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.
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.