WORK: Writing: On Excerpts

A Pigeon, A Kitchen and an Annexe: Sites of Alternative Publishing

An image-text pairing from my Excerpts series appears as a part of VerySmallKitchen’s contribution to the exhibition A Pigeon, A Kitchen and an Annexe: Sites of Alternative Publishing at Five Years in London, UK.

The nostalgic gesture of intentionally translating an up to date medium into its low-fi predecessor is the starting point for this exhibition: why use letraset when you can pick up any font off a drop down menu? Why publish books in the age of WordPress? A Pigeon, A Kitchen and an Annexe: Sites of Alternative Publishing invites you to step into the world of a bustling “press room” devoid of wi-fi: a scene created specifically for this show.

For this exhibition The Ladies of the Press* invites Annexe Magazine, Pigeon Magazine, and VerySmallKitchen to probe their practice as alternative publishers in a gallery context, collectively working towards multifarious outlets including a gallery exhibition, a publication, talk, and eventually a web based dispersal.

Photo by David Berridge.

David Berridge of VerySmallKitchen writes, in an open letter, on the inclusion of my piece from Excerpts:

I think one starting point for this project was the small card you sent me of one of the image-text pieces from your residency on the VerySmallKitchen blog. I was interested in the equal emphasis on both sides of this card (the image on one side/text the other), and how – unlike the blog post’s downward scroll – to read the card required turning over, one side concealing the other in order to be comprehended.

A Pigeon, A Kitchen and an Annexe: Sites of Alternative Publishing is on view till March 4, 2012 at Five Years. The gallery is open Saturday-Sunday, 1-6pm and is located at Unit 66, 6th Floor, Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London, UK, E8 4QN.

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On Excerpts, 2011/07/07 (VerySmallKitchen Project)

The following is reproduced from a project on VerySmallKitchen:

I am very much interested in certain relationships between image and text. This interest is not only concerned with final forms, or products, but also with the processes “drawing” and “writing” through which the results are arrived at. I see parallels between grammatical structure and delineated form, especially within the sort of mental and physical groping exercised when working toward their refinement. The pictorial and verbal connections I attempt to handle in my practice are often nebulous at best, yet apparent enough for me to negotiate conceptually. However, once momentum has died down and all that remains is the final draft – the residue of process – it is the specifics of fiction, with its requisite plot and character(s), which tie together disparate visual and textual elements. Formally disconnected images band into a unified series through a titling system which reads like excerpts from an overarching narrative. At the same time, uncertain illustrational relationships between text and a visually cohesive set of images can be reinforced through the repetitive application of narrative continuity.

Tadeusz & Gregory are most certainly fictional, and possess potential for fluid identity. The idea of Tadeusz & Gregory is an intentionally vague set of relationships which can be played with in a variety of ways. Regardless of what is written about them, Tadeusz & Gregory may or may not be alike Mason and Dixon, Mason & Dixon, Harrison and Wood (but neither Harrison nor Wood), Reeves & Mortimer, Mark and Jeremy, or any of countless other (and not necessarily British) duos. However, Tadeusz & Gregory are definitely self-serious intellectuals whose research, of no fixed academic discipline, is likely insignificant to both their peers and the population at large. Yet the pair carry on while maintaining an impeccable work ethic. In turn, they celebrate their achievements and bemoan their failures.

Tadeusz & Gregory’s pairing as a duo carries with it the expectation of an act or routine. The nature of this enacted relationship is informed by what is committed in writing about the two colleagues, but is also influenced by expectations carried over from popular culture. The implied missing, or extra, identifying narrative information that is inherently present in excerption as a format lends itself to the malleability of the two characters’ association. This facilitates the conceit of the Excerpts series: that the titles are written as though excerpted from a greater completed story. However, there is largely no premeditated continuity in Excerpts. Thus flexibility in both the identity and interactive tendencies of the characters is useful for allowing the introduction or de-emphasis of landmarks and trajectories within the expanding fiction. And because the drawing and writing are so structurally and procedurally interwoven, enabling verbal improvisation encourages similar leeway in the realm of the pictorial.

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On Excerpts, 2011/03/06

Excerpts is an ongoing series of mostly drawings that are presented alongside titles, but these titles are in fact little bits of larger narratives. Some of the titles are not little, and instead span a paragraph or two. The words do not directly describe the pictures, nor do the pictures strictly illustrate the words; what instead occurs is a comparative examination of the often implicit ways in which a set of ideas can be conveyed simultaneously through fictive constructions and diagrammatic processes. Writing and drawing are here considered analogous operations, both actively groping towards formulation and definition through iterative reworking and refinement.

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On Excerpts, 2010/12/24

Excerpts is an ongoing series of mostly drawings that are presented alongside titles, but these titles are in fact little bits of larger narratives. Some of the titles are not little, and instead span a paragraph or two. The words do not directly describe the pictures, nor do the pictures strictly illustrate the words; however, this is not to say that the visual and textual elements are wholly divorced from one another. Excerpts considers the processes of drawing (or painting) and writing to be absolutely analogous. Both possess the same active struggle from conception towards definition, as well as feature the same types of editing and restructuring utilised in the effort to achieve a condition of finish. At its most obvious, the narrative could sometimes be interpreted as explicating the procedure by which an image came to be. In other pairings, the endeavour by which a prose passage was composed is defined by the image. But more significantly, there is an overarching redefinition of how these two formally and conceptually disparate components relate to each other. Image is accompanied by – and synonymous to – text, and therefore text is always accompanied by – and synonymous to – image. It is logical then that text is always accompanied by text and image is always accompanied by image, despite appearances (at times text is literally accompanied by text, but might as well be image accompanied by image). The aim is to continue to work through this relationship between congruent and laborious pictorial and literary processes, as it offers the potential for a viably prolonged and dynamic practice within its simple framework.

2010. Ink on paper. 5 x 10 in.“‘Oh no,’ Gregory begrudgingly says as he snoops over Tadeusz’s shoulder, ‘now we’ll have to follow through with this.'”

2010. Ink on paper. 5 x 10 in.

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