“Shklovsky’s Zoo” by Joanna Walsh

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 08.36.59Piece of Paper Press and Joanna Walsh are delighted to invite you to the bookartbookshop to celebrate publication of “Shklovsky’s Zoo” by Joanna Walsh, the 29th title from Piece of Paper Press.

“Shklovsky’s Zoo” is published in a limited, numbered edition of 150 copies, and numbers 51-150 will be given away at the launch event.

bookartbookshop, 17 Pitfield Street, London N1 6HB
10 July 2015
6.30—8.30pm

No reservations. Strictly one copy per person, while stocks last.

Read the press release (opens as PDF).

Written on a residency during which the author was unable to find and read a copy of “Zoo” by Viktor Shklovsky—a novel based on real-life letters sent between the Russian critic and the unwilling object of his desire, Elsa Triolet—“Shklovsky’s Zoo” plays with the line between autobiography and fiction. What is the purpose of a letter? Is it a story, or an honest account (or both)? Does it depend on who is sending, who is receiving it? What happens when letters are made into books? Is there any truth in Shklovsky’s “Zoo”, or “Shklovsky’s Zoo” at all?

Find out more about Piece of Paper Press: http://bit.ly/aboutPOPP

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#supportbeaconsfield

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.06.52It was a great pleasure to join friends and colleagues both old and new at Beaconsfield’s 20th anniversary party last night. If you don’t already know them, Beaconsfield has been curating visual art, producing new sound, performance and interdisciplinary art projects for 20 years, providing

a critical space for creative enquiry. Founded to occupy a niche between the institution, the commercial and the ‘alternative’ the charity maintains a unique venue which has provided a laboratory and presentation space for contemporary art and artists since 1995. Set up in the former Lambeth Ragged School by artists with a track record for organising grass-roots events, Beaconsfield commissions, and is commissioned, nationally and internationally and has a long history of innovative collaboration with other organisations and individuals, on and off-site. The annual programme typically includes a range of exhibitions, residencies, talks and events as well as interventions in public space.

There was much to celebrate. Past projects include groundbreaking works by artists including London Fieldworks, Tomoko Takahashi, Hayley Newman, Pan Sonic, Iain Hinchliffe, Chris Marker, Franko B, Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, Shane Cullen, Monica Ross, Rod Dickinson and Tom McCarthy, Bob and Roberta Smith, and many, many more. This incredible roll call of artists is testament to the curatorial vision and leadership of Beaconsfield founders David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin.

© Marianne Magnin, 2015

© Marianne Magnin, 2015

But last night’s event also marked a turning point in Beaconsfield’s history, since after two decades as a fixed-term client of Arts Council England Beaconsfield is now going it alone. The party also marked the launch of a new #SupportBeaconsfield campaign, with a ‘Friends, Best Friends and Patrons’ scheme, and a new edition of four specially commissioned prints by artist Thomas Yeomans that were launched and available to buy on the night.

Along with David Ball (Soft Cell) & Dave Chambers, Shiva Feshareki & Jack Jelfs, Russell Haswell, Lucky PDF, Boo Saville and Simon Tyszko I was part of the entertainment, and gave a couple of readings. Marianne Magnin of The Cornelius Foundation kindly sent through some wonderful photos, including this one of my second set of the night, in Beaconsfield’s courtyard, where I read from 1999 police satire CHARLIEUNCLENORFOLKTANGO.

© Marianne Magnin, 2015

© Marianne Magnin, 2015

Here is more about the campaign:

NewDawnlogonew#SupportBeaconsfield is a fundraising campaign raising awareness of Beaconsfield’s groundbreaking role on the London art scene and the chance for lovers of contemporary art to sign up to #SupportBeaconsfield as a Friend, Best Friend or Patron at a discounted rate (available for a limited time only).

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Download the #SupportBeaconsfield leaflet

Find out more about how to become a Friend, a Best Friend or a Patron of Beaconsfield.

Summertime Blues

NewDawnlogonewBeaconsfield, 25 June 2015

I am delighted to #supportbeaconsfield and to celebrate Beaconsfield’s 20th anniversary by reading as part of a bill that includes David Ball (Soft Cell) and Dave Chambers, Russell Haswell, Simon Tyszko, Shiva Feshareki and Jack Jelfs, Lucky PDF and Boo Saville. Founded as an educational charity in 1994 by artists with the desire to fill a niche between the institution, the commercial and ‘alternative’, Beaconsfield remains a unique, non-profit, politically engaged, artist-led entity, placing equal emphasis on audiences and artists. Beaconsfield has been curating visual art, producing new sound, performance and interdisciplinary art projects for 20 years. After two decades as a fixed-term client of Arts Council England, Beaconsfield is going it alone.

  • 7pm-Midnight, (press event 5-7), Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, London SE11 6AY
  • Free entry but RSVP essential (strictly guestlist), via Eventbrite or gabriela@beaconsfield.ltd.uk

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Irish Museum of Modern Art, until 26 July 2015

Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto, artist Alan Phelan’s film of my short story ‘Include Me Out’ has been acquired by the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) for its permanent collection, and is being shown as a video installation as part of the new exhibition IMMA Collection: Fragments. Here is the blurb: ‘A suburban couple battle through the apparent obliteration of their shared experience as their DVD collection is painstakingly broken up and recycled. The film [which you can watch on Vimeo here] was based on a short story by Tony White written as a fictional representation of Alan Phelan’s art practice.’

Joanna Crawford and Brendan McCormack in Alan Phelan’s film, Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto (2012)

Joanna Crawford and Brendan McCormack in Alan Phelan’s film, Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto (2012)

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Forthcoming from Piece of Paper Press

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 08.36.59Watch this space for news of the twenty-ninth publication from Piece of Paper Press. ‘Shklovsky’s Zoo’ by Joanna Walsh will be published in a limited, numbered edition of 150 copies, and numbers 51-150 will be given away at a launch event on 10 July 2015 (while stocks last). An invitation to this special event will be coming your way shortly. Piece of Paper Press is also included in the new, updated edition of Stephen Bury’s Artists’ books: the book as a work of art, 1963-2000, out now from Bernard Quaritch. Here is the blurb:

The history of artists’ involvement with the book format between 1963 and 2000 includes a fascinating range of artists and movements from Mallarmé to the Piece of Paper Press via Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Fluxus and conceptual art. This second edition includes updated text with new bibliographic descriptions of 600 key artists’ books and over 130 new, full-page, colour illustrations taken from the internationally renowned Chelsea College of Art & Design Library collection. It is an indispensable resource for the definition and classification of artists’ books by a renowned scholar in the field.

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Remote Centres: Performances from Outlandia, from 30 July 2015

An architectural re-configuring of the Outlandia field-station, Remote Centres: Performances from Outlandia sees performance and sound works originally created at Outlandia by 20 artists, poets, writers, musicians and members of the Nevis community, contained within a sculptural environment inside the Tent Gallery. The exhibition is curated by Bruce outlandia thumbnailGilchrist and Jo Joelson (Outlandia / London Fieldworks) in association with Art Space & Nature (ECA), and includes performance works by Bram Thomas Arnold; Ruth Barker; Ed Baxter and Resonance Radio Orchestra with Tam Dean Burn; Johnny Brown with Band of Holy Joy; Clair Chinnery; Alec Finlay and Ken Coburn; Kirsteen Davidson-Kelly; Benedict Drew; Goodiepal; Sarah Kenchington; Lisa O’Brien; Lee Patterson; Michael Pedersen and Ziggy Campbell; Geoff Sample; Mark Vernon/Jo Joelson & Bruce Gilchrist; Tracey Warr; Tony White. The performances and sound works were originally commissioned for Remote Performances, a series of radio broadcasts from Outlandia, co-produced by London Fieldworks and Resonance 104.4fm, with support from Arts Council England, the Nevis Landscape Partnership, Oxford Brookes University and Forestry Commission Scotland.

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DIY, not ‘me, me, me’

My review of the great Stand Up and Spit project exploring the ranting poetry scene of the early 1980s, featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson, Joolz, Attila the Stockbroker and many others at the Camden Centre, and ‘Talking Liberties’ at the British Library, is now up on the the Huffington Post entertainment blog:

…this was a fascinating and inspiring gig, and a rare opportunity to connect with a distinctive and influential literary scene long driven underground, but still no less relevant in today’s political and social landscape. Being reminded of the political fearlessness of the ranting scene, the confrontational and (mostly) left-ish, anti-sexist and anti-racist stances, the willingness to tackle challenging subject matter and social injustice, and to do so live and in the public sphere, was what made Stand Up and Spit refreshing, empowering even. But there was something else about it that had struck me at the British Library event back in May, and which is a little more subtle… READ MORE

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Agitate, educate

My review of the ranting poetry gig Stand Up and Spit: The Big One at the Camden Centre on 18 June 2015 is now up on Huffington Post. Here is a sample:

Although the Stand Up and Spit project is firmly focused on poetry and performance of the early 1980s, it is no mere exercise in nostalgia. The continued relevance of the often hard-hitting and politically acute literatures that the scene produced or adopted was demonstrated again and again at the Camden Centre. It was there in Janine Booth’s timeless crowd-pleaser ‘Mostly Hating Tories’, and in ‘Real Rape’, her compelling analysis of sexual violence and its many apologists. (I did say this material was hard-hitting.) We were privileged, too, to hear Linton Kwesi Johnson perform a rousing acapella version of ‘All Wi Doin is Defendin’. Although it was written over forty years ago, and the years have introduced a more fragile edge to LKJ’s voice, the poem felt no less vital or contemporary today. Johnson also brought a deeper sense of historical perspective and personal political engagement to the event, speaking movingly about being on the organising committee of the International Book Fair of Radical, Black and Third World Books, which had been held annually in this same hall from 1982-1995. This was where he had first seen the late Michael Smith perform–‘on this very stage’–and Johnson ended his set by reading Smith’s best known poem, ‘Mi Cyaan Believe It’, in tribute. [READ MORE…]

I’ve been following Tim Wells’s Stand Up and Spit project for a while, and for several reasons. Firstly because I saw some of this stuff first time around, and this work was part of the backdrop to a period that has proved to have been formative personally as well as socially, and which I have written about more than once (e.g. in my 2012 novella Dicky Star and the Garden Rule, or the short story ‘A Porky Prime Cut’, which I performed most recently at the October Gallery, with live accompaniment from UK acid house pioneer Richard Norris). But also because the spoken word scene of the late 1980s and the live literature scene that still existed when my fiction started getting published in the 1990s each still had something in common with the ranting scene—as indeed did some of my fiction—and because a few years later I was lucky enough to collaborate with the late Steven Wells (1960-2009) a.k.a. Swells—and no relation of Tim—who had invented the idea of ‘ranting verse’ in the first place.

I also went to an earlier event in the Stand Up and Spit season, a panel discussion at the British Library called ‘Talking Liberties’, where Tim Wells had been joined on stage by journalists Gary Bushell and Suzanne Moore, and the poet Salena Godden. That event had also highlighted for me a particular radical and pre-Thatcherite ethos that might also be associated with the ranting scene, and its inheritors. Something that I also explore in the Huffington Post piece.

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Read ‘DIY, not “me, me, me”’, my review of Stand Up and Spit, on the Huffington Post blog

Crossing Over: The Legacy of Ranting Poetry, A Tribute to Poet Michael Smith – a celebration with live poetry, film and audio, Black Cultural Archives, 25 June 2015, 19:00 to 22:30

Janine Booth, Mostly Hating Tories: Poems by Janine Booth, Hastings Press, £3.00

Joolz, Joolz (Recorded) 1983-1985 (MP3 album), Abstract Sounds, £7.99

Linton Kwesi Johnson, LKJ A Capella Live, (CD album), LKJ Records, £9.15 (plus £1.15 shipping) direct from LKJ Records

Find out more about Stand Up and Spit on Tim Wells’s Stand Up and Spit blog

Artists’ books

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 09.40.27Some readers and friends will know that since 1994 I have edited and published an artists’ book imprint called Piece of Paper Press (from which this website gets its name). I am delighted therefore that Piece of Paper Press is included in a new and updated edition of one of the definitive texts on the subject, Stephen Bury’s  Artists’ books: the book as a work of art, 1963-2000, which is published in May 2015 by Bernard Quaritch Ltd. More than that, it is in the blurb!

Michael Moorcock, ‘A Twist in the Lines’, POPP.027Piece of Paper Press was designed as a commissioning space and a platform for collaboration, a means by which I could publish and distribute limited editions of new works by artists and writers. Piece of Paper Press was also designed to be sustainable, by which at the time I meant lo-fi and cheap to produce; a format that would need little or no administration or infrastructure. The books are printed on a photocopier or domestic printer, and assembled and trimmed by hand. Titles are never for sale and they have no ISBN numbers. Editions are simply made (and made simply) and then given away. 58674_440968627016_7190055_nThe project would—I thought at the time—never need any funding or financial support in order to continue. Each book is made from a single sheet of A4 paper, which is folded, stapled and trimmed to give a roughly A7 format and sixteen pages including front and back covers. If the project were any more complex in either production or distribution I would probably have given up years ago.

Lionel_Hours_coverSince 1994 I’ve collaborated with and published works by artists and writers including Michael Moorcock, Liliane Lijn, Pavel Büchler, Peter Bunting, Barbara Campbell, Tim Etchells, Bruce Gilchrist, Halford+Beard, Elizabeth Magill, Penny McCarthy, James Pyman, Borivoj Radaković, Gordana Stanišić, Suzanne Treister, Alison Turnbull, Mikey Cuddihy, Stevie Deas, and others. The twenty-ninth title in the series will be by Joanna Walsh, then Paul Sakoilsky.

It is a great thrill that Piece of Paper Press is included in Stephen Bury’s book, and doubly thrilling that it is mentioned in the blurb:

The history of artists’ involvement with the book format between 1963 and 2000 includes a fascinating range of artists and movements from Mallarmé to the Piece of Paper Press via Cubism, Futurism, Dada, Fluxus and conceptual art. This second edition includes updated text with new bibliographic descriptions of 600 key artists’ books and over 130 new, full-page, colour illustrations taken from the internationally renowned Chelsea College of Art & Design Library collection. It is an indispensable resource for the definition and classification of artists’ books by a renowned scholar in the field.

Dr Stephen Bury is the Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian, Frick Art Reference Library, New York. Previous publications include ‘Artists’ Multiples’ (2001) and ‘Breaking the Rules’ (2007).

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BURY, Stephen. Artists’ books: the book as a work of art, 1963-2000.
London, Bernard Quaritch Ltd, 2015.
Small 4to, (232 x 228 mm), pp. 258 (including over 130 illustrations); cloth-bound.
ISBN 978-0-9563012-9-1
Offered at the introductory price of £50 until 30 June 2015. The full price is £60.

Castañeda apocrypha

‘A Fragment from the Lives of the Conquistadors’ is a short story that I wrote for L.A. artist Steven Hull for an incredible Californian arts festival called Glow Santa Monica. The audio—with analogue synth accompaniment by Steven—was released on the vinyl LP A Puppet Show in 2014, and I also put the MP3 up on my Soundcloud page. For some reason(?) the file had got corrupted, so I just had to reload it. As ever, feel free to download it, so you can listen to the MP3 on your own device.

Here’s the blurb:

Track #1 from A Puppet Show, vinyl LP by LA artist Steven Hull (Nothing Moments, 2014). Tony White reads his short story, a psychedelic parable about Cortés presented as a piece of Castañeda apocrypha, with sound by Steven Hull. This new short story formed the basis of Steven Hull’s huge Puppet Show performance commissioned for Glow 2013 (a triennial, dusk-to-dawn arts festival on Santa Monica Beach). The story is now available on a beautiful yellow vinyl, gatefold LP from Nothing Moments, featuring audio of the story with sounds and music by Petra Haden, Tanya Haden and Anna Huff, Steven Hull and the legendary Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfers. A two-fold, full colour pamphlet insert features the full text of Tony White’s story, plus photos of A Puppet Show at Glow and an interview-essay with all participants by Christopher Schnieders.

A Puppet Show, track listing:

A Side:
#1 ‘A Fragment from the Lives of the Conquistadors’ story by Tony White and sound by Steven Hull, 12:50 min.
#2 ‘Horse Parade’ by Petra Haden, Tanya Haden and Anna Huff, 3:47 min.

B Side:
#1 ‘Maigizo ya Bandia’ by Gibby Haynes, 10:12 min.
#2 ‘Conquistadorable’ by Petra Haden, Tanya Haden and Anna Huff, 4:51 min.

Image: A Puppet Show listening station in the exhibition My Little Boat of Sorrow (opens PDF of press release): Tami Demaree, Alex Evans, Tanya Haden, Gibby Haynes, Steven Hull, Jim Shaw, Allison Schulnik, and Marnie Weber. Rosamund Felsen Gallery, July 12 2014 — August 9 2014.

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IMMA-clude Me Out

Image: Camille Souter, Shannon Series Painting, 1980, Oil on paper, 44 x 74 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2007

Image: Camille Souter, Shannon Series Painting, 1980, Oil on paper, 44 x 74 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2007

I am delighted that the artist Alan Phelan’s 2012 short film of my short story ‘Include Me Out’ is being shown as a video installation as part of a new exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) entitled IMMA Collection: Fragments. Here is the exhibition blurb and Camille Souter’s painting which is being used as the press image for the show:

This exhibition borrows its title from Philosopher Walter Benjamin’s comparison of the work of translation to re-assembling fragments of a broken vase – the individual fragments must come together, but need not be like each other. This could also be taken as an allegory for exhibition making, or collecting. The exhibition includes the first-showing since their acquisition of a number of recent works by Irish artists, including The sky looks down on almost as many things as the ceiling, (2013) a wall based sculpture by Aleana Egan and commissioned works by Ronan McCrea and Alan Phelan. The latter two are lens-based works titled Medium (Corporate Entities) and Include me out of the Partisan Manifesto, which resulted from IMMA’s programme of temporary exhibitions.

Joanna Crawford and Brendan McCormack in Alan Phelan’s film, Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto (2012)

Joanna Crawford and Brendan McCormack in Alan Phelan’s film, Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto (2012)

My short story ‘Include Me Out’ was originally commissioned by IMMA as a catalogue text for Alan Phelan’s 2009 exhibition Fragile Absolutes. For that project he had taken all of the italicised words from Slavoj Žižek’s book of that name, and used them as random word associations towards a series of new works, which are realised in a variety of materials and processes, from hand-carved marble, through to video and IMMA_ALAN-PHELAN-JPGpapier-mâché sculptures. In writing about this work, then, I decided to use the same italicised words as a mandated vocabulary for a story which might reflect (upon) and amplify certain aspects of Phelan’s work. For Phelan to then make a film adaptation of the story, for final inclusion in the Fragile Absolutes series, and for that film to be acquired for IMMA’s collection, makes for a wholly apt and a pleasingly (if not vertiginously) circular narrative logic. IMMA have even included a large reproduction of Picasso’s Women Running on the Beach in the installation (within the ‘light lock’), which will make sense to anyone who has read the story. My bibliographical notes for the text are also displayed.

Here is the plot summary from the film’s IMDB entry:

A suburban couple battle through the apparent obliteration of their shared experience as their DVD collection is painstakingly broken up and recycled. The film was based on a short story by Tony White written as a fictional representation of Alan Phelan’s art practice.

If you can catch the exhibition which closes late July, Alan and I would love to hear what you think.  In the meantime, or for friends who can’t make it to Dublin, you can watch the film on Vimeo here:

Include Me Out of the partisans manifesto, 2012 from Alan Phelan on Vimeo.

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Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto, in IMMA Collection: Fragments, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland — until 26 July 2015.
Tuesday – Friday: 11.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 12noon – 5.30pm
Monday: Closed
Last Admission 5.15pm
Admission is Free

Get the free ebook of ‘Include Me Out’ from Artists’ Ebooks

Alan Phelan: Fragile Absolutes
Authors, Editor and Contributors: Dušan I. Bjelic´, Seán Kissane, Medb Ruane and Tony White
Price: €35.00 (268 pages, 207 illustrations)
ISBN: 978-8-88158-763-6
Year of Publication: 2009

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