note_05 Wilson Harris (1921-2018) -an inadequate tribute from 1990 #polyhistoric

WilsonHarris Ph Eamon McCabe

Photo Eamonn McCabe (The Guardian)

While adding to Chapters_Essays and Culture_Crit, I’ve been discovering how much material there is -its drives and formations- and came across a very short double review from the New Statesman, September 1990. You can scroll a long way down the Culture-Crit page for those very early pieces. Please! This one (or these short paragraphs), on The Four Banks of the River of Space (the last part of Harris’ Carnival Trilogy published by Faber, like all his books), is not exactly a major critical work but does, in its concentrated little way, resonate with me. The G.’s obituary for Wilson Harris does too.

In 1990 there was still something called Commonwealth Literature, a peculiarly handy way of keeping peoples, histories and cultures in place. It’s tempting to write ‘Foreign and…’. Publishing was on the turn Continue reading “note_05 Wilson Harris (1921-2018) -an inadequate tribute from 1990 #polyhistoric”

note_04 “Mr Steinberg is mistaken.” Hannah Arendt: in witness time begins/ Per 1.1.-1.4

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“Harold, that girl in that office is nude!”

Another addition to Art_Work is ‘In witness time begins’ (plus footnoting pamphlets called Per 1.1-1.4) from A Thing at a Time at Witte de With April 2013. They emerged from an obsessive focus on a phrase coined by an Italian theorist (and/or his translator); “immobile anaphoric gesture”. But these texts are different from those I wrote a few years earlier using a Slovenian theorist’s phrase; “imbecilic contingent intrusion” in which I could materialise or exemplify what an ici would be (see Essential Things in Art_Work, for example, which exhibited Cerith Wyn Evans’ neon Lacanian loop between the ‘pages’ of my ici2, about Willie Lloyd Turner and his ‘smile’).

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Continue reading “note_04 “Mr Steinberg is mistaken.” Hannah Arendt: in witness time begins/ Per 1.1.-1.4″

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. Continue reading “note_03 Contact sheet from Essential Things, Robert Prime, July 1999, linked…”

note_02 Figuring Lesser Baghdadis (One to Seven) a “small collaboration” w Ala Younis 2015

TBA_2191_Panel small“One. Mickey Mouse is not one of the bronze figures that grace Jewad Salim’s “Nusub al-Hurriya” (Liberty Monument”, 1961) in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square…”

On the occasion of Ala’s first showing of her Plan for a Greater Baghdad (2015) at Delfina Foundation in London along with a new work; Plan for Feminist Greater Baghdad (installation view above; photo Tim Bowditch, courtesy DF and Art Jameel), I should share this text of mine (below in page by page pdfs) since it is not yet re-published in book form. It was commissioned as an independent text and explicitly not as a critique of the work itself. This was not because a serious critical piece on the work would not be good to read or write but because I wanted to extend my e.things essay form and write more broadly about subjects that I had some intimacy with over many years.

Figuring Lesser Baghdadis (One to Seven) belonged with another such text from 2015, Labouring One to Seven (Island of Terror) produced for Venice Biennale and e-flux journal‘s brilliant SUPERCOMMUNITY project, now re-published by Verso with an Introduction by Antonio Negri. The latter was explicitly the model for the former. It was also a “small collaboration” to use Ala’s phrase when we discussed it in 2015. Continue reading “note_02 Figuring Lesser Baghdadis (One to Seven) a “small collaboration” w Ala Younis 2015″



Changes are afoot at the fruitstore! Bear with me as I re-jig and resettle? Websites, including my gma dot net website, feel to me like the cd of now, unless actively part of a working practice. Simultaneously, a narrowed, delimited (light) web has developed out there with trawlers at work using algorithms which, for example, erode precisions of context or framing or nuance. Some deliberate shaping seems worthwhile if only to minimise misrepresentation and the forcible moulded by that fail-sure mechanism; the hit.

I can’t stir myself to be critical of the top ten realms of life, but am stirring myself in all the more significant, valuable, urgent, opaque, aleatory and artful realms. Those include realms where I have been invited to take a position, or have taken one anyway! I go to sometimes crazy lengths to be exact -as you can read or hear in plenty of links/elements you will find here- but ‘enemies’ that include quantitive filtering can undo and even distort that care or view -in my experience. So, I’m ‘fighting’ forwards…

I started writing in this back-store form in 2010 I think purely as a stop gap. I found I enjoyed this informal, unpressed, hand-noted quality; basic, humble, capable of being reflective, not-a-project or even a draft, and semi-public. My 2012 website also got hacked recently and it reminded me that I prefer the simplicity and dimensions of this which can also negotiate more nimbly some of the kinds of issues I refer to above.

I intend to leave new notes periodically and indefinitely with no plan or strategy. Some might be long versions of shorter or reshaped published pieces. Some might be leavings or tangents from ongoing research or works-in-progress -on London and towards a new series of text-based works called Porting, for example. I’m collecting together ongoing publications, talks and so on, using qualitative rather than quantitive criteria -under the buttons above. I might add-to, elaborate, engage with some of those in the notes too…

In the main it will continue to be a slightly parallel universe of notes from a fruistore by the perpetually flowing Thames in the heart of London -global city despite the best efforts of the worst of ‘us’- with a door that is permanently, if slightly or symbolically, ajar…


on the first review of in ramallah, running in 2013 -artasiapacific’s almanac 2013


In Ramallah, Running in Almanac 2013 – article below

I will catch up on posting the wonderfully generous critical responses and cleverly probing interviews to and around In Ramallah, Running since its launch soon -and amongst other things.

ImageBut this one was a lovely welcome home to London after a month away in India: a sharp, perceptive and very gratifying response to my book and I have to post the review now!

That should not imply that others were not and will be, only that I have the time/opportunity today…

Almanac 2013 is worth tracking down in full and hard copy too by the way, meanwhile I attach clickable pages from the full article below: Continue reading “on the first review of in ramallah, running in 2013 -artasiapacific’s almanac 2013”