Featured as part of Play! 2014, on 2nd June I exhibited some work pertaining to my thesis amongst Royal Holloway faculty and PhD students in the University’s Practice Gallery. This movable feast-apparatus exists to support ‘the presentation of practice-based research in the UK and beyond. In providing a new, cross-disciplinary platform for practice-based research investigations, the gallery aims to generate new dialogues, collaborations and interventions between academics as well as across academia and artistic communities’.
My theory and praxis (‘THEORY AND PRAXIS’!) always seems all the better for being unseen, because I am a fraud and a coward – the opportunity to account for my doctorate by filling a small backlit, bespoke frame with bloody feathers, anatomically-correct lies and Loch Ness press-cuttings felt like only a good thing.
The gallery comprised 12 units of sculpted furniture (‘Alice’ [a social space, a bench to sit on, a stage and a series of frames], ‘A Capella’ [two shelves and two chairs, meant to invite users to listen to music and encounter objects. There are two mp3 players and a two pairs of headphones and a variety of shelf spaces] and ‘Continuum’ [four shelves meant to display objects, and one of the shelves houses a 22" screen with DVD player]).
Designed and built through a collaboration with Bartlett School of Architecture, my thanks to Nik Wakefield the curator for the opportunity, the Gallery’s designers and to my fellow space-mates Nisha Ramayya, Prue Chamberlain, Diana Damian Martin, Clare Booker, and Libby Worth & Julie Brixey-Williams‘ Step Feather Stitch.
I am delighted to have been long-listed for KCL’s Creative Responses to Modernism with a wee glib closet drama ‘Embark’, all about the different dogs that crop up in salon literature.
Entries were invited from postgraduate students based at the Universities of London and Sussex, with submissions encouraged to ‘continue or challenge the modernist project’ through writing, images, short films, digital artefacts, performances or musical compositions.
The list also features Sarah Chadfield, Mary Horgan, Ivan Juritz [edit: WINNER!! - text of his brilliant ‘A Textual Source for Mallarmé’s Coup de Dés’ available with shortlisted entries here], Kate McEnery, Grace Yeong and a team submission from Simon Vickery, Tom Peters and Edward Szekely.
Final judges for the prize include Lisa Appignanesi, Michael Berkeley, AS Byatt, Alison Duthie, Juliet Gardiner, Jeremy Harding, Michael Holroyd, Stephen Romer and Fiona Shaw. My thanks to the Centre for Modern Literature and Culture for the opportunity, and I look forward to reading and hearing the other submissions.
Now in its second year, The White Review Prize was ‘founded to reward ambitious, imaginative and innovative approaches to creative writing’. I am delighted to have made the shortlist with my piece ‘Spins’ alongside writers whose work I have long admired: please follow the links to read the brilliant ‘MUEUM’ by SJ Fowler, ‘Lives of the Saints’ by Luke Neima, ‘Submission for the Journal of Improbable Interventions’ by Brenda Parker, ‘by Accident’ by David Isaacs, ‘Biophile’ by Ruby Cowling [edit: WINNER!], ‘Obsolescence’ by Joseph Mackertich and ‘Chiral’ by Paul Currion.
My piece can be read here.
Author David Gaffney and I were invited to read for Haringey Literature Live, a monthly series MC’d by Ambit‘s Kate Pemberton. Focussing upon short fiction, the evening was held at the Chocolate Factory, an art, design, music and media studio-complex in Wood Green’s Cultural Quarter.
Thanks to Kate and to the warm audience. You can buy copies of David’s Sawn-Off Tales through Salt’s online store.
I owe C4CC a lot, both acoustically and for hosting increasingly inventive ways by which wine is dropped somewhere between my trouser-ends and white tiling. ALSO! on the 29th March, the former station building staged a number of readings and performances for Runnymede International Literary Festival 2014. The day featured students from the MA in Poetic Practice at RHUL including Carrie Foulkes, Sophia Fratianne, Christian Groves, Kaori Maeda, and Heather Remington. Audiences were treated to work by Rod Mengham, Ben Hickman and Holly Pester. Please read the word of Frances Kruk; you’ll thank me. Please look out for the work of Aimee Le; you’ll see why. Please read the work of Marcus Slease, Robert Sheppard, Rob Holloway and Peter Hughes.
At the end of useful hours, there were readings by PhD students Robert Selby, Aviva Dautch, Kate Potts, Karen McCarthy-Woolf, Nisha Ramayya, Dominic McLoughlin, Ishita Mandrekar, Declan Ryan and me. Many thanks to Frances Kruk, Robert Hampson and Declan for organising the day.
On the 22nd March, acclaimed collaborative performance company Forced Entertainment staged their work And on the Thousandth Night as part of Artist of the City 2014 in Lisbon. This is a six hour durational piece:
A story is told, made up live, dragged from memory by a line of eight performers dressed as Kings and Queens, wearing cheap red cloaks and cardboard crowns. It is a long, mutating and endlessly self-cancelling story. It is a story which somehow, in its many dips and turns, seems to include many — if not all — of the stories in the world. Moving from the extraordinary to the banal, it mixes everything from film plots, religious stories, children’s stories, traditional tales, jokes and modern myths, to scary stories, love stories and sex stories.
The Kings and Queens compete, interrupting, exaggerating, taking over each other’s narratives and incorporating stolen bits into their own tales. Their storytelling moves between tiredness and hysteria, between absurd vulgarity and surprising tenderness. At times, some of the Kings and Queens take a break to sleep on the floor at the back of the space whilst their colleagues continue. At ten at night, perhaps, there are only two Kings left speaking, pushing on the tale, as one by one, the others come forward to rejoin the line.
To document the performance, I was invited to participate in a corresponding multi-authored, durational critical writing project hosted by Exeunt Magazine. The writers were stationed in London, Melbourne and Berlin with a brief to respond to the performance’s live-stream provided by the British Council; our texts were contributed in real-time as the piece played. The critical co/(r)/respondents featured the brilliant Jana Perkovic, Deborah Pearson, Anette Therese Pettersen, Bojana Jankovic, Daniel B. Yates and curator Diana Damian Martin, all of whom took ‘questions of duration, text, narrative, performance, error, invention, failure and time itself, alongside those of distance, attention, fragmentation and being together, digitally’ into consideration.
The project can be found here, in reverse order, and an artist’s live sketches of the event were produced by Århus’ Catherine Williams for Generative Constraints journal; please click the drawn images for more information.
With the house’s curator, I’ve organised a poetry evening for 23rd January 2013 to be held in the former home of Dr. Samuel Johnson. With pieces exploring the strictures, structures and authority of lexicons both real and imagined, come along and hear new work dedicated to the celebration of Johnson’s ‘harmless drudgery’ by Kate Potts, Nisha Ramayya and Prue Chamberlain. The evening will be hosted in the garret, where Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary was compiled.
We will be joined by Giles Goodland, lexicographer and winner of the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, alongside John McCullough whose debut collection The Frost Fairs (Salt, 2011) was awarded the Polari First Book Prize.
Tickets for the evening include a glass of wine served in the Withdrawing Room – doors open at 6.15pm.
For more information about Dr. Johnson’s house: http://www.drjohnsonshouse.
Annexe Magazine held its second Interrobang Festival last Saturday, hosting music, comedy, book-making workshops and readings from Inua Ellams, Akiho Schilz and Claire Trévien. I was there trialling some new work in the afternoon alongside James Brookes, Nick Murray and Gary from Leeds, co-editor of The Alarmist: ‘eavens to Betsy. The festival was also holding a book fair in the Free Word Centre next door, allowing space for a number of independent and small press publishers including Penned in the Margins, Emma Press, Belle Park Pages and Influx: a good way to fling your pay packet directly at 30sq metres of Farringdon. Many thanks to Nick, Alex and Hannah for their behind-the-scenesing, and for a warm audience.
Hosted by Royal Holloway University of London, the Generative Constraints practice-based conference was held on 16th November at C4CC. Saturday saw fantastic papers, performances, exhibitions and addresses from Prof. Jane Rendell, Tim Etchells, Matthew Goulish and Lin Hixson, Amanda Beech, Bryan Eccleshall, Eleanor Rees, Sotirios Varsamis, Richard Barrett, Sarah Cole, Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards, Madeleine Walton, Heather Pennington, Daniel Oliver and Mr Ferris, Gareth Damian Martin, Rachel Smith, Ron Herrema, Steph Driver, Tom Jenks, Laura Burns, Johanna Linsley and R. Justin Hunt, Pema Clark, Deborah Pearson, Andrew Johnson, Annabel Frearson, Annie Runkel, Georgie Grace, Ghazal Mosadeq, Katy Connor and Mark Peter Wright. A long list that’s testament to a full day of text, art, music, restraint and a programme of big-thought much-make.
With thanks to Kingston University for their select financial assistance; if you are interested in practice-based studies and its outcomeliness, do follow the work of their research unit.
Thanks too Dr. Kristen Kreider and Jane Gawthrope for their assistance and encouragement, and congratulations to the committee of bustaguts comprising Deborah Pearson, Jayne Lloyd, Kate Potts, Nik Wakefield, Prue Chamberlain, Diana Damien Martin and Nisha Ramayya: find a Big Top and let any one of them lead the ring. Follow the (dedicated) Publication and visit the (dedicated) Gallery to keep abreast of all aspects explored during the conference. Thanks again to all involved.