Rivering the Roding started in the mud above; September 2014, as you can see if you scroll to the bottom (this one of many* returns!). These tweets are obviously incidental scraps but they do suggest or ghost if not exactly tell a story (again; bottom up). It’s a story about London, thinking like a river, which requires articulation (#rivering) and for me to show what such ‘thinking’ might be. I am coming in to land (circling back and now very close to the muddy confluence), and yes, you can start to hold your breath. Please 😉 Continue reading “note_16 #Rivering 2014-2019 (scraps, almost there…)” →
From the Portuguese original of Llansol’s Geography of Rebels
In lieu of writing critically about Maria Gabriela Llansol’s first ever publication in English; The Geography of Rebels, from Houston’s Deep Vellum, I’m posting this sly reference (below, plus). However, as I said re Mallo, these and some of 2019’s forthcoming books (mostly in translation), call out for serious, passionate, engaged, authoritative responses from writers. I hear the call and am going to be responding again after a long interlude.
Spend a life attempting to capture the resistant poetics of your existence (what/why else?) and you do gain special access to other writing. You can see right through most of it -line by smooth paragraph by over-recognisable page- but also locate magic; know, observe or instinctively recognise how it is done. It’s all in the writing. If you make original sentences or pages, then you know about each word, each in between, and all their potentialities. The call is urgent. Books pages tend to agree on what is important, especially viz work in translation, exceptions are treasured like monsoon rain. I almost always felt differently (2019: Khaled Khalifa, Enrique Vila-Matas, Anne Boyer, Saidiya Hartman, Ariella Aisha Azoulay, Yasser Elsheshtawy, but also E J Burnett, Laura Beatty, etc.); a significant motivator in paying attention to awkwardness, the resistant or ‘difficult’, complex or subtle, and the ‘foreign’. No apologies. Continue reading “note_15 On M G Llansol’s The Geography of Rebels in Graz; any place for a nonviolent image?” →
Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, 45 miles N of Las Vegas, home of the MQ1 Predator Drone
Five years after writing this short story, Buzz, Buzz, Buzzzzz, it feels timely to share it here (below). It describes drone flights over Herat, Khorasan and Iran’s central plateau across to Bushehr and Bandar Abbas where the drone tracks back east again. I wrote it in the voice of the drone (mad thought obviously), which begins in the kind of (monstrously violent/ deeply racist) formulaic AI-speak of its makers -also in Nevada- but changes when brought down to earth in Iran, as the RQ-170 actually was, where it encounters people and place, face-to-face…
Commissioned in London, written and submitted from Bhuj in Kachhch in December through January 2012-13 -where I was also in March 2003, incidentally, when the declining US Imperium unleashed shock ‘n awe/invasion ‘n occupation on Iraq, making the ground move where I was standing too- to be published and launched at Dubai in March 2013. Continue reading “note_12 Kandahari Cramps? A human fly linking Busheyr, Bandar Abbas, Bhuj in Kachhch and Dubai -of course…” →
Take these essays at difficult things inside you, let them pulse through your body and mind. And to your heart, yes. It may require more courage – in Britain, in English- than even I conceived in the last months of 2004. Courage and none at all, because these are a range of essays -as the short review below makes very clear.
I’ve been trying to develop a measure of truth in the context of the Persian Gulf and the regime in Abu Dhabi in as universal way as possible from an inventorised location in London and in English. I settled on a millennium-old measure from an Arabic treatise on taste. More on that in links to publications to come, but it reminds me of the increasing difficulty of being able to recognise a Palestinian right to exist in Britain or in English. Continue reading “note_09 “It may require courage (but) take these marvelous essays to heart” Mezzaterra, Ahdaf Soueif” →
“What was the identity between love and work,
or, the love found in working together?”
“Let’s draw focus on their passion: the love and work. The following is from Diana Souhami’s glorious book Gertrude and Alice:
‘“Our pleasure is to do every day the work of that day,’ wrote Gertrude, ‘to cut our hair and not want blue eyes and to be reasonable and obedient … Every day we get up and say we are awake today …’
… So we circle back to The Autobiography of Alice B.Toklas, which wasn’t of course an autobiography. What was it? […] Primarily, it was also an autobiography, but not of Alice. It was a biography: not one authored from outside, but from inside, albeit in another’s voice… I linger with this because while this is one of the most conventional prose-like works of Gertrude’s it is also properly strange. That is, Gertrude adopted Alice’s recognizable voice, exorcising as many Gertrudisms as she could identify, though not all, to write a memoir of her own life and times.”
-extracted from my text/talk COUPLING | Gertrude and Alice | July 2016.
Click through for links to Shumon’s piece and the Superhumanity project above and for the recording of the original event on G&E and Marina Abramovic and Ulay click my Readings_Talks button (where you can click on through to see/hear the other Couple Formats too).
“… condenses the most interesting currents in the region for at least two hundred years, the most potent of all the residues of port activity across the Gulf, the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and beyond…” -from Porting One (DXB)
Coming to a screen near you soonish 😉
This is just a short review of Said’s The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After published by Granta, and circuitously critiqued and celebrated by me in The Independent, 3 October 2000. This paragraph struck me forcefully when I stumbled upon it; such rare qualities are getting rarer just about everywhere… However, rareness breeds rareness, right? When we lament the loss of Said’s voice, we also attest to it (mind/ rareness/ qualities) and renewed possibilities in the ruins. I am a radical optimist. You?
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” →
“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’).
Continue reading “note_04 “Mr Steinberg is mistaken.” Hannah Arendt: in witness time begins/ Per 1.1.-1.4″ →
“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″ →