Thursday 29 October 2015

Chakra (Forebearer teaser)

Here is a teaser from my upcoming record with Super Inuit (Brian Pokora), which combines my poems and his electronic beats. The album will be coming out very soon with a press release! Keep an eye out.

New pad of paper, new faces

Best British Poetry 2015

I'm very excited to announce that my poem, "Poem In Which I Watch Jane Brakhage Give Birth" was selected to be included in this year's Salt's publication of the Best British Poetry 2015. The poem was originally published by Poems In Which back in April. Obviously, I'm thrilled to be included in this anthology.

Read poem at: 

Or buy the book:

Thursday 22 October 2015

Fruit Face

Fruit Face constitutes my second video since buying a video camera this summer. It tries to maintain the confessional style of "Feeling Wet" whereby the narrator discusses her reflections on two men in her life as she tries to make sense of the subtleties of her womanhood.

Monday 19 October 2015

Archive Materials Workshop at University of St Andrews

On October 7, I attended a conference at The University of St Andrews called "Archive Materials: Feminism, Performance, and Art History in the UK" organized by Victoria Horne and Catherine Spencer. The workshop consisted of five female speakers who all touched on very different aspects of writing feminist histories and the ways in which archives are used to document experiences and events.

One thing that particularly stood out to me was Freya Gowrley's presentation of her research on A La Ronde in Exmouth, UK. She explained how the home was occupied by two female unmarried cousins who spent much of their time working on the interior decoration of the all-female domestic space. Gowrley spent a long time discussing a particular tabletop which consisted of different stones, shells, painted ceramics, and even tiny mosaics assembled in a collage-like manner. She went into detail on the act of collecting and how the cousins would have brought some of these items back from their travels. What was particularly interesting for me was the expansion of what I normally consider to be "archive materials" to include a tabletop that documents the lives of these women and helps us to reconstruct their histories. I liked the idea of the table as an archive that exceeds legal paper documents or photographs. Moreover, it is fascinating that the women instructed in their wills that the house be only acquired by another women following their deaths (although there is some evidence that this was not wholly respected).

In addition, I have been interested for a while in the notion of ornamentation and decoration as something that is inherently (or not) feminine. I remember being blown away by some textile works by Sophie Taeuber-Arp that I saw at the Whitechapel exhibition put on last year titled "Adventures of the Black Square". I wish to investigate further into the ways in which the domestic space might prove to be a creative one rather than an oppressive one for women and the ways in which women have historically embraced and produced spaces designed for women. I am also hoping to explore how we might view ornamentation and kitsch as participating in the uncanny, and the ways in which the home might produce "unhomely" (or "unhemlich") spaces.

The workshop was in the context of a larger project, "Writing Feminist Art Histories". The blog in conjunction with the project can be found at 

Image taken from: 

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Art + Thought launch

Recently, I've become involved with a new contemporary art online magazine called Art + Thought based in Edinburgh as an editor. The site was launched today along with an article I wrote as a response to a talk given by art historian Ed Krcma at The University of Edinburgh on October 1 on his recent exhibition titled "Compression".

Here is the link to my article titled "Compressing Categories, Creating Conversation":

Or read it below:

Compressing Categories, Creating Conversation

The notion of compression is one that offers both material and immaterial connotations: one might consider the term applied to physical matter, or to data collected and archived in files. On October 1, in the context of the University of Edinburgh’s 2015-2016 History of Art research seminars, Ed Krčma reflected on his recent exhibition Compression, held at Limerick’s Ormston House this past summer. For Krčma, the concept of compression is both fruitful and expansive, and while he claims it has been fleshed out more deeply within the discourse of poetry, he has found it to be useful in an analysis of contemporary artworks that engage both with the histories of Modernist Abstraction as well as with the Duchampian ready-made.

His talk opened with the image of Tom Hackney’s “Constellation No. 2”, a concrete wall sculpture that takes the form of an 8x8 grid of squares, each one with a diagonal line bifurcating its form. The sculptural relief, appropriating a minimalist aesthetic, participates too in the ready-made. Referencing Duchamp explicitly, the triangles within the square grid make up planes angled at different degrees that have been set and extrapolated automatically from data retrieved from chess games played by Duchamp himself. In this way, Hackney’s relief embodies compression in two ways: (1) by way of the concrete casting technique that constitutes his process (the data retrieved and applied from the chess games) and (2), through his formal choice to partake in a minimalist, abstract tradition.

Krčma connected Hackney’s use of the grid as a form of abstraction to those produced by Piet Mondrian and referred to by Rosalind Krauss. In her study of grids, Krauss outlines their assertion of Modernism both spatially and temporally in their rejection of the natural as well as in their belonging, by way of their prosaic presence, to the art of Modernity. And while Krauss acknowledges the longer pictorial history of the grid within art practices, such as in the use of perspective, she differentiates the two instances as the earlier application is motivated by the representation of the natural world, and the later by a denial of it[i]. Thus, if perspectival grids sought to obtain nature and Modernist grids made by Mondrian or Agnes Martin worked to relinquish their work from nature or the real, Hackney’s grid seems to me to endure a dual compression. “Constellation No. 2” in one case compresses the natural through its employment of abstraction and thus resists a pictorial representation, and in the other case, it compresses the data of Duchamp’s chess games so that the abstract pattern is automated and produces a ready-made composition.

While Hackney’s relief may be most emblematic of the two forms of compression addressed by Krčma, what is perhaps more interesting are the interactions between the different art objects featured in the exhibition and how these subtle interactions work to establish a more comprehensive conversation on the idea of pressing things together. In discussing his curatorial decisions, Krčma identified two key themes of the exhibition: domesticity (exemplified by Angela Fulcher’s “Curtain Tie Backs”) and the elements (represented in one instance by Caoimhe Kilfeather’s “Inky Canopy”).

These taxonomic distinctions brought to mind Jane Bennett’s book Vibrant Matter in which she defines “assemblages” as the congregation of agential objects that detach themselves from typical organizational strategies[ii]. It is undeniable that the act of curating is one of organization and classification and, as addressed in one question posed by an audience member, a method for research. However, the objects included in Krčma’s exhibition function within the larger system of the show, relating to and inquiring into one another, perhaps even compressing the temptation to distinguish qualifications such as abstraction, the ready-made, the concrete or conceptual, the domestic and the elemental as solo working entities.   

[i] Krauss, Rosalind. “Grids”. October Vol. 9 (Summer, 1979): pp. 52.
[ii] Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University
Press, 2010: pp. 13.

Thursday 1 October 2015

Prose poem on Jungftak

Check out this prose poem I wrote published on Jungftak today:

Image taken from Jungftak, which was illustrated to accompany my prose poem. 

List of things I find uncanny/unheimlich/unhomely/familiar/unfamiliar

List of things I find uncanny/unheimlich/unhomely/familiar/unfamiliar

- cats that are not my own
- the wine glass that belongs to my flat with the following F. Scott Fitzgerald quote etched into it: "the best thing a girl can in this world is a beautiful little fool"
- Kindles
- the hair left on my hair brush
- Man Ray's "Cadeau"
- used tea bags
- The Futurist Manifesto
- Mononucleosis