"Everything Looks Different in the Dark" is a pretty amazing review by Anneka French of Fleur Olby's "Velvet Black" and my "Night Blooms" from a recent issue of Photomonitor. I've loved "Photomonitor" for the ten years of so since I first came across it so this is a real treat.
Fleur Olby’s ‘Velvet Black’ (2018) and Angus Carlyle’s ‘Night Blooms’ (2020) contain photographs of flowers and other natural phenomena in darkness. The two small publications share mutual interests in the beauty and escapism that nature often provides, something that is especially critical at times of crisis. Indeed, Camden Art Centre’s current high-profile online exhibition ‘The Botanical Mind’ and recent articles in Apollo and Elephant magazines have highlighted this need, offering screen-based botanical experiences from home. ‘Night Blooms’ and ‘Velvet Black’ draw out other facets of this relationship with nature, one that is complicated as we continue to interfere, ever struggling to get to grips with nature’s rhythms and its chaos. Explored explicitly in Carlyle’s book through photographs taken in fleeting snatches on solitary runs, this relationship is more subtly alluded to in Olby’s via staged floral still-lives.
My chapter "Dropping Down Low: Online Soundmaps, Critique, Genealogies, Alternatives" has been published in the Bloomsbury Handbook of Sonic Methodologies, edited by Michael Bull and Marcel Cobussen. Here are the concluding paragraphs:
Less homogenous is the genealogy of the soundmap, a family history in which scientific culture’s noise maps and audiospectrograms form one branch, textual ear witnessing another, diverse diagrammatic innovations a third, and the various alternative approaches a fourth. The three alternative approaches I provided could each have been deepened to draw in more exemplars, just as they could have been broadened to incorporate other cartophonic categories: the transmission works of Dawn Scarfe or Jiyeon Kim suggest the possibility of a live soundmap, the reverberation of interior or external spaces in projects by artists as different as Viv Corringham and Davide Tidoni imply a performative soundmap, and a potential classification of storied soundmaps arises out of the separate creative research endeavours of Isobel Anderson and Ultra-Red.
Really pleased to have worked with Makina Books on the publication of "Night Blooms," a combination of photographs of wood and wayside flowers caught in the glare of my head torch and short texts about nocturnal wanderings in the two local woodland. The editing and sequencing of the photographs was in collaboration with Robin Silas Christian and the design was by Patrick Fisher at Frontwards Design. Some of the photographs can be seen here and some of the texts here at Hotel. The publication date was back in May but I forgot to post the news ...
A couple of live readings. One was for Reveil - the 24 hour broadcast organised by Soundcamp - and involved me giving an audio commentary while running before reading a section of "Night Blooms" that had originally been written in place where I was retracing my steps (an area of scrub- and woodland close to my home). The other was the launch event for "Night Blooms," this time a more sedentary affair on Instagram Live where I read other sections from the book as dusk crows settled to roost above me.
Three poems and four photographs from the forthcoming Makina Books publication "Night Blooms" published in Hotel, "a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry ... which provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator". More here.
"Atom Place The Site" is a constrained text for "Atomic", the third edition of Im-Pressed, designed and edited by Tim Hutchinson Design and Alex Cooper. The text takes 63 words from Aristotle's expression of an 'atomist' position he attributes to Leucippus and Democritus and subjects it to a series of manipulations. The following explanation comes from the text's preamble:
"my first constraint involved reconstructing an orthodox timeline of atomic science, then expanding it beyond Leucippus and Democritus and the more modern usual suspects to include contributions from sub-Saharan African, from Maghrebi and Vedic thought. Each node on the timeline was associated with the most proximate written language (Marathi for Sanskrit, for example) and Aristotle’s rebuff was then translated into that language through an automatic translation engine and then back again to impromptu English. This process proceeded in twelve steps from the most recent script to the most ancient, the meaning of subsequent transpositions of the original mutating ever unpredictably. With each iteration, a second constraint came into operation, this time determining the erasure of a single word from the resulting text, emulating Democritus’ parable of the stone cut once, then cut again, smaller and smaller and smaller, as much as it does the radioactive decay of the half-life (albeit without a strictly exponential quasi trajectory). A third (soft) constraint governed the grammaticality of the transformed texts; a fourth and a fifth constraint (and potentially a sixth) remain undisclosed, once more'."
"Before Eternal Silence" was a text commissioned for the LP version of Jani Ruscica's work "Felt The Moonlight on my Feet." In the work, a "tap dancer is presented with poetry chosen by Ruscica for reasons including their political and social censorship during the course of their existence. Each poem has been translated into Morse Code, itself further translated and interpreted by the tap dancer into a dance piece". Inspired by the ambitions behind Ruscica's work and by my previous research into sonic codes, the resulting text involves the most complicated (and least legible) constraints that I've used.
"Orang Alijeh / Mountain Ghost" is part of a developing project relating to the eruption of Krakatoa. Part of the "Velocity" installation, curated by Alex Cooper and Tim Hutchinson at "Everything Happens So Much" at London College of Communication, my contribution comprised an essay, Morse code flags and posters designed in response to the essay by Alex and Tim. More information.
“Decoys” is a two track vinyl album that began as a collaboration with Mark Peter Wright. Having spent time researching different foley techniques used in the history of film sound, we adapted a repertoire of our own, shifting from the usual kind of pastoral / wilderness scene where foley is recruited to add punctual detail and acoustic atmosphere to conceive a wastescape instead. As we were recording and then as we were arranging the recorded material, we constructed an oblique score, which was then interpreted by musicians Claudia Molitor, Tullis Rennie and Alison Blunt. At that point they had not heard our version, nor did they know our toxic ecology thematic. Their response to the score forms the second part of the album.
The album will be released - with the score - on Multimodal in the Autumn, the first release from this new label.
"Radio Not" is a short (1000 words) text that functions as the introduction to Alana Pagnutti's Reception: The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage.
The introduction takes a broad account of the kinds of practices John Cage adopted in his engagements with radio (whether as medium, as device or as critical problematic to be approached in the same way a Palaeolithic person might depict a mammoth on a cave wall to ward off its evil). Cage's more conventional radio works are related to the programmes he produced for a local station as a teenager; several works by and on Cage are addressed as are Marshall McLuhan and Jean Baudrillard (rarely referenced with respect to Cage).
The introduction deploys a number of textual strategies to govern its production. These strategies are not revealed to the reader. Some relate to 'constraints' on writing that Cage himself used - such as mesostics - others function differently, controlling, for example, the number of words in a paragraph, the number of letters in each word in a paragraph, the sequence of words of different lengths.
In her endorsement of the book, the executive director of the John Cage Trust (and editor of "Selected Letters of John Cage") described my text as "a gift" and, elsewhere, the John Cage trust called the text "beautiful".
The book was launched at London's Cafe Oto on July 10th, 2017, where alongside the UK premiere of John Cage's "Water Walk" (1959), I gave a talk.