"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.
After the original A Crossing Bell at the Estuary Festival in 2016 and a later iteration at the "What Has To Be Done" exhibition for the Beijing Today Art Museum in 2017, another adaptation of the project was developed as a contribution to one aspect of Tomoko Hojo's "Unfinished Descriptions" exhibition at the Hundred Years Gallery. Tomoko invited scores to respond to the undocumented material catalogued under "O14" for Yoko Ono's 1966 show at Indica. I thought a gentle version of "A Crossing Bell" could work here, shown in first two images with some shots of Tomoko's own work for context.
"THINGS" is a show produced by Tamara Projects which involves writers and artists responding to an object chosen for them by the curators; their response has to be formatted in the style of an eBay listing, conforming to that site's rules but otherwise open to approach. I chose to connect my object, an oil lamp, to my ongoing research into Krakatoa through an overwrought and hand-wringing account of a writer's rejections:
To hear Dalby’s voice on that winter’s London afternoon, to be lured into his tale, raised the hairs on the back of my neck, setting off a shiver that has only just subsided nine months later, sending me on a trail to discover more about Krakatoa, to understand the eruption not from today’s remote vantage but through a lens fashioned nearer his own time, hence the props: this lamp to light the books that piled the desk in the garden shed, the tight blue jacket with its missing button and rough material that rubbed a rash into my neck, the coils of rope on which I rested my feet, the tin of coal tar creosote I would open to suffuse the shed with scent, the music hall songs and shanties I played at first, later substituted by a sound effects score I composed to honour the sonority of Dalby’s memories, to honour the “weird groans and whistles …the loud rumblings [that] got louder, they seemed all round us, the gusts increased to such a hurricane as no man aboard had ever experienced … the winds seemed a solid mass, pushing everything before it and roaring like a huge steam engine, shrieking through the rigging like demons in torment.”
"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.
Two readings from A Downland Index, one at the literary cabaret Speaky Spokey in Brighton and one at the Photographers' Gallery in London, there to support the launch of Justin Hopper's book The Old Weird Albion.
"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.
"In Bocca Al Lupo", is another perspective on my project "In The Shadow of the Silent Mountain:" a new text from a trip to the summit of Monte Cervialto in 2016, writing from the album booklet describing a journey to the peak of Monte Polveracchio in 2014, and a rendition of a 2013 account of a wintery walk on Monte Accelica. This rendition 'musicalises' the rivers, snow and wolf prints by turning an audio recording into a score and the text into a lyric."In Bocca Al Lupo" was published by The Learned Pig as part of their Wolf Crossing editorial season.
A chapter written by myself and Rupert Cox has been published in the Modern Conflict and the Senses volume edited by Nicholas J. Saunders and Paul Cornish. There are some very interesting looking articles in the rest of the book. Our text is about our research work in Okinawa that is being conducted under the rubric of "Zawawa" (a local onomatopoeic word that describes the sound of sugar can leaves rustling in the wind, a word with strong associations of the war that frequently appears in popular song). In particular we are focusing on our film "The Cave Mouth and The Giant Voice."
"Memories of Memories of Memories of Memories" is part of the title of a chapter that has just been published in Bernd Herzogenrath's edited volume "Sonic Thinking: A Media Philosophical Approach". The chapter is another meditation on the field work and studio work for my Silent Mountain project - and how field and studio is a polarisation that needs to be rethought. You can read more about the book here.
I have three sentences cited in this amazing new book on contemporary Portuguese photography edited by Delfim Sardo Photography: A User's Manual. The extract of my writing comes from a longer piece originally written about Carlos Lobo.