Total Recall exhibition at Bury Art Gallery


TOTAL RECALL 1 August — 3 October, 2015 


Moss St, Bury, Lancashire BL9 0DR, United Kingdom

How do you remember the people who are important to you? How do you conjure your shared past? Is it in an image, a sound, a smell, a touch? Or do you use words?

We invited world-leading poets and text-artists to make a language-memory for Tony Trehy, who has directed the internationally renowned Text Festival at Bury Art Museum since 2005. This exhibition celebrates a 10-year anniversary of the Festival and a 20-year anniversary of Tony’s time at Bury. Writing on a wall, an Internet search, a diary entry, a flurry of thoughts … what is remembering and who is it for?

Tony Trehy has been the ring-leader of decade-long conversations, new opportunities, challenges and heated debates. Each of his four Text Festivals has added to a continuing dialogue between language and art. Every Text Festival has asked the audience a simple-but-complex question: How do I read?

Into the historic space of Bury Art Museum, Trehy has injected text that is a new ‘language art’ for the 21st Century. Bury was once the centre of paper-making in Britain, now it is a pioneer of language-making, with its Text Archive welcoming readers from all over the world.

TOTAL RECALL is a guerrilla makeover, an A4 invasion of reading into the larger narrative of looking. Unlike the street signs outside, these are not corporate instructions or sales pitches; they are antidotes. Walls, vitrine, archival box—nary a “book” to be found, but a heap of language left in memory.

TOTAL RECALL includes work by local, national and international text-based artists and poets: angela rawlings, Alan Halsey, Barrie Tullett, Carolyn Thompson, Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim, Darren Marsh, derek beaulieu, Emma Cocker, Eric Zboya, Erica Baum, Jaap Blonk, James Davies, Jayne Dyer, Jesse Glass, Karri Kokko, Kristen Mueller, Lawrence Weiner, Leanne Bridgewater, Liz Collini, Lucy Harvest Clarke, Marco Giovenale, Márton Koppány, Matt Dalby, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Paula Claire, Penny Anderson, Peter Jaeger, Philip Davenport, Rachel Defay-Liautard, Robert Grenier, Ron Silliman, Satu Kaikkonen, Sarah Sanders, Seekers of Lice, Stephen Emmerson, Steve Giasson, Steve Miller, Tom Jenks, and Tony Lopez.

— derek beaulieu and Phil Davenport, Curators

The Dark Would: Flux magazine features

Flux magazine continues to explore The Dark Would. In on, in, and out – Artist’s text on text Art Richard Barrett, James Davies, Steve Giasson, Vanessa Place & Nick Thurston explore the work of Arthur and Martha, Fiona Banner, Rob Fitterman, Simon Patterson & Lawrence Weiner. You can read the articles HERE.

Two images from two noses of two bombers, each carrying a message that betrays the anxiety of the messenger. In Bollocks, the “unfeasibly large testicles” of one Buster Gonad prove a crippling load, engulfing the phallus that charged with discharging it. Bollocks, in other words, are a load of bunk. In Sperm, thirty missile silhouettes mark the plane’s partial payoff, denoting the fact that most seed simply spills.


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)


@tweetfromengels Manchester, UK

Snapshots in text of homeless lives. Engels wrote about the harshness of 19 Century Manchester; people today who live a comparable existence are the homeless.

This project with homeless people in Manchester, UK is run by arthur+martha arts organisation in partnership with the Text Festival. Other partners were The Big Issue in the North, The Red Door (Bury Housing Concern),
Brighter Futures, The Booth Centre, The Lowry, LOVE Creative, the BBC. Poets and writers who’ve been involved include Steve Giasson, Geof Huth, copland smith, Anna MacGowan. Editors Philip Davenport and Rebecca Guest. The resulting long poem will be tweeted over the coming weeks.

Follow here.

Directions by by Robert Fitterman and Steve Giasson

Via Derek Beaulieu:

For Les Figues Press’ fundraising auction, Fitterman offered something called “Not A Thing;” an offer to collaborate on a conceptual text.

Giasson won the bid and together they came up with a text titled Directions where they chart out the various ways to get from Fitterman’s apartment to Giasson’s … car, ship, plan, bicycle and more.

Published in an edition of 60 handbound copies (30 of which are for sale), each copy has handcut BFKRives covers.

Directions is available for $8 (shipping included).

To order, please email