A note on: Undergoing Rorschach testing live at Illuminations launch...

The Austrian Illuminations Anthology launch was a surprisingly intense evening. Always with launches things are smaller, there's nothing to make, the book is done, it's a ship being pushed out, so the energy and often audiences are lower, but in this case that slight reduction created concentration. David Fried's reading was especially intense I felt, personal and direct, and Iris Colomb is a gifted performer.

I read my fiction made of quotations story from the anthology, for Peter Handke, giving a far longer intro than I would normally do, explaining my habit of collecting quotes from novels and poems, which are past 11000 in total now, and how I intend to shape these into a novel one day.

Then came David Rickard's rather remarkable work. He suggested to me, as his piece in the book was the ink of a squid he has crushed in his original illuminations performance rendered as a Rorschach type piece of artwork, that he would follow this theme down a rabbit hole. He discovered the importance Klecksography and poetry to Hermann Rorschach original idea and how this overlap was too much to resist, so he contacted Doctor Marc Desautel, clinical psychologist and director of Rorschach Society. He invited Marc to participate in the event by analysing me live, before the audience. All I wanted to do is commit with full verity to the test, to not try and game or perform, and though we met briefly before, it was genuinely under the auspices of analysis that we did the test. I thought his insights about me were mostly true, all told. You can watch the videos of this below

A note on: an interview with Kathryn Lloyd for Jerwood Open Forest

A great interview with Kathryn Lloyd up on the Jerwood Arts website, speaking to David Rickard primarily, with me in a wee bit, about the Jerwood Open Forest. More info on that here www.stevenjfowler.com/openforest "

KL: Steven, collaboration also seems to be a vital part of your practice. Would you be able to discuss this a little bit — in terms of what sort of role collaboration can play in poetry and performance?

SJ. Fowler: Collaboration is pivotal to me. So much to say here, but to cut to the quick, collaboration is not a method; it is human interaction, just with a creative goal as the excuse. Friendship, love, family — this is collaboration. I wish to spend my life in the company of people happily making things, being challenged by their intelligence and thoughts, being provoked into that which I wouldn’t have seen alone. It in no way eats into the solitary process — one so exclusively associated, bizarrely, with poetry, it often seems. In this specific case, with David’s gesture, to open his project up to a stranger, I took it be an extraordinary act of hospitality, of generosity, of humility, that he and I shared some essential methodological appreciation of collaboration, and so I felt responsible to really commit to the work, in all ways. It has proved to be a really brilliant time — all of it positive, a real highlight of my year.

KL: David, your proposal incorporates text through the use of Steven’s poem. How do you associate with the role of writing — do you also like to write? Or is text something that you find more natural to incorporate when written by someone else?"

http://www.jerwoodvisualarts.org/writing-and-media/returnings-kathryn-lloyd-conversation-david-rickard-sj-fowler/

A note on: Jerwood Open Forest exhibition opening

A privilege to be part of the 2016 Jerwood Open Forest Exhibition at the Jerwood Space in London, thanks to my collaborator, David Rickard, and the staff at Jerwood, who have all been exceptionally generous in supporting my work.

David was shortlisted earlier this year for the project and invited me then to work with him in producing new texts for his proposal, and as the process of the project moves towards the award being granted, the Jerwood Space hosts an exhibition with representations of the works being proposed by each artist. David created a wholly new work for the exhibition, conceptually connected to the Returnings idea, that saw him source an out of commission memorial bench and gently dissect it into its constituent parts. I then wrote a poem / text responding to this work, a word for each piece of the exhibited bench skeleton. My words are beautifully projected in the gallery against a wall, becoming a kinetic poem, the entire text on loop, revealed over exactly three minutes.

The launch event was lovely, so great to spend time in that space, meet the other artists, and see my work exhibited in a gallery I often visit and admire. David and I also had a chance to appear on Resonance FM talking about our work on the day of the opening. A wonderful collaboration that I hope spawns lots more work with David in the near future.

A note on: Open Forest Exhibition at Jerwood Visual Art

November 2nd to December 11th at Jerwood Visual Arts, London.
171 Union Street. Bankside. SE1 0LN / jerwoodvisualarts.org
Gallery hours: Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm / Saturday & Sunday 10am – 3pm

I'm pleased to have a newly commissioned text responding to, and collaborating with, the work of artist David Rickard on exhibition at Jerwood Visual Arts as part of their remarkable Open Forest project. The work explores the notion of dissection, the breaking down of things into their component parts and the fragmentation of recollection, all expressed by way of a deconstructed memorial bench. The installation is part of a wider work entitled Returnings www.stevenjfowler.com/returnings

The Jerwood Open Forest exhibition brings together the work of David Rickard and the four other shortlisted artists for 2016, with new bodies of work spanning installation, film, ceramics and performance on display. Jerwood Open Forest is a collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England with the support of Arts Council England. http://jerwoodopenforest.org/

A note on: Jerwood Open Forest with David Rickard - Part #1

Over the last few months I've had the opportunity and pleasure to work with the artist David Rickard, in quite an inspiring context. David, whose remarkable career as artist has been marked by a particularly complex and deft relationship to space, object, architecture and process, has been shortlisted for the Jerwood Open Forest scheme.

After being shortlisted for his idea David, very generously, began a conversation about how poetry might find a place in his idea. His proposal was to engage with Fielder Forest in Northumberland and create a trail throughout unmarked woods. The rail would be made of a reclaimed house or building, stripped and dissembled into the very rawest wood of a structure, bare planks, and on each of these planks, following a carefully selected route, would be inscribed one word. This trail would then be read as it is followed, neither a narrative, or a poem, or a story, but all of these. And then, vitally, the trail and its posts would rot, become once again the forest, and so my words would be edited by the very forest itself.

From the Jerwood Open Forest blog, David wrote: "Returnings: 29 Jul 2016 - So far my search for a forest has been headed simultaneously in two very different directions. Firstly, for a growing, photosynthesising cluster of trees, a forest in the current tense and secondly for a building with timber bones, a forest in the past sense. Eventually these two will come together, but for now they are poles apart. The living forest will be a plantation, established and grown for the eventual yield of its timber and Kielder Forest has been identified as the prime candidate – an expanse of 600 square kilometres of forest stretching across the northern half of Northumberland.

In parallel there have been conversations with demolition contractors, with names like Titan and Redhammer, and the hunt is on to establish how we can find a suitable building that will form the fabric of the installation. It will be a timber structure that has come to the end of its functional life and is ready for a return trip to its place of origin.

Carved into the surfaces of the beams and boards will be words.  One word on each piece, which together form an expansive poem with no beginning or ending; a meandering narrative that flows through the circuitous journey that the timber has taken. The voice of these words will be S J Fowler, a contemporary English poet that has agreed to collaborate on the creation of ‘Returnings’. Now there are fragments; a forest, a hunt for a building and words. There’s still a lot to do before these fragments combine to form a work."

A note on: launching 40 feet, a new book, written with David Berridge

As part of an event at the Essex Book Festival, a Camarade I had the pleasure of putting together, I got to read with my friend and collaborator, David Berridge. We launched our book 40 feet, which has been published by Knives Forks and Spoons press. http://knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/ 

40 Feet is a poem in dialogue. 40 poems as 40 moments, 40 fragments, 40 conversation starters / enders. It is a poem deliberately broken, misheard, overheard and overlapping. It is a record of meeting, writing, witnessing; mulching and reflecting London in 2013, where both of us lived and frequently met. 40 Feet is the events of that time and the character of that place, fixed in the subjective, the miniature, the specific - through an open-ended poetics of expression and conversation. 

We wrote the book over a year ago and revisiting it in Essex was a beautiful thing, to feel the book as a record of a friendship in poetry but also a marker of a time in my life.

And you can read more about David's work here http://verysmallkitchen.com/ 

Published: 2 limited editions released in March: Tractography (Pyramid Editions) & 40 Feet (Knives Forks & Spoons press)

Very pleased to see two new publications emerge in March. 

Tractography is the first of a new series of poems, called Neurocantos, and is launched in a boutique limited edition by Pyramid Editions, edited by Owen Vince. The poem is partially built from the words of a paper by the neuroscientist Daniel Margulies. http://pyramideditions.co.uk/

40 Feet, written with David Berridge is to be launched at the Essex Book Festival Camarade, on March 20th 2016, 40 Feet is published by Knives Forks and Spoons press. http://knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/ 

40 Feet is a poem in dialogue. 40 poems as 40 moments, 40 fragments, 40 conversation starters / enders. It is a poem deliberately broken, misheard, overheard and overlapping. It is a record of meeting, writing, witnessing; mulching and reflecting London in 2013, where both poets lived and frequently met. 40 Feet is the events of that time and the character of that place, fixed in the subjective, the miniature, the specific - through an open-ended poetics of expression and conversation. 

An excerpt featured in Enemies: the selected collaborations of SJ Fowler (2013) and is now published in it's entirety by Knives, Forks & Spoons press. And you can read more about David's work herehttp://verysmallkitchen.com/ 

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Oxford Brookes weekly poem feature - Gilles de Rais from Enemies

http://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/weekly-poem/weekly-poem-for-20-october-2014/ Very nice to have two poems from my collaboration with David Erkembode Kelly pop up on the Oxford Brookes poetry weekly poetry feature.  
Weekly Poem for 20 October 2014
  • from Gilles de Rais

    shot in the ribs in revenge.
    my organs like this, two ribs, rhymes 
    and emily’s 
    racist baby workout 
    is a future collected book 
    like this a postcard sized box that is completely 
    empty as a hospital bed 
    can be empty soon 
    enough if you don’t watch you mouth & if so 
    I’ll be on quick as a flash 
    evidence for it in my past
    by SJ Fowler

    This excerpt from ‘Gilles de Rais’ is copyright © SJ Fowler, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Penned in the Margins from Enemies  (Penned in the Margins, 2013).
    Notes from Penned in the Margins: ‘Gilles de Rais’ is a collaborative work with poems by SJ Fowler and artwork from David Kelly, and comes from the anthology, Enemies. This ground-breaking, multi-disciplinary collection is the result of collaborations between SJ Fowler and over thirty artists, photographers and writers. Diary entries mingle with a partially-redacted email exchange; texts slip and fragment, finding new contexts alongside prints, paintings, diagrams, Rorschach blots, YouTube clips and behind-the-scenes photographs at the museum. Find out more from the Penned in the Margins website, watch SJ Fowler read from the poem, and follow his work on his website and on Twitter.
    Penned in the Margins is an independent publisher and live literature producer specialising in poetry and based in East London. Founded in 2004, the company has produced numerous literature and performance events, toured several successful live literature shows, published over twenty-five books, and continues to run innovative poetry, arts and performance projects in the capital and beyond. The company is currently touring two productions: Shlock!, a powerful feminist satire for the cut and paste generation, and The Shipwrecked House, a one-woman performance that blends poetry with theatre, in which Anglo-Breton poet Claire Trévien navigates a shifting maritime landscape. You can find out more about these productions on the Penned in the Margins website

collaborations with David Berridge & Tom Jenks on Cordite

Both these works are about to emerge in their entirety with Knives forks and spoons press, and really kick off the Enemies series, a selection of my collaborative works published as stand alone books in their full form. // http://cordite.org.au/poetry/collaboration/40-feet/ David Berridge and I wrote 40 feet, made of 40 poems over a year ago now, and it stands to me as a very specific representation of a time, and a city, before David migrated south.

now everything’s big, everybody’s mother
is bluer than blue, whiter than white
privileged as a dip in the car thief fame and muscling up
for money
sounds like a good deal to me
when I’ve become wealthy
I’m bound to be calmest
said a Giant, currently fashionable
if the screaming doesn’t end by sunday we’ll call a doctor, said the elephant

http://cordite.org.au/poetry/collaboration/1000-proverbs/ Tom Jenks and I took an unknown amount of time to write 1000 proverbs, and an unknown amount of wisdom. All of his are very very funny. 

Better an egg today than an egg nog tomorrow.
Better Butlin’s than a Russian prison. Better a scarf in Skegness than rubber gloves in Minehead.
Better a wrestler in the vale than in Bognor Regis.
Better a bugger in Bognor than a penis in Penistone.


Knowing your Enemies by David Berridge

http://davidberridge.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/knowing-your-enemies-thoughts-on-thoughts-about-collaboration/

"Over at Sabotage Reviews David Clarke has written a fascinating review of Enemies: The Selected Collaborations of SJ Fowler. Drawing on Bakhtin’s arguments around the dialogic text Clarke (as I understand it) argues that the dialogic elements are actually most evident in texts that refuse a clear sense of who wrote what, maybe even of form and subject. Without this certainty, the reader has to get involved, and the possibility of the text as a multiplicity of possible and actual voices emerges.

I found myself relating Clarke’s ideas to some of the decisions Steve and myself have been making regarding the book form of our collaboration, forty feet, an extract from which appears in the Enemies book. Something of the process Clarke describes has been evident in our ongoing and changing decisions about how to arrange the text on the page, what kinds of sections and designation to give the writing, to what extent the text should indicate the presence of two authors, and/or a more general process of exchange and response by which the book’s writing unfolded.

Originally our text had forty distinct sections, in which we took turns as author. Although we never had a manuscript that named our respective contributions one early idea was to have two distinct fonts for our respective writings. For the extract in the Penned in the Margins book, sections were cut up, placed in columns, our separate contributions mashed one to the other. I thought the book might take this further, but instead it seemed right to go back to 40 numbered sections, although now those numbers broke up some our existing sections, whilst the text itself no longer had each section starting neatly on a new page.
cyril-connollyCyril Connolly Enemies of Promise (1): Getting Blocked in By Your Own Book Collection

Reading what we have now, I no longer know who wrote what. This isn’t entirely true, of course, but there are specific lines and sections where I mean this literally, and the whole text has moved, in my reading of it, beyond that sense of two alternating voices as its organising principle. This unknowing in the face of my/ our own text made me think of Maurice Blanchot’s comment about the text that removes itself from its author. I could only remember Blanchot’s view in these most general of terms so I went back to The Space of Literature and read on page 24:
The writer cannot abide near the work. He can only write it; he can, once it is written, only discern its approach in the abrupt Noli me legere which moves him away, which sets him apart or which obliges him to go back to that “separation” which he first entered in order to become attuned to what he had had to write. So that now he finds himself as if at the beginning of his task again and discovers again the proximity, the errant intimacy of the outside from which he could not make an abode.
All I have said here, of course, is from the writer’s point of view. Clarke’s review focuses on the experience of reader and reading and how the knowledge that a text is a collaboration (more particularly in the case of Enemies: some sort of couple) relates to the sense of voice, location and exchange that is  named or intuited by that reader in the text’s form and content. The (currently) final version we have made of forty feet seems one where writer and reader find some sort of equivalence.

One other point that I found useful in Clarke’s review was his sense of why the book – and Steve’s collaborations project as a whole – should be called Enemies, a title I realised I had responded to primarily as a provocation that cleared away a certain complacency about what might be involved and at stake. For Clark, again, it is best understood through how we read:
His collaborations are not friendly: neither in the sense of seeking to arrive at a position of harmony between those producing the work, nor in the sense that a finished artistic product offers the reader any easy answers. In fact, these collaborations are the opposite of a ‘finished’ product: they remain open to a dialogue with the reader, indeed to many dialogues (as in many re-readings) with the reader.
Steven’s own introduction to Enemies can be seen hereForty Feet will be out soon from Knives Forks and Spoons Press.

Enemies reviewed with care & skill by David Clarke on Sabotage reviews

-Reviewed by David Clarke-
The Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin once argued that the distinguishing feature of the novel was its multi-voiced-ness. This distinguished it from the lyric mode, which, he claimed, addressed the reader as a single, undivided voice. Whereas the lyric is a mode of identity, Bakhtin suggested, the novel is multiple, orchestrating an array of discourses, none of which can lay claim to ultimate authority. Avant-garde poetics in its various forms sharply calls such a distinction into question: to the extent that a lyric I is performed by such texts, they delight in deconstructing that I as a mere site through which many discourses pass, a disjointed or even fragmented voice which refuses to resolve itself into univocal meaning. This is as true for that swathe of the avant-garde referred to as modernist as it is for post-modernists like Ashbery or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets like Bernstein. Referring to prose, Bakthin called this effect dialogic, and I was put in mind of this notion repeatedly when reading Enemies: The Selected Collaborations of SJ Fowler, a handsomely produced volume from the excellent Penned in the Margins.
This is a compilation of some of the collaborations which Fowler has undertaken with over 150 artists, writers, sculptors and musicians in a project funded by the Arts Council and the Jerwood Foundation. The scale of the work has been enormous and is a testament to Fowler’s commitment as a kind of impresario of the avant-garde (or vanguard, as he prefers to call it): alongside this anthology, numerous discreet publications have emerged with small presses. Many of the performances associated with the project can also be found on-line (see http://www.weareenemies.com/ and Fowler’sYouTube channel).
The dialogic aspect of the book, in a banal sense, is clear in the material presented, which includes samples of work from 29 of the collaborations. Many of these take on the form of a dialogue between text and image (i.e. where Fowler has written text to accompany visual material), but there are also entirely text-based exchanges: for example, an exchange of e-mails with Sam Riviere and a series of poems written by Fowler and Claire Potter in which the poets have exchanged YouTube links and asked each other to respond. With other co-produced texts, it is less easy to reconstruct the exchange which took place, although Fowler provides notes which give a broad outline of the process.
However, I would argue that these texts are dialogic not merely in the sense that they are the products of artists exchanging work and responding to each other, but in the more important sense that the exchange and the work it produces enter into an unresolved relationship, in which the reader is also implicated. This contrasts with more established notions of how poetry responds to other works of art, or indeed to other poems. The ekphrastic tradition, for example, records the response of the poet to a work of art. She may see something new in that work, bring a new interpretation to it, for example, as Auden famously does with Brueghel’s Fall of Icarus; yet this kind of dialogue with others produces above all a new meaning which the reader is invited to consume. The dialogues taking place here do not follow this pattern.
To take two of the collaborations which set up a dialogue of text and image, we can see how this works in practice. Fowler and Alexander Kell’s ‘Museum of Debt’ juxtaposes monochrome photographs of employees of the British Museum with short poems. The photographs themselves refuse any fly-on-the-wall documentary aesthetic: in fact, it is unclear in most cases what kind of work the individuals pictured actually do. Their poses jar with the context, pouting or apparently larking about in the way people might do in a Facebook photograph, yet the texts equally refuse either to illustrate the images themselves or to comment on the workers’ everyday experience. There is a clear parodic intent, sending up the many residencies offered for poets by workplaces of all kinds (not least galleries and museums), yet it is in the unresolved dialogue between image and text that the real interest lies. In the second poem in this sequene, ‘tooth of the Nile’, for instance, we see a photograph of a young woman grinning exaggeratedly up at statue which cradles another, smaller statue in its arm. The text reads as follows: ‘the ark of the covenant / baby hercule / an asp, a thesp / a guided tour /of softcore’. The text, read together with the image, allows a number of possible meanings to emerge: perhaps this is Hercules we see cradled in the statue’s arms, but what covenant could this represent, in what sense is this an erotic image? Or is our looking at the young woman as she looks at the statue potentially erotic? The reference to theatre is apt, since the image seems self-consciously staged, yet this may also establish a link with the guided tours that museums offer, which are theatrical experiences in themselves. I hesitate to resolve the ‘meaning’ of this poem as it emerges from its relationship with the image, because I ultimately feel that this is not the point. Neither image nor text claim any authority over our interpretation of the museum space, although the interpretations which could emerge from our own interaction with text and image are clearly rich. Even from this one example, however, we can see that the demand for engagement on the part of the reader articulated by this collaboration, for all of its tongue-in-cheek wit, is considerable.
‘Animal Husbandry’, a series of inkblots and accompanying texts by Fowler and Sian Williams, calls upon the reader to make sense of the relationship between inkblots of the kind used in psychiatry and texts made up of tentatively associated (but often very beautiful) fragments of language. Again, rather than simply offering an interpretation of the inkblots, the texts set up a loose chain of associations which do not finally resolve themselves into a final meaning. The reader’s dialogue with abstract image and mysterious text is all the more disquieting when we look at the context of the inkblot test, a psychiatric technique for uncovering unspoken desires. It is unclear whose desires are failing to reveal themselves to the reader here, but the inkblots themselves are an invitation to the reader to make their own interpretation, which will necessarily interfere with that (not) to be found in the text.
Although in subtly different ways, the text and image collaborations in the volume follow similar patterns. The pieces based on exchanges of text, however, make similar demands of the reader in terms of their dialogic construction. For example, ’40 Feet’, written with Dave Berridge, emerges from an exchange of blocks of text (none of which are marked as belonging to either author), which produces a kaleidoscopic vision of London made up of fragments of real events and apparently disconnected thoughts. The reading experience made me feel a little like one of Wim Wenders’ eavesdropping angels in Wings of Desire, but without the privilege of their omniscient point-of-view. ‘Dead Souls Like’, with Chris McCabe, produces a similarly multiple, wildly associative piece of flaneurism or psychogeography on the city of Liverpool.  In ‘Videodrome’ with Claire Potter, the exchange of texts about YouTube videos which we cannot actually see, involves the reader in a disturbing act of imagination, particularly given the hints at violence contained in Potter and Fowler’s texts: I will admit that I have not dared to open the links, although I would not mind betting that their relative harmlessness is part of the joke. The key point in all of these, however, is not so much the space left for the reader in these dialogues, but that any (ultimately unrealisable) attempt to pin down the meaning which these conversations set in motion is the reader’s alone: none of the many voices in these collaborations is going to relieve the reader of that responsibility.
For me, this is the significance of the title that Fowler has chosen for his project. His collaborations are not friendly: neither in the sense of seeking to arrive at a position of harmony between those producing the work, nor in the sense that a finished artistic product offers the reader any easy answers. In fact, these collaborations are the opposite of a ‘finished’ product: they remain open to a dialogue with the reader, indeed to many dialogues (as in many re-readings) with the reader. In his introduction, Fowler acknowledges that he has been told that ‘this book is dense and mysterious, full of challenging material, and shifts in tone.’ This is certainly the case, and the volume requires not just a careful reader, but a ‘writerly’ one, as Roland Barthes would have put it. Some of the texts leave less space for this. The series of invented proverbs Fowler produces with Tom Jenks, although amusing, are more easily consumable, and the e-mail exchange between Fowler and Riviere circles around the latter’s typical concerns about the role and identity of the poet, as well as exploring the very possibility of collaboration itself. A kind of meta-collaboration then, or a collaboration about collaboration, but sometimes a little too close to shop-talk.
This volume fulfils a further function in setting out the stall of the avant-garde in contemporary British poetry. While anthologies of recent years have situated the avant-garde as one feature of a ‘pluralist now’ (as in Roddy Lumsden’s anthology Identity Parade) or have made the argument that younger poets have bought into avant-garde techniques without necessarily sacrificing the motivation to express personal concerns (as in Nathan Hamilton’s recent Dear World and Everyone in It), this book will serve as an introduction to the full provocation of today’s ‘vanguardist’ poetics, for which Fowler is a vocal and eloquent advocate (see, for example, various talks on his Soundcloud page). Fowler’s co-ordinating presence has an impact on the themes which emerge most strongly in the collaborations: issues of criminality, marginality, sexuality, and control and surveillance noticeably echo elements of Fowler’s own Minimum Security Prison Dentistry, for example. Nevertheless, this is a volume whose primary function will be to engage contemporary audiences with the ramifications of the avant-garde’s undiminished challenge to the reader.

Wildermenn have passed, to dredge again

The impetus for making new work is firmly on the process for me, Ive been explicit about this in interviews etc.., and so the impetus behind being part of a collective, like the Wildermenn, is in the collective process. Our first exhibition is in the past, it ran just under a week at the House gallery in Peckham, and speaking in strict creative terms, it was a joy. I shouldve done more, a lot was put on the other members, but the concepts we had originally, to make the gallery an environment, covered in detritus, centred by an immense beastly sculpture made of river mess, came to fruition, and it gave us an excuse to cross practises, as we had intended. On this side of things, it was a great success, it happened, and it is partly for the greater process anyhow, to continue on, forward, to be active in new uncomfortable realms. At times, on the practical side of things, it was too uncomfortable. Working exhibitions from the ground up in a city like London can be thankless, it can feel like it is all for yourself. We had a lovely special view, plenty of people, but it felt exhausted at times, the end of the year. Which it was. There'll be another Wildermenn exhibition in 2014, I am sure, and so many lessons that needed learning will be in effect. & the work remains. it speaks for itself, hopefully.

Wildermenn exhibition at the House Gallery, Peckham

the premiere exhibition of the Wildermenn collective, beginning December 18th and closing just before Xmas, will take place at the House gallery in Peckham, London. http://www.house-gallery.co.uk/ Wildermenn combines visual art, poetry, sonic art and sculpture into one wholly collaborative art collective about urban transhumance.  http://wildermenn.weebly.com/  https://twitter.com/wilder_menn The exhibition is curated by Gabrielle Cooper.
about Wildermenn: transhumance in the city, animalisms across four art mediums, wholly collective, fundamentally collaborative - the Wildermenn produce artworks that subvert and celebrate the rituals and rites which are essentially linked to that which is forgotten in the sprawl - fertility, procreativity, seasons, elements, creatureliness and death. Anthropomorphic modernist folk practise from cultures now unknown find form in sculpture, noise, performance, fragmented poetry and mud paint. about the exhibition: Wilder is a decomposing cathogan sculpture piece, which has been wholly  constructed from the beach detritus that litters the banks of Thames and is the  common quarry of mudlarking. A beast, the Wilder is a rotting, half animal, half vessel, castrated and jawheavy - assaulting the eyes, ears and nose, the mansize figure is a grotesque vision of what the city and it's river has spewed up realised in it's skeletal, lackadaisical glory.

A special view and performance evening will take place on Thursday 19th, doors opening at 7.30pm, entrance is free. It will be an unforgettable evening of organic mush and destruction. Please come along, a poster attached.

Poets as Saints - Erkembode exhibition reading


Sarah Kelly - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ylug5cVA81I
Marcus Slease - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3073DcMsjI0
Tim Atkins - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbpK4XxtZe8
David Berridge - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbGOlqN9dgk
Held at the Hardy Tree gallery in Kings X, London on November 23rd 2013, for the Erkembode: not just another saint exhibition, a series of poetry readings from contemporary British vanguard poets who have collaborated or worked closely with the artist David Kelly www.erkembode.com including poetry from Marcus Slease, Holly Pester, SJ Fowler, David Berridge, Robert Kiely, Tim Atkins & Sarah Kelly.

The Enemies project presents Erkembode: an exhibition at the Hardy Tree gallery

Running from November 7th to December 1st 2013, at the Hardy Tree gallery in Kings Cross (http://hardytreegallery.com/), the Enemies project is very proud to present an exhibition of the work of Erkembode, 'not just another saint', which evidences the artworks of one of London's most dynamic modernist artists. His extensive engagement with poets and poetry, and his consistent collaborative practise, has made him a fundamental part of the Enemies project. Amongst the many pieces that will be exhibited, there will be a wall of visual translations, responses & collaborations with poets such as David Berridge and Daniele Pantano, amongst others, that will be constantly changing over the near month the exhibition takes place.
 
Visit http://erkembode.com/ for more information, and two posters for the event are attached. Opening hours are Thursday to Sunday 12pm to 6pm and during the many eventsNot just any old saints, that will run throughout the exhibition, beginning with the opening on Thursday 7th November from 7pm, followed by...

Saturday 9th November, 7.30pm- Krampusnacht
An evening of music, performance art and non-lingual poetry from ProvokiefGlass Human PenisClosed Circuits SJ Fowler and Marcus Slease.

Monday 11th November, 7.30pm - Saints on Film
An evening of expanded cinema and experimental film from Josh Alexander, Alex Kell and Erkembode. Plus a showing of William Burroughs cut-up films.

Saturday 23rd November, 7.30pm - Poets as Saints
Event specific poetry by avant-garde poets bouncing around the subject of saints. Poets/saints on board so far are Tim Atkins, SJ Fowler, Robert Kiely, Sarah Kelly, David Berridge and Marcus Slease.

Sunday 24th, 11am - Pilgrimage of Saints Excursion
A pilgrimage with Saint Erkembode that begins at the Hardy Tree Gallery, then wander up to the road to see the Thomas Hardy Tree in Saint Pancras Church Cemetery. From there we will walk to Angel to join the canal, walk until Hackney to visit Saint Augustine's tower and then finally to the Pembury Tavern pub.
 
Please come to support another exciting enterprise that splices contemporary vanguard poetry in collaboration with another equally vibrant artistic medium.http://www.weareenemies.com/

VLAK 4 is here and its all that we hoped for


I'm proud as punch to be an associate editor of Vlak. Louis Armand, David Vichnar, Olga Pekova and the many others involved in this heavyweight publication are doing the important work, and making Prague something it would not otherwise be because of their grind towards powerliterature. The new VLAK is breathtaking in its production value, as always, there is not a magazine like it, simply said. http://vlakmagazine2.wordpress.com/


Gilles de Rais / Estates of Westeros exhibition at the Rich Mix Art Centre Gallery Cafe!

an Enemies exhibition
Gilles de Rais / The Estates of Westeros
David Kelly / Ben Morris / SJ Fowler
Tuesday October 22nd - Sunday 26th
in the Rich Mix Arts Centre Café Gallery http://www.richmix.org.uk/venues/spaces/cafe-gallery/
 
The Enemies project presents poetry & avant-garde illustration exhibited in the unique ‘bearpit’ café gallery of the Rich Mix Arts Centre. Two exchanges between poet & artist aim to break ground in the collaborative relationship between text, image and form, as published portable exhibitions, or books in boxes, are wallhung and ceiling strung. / Gilles de Rais – an interchangeable narrative reflection on the life and legend of Gilles de Rais – this fusion of avant garde poetry and modernist line drawing aims to satirise and subvert the manner in which the monstrous myth surrounding such de Rais is echoed in our own time by Jimmy Saville. This is the disjunctive folklore of idiot's resounding through the ages, from 15th century France to 21st century Britain. / The Estates of Westeros is where avant garde poetry meets avant garde illustration. Whether perception or reality, housing estates are environments of occlusion, claustrophobia and damage, and poetry about them has a responsibility to reflect this complexity and intensity in its tone and form. The Estates of Westeros is a meditation on this living space through the universe of George RR Martin's Game of Thrones, and where Gilles de Rais explores the absurdity of mythmaking in that which once was real, the Estates ... explores the grinding realism at the heart of the fantastical. / Both books can be purchased for £9 direct from Like This Press: http://www.likethispress.co.uk/publications/sjfowlerandbenmorris
 
A special viewing of the exhibition will take place on October Wednesday 23rd at 8pm. The event is free to attend and features:- Eirikur Orn Norddahl, one of the most amazing poetical performers in Europe, award winning novelist / sound poet. Here’s what he did last time he visited London http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P4beEsNIcQ (Preview He will be reading from his new publication. / Ondrej Buddeus, a pivotal part of the post-millenial new generation of Czech poets, a brilliant young poet joining us from Prague, http://bodyliterature.com/2013/06/25/ondrej-buddeus-2/ / There will also be the launch of my collaboration with the photographer Matteo X. Patocchihttp://www.matteopatocchi.com/ ‘Twins born Triplets’ is a unique poetry object, a fusion of experimental portrait photography and typographically innovative poetry (about Russia, Putin, Khlebnikov, Pussy Riot – an excerpt read here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-b8KL8StMU ) printed as a newspaper in a limited edition.
 
Please join us for the crescendo week of the Enemies project year one on