The Dark Would in Summerhall, Edinburgh



Summerhall, Edinburgh 7 Dec – 24 Jan (Public preview 7pm, 6 Dec)

World-leading text artists and poets have contributed work about living and dying for The Dark Would exhibition, which includes pieces by Susan Hiller, Richard Long, Tom Phillips, Simon Patterson, Richard Wentworth, Tony Lopez, Caroline Bergvall, Steve Giasson, Erica Baum, Ron Silliman and many others, including ‘outsider’ artists.

Whether homeless people or outsider artists or art stars – we all have to find our way through the dark. Challenging and uplifting, The Dark Would reads the human traces that we leave in the world. This exhibition asks what it is to have a body and to lose it. As well as including work from the living, there will also be ‘answering’ works by dead artists and poets including Stephane Mallarme, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Joseph Beuys.

Summerhall hosts the world premiere of this ground-breaking show curated by poet Philip Davenport. The Dark Would exhibition is an ‘out-growth’ of the large anthology of text art and poetry edited by Davenport and published by Apple Pie Editions 2013.

There will be a series of artist’s talks paralleling the exhibition.

The Text Festivals: Language Art and Material Poetry


The Text Festivals: Language Art and Material Poetry edited by Tony Lopez

It is a remarkable phenomenon that the foremost among recent sites of this interrogation of boundaries has been a series of festivals located in Bury, on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. World leading artists and poets have been brought together in a range of exhibitions and performances that demonstrate a new and productive collision of different cultural enterprises and expectations. Among those shown at the Text Festivals are Fiona Banner, derek beaulieu, Caroline Bergvall, Joseph Beuys, Christian Bok, Brass Art, Marcel Broodthaers, Pavel Buchler, Augusto de Campos, Zeynep Cansu, Henri Chopin, Bob Cobbing, Liz Collini, Philip Davenport, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hamish Fulton, Eugen Gomringer, Robert Grenier, Alan Halsey, Alexander Jorgenson, Satu Kaikonen, Martin Kippenburger, Karri Kokko, Marton Koppany, On Kawara, Helmut Lemke, Richard Long, Tony Lopez, Jackson Mac Low, Hansjorg Mayer, Steve Miller, Kerry Morrison, Maurizio Nannucci, Patrick Fabian Panetta, Holly Pester, Tom Philips, Shaun Pickard, Kate Pickering, Hester Reeve (HRH.the), Spencer Roberts, Ed Ruscha, Ron Silliman, Mary Ellen Solt, Magda Stawarska-Beavan, Harald Stoffers, Carolyn Thompson, Nick Thurston, Aysegul Tozeren, TNWK, Tony Trehy, Nico Vasilakis, Carol Watts, Lawrence Weiner, George Widener, Ming Wong, and Eric Zboya. Artists, poets and curators working in these overlapping fields have written this book. It includes new essays by Tony Trehy (director of the Text Festivals), derek beaulieu, Christian Bok, Liz Collini, James Davies, Philip Davenport, Robert Grenier, Alan Halsey, Tony Lopez, Holly Pester, Hester Reeve (HRH.the), Carolyn Thompson, and Carol Watts.

OUT NOW from Plymouth University Press or via Amazon

Charlie Sayzz

A twitter haiku poem made from Iraq/Afghanistan war reportage, intercut with quotes from cult leader Charles Manson, will tweet 1st Oct onwards from:

The poem draws comparisons between psychopathology and foreign policy.

“An American nightmare, with its condensation of Holy Spirit + Charles Manson + War + haiku (a Japanese form that could recall of course another war)… Another voice among the voices, a way to explore trauma… Poetry should do this.” (Steve Giasson)

Charlie Sayzz is constructed from incorrect 18-syllable haiku, to be transmitted one per day for the next year. The haiku is a much-abused and appropriated short (17-syllable) Japanese form, often meditative and peaceful. It is chosen here for its very in-appropriateness as a vehicle for war poetry. And yet under the placid surface, haiku surely is angry, because it is now such a colonised poetry. The extra syllable in these ‘bad’ haiku is to create dissonance (in old numerology, 9 is the number of aggression; 18 syllables = 1+8 = 9).

The poem was devised by Philip Davenport and co-written by him with Richard Barrett, Steve Giasson, Tom Jenks, Michael Leong, copland smith and Steve Waling.  Tom Jenks programmed the twitter feed and shaped many of the verses as visual poems.

This project is a parallel to Davenport’s novel Charlie Says (2013)


Charlie Says: Philip Davenport


Set in late-1960s Los Angeles, Charlie Says retells an  apocryphal story: that cult leader Charles Manson auditioned for the pop TV show The Monkees. In this novel, he gets the part.

 Davenport’s work often moves between ‘low’ and high’ literatures – converting porn, missing person adverts, war journalism into poetry. He has recently edited the poetry/text art anthology THE DARK WOULD (Richard Long, Tacita Dean, Ron Silliman, Jenny Holzer et al). Charlie Says adopts the skin of a pulp thriller while eroding the content.
The book spills from its traditional boundaries to include material hidden on the internet and a forthcoming twitter feed.
Davenport: “The Manson/Monkees mashup resonated with me – the juxtaposition of an idea of innocence with extreme violence. I started reading around the subject, watching documentaries about Manson and the late 1960s in West Coast America. The wildness of Manson’s speech caught my ear, the biblical cadence and his traces of hillbilly. One night I started writing him and the voice came clean and clear, like a whisper down a phone line. I called him Charlie X and let him loose to play in the Los Angeles of my imagination, the place I used to escape to via TV. Ironically, the more I wrote the more LA was inflected with Belfast, the place I grew up near. It is always burning and graffitied, prowled by young soldiers and by skinny old men, the shop signs are hand-painted and the Coca Cola ads are from the 1950s and everywhere is unease. This is the world that Charlie recounts and it’s where he hunts, looking for opportunities and weakness.”

Author Biography

Philip Davenport has worked as a poet, journalist, copywriter and dishwasher. His first  book Imaginary Missing People was published by experimental UK publisher Writers’ Forum in 1999. His short story collection All About Evil was The Big Issue magazine Book of the Week.Charlie Says is his debut novel. He has recently edited THE DARK WOULD language art anthology (2013).Transmission Print
A British small press that promotes and develops work by writers who dismantle the humdrum, often by embracing outsider viewpoints and language. Charlie Says continues this project: the novel breaks language and narrative conventions whilst holding to an overarching story shape. Davenport plays with the idea that the psychopath, like the private detective in previous eras, has become the shaman or seer through whose sensibilities we re-see our own world. This is a dark fable set in the Hollywood sunlight, alternately violent, sweet, comedic. For more information, author interviews, and full list of titles, go to our website 


THE DARK WOULD language art anthology will feature on the BBC literary discussion programme The Verb at 10pm Friday 19 April. Listen online to the programme live, or via podcast at:

THE DARK WOULD gathers work by over 100 contributors including some of the most noted artists and poets alive today. This is a moment in time when poets and many artists share the same primary material: language. The anthology is split between two volumes – paper and virtual. Many of the works here are in two parts, speaking to one another across the paper/virtual divide, as a metaphor of dis/embodiment, considering time, mortality and human traces in the natural world.

As Editor Philip Davenport writes: “THE DARK WOULD asks what it is to live in a body now, knowing that one day we won’t be here. Perhaps this is best done by people for whom language is itself a state of between-ness. Here is a gathering of artists who use language and poets who are in some wider sense artists.”

Jerry Rothenberg, Rosemarie Waldrop, Tom Phillips, Nja Mahdaoui, Tom Raworth, Paula Claire, Susan Hiller, Robert Grenier, Ed Baker, Lawrence Weiner, John M Bennett, Kay Rosen, Allen Fisher, Richard Long, Ron Silliman, Richard Wentworth, Kevin Austin, Maria Chevska, Alan Halsey, Ken Edwards, Mike Basinski, Charles Bernstein, Jenny Holzer, Hainer Wörmann, Tony Lopez, Fiona Templeton, Maggie O’Sullivan, Geraldine Monk, Márton Koppány, David Annwn, John Plowman, Jesse Glass, Jurgen Olbrich, Liz Collini, Robert Sheppard, Patricia Farrell, Fernando Aguiar, Shirin Neshat, Penelope Umbrico, Gregory Vincent St Thomasino, Anne Charnock, Steve Waling, Robert Fitterman, Michalis Pichler, David Austen, Keiichi Nakamura, Shaun Pickard, Geof Huth, Tony Trehy, Wayne Clements, Peter Jaeger, Eléna Rivera, Kenny Goldsmith, Harald Stoffers, Erica Baum, Nick Blinko, Philip Terry, Caroline Bergvall, Carol Watts, George Widener, Philip Davenport, Nico Vassilakis, Monica Biagioli, Tacita Dean, Jeff Hilson, Alec Finlay, Christian Bök, Fiona Banner , Nigel Wood, Satu Kaikkonen, Simon Patterson, Dave Griffiths, Nayda Collazo Llorens, Vanessa Place, Peter Manson, Andrew Nightingale, Matt Dalby, Steve Miller, Christoph Illing, Sean Burn, Doug Fishbone, arthur+martha, Hung Keung, the gingerbread tree, Brian Reed, Laurence Lane, Tomomo Adachi , Tom Jenks, David Oprava, Scott Thurston, Julian Montague, derek beaulieu, Wang Jun , Mike Chavez-Dawson, Alec Newman, Rick Myers, Andrea Brady, Eric Zboya, Linus Slug, Jeff Grant, Richard Barrett,  Christopher Fox, Linus Raudsepp, Carolyn Thompson, Tsang Kin-Wah, Stephen Emmerson, andrew topel, Anatol Knotek, Ola Stahl, Roman Pyrih, Christine Wong Yap, Sarah Sanders, Ying Kwok, Catherine Street, Michael Leong, Sam Winston, angela rawlings, James Davies, Rachel Lois Clapham,  Steve Giasson, Amelia Crouch, Aysegul Torzeren, Jeremy Balius, Emily Crichley, Amaranth Borsuk, Ben Gwilliam , Imri Sandstrom, Sam le Witt, Michael Nardone, Tamarin Norwood, Lucy Harvest Clarke, Jessica Pujol Duran, Holly Pester, Rebecca Cremin, Ryan Ormonde,  Nick Thurston, j/j hastain, Bruno Neiva, SJ Fowler, Alex Davies, Helen Hajnoczky, Samantha Y Huang, Anna Frew, Nat Raha, Jo Langton, Ekaterina Samigulina, Emma King, Leanne Bridgewater and more.

THE DARK WOULD language art anthology

THE DARK WOULD language art anthology
Launch at Whitechapel Gallery 11April, 7.30-9 pm
£4/3 (concs)

Join us in the Whitechapel Gallery, London, for the launch of a pioneering anthology of text artists and poets, with talks/readings by artist Simon Patterson and poets Caroline Bergvall and Tony Lopez.

THE DARK WOULD gathers work by over 100 contributors including some of the most noted artists and poets alive today: Richard Long, Jenny Holzer, Fiona Banner, Maggie O’ Sullivan, Tacita Dean, Tom Phillips, Tom Raworth, Nja Mahdaoui, Lawrence Weiner, Susan Hiller, Tsang Kin-Wah, Charles Bernstein and many, many more.

This is a moment in time when poets and many artists share the same primary material: language. Conceptual art, vispo, text art, outsider art, conceptual poetry, flarf, concrete poetry, live art, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, sound scores… THE DARK WOULD is a compelling document of now, alchemising text into art into text.

To order tickets go here.

THE DARK WOULD comes in two volumes, one paper and one virtual, sold both together for £29.99, published by Apple Pie Editions.