note_03 Contact sheet from Essential Things, Robert Prime, July 1999, linked…



In starting to update Art_Work, I came across these little images -poor, poor, poor- but also quite a good impression of that actual exhibition. A little memorial to that way of printing film, too! For more detail and documentation -Gallery Work-List, CDROM cover etc.- click on Art_Work above (more to come). Thanks to the artists, gallerists, collaborators and helpers involved in that show… The odd light in the images was a feature of that wonderful gallery space, as some may recall.

I remember giving a reading there on Warren Street on an enervating late-July day which thus felt all wrong … Except that I read ‘richard one’ for the first time and Angela heard me read ‘sing song’ after she’d read it at a party in the lead-in to the show. ‘Sing song’ was/is unresolved formally or was one of the reasons for concluding this cycle of one hundred e.thing texts which were overtly and very deliberately format-free. That formal gesture no longer worked or no longer worked fully with a text like ‘sing song’, because it didn’t engage the crucial rhythms of the writing. An early one in the series, which does, was called ‘rhythms I am’…

Angela read it with blessed grit -I had heard her read other things with lovely flare- and after this reading she said something like, ah, now I get it! The fault, obviously, was/is mine… I still love that text but it was quite a lesson in … capture? I was trying to develop a form that negated or superseded any need for formal structure in that way, and especially the use of visual layout as a way-to-easy device (by 1999!). Mostly it worked; there is no other way to render or read almost all (99?) of these texts. ‘Sing song’, one of the most rhythm-driven texts, fails in that way to fully embody intentions…

And yes, there should and will be a selected e.things publication… There are a lot and it’s quite hard to do even the initial editorial drafting/work… I really should do something about it! When I began writing ‘a thousand essential things’ I had a notion that there ought to be ten volumes of one hundred texts, published -probably necessarily- as artists’ books. The publication of a first volume was the agreed terms for this show (beyond that quickly-quaint CD-ROM), but the art world (quick-witted, receptive, risk-embracing) gives and takes, you know… No surprises. All affirmation. The British ‘poetry world’ :D))


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