November 12, 2016

Remembrance Sunday

My grandad fought at the Battle of Kohima (Burma) in 1944. I've written this as a memorial to him (Ted Hoban).


Kohima

What a marvel is ancient man! 
tangled propagation delayed to the end
the divine sepulchre of life, tennis court
overrun, bayoneted and shot

extreme separation anxiety
in dying or isolated from the body
when pernicious lists are dry springes – when prefixed mourning 
counting toward gestures of weird bread/wine ignore the recognition of absence,

the suffering of absence. A petrified destination so dark it’s not like sleep,
Austere black as anaesthetic, but
One null device unannealed ignobly saturated in foreign rain
will be no more string, strategically and in the light
miss you to would miss you



November 05, 2016

The Mathis der Maler Question

One of the great pleasures and stimulations of working with artists who connect to the cultural moment that is Bury has been the development of the personal creative dialogues that have blossomed over the years. Lots of collaborations have grown out of the confluence of artists meeting through Bury. Some of them have even involved me, as an artist rather than curator. The most recent is the new 'Place' project with Jayne Dyer which has dragged me back into writing poems. One of my last before my 'poetry retirement' in 2010 was my poetic response to a question that Riiko Sakkinen posted back in 2009(ish) - the eternal question for artists - how does the artist engage with the revolutionary struggle (or words to that effect)? This resonated with me because (not a lot of people know [or care probably] that) my favourite composer is Paul Hindemith and my favourite piece of music (since 1982 when I first heard it) is his Mathis der Maler Symphony.  The Symphony is the orchestral version of the opera of the same name in which Mathis the painter struggles for artistic freedom in the Protestant Reformation. My answer to the question is the poem below, which was published in the Bury Poems:

Suddenly Violins

The Mathis der Maler question: demands Riiko Sakkinen must paint.


All length scales in analogous deferment; what does this say about me?

(POV)
That people are watching/judging or they are not watching/judging.
Looking nostalgic illusion or less ultraparallel
the one breach of principle tested twice.
Later iterations forgetting serves a good functional purpose.
Failed (isotropic and homogeneous) within 
the meniscus didn't ought to have do that and longing
for when defeat used to be romantic.
Homophonic. Sweeping. But as with all things eurotrashed, 
recursion how far?

To digress: the death of distance is also the annihilation of memory. 

Save us from the annoyance of the past described in the present tense:
sessile objects made flat. 



Reading the poem back I was struck by how the Mathis de Maler question now resonates very directly with the global/local danger of fascism/war/environmental catastrophe/Brexit/Trump/etc we face. A tweet I read a few weeks ago came to mind; (words to the effect of) "If you ever wondered what it felt like to be a decent German in 1934, now you know" - which is exactly the situation that Hindemith faced. The Opera was not performed because the Nazi Party banned it, and Hindemith had to flee in 1938.

And here we are in our rerun of 1934; only yesterday, the fascist mainstream British newspapers branded judges 'enemies of the people', whipping up the mob to rise up against the rule of law. 

There is some discussion in Museum circles about how to respond. I plan to savage the inadequacy of the Museum conference mewling in a future blog, but a first curatorial response had to be Riiko Sakkinen. His ABC of Capitalism opens on at Bury Sculpture Centre on Saturday 12 November.



(A footnote, while looking up links to write this blog, I stumbled on a forthcoming rare performance of the opera in Mainz. Having never actually seen it, I'm very excited to see if I can get there in 2017)

August 19, 2016

Last Things

Except for the poem "Israel" (published on this blog) I haven't written any poetry since 2010 - poetic silence from a combination of Bury workload, more exciting creative possibilities, and the sense that I had reached a point where to write was to repeat myself. When Jayne Dyer and Wayne Warren started work on their exhibition in the Bury Sculpture Centre, they asked initially for an essay for the catalogue, but then changed their 'demands' to a poem. I said OK but didn't actually think it was likely to materialise. 
It was only when I walked into the gallery and saw the installation forming that I realised that I had to respond poetically, as the extraordinary balanced moment of beauty is beyond description or explanation being relevant. So I wrote: 

Last Things
forward
past last things,
minus one, it is all happening too fast as iff propagation delay echoes shicho
Like now: and I cannot keep up capacitance
I am bicontinuous counting interarrival time
I am picked off trying to count backward minus one
a false antecedent and a false consequent, a nowhere and an everywhere

the lamps are going out


The catalogue (designed with John Rooney) - also beautifully produced - is available now from the Bury Art Museum shop.



May 26, 2016

The Bury Poems

Talking about the publications of the Text Festival, I pulled out a copy of The Bury Poems from the bookshelf, and was surprised to find alongside Tony Lopez, Robert Grenier, Ron Silliman, Geof Huth, Phil Davenport, Carol Watts and Holly Pester, there were three poems by me. I'd completely forgotten. On reading them, I only just remembered writing two of them, and had no memory of the third. The second was inspired by something Riiko Sakkinen wrote, so I think I will save posting that until November when his exhibition opens in the Bury Sculpture Centre. The other two are below. 

You can purchase the Bury Poems from the Bury Art Museum shop. 

(The Art of Pedestrianisation referred to in one of the poems was going to be the title of the next book after my last book The End of Poetry ; Strangely I was reminded of what this was going to be about this week at the Royal Academy - hope this isnt a sign of the return of the poetry virus).

The Tragedy of Althusserianism

The tragedy of Althusserianism he is
the worst thing that could happen other types of hysteresis
also give rise to objects quite like free objects, in that they are left
adjoint to forgotten, not necessarily
the absence of rebel strangled instead of barricading

urelements feels/thinks/flashing lights/facades
- Them unphotgraphed seconds
Through artists have an excuse: Save us from poets
lumbered with poets as list-makers
The obscure reveries of the inward
gaze as the effect of our ignorance is Time.


Trehy
I am the last
Considered an autotopology
thus elimination of intermediate inference
the soldier who died for perspective
of the Art of Pedestrianisation unwritten -
the mechanics of walking and falling.

Despite rigorously the inattentive secretary
other possible Trehys from Leibniz
originating parameters
a continuous closed circuit of periphrasis

Catharist feeling abruptly out of date
our happiness gives way to the next by-passed by
a long distance

Scorn for slow mediocrity, contained of two types of obscurity
And for reasons of yield I am uniformly continuous

from superclasses: A taxon comradeship

baffles the man counting on the abacus.
What is the hysteretic source of the heredity
of prefiguration the which began in Shicho markers' historic
clinicla observations of life-threatening descriptive, retrospective
historical characters nonholonomic navigations susceptible to fall.

May 14, 2016

The Australians Are Coming (to Bury)

Over the next week/month Bury celebrates Australian contemporary art. On Saturday afternoon (yes, I know it's an odd time), two shows - one an installation  Illuminating configurations : re forming the line; edges, splats and cuts by Irene Barberis and (curated by Irene) a survey of contemporary Australian drawing featuring 100 works. I'm very excited to see Irene again, we first met in Tokyo back in 2006 and it's always a pleasure to see her and her work. (some of you might have seen her installation in Bury alongside Mike Parr in 2011). 
Both shows run to 13 August. The Contemporary Australian Drawing has organically evolved from six previous exhibitions around the world, from Chicago and Rome to Dubai. The participating artists were asked for a visual response to two texts on writing/drawing, taken from essays by Serge Tisseron and Michel Butor, “All Writing is Drawing’, and ‘the Space of Writing, what is that?’.  

All artists were supplied with a standard size and weight paper. The thoughtful and enthusiastic response of all artists concerned has resulted in this extensive exploration and examination of the themes, ‘All writing is Drawing’ and ‘the Space of Writing'. 

The Australian intervention in the Sculpture Centre is Jayne Dyer working in collaboration with Wayne Warren. Funnily enough I met Jayne in Beijing through an introduction from Irene Barberis, and we immediately got on very well. She has shown in Bury before - you might remember her piece in the Text Festival.

Last Thing previews on 17 June, inspired by Paul Auster's 'In the Country of Last Things'; the book presents a world where architecture and space constantly vanish, preventing individuals from building their own identity relative to the space they inhabit. An arena where matter is scarce and what is available is regurgitated until it becomes unrecognizable or depleted. 'Last things' documents fictional spaces about to disappear. 

Three great shows not to be missed. 

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas: "twelve"

for the first ethic of christmas my true love sent to me an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the second ethic of christmas my true love sent to me two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the third ethic of christmas my true love sent to me three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the fourth ethic of christmas my true love sent to me four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the fifth ethic of christmas my true love sent to me five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the sixth ethic of christmas my true love sent to me six phenomenal modalities five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the seventh ethic of christmas my true love sent to me seven inner experiences six phenomenal modalities five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the eighth ethic of christmas my true love sent to me eight possibilities of realising seven inner experiences six phenomenal modalities five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the ninth ethic of christmas my true love sent to me nine ladies dancing eight possibilities of realising seven inner experiences six phenomenal modalities five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the tenth ethic of christmas my true love sent to me ten favourable circumstances nine ladies dancing eight possibilities of realising seven inner experiences six phenomenal modalities five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the eleventh ethic of christmas my true love sent to me eleven singular conjunctures ten favourable circumstances nine ladies dancing eight possibilities of realising seven inner experiences six phenomenal modalities five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth for the twelfth ethic of christmas my true love sent to me twelve harmonious equilibria eleven singular conjunctures ten favourable circumstances nine ladies dancing eight possibilities of realising seven inner experiences six phenomenal modalities five extrinsic justifications four errors of dogmatism three veils of illusion two hierarchies between body and soul and an ambiguity in a non-temporal truth


(first published in 2005)

December 15, 2015

Women in Art - Bury Art Museum

Funny how when you're busy you don't notice you're own patterns. I only realised this morning that all the contemporary art installed currently at Bury Art Museum is by women artists: Liz West "Colour Collection" in the Museum;

Alison Erika Forde "There's Nothing for you here" in the gallery;


Jo Clements "Retrospective" in the video gallery

Hilary Jack "The Late Great Planet Earth" in the Sculpture Centre

And Penny Anderson's 'Speech Bubble' Christmas Tree on the Ring Balcony
 

I quite like that there wasn't a plan for an all-women display - and it was just the brilliance of the work that brought it together.