Reading as Art

‘Reading as Art’ will be on public display from Saturday 27 August through to Saturday 19 November 2016. The works included in the exhibition find different means to foreground and to investigate the activity of reading: the forms it can take (silent reading, reading aloud, spontaneous reading, purposeful reading, and so on), the matter of reading (the book, the screen, the space of the page), the bodies that engage in it and the contexts in which it occurs. All of the works are concerned to make reading manifest in some way; in so doing, they each show – differently – how reading is its own form of making.

The image on the invitation is Fact by Craig Dworkin, 2016. The text records the relative molecular weights of the neurotransmitters activated when it is read.

Please save this date, Friday 7th October 2016 for the private view of the exhibition from 6-9pm with live performances from Jérémie Bennequin and Carol Sommer. Also, Kate Briggs’ Paper Size Poems will be performed…everyone is very welcome.

reading as art

Sucking on Words

Sucking on Words

A night of primordial sonatas, to celebrate 10 years of writers’ collective information as material
Venue: Whitechapel Gallery, London, E1 7QX

Date: Saturday 18 February 2012

Time: 19.30-22.30

Tickets: online here or tel: +44 (0)20 7522 7888

A feast of sonic poetry with performances by Rob Lavers and Simon Morris, Nick Thurston, and a headline set by Dutch avant-garde composer Jaap Blonk. A VJ playlist, put together especially for the night by Canadian poet Christian Bök, will provide sights and sounds between performances and alongside the drinks.

The audience are politely reminded that the ears have no lids.

As Jaap Blonk recalls: “The reception of these first public performances [of Kurt Scwitters’ Ursonate] was varying widely. On many occasions I was performing at rock or punk clubs as an opening act for a band, and lots of people were not at all into it. Their preference was either to just talk with their friends or hear their habitual kind of music. So they started to scream and protest, and often throwing things at me, especially beer, which fortunately was mostly given out in plastic, not glass containers. The culminating point of this kind of experience was a performance of the Ursonate, opening for a concert of The Stranglers at Vredenburg Music Center in Utrecht in 1986, for an audience of about 2000 fans. When I was announced, even before I had opened my mouth, people started calling out: “Rot op!” (“Fuck off!”), and when I started, the atmosphere became very much that of a football match, but clearly an away game for me. With massive roaring they tried to drown out my voice, but of course the P.A. made me louder. Six stage guards were working hard to keep people from climbing the stage and hitting me, and hundreds of half-full plastic beer glasses flew about me. But in the course of the performance I managed to win over at least a few hundred people, who were roaring in my favor. The next morning one newspaper had the headline “Jaap Blonk Shocks Punk Audience With Dada Poetry”, which for me was a nice testimony to the fact that Schwitters’ piece was still very much alive, in spite of its age.”

Rewriting Freud iOS app

Rewriting Freud has just been made as an iOS Universal app and is now for sale on the iTunes App Store.

This is the next incarnation of the conceptual artwork Re-Writing Freud by Simon Morris.


For the book work, Re-Writing Freud the artist Simon Morris has re-written Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. A computer programme (designed by Christine Morris) randomly selects words, one at a time from Freud’s 222,704 word text and begins to reconstruct the entire book, word by word, making a new book with the same words, every time the programme is re-started. This book is one instantiation of that process, scrupulously typeset according to the dimensions, fonts, chapter divisions and paragraph lengths of the 1976 Penguin paperback edition of Freud’s work, and printed on equivalent paper stocks.

Morris unleashes a virus. He puts a contagious process to work, intervening in Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, rupturing it and returning it to us in a new order. By subjecting Freud’s words to a random re-distribution, meaning is turned into non-meaning and the spectator is put to work to make sense of the new poetic juxtapositions. The world of dreams is subject to the laws of the irrational and Re-Writing Freud gives the spectator the chance to view Freud’s text in its primal state. This fine production was printed by Imschoot, Ghent, in an edition of 1000, and given their blue stamp of approval. With a conceptualist formalism, Morris’ version of Freud’s text follows the typographic layout found in the edition of Freud’s work owned by his long-term collaborator, the psychoanalyst Dr. Howard Britton, whose worn book cover and ‘Big Daddy’ sticker from a Sugar Puffs cereal packet sets the tone for Morris’ appropriation.

“With Re-Writing Freud, judgments about sense no longer themselves make any sense. The reader who responds to this book by complaining that it is nonsensical is neither right nor wrong, but asking the wrong question, posing an impossible problem in response this book’s insistent imaginary solution.” – Professor Craig Dworkin, University of Utah, from the Introduction to Re-Writing Freud, ‘Grammar Degree Zero’

Read more about the project at the Information as Material site.

“Bibliocidal Tendencies”: British Publisher Information as Material Tears Into Literature for Art’s Sake

“Conceptual writing is a fusion of art and literature. This process-based practice involves works where the idea is the writing and the writing is the idea. It is a non-expressive poetry, a poetry of intellect rather than emotion. Non-conceptual writing involves old-fashioned ‘creative’ prose and there’s more than enough of that material in the world already. Conceptual writing appreciates the wealth of text in the world — from the highfalutin to the everyday — understanding that new meaning can be generated through re-framing extant material. Conceptual writing produces a critical relation to non-conceptual writing, and in so doing opens a space of possibility for new forms of readership. We write through the work of others, comfortable in the knowledge that all writing draws on a host of influences. As James Joyce famously remarked: “I am quite content to go down to posterity as a scissors and paste man for that seems to me a harsh but not unjust description.” In conceptual writing the references are explicit rather than implicit.”

More here.

Review: A Perverse Library

“Conceptual writing is not easy to grasp, or to read. It is not about pleasure, or narrative. It brings together conceptual art and language. The excitement is intellectual rather than aesthetic, and it can be witty. It might be a transcription of a year of weather reports by Kenneth Goldsmith, or John Baldessari’s repetition of the sentence: “I will not make anymore boring art”.

Read more at The Independent