of particular interest under lock and key in the known hiding place – or to just leave secrets lying around indifferently, disguised as everyday things.

For its contribution to INVITATION ONLY at SIDESHOW, VerySmallKitchen presents WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS KEEPING IT MOVING, a one day exhibition in response to a proposition within an artists book fair within an arts festival in Nottingham within unfolding networks of new, ongoing and potential collaborations and exchanges.

Featuring: Jonathan Jones/ The Sticky Pages Press, thwart; Pippa Koszerek, Top 100 and Spoiler(Glossary); C S Leigh, Syntax (London, New York and Tokyo versions); Achim Lengerer, SCRIPTINGS; Jill Magi, SMALL TALK SMALL BOOKS; Tamarin Norwood, Homologue and DO SOMETHING; Onomatopee, A Task for Poetry 1-3; seekers of lice, LOUSE FACTORY, QUOT and dumb show; Red Fox Press, C’est Mon Dada and Franticham’s Assembling Box.

For more information see the VerySmallKitchen site.

Sideshow Artists Book Fair
Today: Saturday 30 October 2010 – 1:00pm – 6:00pm

My most recent post for the blog is here. (See also this post.) The text of this post is copied in full below as it has something in common with the Pigeon Wing project I’m working on.

The person at 298b has only a very small window offering almost no view at all: just the top of a brick wall and a few inches of sky. This is inadequate. At times he feels like staring into the plotless scrolling of people and things you get through proper windows, but there’s nothing to see. The view’s blank.

So at times like these he’s started building the view himself. Read the rest of this entry »

Here are some of the birds:

Fitfully watching these birds as I approached a writing deadline last month I was continually distracted by the thought that they looked a good deal better equipped for writing than me. The birds have certain ways of being that I think would lend themselves to the practice of writing. Ways of organizing ideas, putting sounds together, getting priorities in order. I’d like to learn about writing from these birds. I don’t know how to begin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Below is a response to Anton’s comment on my earlier post On Thyme.

Yes, I would rather no human shaping at all.

And yes, where language tries to describe things as themselves, it fails. The description interrupts its object, causes it to recede from description, and in its place describes something altogether different. The thing described is not the same as the coexistent thing that evaded description. The particular quality of a thing – a thing as it is, on its own, “resting in its thing-being” – is precisely that it is undescribed*. Described, the thing is no longer the thing it was, and the thing it was recedes, evading description. Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Schwenger in Words and the Murder of the Thing [1]:

“In the satirical hodgepodge that is book three of Gulliver’s Travels, the prize exhibit is undoubtedly the Academy of Lagado. Among its improbable schemes is one designed to avoid the “Diminution of Our Lungs by Corrosion”; as well, this scheme would achieve communicative precision and provide an infallible esperanto. It consists simply in abolishing all words and replacing them with their referents:

‘Since Words are only Names for Things, it would be more convenient for all Men to carry about them, such Things as were necessary to express the particular Business they are to discourse on […] which hath only this Inconvenience attending to it; that if a Man’s Business be very great, and of various Kinds, he must be obliged in Proportion to carry a greater Bundle of Things upon his Back, unless he can afford one or two strong Servants to attend him.'[2] Read the rest of this entry »

VerySmallKitchen‘s Art Writing Field Station returns tomorrow morning as part of the LECTURE HALL: FREE SCHOOL, a festival organized by Edward Dorrian/Five Years Gallery and The Ladies of the Press. More about the festival is here.

Tomorrow’s Field Station will include presentations by David Berridge, Marit Muenzberg, Tamarin Norwood, and Mary Paterson, along with live broadcast by Karen di Franco and the CONCRETE RADIO project.

More about tomorrow’s event is here, with three brief outlines below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Just uploaded here is an audio recording from The Known Unknowns, a cycle of readings curated by Francesco Pedraglio in November 2009. The event was part of the Volatile Dispersal Festival of Art Writing at the Whitechapel  Gallery.

I read a short text along with the rest of antepress, and our reading is in the segment linked above. The other two segments are online here and here.