April 17, 2014

Bury Art Museum and Bury Sculpture centre

Just two weeks off the opening of the Bury Sculpture Centre and the launch of the fourth international Text Festival. Pulling the forthcoming programmes together has been one of the toughest workloads I can remember for various reasons beyond my control; but I think it is a programme to celebrate: I'll  expand on the individual aspects as it gets closer to the day, but I'm pleased to list some really great people involved in the Text: Lawrence Weiner, Ron Silliman, Phil Davenport, Simon Patterson, Riiko Sakkinen, Jayne Dyer, Caroline Bergvall, Penny Anderson, Jaap Blonk, Derek Beaulieu, Sally Labern & Bobby Lloyd, Tim Etchells, Sarah Sanders, Carolyn Thompson, Marton Koppany, Vanessa Place, Jez Dolan & Joseph Richardson, Peter Jaeger, Liz Collini, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Maria Damon, Juxtavoices, Rhys Trimble, Debbie Walsh, Richard Barrett, Tom Jenks, Bobby Parker, Lucy Harvest Parker, Tim Allen, Steve Giasson, Andrea Cotton, Carol Watts & Will Montgomery, Eran Hadas, Jorg Piringer, Rachel Smith, Erica Baum, Flo Fflach, Holly Pester, Rachel Defay-Liautard (that was the order I could remember them in I've probably forgotten someone). 

April 12, 2014

Arriving at the same place at the same time

The Text Festival has had a relationship with Lawrence Weiner since the very first one in 2005. Back then we commissioned WATER MADE IT WET and acquired his Horizon work from its original location in Hull, which he reconfigured to become Radcliffe Horizon.In the Festival exhibitions programme, we supported the public art works with a survey show of Lawrence’s poster art works.

Burned out after the insanity of creating a Festival that was 9 months long( never make that mistake again!), in 2006, I took a sabbatical to write 50 Heads. Within which the poem ‘Sculpture’ was my personal creative response to Lawrence.


0. The object of making your opponent weep descriptions
between the upper and lower structures in vertebrates
forming the framework of the mouth, containing the teeth,
the parts of tool or machine. That body language material
with the tongue intropunitive instead of angry, anger our
faults are most obvious as nothing hides them breasts
move as sacks of liquid dynamic contents. The knife
fixation on things in evaluation, of sweat-scented straps
forward and back in the infantile world of ready-made
values, woman, the happy or resigned slave lives allowing
both misogyny and visionary context. Scattering
amplitude internationally is that difference in any given
place. Choice language to present material realities,
histories that I only deal with divergent objects and all
translatable to stand outside a less human presence more
profound for their human attachment to non-living things
and construction of bridges to be crossed as opposed too
catalogued: 1

Lawrence read 50 Heads on the plane to the Venice Biennale and sent me one of his famous postcards with the aphorism ARRIVING AT THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME. At some levels true, others not. 

So in 2009 in Basel, I wrote the poem “Arriving At The Same Place At the Time” which was published on Veer in “Space The Soldier Who Died For Perspective” 

In programming the 2014 Text Festival who else but Lawrence Weiner could open the new Bury Sculpture Centre? And ARRIVING AT THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME is part of the installation. I think one of the things that the Festival does is create a space where artists from many different fields come together, opening dialogues and possibilities for new ideas, new exchanges, new works. So I suppose I could end this blog by asking: what new possibilities will open up for you, if you arrive in Bury at the same time as the Text Festival? 

March 12, 2014

Bury Sculpture Centre work in progress

Probably been the most intense period of my career, preparing on the Text Festival, planning the programme for the rest of 2014 and on into 2015, more projects in the Far East, and of course getting the Sculpture Centre ready.
As we pared back the old uses and abuse of the space, the thick layers of carpet and paint, something really beautiful has emerged. The space is exhilarating and some of the uncovered and restored Victorian detail is fascinating. The floor is magnificent. We open on 2 May with the preview for the Text Festival. 

December 03, 2013

THE DARK WOULD: language art exhibition

7th December - 24th January at Summerhall , Edinburgh
Launch (open to public) 7pm, Friday 6th December, 2013
Venue: Summerhall, Edinburgh, 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL
Entry: Free 

I'll be up in Edinburgh this Friday for the preview of the latest manifestation of Phil Davenport's "The Dark Would" Project. Significant poets and text artists involved in the two versions of the seminal anthology exhibiting works that cross the boundary of living and dying in The Dark Would: Fiona Banner, Richard Long, Simon Patterson, Susan Hiller, Sarah Sanders, Jenny Holzer, Richard Wentworth, Caroline Bergvall, Erica Baum, Ron Silliman and many others, including (perhaps with less significance) me. Unexpectedly Phil has included my small 2005 poetic homage to Blinky Palermo. Funnily enough when he mentioned his intention I had to take a moment to remember that I had done it but then again it was one of my first published pieces (with the kind support of Greville Worthington coming out as a limited edition).

The Dark Would uses notions of mortality to collapse old, dead categories (‘Conceptual Art’, ‘Concrete Poetry’, ‘Vispo’ etc.) repositioning artists alongside poets and outsiders, and freeing space for a new wave of practitioners. 
Summerhall and its Curator Paul Robertson are proud to host the world premiere ‘The Dark Would’ as part of its Winter Visual Arts Programme of this ground-breaking exhibition.

New work has been made especially for the show by Richard Wentworth and commissioned pieces include rorschach drawings by Mike Chavez-Dawson, made from the names of dead poets and live writing by Sarah Sanders. The Dark Would will also have 'answering' works by dead artists and poets including Stephane Mallarme, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Joseph Beuys, taken from Paul Robertson's Heart Fine Art collection which is based at Summerhall. For more information on Heart Fine Art: http://www.heartfineart.com

(Exhibition contributors: arthur+martha, Fiona Banner, Erica Baum, Caroline Bergvall, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Maria Chevska, Matt Dalby, Philip Davenport, Steve Emmerson, Alec Finlay, Rob Fitterman, Steve Giasson, Susan Hiller, Jenny Holzer, Marton Koppany, Laurence Lane, Richard Long, Tony Lopez, Darren Marsh, Simon Patterson, Tom Phillips, Sarah Sanders, Ron Silliman, Carolyn Thompson, Carol Watts, Lawrence Weiner and Richard Wentworth.)

October 18, 2013

The Text Festivals - the Book

On occasion, I think, people interested in the ideas we have been working with in Bury have been stymied by my preference for the next project rather than the past project. But the Text Festival has been breaking new ground since 2005 so maybe inevitably it has developed a history that needs to be acknowledged. The Text Archive developed by Holly Pester through the AHRC funded partnership with Birkbeck Contemporary Poetics Research Centre responded to  that imperative. And now hot off the Plymouth University Press, "The Text Festivals: Language Art and Material Poetry". You can acquire this must-have publication from here or via Bury Art Museum shop (slightly cheaper). Tony Lopez has done a great job - not least getting me to do my bit for it. As he wrote in his blog the field of enquiry that the festival has opened up urgently needed focused secondary work which can inform and develop the ongoing dialogue. Phil Davenport's seminal anthology The Dark Would clearly operates in this capacity.

The new book includes new essays by me, Derek Beaulieu, Christian Bök, James Davies, Philip Davenport, Robert Grenier, Alan Halsey, Tony Lopez, Holly Pester, Hester Reeve (HRH.the), Carolyn Thompson, Carol Watts and Liz Collini - whose work is also on the cover. (Indulge me, I can't resist quoting the Plymouth site): 

"It is a remarkable phenomenon that the foremost among recent sites of this interrogation of boundaries has been a series of festivals located in Bury, on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. World leading artists and poets have been brought together in a range of exhibitions and performances that demonstrate a new and productive collision of different cultural enterprises and expectations."

Anyway, now the Light Night is done and the Sculpture Centre announced, my next job is completing the curating of the future Festival opening in May 2014 (which got delayed by the other two); being part of this 'remarkable phenomenon' should be in your diary already.  

October 15, 2013

The Dark Would Northern Launch

THE OTHER ROOM presents the Northern launch of THE DARK WOULD Anthology of Language Art, featuring:


66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

Mike Chavez-Dawson is an artist-curator based at Rogue Artists’ Studios, Manchester, UK. He instigated and curated the critically acclaimed shows ‘Unrealised Potential’ and David Shrigley’s solo show entitled ‘HOW ARE YOU FEELING?’ for the Cornerhouse (2012–13). More recently his extraordinary proposal ‘Beyond the Medium, A Rake’s Dream…’ made the 100 favorite proposals for Artangel ‘OPEN’ 2013. He also judged (alongside Laurie Peake, Paul Stolper and Iain Andrews) and curated the neo:art prize 2013.

Laurence Lane is an artist and curator. In June 2000 he co-founded The International 3, a gallery space in city centre Manchester that developed out of the city’s artist-led activity. He has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, and as a curator he has commissioned, produced and presented work by many artists involved in a broad range of contemporary art practice.

Jo Langton is the author of ZimZalla object #015, PoeTea, consisting of handmade bags with text instead of tea. Her work has appeared in Department3.A.MOtoliths, and Catechism: Poems For Pussy Riot. She also sub-edited and appeared in The Dark Would language art anthology, and has a MA in Experimental Writing from the University of Salford. She might have a cheeky chapbook before autumn, providing koi carp and terror cats don't steal her soul along the way.

Carolyn Thompson is an artist whose interests lie in developing pre-existing narratives into new adaptations that reference the original in either content or form. She uses found objects, images and printed matter (text, books, maps and diagrams) as source material, in order to evoke a sense of memory, history, nostalgia and humour. The resulting adaptations are new visual versions in the form of artist’s books, collages, drawings and installations that reflect, or work in contrast to, the stories, histories or language of the original ephemera, whilst responding to sculpture, drawing and architecture. http://www.carolynthompson.co.uk/

Nigel Wood is a poet and musician based in Manchester, where he edits and publishes Sunfish, a magazine of exploratory poetics. His chapbook, N.Y.C. Poems, was published by Knives, Forks & Spoons Press in 2011. More recent poetry has been published in DepartmentGammagblankpages and The Red Ceilings.