I was thinking about transcription in art earlier this year, but it is transcription in general that fascinates me. There is something about the act of copying out a text that I take great pleasure and comfort in. To make the words my own I suppose. To own them? Is that unethical? Should I not? It a process steeped in anxiety and insecurity and worry – worry about ethics – but one that I cannot avoid. I do it all the time. They make me want to write my own words.
Someone once told me that they learned to draw by copying out Leonardo’s. Perhaps I can do the same with writing. I say I want to be a writer but it feels as though I don’t know how and it terrifies me.
These passages are from extracts sent by Kati Kärki via Rhubaba Gallery
Cloudy, with a warm dry wind. It had hardly rained here, which surprised me, as the deluge in London felt as if it must have covered the whole country. More damaging than the drought is the strong wind, as it dried out the plants.
With the hosepipe ban the view has become a desert, everything left to chance and the isobars. The sloe bushes are heavy with purple fruit a full six weeks in advance of last year – we picked them in early October. The rosemary bushes are dying, and most of the flowers are over – the geraniums and marigolds, scarlets and reds. The brave bugloss is at a finish. Picked up the dead flower heads of the sempervivum and night scented stock, trimmed lavender flowers. Repotted seedlings of foxglove and great mullein; also sea buckthorn and the wild fig.
To prove there was a life after
A man had himself buried six feet under
In a lead-lined coffin, holding a fig.
He said, ‘If a life after exists, the fig will grow.’
The fig grew. That’s quite certain.
As a child I ate the figs of eternal life;
They were unripe and gave me colic.
Dungeness might seem the least hospitable environment for a fig tree to take root. Cut back by biting winter easterlies it is a mere couple of feet high, dwarfed but thriving. Sycamore and oak have established themselves in the same way.
A band of rain blew over at dawn. Warm sunny day which clouded over.
Before the sun disappeared we filmed David out on the shore amongst the fishing boats, lying in huge coils of rope. Then, as film was running low, we made a trip to Rye; but by the time we returned the sun was lost.
A sullen evening: parched flowers dying, menacing clouds mounting above burning stubble, ploughed fields drained of life – the only movement, the silvery grey leaves of the willows along the drainage canals.
Julian swung the car along the empty roads like a rally driver, in silence.
Dark by 8:30. Evenings draw in.
Feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction – detachment from friends – life wrenched apart – all the sourness of Fellini’s Fred and Ginger’s tired and rubbished landscapes washed over and overwhelmed me. As I looked through the tapes of my films for David I couldn’t bear to watch any of them, ghostly memories.
Sandy rang to say Paul is now very ill. I feel furious and impotent, why should this happen? Lovers shrivelled and parched like the landscape.
Unpublished letter-essay from the Art-Language group, Coventry, to Lucy Lippard and John Chandler “Concerning the article ‘The Dematerialisation of Art’, March 23 1968. An excerpt:
All the examples of art-works (ideas) you refer to in your article are, with few exceptions, art-objects. They may not be an art-object as we know it in its traditional matter-state, but they are nevertheless matter in one of its forms, either solid-state, gas-state, liquid-state. And it is on this question of matter-state that my caution with regard to the metaphoric usage of dematerialisation is centred on. Whether for examples, one calls Carl Andre’s ‘substance of forms’ empty space pr not does not point to any evidence of dematerialisation because the term ’empty space’ can never, in reference to terrestrial situations, be anything more than a convention describing how space is filled rather than offering a description of a portion of space which is, in physical terms, empty. Andre’s empty space is in no sense a void….
A List of Names:
Alejandro CesarcoMitch Speed