January 13, 2011

Text progress report

I've not had time or brain space to blog much for a while now. Mainly tied up with pulling the Text Festival together and preparing the plans to save the Bury Arts & Museums Service from the onslaught of government destruction of public services. The Text Festival has been a massive undertaking this time but there's enough organised now that if I am run over by a bus the event won't notice my absence. As I am getting interesting stuff offered constantly, I may eventually be guilty of either putting too much in or missing out good people. Anyway, the website is pretty up to date now so it's worth a look. www.textfestival.com There are a number of set pieces which I am particularly pleased with:

- Ron Silliman's first public art commission - this will be unveiled as part of the Sentences show and after the Festival will be re-sited in a permanent prominent outdoor location.
- Christian Bök's first UK performance but more than that I'm pleased with the concept of that whole show mixing sound art and Eduard Escoffet from Spain and London-based Holly Pester. Holly is also working on a new work utilising the sound art commissions and recorded concerts of earlier festivals to be shown in the gallery.
- Satu Kaikkonen and Karri Kokko not only performing for the first time in the UK but also for the first time as a 'duet'. This gig should be very striking in Bury Parish Church: in addition to the Finns, the bill includes Ron's reading and Phil Minton's Feral Choir http://www.philminton.co.uk/feralchoir.html

- Phil Davenport's A Map of You project with homeless people which will see the participants doing workshops with Derek Beaulieu and Geof Huth and probably others...

Although previous festivals featured visual poetry, this is the first one to celebrate vispo in a show specifically curated with that work at its core. In addition to showing the work itself I am interested in questioning how vispo is usually shown - a curatorial vocabulary which has been limited I believe by the location of vispo near to poetry rather than visual art. I'll talk more about this when I have actually installed the show. By the way, I am still open to late submissions of vispo for this show - I'd particularly like more artists' books. There's also still work to do on the "Requiem" show at the Fusilier Museum so I am open to ideas for that too.

By the time the shows are ready for opening, I'll be more stressed by it than excited - though hopefully the audience will be more excited and not stressed. So the thing I am most looking forward to is the buzz that will be around all the great people who are coming. It's fascinating to think that in these times global networks of friendship exist but a lot of people have not actually met - something that I am really looking forward to witnessing at the Text gathering.

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