I've been exploring different ways of breaking up this text to see where it takes me creatively. Each time, I tried applying different rules to the same piece of text (4 different copies in total, numbered in the bottom corner) - I've attached each exercise below for you to see. The text is out joint writing, my exercise and your response. The rules I applied to each copy are as follows;
1. I chose to blank out the words I didn't like.
2. I chose words that I liked and actively tried to link them together to form new sentences - blanking out everything I didn't want to keep.
3. I rolled a dice and blanked out the word equal to the number rolled.
4. I highlighted my words and your responses that I liked.
Hi James, here is a response to your streams of consciousness. I have tried to react or develop from your words really quickly, one by one, sometimes in a dissenting/contrary way, other times to amplify an idea, or just with pop culture references or all the other nonsense that fills my consciousness. My additions are in red
places/sites / people/beings / outside buildings/sheds / placards/SWP / unions/organised labour / language/dialect / text/message / words/sword / protesting/complaining / right words in the wrong place, wrong words in the right place/in season and out of season / signs/wonders / shouting/rooftops / warning/shepherds / protests/eye-tests / performance/audience / aggressive?/hard enough? / are you welcome/who isn't welcome? / are you, the artist, alien to the landscape/are you the landscape?
will not be contained/bring me that horizon / sea walls/salt marsh / grey, brown, mud/rich black soil / piers/end-of-the-pier-show / destroyed/regenerated / trains stopped/Mr Beeching / bricks carried away in the sea/container ships / little trophies/small pleasures / show of strength/fairground / mountains/eagles / wilderness/solitude / barren/dormant / under the sea/20,000 leagues / no chance of life/one chance of life / nature is the most powerful/entropy gets us all in the end / constantly surprises/nothing new under the sun / we can’t control/no self control / harsh/words / terrain/terrapin / overcome/undergo / struggle for dominance/settling for less
over another/under a brother / manipulation/control / surroundings/embrace / boarders/Hogwarts? / over culture/sub-culture / culture of silence and violence/talking about mercy / Harvey Weinstein/entitled prick / control/Joy Division / power/balance / show of strength/show of hands / closing of the mouth/the beginning of wisdom / gagging/for it / power of speech/MLK / over language/careless whisper / words are power/deeds not words / afraid of talk/safe-spaces / communication/Communards / transparency/acetate / everyone has a voice/sing from the same hymn sheet / power in numbers/we are legion
speak out/express / art/life / affective tool/soft weapon / weapon/waging peace / can bring powerful people down, build dangerous people up/dumbocracy / ordinary people into heroes/No More Heroes / gets people to do things that doesn’t make sense/ logical/People do the strangest things/ language to get what you want/You Can't Always Get What You Want/ not about physical strength/small but mighty/ strongest mind – convincing others your idea is the best/debate / convince them/ hearts and minds/ Trump/Banana /communicate ideas to hundreds/Caxton/ writing/shared knowledge/ teaching people to read/literacy /not letting people read/grammar rules / translating books/interpreting dreams / illegal/censorship / knowledge/wisdom / performance/cast / who is convincing?/what is truth?
performance/gravity / body/resonance / human body/ageing / getting across a point/coming across an insight/ how they are said/it's the way I tell 'em / speaking vs. reading/from the heart / what is more powerful/what works? / impact/incision / words and cadence/meter / body/instrument / language/music / rhyme/scansion / do I like the person talking?/first impressions? / different written down/Speech Debelle / no performance delivered/No Satisfaction / reader must construct the text in their head/ write it in your heart / dictated to by someone/The Great Dictator / text messages/SMS / can’t get across meaning/lost in translation / intent/content / humour/bants /performance won’t work written down without knowledge of writer/writer won't work sitting down without knowledge of performance / lost in translation/great minds think alike but fools seldom differ / who is reading and who is writing text?/Consumers or Producers of culture?
wrong land /location location location/ not appropriate/not in keeping / style of building/mode of being/ offensive/defensive / subversive/perverted / blasphemous/profane public art/mascots for the masses / offensive to some/there can be no consensus / not the right figure/ sub-optimal/ naked?/ nude?/ hero?/heroine? / villain?/but his mum loved him / what was the historical figure like?/ history is written by the victors / money/get away / campaign to get a woman on the £10 note/ the Queen doesn't count - you know what we mean / not accepting the current system/ discontent / actively going against something/ what have you got? speaking out /I'm Spartacus / voices/in unison / whose voice is important?/ all animals are equal but...
language / vocabulary / physically showing a message / demo / graffiti / the writing's on the wall / voicing things that are damaging / shouting 'Fire' in a crowded theatre / don’t let people see the mess / better to keep silent and be thought a fool.../ death of the author / revival of the reader / who wrote the text – does it matter? / I bet you think this song's about you / more or less authority? / weight and tone / writing your name / and this is me / details/ schmetails / petitioning / what, anutherr one? / data collection / Big Data / valuable information / monetising knowledge / selling of mass data / data is money / data being leaked / freedom of information / Sony / and Share / opinions / positions / voices are damaging if they are the right ones saying the right things / the power of words / wrong things / heresy / signs / tells / easy to recognise / so hard to define / logos / Word / recognition from the masses / automatic for the people / putting text where people can see it / Lets' Take it to the Stage / where is it not accepted to put text? / Bill Stickers Will Be Prosecuted /different from talking / you get me? / no performance / action / performer? / actor? / author? or participant?
performing outside a theatre or art space / the streets / interrupting day to day life / excuse me, while I kiss the sky / human body / life vehicle / figure / go figure / naked? / clothed / shocking? / pink/ fantastic in the ordinary surroundings / spectacle / environment / ecology / dissent in performance / descent into chaos /the performance or the place? / right time, right place / the audience? / the participants? / performing to people who don’t want to see it / reluctant audience / political / personal / confrontational / optimism / Pussy Riot / Guerrilla Girls/ performing where you aren’t allowed to / No Ball Games / dissent through performance / descent through the clouds / dissent just in being / I am what I am / human body / weapon of choice / naked / disarming /performer arrested for letting the public feel her naked breasts / hello boys / is there anything other than nudity? / diminishing returns/ political clothing / the beret / hijab and burqa in France / Liberté, for some / symbols / signs / jewellery / rings / the cross / the gallows / slogans on t-shirts / Now Read This / Nazi t-shirts / just obeying orders/ punk / purgative / Sid Vicious / Pretty Vacant / offensive language / offensive inequality / offensive hair / offensive bigotry / body hair/ mammals / woman’s hair / women's equality / armpit hair / it doesn't grow on trees / leg hair /femur fur/ pubic hair / Tony Blair/ freedom of expression / can you say that? / freedom of speech / freedom to be wrong / swearing in public /to give proper emphasis / c**t means the same but isn’t a word /cult?/ f word / Farage? c word / Cameron? s word /Stop? is it the meaning or spelling? Both
I've just been revisiting my stream of consciousness writing and thought it would be good to share some selected parts - maybe some words or phrases will catch your eye.
places / people / outside buildings / placards / unions / language / text / words / protesting / right words in the wrong place, wrong words in the right place / signs / shouting / warning / protests / performance / aggressive? / are you welcome / are you, the artist, alien to the landscape?
will not be contained / sea walls / grey, brown, mud / piers / destroyed / trains stopped / bricks carried away in the sea / little trophies / show of strength / mountains / wilderness / barren / under the sea / no chance of life / nature is the most powerful / constantly surprises / we can’t control / harsh / terrain / overcome / struggle for dominance
over another / manipulation / surroundings / boarders / over culture / culture of silence and violence / Harvey Weinstein / control / power / show of strength / closing of the mouth / gagging / power of speech / over language / words are power / afraid of talk / communication / transparency / everyone has a voice / power in numbers
speak out / art / affective tool / weapon / can bring powerful people down, build dangerous people up / ordinary people into heroes / gets people to do things that doesn’t make sense / logical / language to get what you want / not about physical strength / strongest mind – convincing others your idea is the best / convince them / Trump / communicate ideas to hundreds / writing / teaching people to read / not letting people read / translating books / illegal / knowledge/ performance / who is convincing?
performance / body / human body / getting across a point / how they are said / speaking vs. reading / what is more powerful / impact / words and cadence / body language / rhyme / do I like the person talking? / different written down / no performance delivered / reader must construct the text in their head / dictated to by someone / text messages / can’t get across meaning / intent / humour / performance won’t work written down without knowledge of writer / lost in translation / who is reading and who is writing text?
wrong land / not appropriate / style of building / offensive / subversive / blasphemous / public art / offensive to some / not the right figure / naked? / hero? / villain? / what was the historical figure like? / money / campaign to get a woman on the £10 note / not accepting the current system / actively going against something / speaking out / voices / whose voice is important?
language / physically showing a message / graffiti / voicing things that are damaging / don’t let people see the mess / death of the author / who wrote the text – does it matter? / more or less authority? / writing your name / details / petitioning / data collection / valuable information / selling of mass data / data being leaked / Sony / opinions / voices are damaging if they are the right ones saying the right things / wrong things / signs / easy to recognise / logos / recognition from the masses / putting text where people can see it / where is it not accepted to put text? / different from talking / no performance / performer? / author?
performing outside a theatre or art space / interrupting day to day life / human body / figure / naked? / shocking? / fantastic in the ordinary surroundings / environment / dissent in performance / the performance or the place? / the audience? / performing to people who don’t want to see it / political / confrontational / Pussy Riot / performing where you aren’t allowed to / dissent through performance / dissent just in being / human body / naked / performer arrested for letting the public feel her naked breasts / is there anything other than nudity? / political clothing / hijab and burqa in France / symbols / jewellery / the cross / slogans on t-shirts / Nazi t-shirts / punk / Sid Vicious / offensive language / offensive hair / body hair/ woman’s hair / armpit hair / leg hair / pubic hair / freedom of expression / freedom of speech / swearing in public / c**t means the same but isn’t a word / f word / c word / s word / is it the meaning or spelling?
The first step is always the hardest when making something. I’m not sure I’ve ever made something so it could remake me as Elaine Scarry suggests, not in any conscious way anyway. In any case, I’ve spent my time today in trains and on cafes (I wrote this the wrong way round but on reflection, quite like it) trying to trick my brain into unlocking its creative juices – with mixed results. I’ve been jotting down various streams of consciousness and decided to dedicate this first day to writing.
I’ve often found reflecting on my work and talking about it helps shape my own understanding of where I was mentally when making it, so in some way, I can relate to Scarry.
After working on a text-based project late last year and after looking at your work Peter, I wanted to work with text, something that I’ve wanted to incorporate into my work more and more. With that in mind, I started the day by thinking about Scarry’s quote and theme ‘dissent’. I started writing from the word dissent and then took key words from each writing exercise to start the next. Eventually this brought me to the topic of – voice and language in a body of text.
So I find myself at this point, thinking about when dissent is present in a text and what a performance gives a piece of text. It’s funny that you’re looking at contemporary politicians, as it is something that came up during my writing (in the context of performance and delivery of a text).
This is the most exciting yet daunting point in the creative process and I can relate to your struggle – the struggle to understand, the struggle to create and the struggle to make. I think my biggest struggle will be evolving any writing into something other than a piece of text, which is where I seem to be heading.
*I did take some pictures to go with this post but the scribbles in my notebook seem as un-photogenic as their writer.
Here we are at the start of Block_1. James and I have never met. We are presented with this quotation from Elaine Scarry to give us something to build from. Where this process will lead us and what might develop is all uncharted territory - like the virgin sand on an uninhabited shore.
Why do we make things? Is it so that they in turn remake us? For me, it doesn't feel that way. Making things doesn't feel like a form of 'recreation'. It is more like struggle, or an affliction. It is testing and teasing an idea into some form of expression of a thing that might bear some resemblance to what I hoped it could be.
I'm working this week on a woodblock print which will be presented as part of Reading's Holocaust Memorial Day event. I am therefore on a tight deadline to finish cutting and printing it. I will speak at the event and try to avoid explaining the work too literally. The work will use the language of populist xenophobia from contemporary tabloids and politicians and contrast it with the idea of common humanity...in a woodcut.
Making it is about pressure and struggle - struggling with the materials, struggling with the idea, trying to bring them together and knowing that it will fail on many levels. It has to fail because of the enormity of the subject and my inadequacy to comprehend it. I will still make the thing as testament to my inability.
What are you 'making' at the moment James?