May 31, 2005


how the ultimate in contemporary style and warmth = located at the heart of the hip city (meticulously designed = the hotel offers a small unique blend of style and luxury) enjoy the ultimate dining experience of our two star michelin restaurant (a a mediterranean style café = promises freshness = quality and variety in a cool and calming environment) combining the latest in beauty cosmetics from all over the world with a unique personalized thought service material action inserted into material practices (enjoy silky smooth skin from soothing facials or sharpen up at the nail bar) (relax into a massage or go for that all-over tan) this super-stylish hotel = it has real presence (great shopping and homo sacer inside a cool totalisation every day of the week and all) an oasis of calm amid the bustle (each room is unique and dramatic takes in both style and finish) vibrant raspberry and mushroom colours create immediate theatre in the rooms (the presence of an ethical symbol adds nothing to its factual content) (velvet and silk cushions and ambient lighting create that touch of luxury) to nothing in the world which is foreign to the mind (fill or) a classic suite in the original building (there are starters like ham consommé with pea pancakes or rich pigeon on a a potato cake with mustard cabbage) inventiveness might also run to a new name that will secure its place (in the gastronomic hall of fame) = signature starters (a version of the small day) really quite a substantial dish (one contests the meaning of the project at the very moment that one defines it) gently whisk together in a whole circular motion with your fingers = nihilation and the buttery flavor and texture of the mesclun duck balanced with the slight sweet
yet tart acidity of the raspberry coulis (life)

May 25, 2005

The End of the Moon

Laurie Anderson was in town last night performing her The End of the Moon solo show at the Lowry Arts Centre – the worse modern building in Britain. Probably the quotation from the San Francisco Chronicle that it was wry and witty was true but that was about it. They also called it hypnotic which it was in the sense that the flat plodding unvaried pace, dull lighting and bland musical interludes were sleep inducing. The piece is Anderson’s response to her residency at NASA and in that unique context is therefore even more disappointing. Formally it is merely a series of short anecdotes told in her slow wry American accent – not much more artifice than an after-dinner speech – interspersed with short musically bland violin playing. Given the technological context of the work, it was remarkable how simplistic her use of electronic media was - basically slight augmentation of the custom-violin and some sort of laptop keyboard providing slow rhythm filler. You could feel the sense of expectation when she picked up a small camera which began projecting its real-time image but this was dissipated by remaining at the size of a flipchart. There the experiment ended and she put it down again. To be fair, Anderson claims in the programme to be a storyteller and that is about all she is. The line of NASA narrative was interspersed with a couple of references to 9-11 as the Americans call it, which amounted to a metaphorical tale of a country walk, coming to the conclusion that the reason that the world hates Americans is because they are “jerks” and that New Yorkers will forever after have to live with a fearful eye to the sky. A sorry level of analysis and response.

“What’s newest about this piece is the words” she writes. Meaning only the narrative as it is written, there is no linguistic experiment or innovation.

May 20, 2005

Partly Writing

Partly Writing 4: Writing and the Poetics of Exchange

The Text Festival hosts this year's Partly Writing on 4-5 June 2005

Partly Writing 4 follows the model of the previous Partly Writing events: it is a weekend of conversations and discussions among a range of writers and text practitioners. It emphasises practice, research and open intellectual engagement. This year we are especially keen to discuss examples of social and artistic practice which you feel engage with the role of exchange as part of writing culture. These may be examples that you value and/or that you are actively generating in your own work. In what ways do contemporary writing arts engage with modes of exchange: as social and aesthetic bonds, gift-objects, gift-making activities, forms of circulation, negotiations, transits, limits, inhibitions?

Saturday 4 June 2005

Welcome from the Bury Text Festival (TT)
Introduction to Partly Writing (CB, CW)

Session One
Chair: Caroline Bergvall
Writing and Collaboration
In what ways can one say that artistic collaboration – with materials, with people, with places, with languages – is a form of exchange?
Is collaboration always predicated on exchange?
Is experimental writing predicated on the validity of collaboration (social as much as artistic)?
What are the limits of collaboration?
What is an artistic friendship?

Session Two
Chair: Carol Watts
Specific Economies
In what ways can we say that poetry is an artform currently marked by a gift economy?
What are the implications of this for the creating of bonds, both social and artistic?
What implications for the generation of work?
Do experimental writing practices function outside mainstream means of reward and recognition?
How do we assign value to such practices?
How do these economies traverse forms of practice outside and inside institutions (textual and otherwise)?

Sunday 5 June 2005

Session One
Chair: Tony Trehy
Intertexuality and Textual Borrowings
In what explicit or implicit ways do forms of exchange operate on at the level of the text?
What kind of view on writing and knowledge does intertextuality forward?
What do we understand by textual borrowing?
Do citational and appropriative practices inherently favour the development of poetic and cultural exchanges?
What are the politics at work? Are these always a sign of cultural resistance?

Session Two
Chair: Caroline Bergvall
Writing as Negotiation
What are the politics and pragmatics involved in writing practices that function responsively and/or more or less exclusively through social and cultural negotiations?
What kind of poetics inform from context-specific negotiations?
How do they imply, involve and/or broaden audiences, communities of readers, constituencies of interest?
How might such negotiation-based work be generative of new kinds of aesthetics?
Are poetics of exchange always up for grabs or are they pre-empted by certain art-specific rules?

The Partly Writing website is currently amalgamating material from the past three events ( ).

May 03, 2005

poets and text artists

Thursday saw a great night at Bury Art Gallery with me in conversation with Carolyn Thompson, followed by readings by Robert Sheppard and Mark Nowak (editor of XCP from Minnesota.

The conversation with Carolyn went like this:

TT: I think the first place to start is the problem of performance. In discussing this event, it was immediately obvious that as a text artist you were not keen to translate or mediate performatively the 2 works on display. “Poets read; text artists don’t” (my quote not yours!) I know when we talked about this initially you considered (however briefly) possible use of readings, can you tell us that thought process and why you rejected them?
CT: Yes, first and fore mostly I’m not a performance artist. In fact it’s just these sort of occasions that I personally tend to shy away from! I do however understand that for some, there is a performative aspect to my work, however I want the experience of most of my recent pieces to be an intimate one for a viewer and completely unconnected to me. I feel performance would detract from the issues I’m trying to deal with here.
The only way I would have been happy with the work becoming part of a performance would be if I had nothing to do with it, would be if the translation continued and another artist were to take one of my pieces and translate it into a new work, their new work, without my input.

TT: Why Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
CT: I’ve always enjoyed Truman Capote novels and Breakfast at Tiffany’s in particular had always intrigued me. I had begun to look at novels which have been adapted into films prompted me to revisit the novel at it at this particular time. Love and relationships were increasingly becoming themes throughout my practice, and lets face it Holly Golightly is one of twentieth century literature’s romantic icons.

TT: Why were you willing to have it over hung?
CT: I intended to deal with the themes of loss and missed possibilities portrayed in the novel, and ideas of individuality and companionship, and the relationship between the two. My relationship with the piece was one of devotion and obsession, cutting and sticking all the words. Like a relationship between two people it involved patience and endurance. I wanted this to be evident in the viewing, so by placing it behind other works the piece becomes part of the furniture, like everyday relationships continuing around us, it can go unnoticed. It requires seeking out and nurturing, but it also subtle enough to be neglected and ignored. It also means that the viewer requires some trust in the artist, believing that the piece continues to run behind the others, and this trust in itself becomes part of the viewer’s me/you relationship with me as the artist.

TT: Does your title appear in the book?
CT: No it comes from a song which is actually unrelated. It seems reflect Holly Golightly’s role in the novel as a loveable rogue. She is loved by everyone yet faithful to no one: lover, friend or even herself. It also seemed to be a solemn reminder that although it is easy to view the piece as a romantic story, the me/you relationship in question may not be a secure and comfortable one, and the devotion and obsession may be of a sinister nature.
The title also reminds of the aspects of trust in the artist I’ve already mentioned. There is a natural desire I think in viewing the piece to believe in it, and not to query. It often doesn’t occur to ask questions whether what you think you are seeing is really the case, whether the words really do go behind the other works and whether they are really in their original position.

TT: Is there a thread in your thinking that connects this work/book with the American Psycho piece in the next room or your Winston & Julia piece from 1984?
CT: Yes definitely. In all of the pieces I’m concerned with manipulating and retelling novels. The editing and reconfiguring processes I’ve put the books through, have been decided beforehand like a set of rules for that particular piece. I’m trying to make the distinctions between authenticity and fabrication ambiguous whilst questioning the value of authorship. Through all of that my goal is to create new realities and/or fictions.

On top of this, all deal obsession, the obsessive nature of the character in each as well as the obsessive quality in the work.

TT: The other day I was giving a talk in the gallery and someone was amused by my observation that you could see that you’re so pretty is a later work than After Easton Ellis because you are moving away from the book towards a language concept. Are you conscious of this movement and is it a progress you see continuing?
CT: Yes I’m definitely conscious of it, it has been somewhat of a premeditated move, but I wouldn’t exactly describe it as moving away from the book towards a sort of language concept. It has always been the language that I’ve been most interested in, the book references that appeared in the format of earlier works were there as I wanted to use preconceptions of original source in order to influence interpretation of my subsequent adaptation. Whilst in Winston and Julia, I put it in a book format to create intimacy. The books became gifts, this gift of a love story, something intimate, like reading is an intimate pastime. With You’re so Pretty when You are Unfaithful to Me although references are still made to the book, the particular book from which the text came became less important, as the relationship between the me and you became the stronger element.

TT: One of the questions that is sure to come up is how is this work not Orwell’s or Ellis’s or Capote’s? What is your relationship to the original authors and texts?
CT: That’s really for an audience to decide. I want the viewer to determine the value of authorship and create their own parameters to the word and its connotations. I don’t deny that the original work is theirs, particularly with the Orwell and Ellis work, I am really only highlighting and celebrating something that has already been created. That’s why their names appear on the pieces.

TT: Familiar in other Artforms (for instance sampling in popular music), the idea of using splicing source texts for a new work – intertextuality – has been a recognised strategy since the sixties. It is one of the themes that the festival and this exhibition have identified as central to current text-poetic practice. Your work actually manifests the others - Spatialisation, materiality, parataxis and process-based restricted languages - especially in the Tiffany piece. Can you talk us through your response to this sort of analytical structure? (or) Are your texts informed by poetic/literary strategies and structures?
CT: Although I feel it more likely that my work references social behavior in contemporary popular culture than any poetic/literary structures, in saying that I’m fitting it perfectly into the intertextuality strategy. However I think it is almost impossible to create work which does not refer to the world in which we live and what is happening in the here and now.

Being engaged with the compression and reduction of information, and the ways in which existing material is reconfigured to create something new, I feel more than anything I reference popular culture including television, film and music as well as mimicking the way our increasing thirst and impatience for knowledge means our experiences become snap shots of a whole picture.

TT: How do you locate yourself in relation to the tradition of conceptual text artists (Weiner, Holzer, Kruger)?
CT: I don’t, as I don’t actually see myself as a text artist. I do however see myself as a conceptual artist who at this particular moment in time, is using text, or language, as medium as it’s the most suitable for my current body of work. I try to keep an open mind and not restrict myself too much by labeling myself as any particular type of artist, as I think it’s very easy to fall into the trap of feeling you must then conform to that, and consequently end up regurgitating the same old crap. So at some point in the future I may be using various other forms of media which I feel more suitable to depict the themes that I am interested in then.