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Resonance fm is broadcasting a new audio work of mine this afternoon as part of Digestives, the ongoing art writing radio series from antepress. It’s going to be be aired on today at 4:30pm and repeated Friday 20 November at 7:30pm.

You can listen live by clicking the ‘Listen Now’ mp3 stream at www.resonancefm.com, or tune in to 104.4fm inside London. Afterwards it will be available to download as a podcast at www.antepress.co.uk/digestives.php.

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construction1

I found out this week that a book I’m making is going to be published by (un)limited store in December. The book will be launched in December at ArtistBook International at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and before that there’s lots of work to do. It’s a kind of instruction manual and I’m calling it DO SOMETHING. Here are some ideas about the book:

In Literature it is only necessary to outline the steps. Let the people dance!*

DO SOMETHING uses the generic diagrammatic form of the instruction manual to create a specific dance of objects and actions.

The objects in the manual are imaginary, and do not exist outside of their drawings on paper. Arranged about the page as if to accommodate a text which is missing, the images are left to speak on their own. Like a translation whose original has been lost, these floating instructions are a trace without a reference, telling a story that cannot be grasped. Read the rest of this entry »

pear-holder

Some other holders are here.

option

You have to choose utensils and put them all out on the kitchen table. Get a cup. Look at the shapes of the utensils, because some of them already have handles that you can use to help you. Consider the straight handles of some of the large spoons and pick up some of them while you think about them. Spend a long time holding two matching metal spoons with wooden handles because they each have a hole at the end which you can use to tie them together with string.

Test the spoons to see if they can hold the body of the cup between them if you press the ends of the two wooden handles towards each other. See if the spoons can lift the cup clear of the table. Find that the cup slides between the metal in such a way that it could slip out and fall.

Read the rest of this entry »

In The Dictation of Poetry (1996) Giorgio Agamben gives a historical summary of the relationship between speech and life in the context of poetry, fiction and autobiography.

He works forward from the Gospel of John (“life is what is made in speech and what remains indistinguishable from it and close to it“), through Provençal poetry (with the razo text as “an experience of the event of language as love“) and Petrarch’s Canzoniere (in which “life now stands on one side, and poetry, on the other side, is only literature, mourning the irremediable death of Laura”),  to twentieth century Italian poet Antonio Delfini, who “evokes and, at the same time, wards off with terrible scorn […] a vision of life forever departing from speech […] and presuming to state officially that it lives“.

I want to look at the relationship between speech and life in terms of art and writing, and how one may frame, dictate, or critique the other. To add to Agamben’s account: Read the rest of this entry »

Two Junes ago I painted in big letters on the back of my door this sentence*:

it-is-not-that

Something must be done, but we can’t be sure what. Be tentative. Write notebooks not masterpieces. Be wary of jumping to distinctions between things. Be troubled by the difference between the object and what’s around it. Seamlessly join things.

The work I make wades through these imperatives, merging art objects with life objects, text with paper, language with stuff and stuff with language… generally denying the difference between the object and what’s around it. Read the rest of this entry »

Chris and Gabor have offered me two evenings in the forthcoming A Stain Upon the Silence show with which to do anything I like. Brave. The exhibition is curated around “Samuel Beckett’s nihilism”, which Chris describes as a crisis between the existential position that “human meaning is layers upon the inevitable void with the purpose of avoidance”, and the postmodern position that “meanings are little more than chains of empty signifiers relating more to each other, or to habit, than to the real world”.

I don’t know how far I share these interests but I find sufficient correspondence between what he’s written and what I’ve been working on to feel I can just produce something – anything – that I’m convinced by and interested in, and the parallels will be there. This is good, and unusual.

So. I’m taking it as an opportunity to work on the lecture series I was planning last year. My interest with them was, I suppose, related to this idea that “it is not that nothing can be done but that something must be done and that we cannot be sure what to do”. It’s the idea of purposeful inaction – as I wrote in that curious manifesto text a while ago: “I am for losing my way and marching onwards purposefully towards a thing which I wish would work”. I want a sense of purpose in the talks, but purpose and direction towards something uncertain, that remains open and inconclusive. Read the rest of this entry »

On Wednesday night I sent these notes to the other people in the May exhibition at the Menier Gallery. I’m working on an exhibition essay and they are some of the early thoughts I’ve had:

Looking through our initial proposal a number of ideas and moods seem to recur. We might be able to tighten some of these diverse but related strands of our practices by focusing in on a single knot that I think all our work is grappling with one way or another.

I think our projects all converge around a certain use of inhabited objects and spaces. We are using domestic, everyday or physical environments to pin down a kind of ‘default’ position: a safe, familiar or established position. In each of our projects what I think we’re foregrounding is the disquiet between this ‘default’ state and some hoped-for, ideal or imaginary state.

Working all together as a corpus of work, our projects seem to pose a question and suggest an answer. Inhabiting spaces that bear the weight of historical or institutional intent; reflecting that our aspirations are unlikely and our memories transient – what route is left, if we’re blocked off by the status quo of the way things are? We have to invent. We have to get in amongst the stuff of the world, get our fingers behind it and peel it off, so that we’re left with a celebration of the plurality and irreconcilability of it all. We have to pack up our worldly things into boats and row back to our childhoods; ignore gravity and fall without landing. Read the rest of this entry »

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