‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I am writing a long one instead’ – Mark Twain
‘A book is a sequence of spaces’ – Ulises Carrion
David Berridge, the editor at VerySmallKitchen, a print and online press that makes ‘connections of language, writing, reading and art practice’, asked me to contribute to their series of online projects. Working with David, I re-imagined and textually and visually stripped down a short paper, Unruly Text / Unruly Image, that had been written for, and presented at Impact8: Borders and Crossings: The Artist as Explorer, a biennial International Conference of Print held this year at the University of Dundee.
The creation of the VSK piece: I Have Only One Objective, took place during an atypically frantic and fragmentary fortnight, during which I was co-editing a film, co-mentoring and producing an exhibition by eight emerging artists, responding to two unexpected but un-missable opportunities, and generally spending an awful lot of time on trains.
The original paper dealt with a fetishised longing for containment in and validation by the physical book, and the seeming impossibility to bringing the required order to the material to be published, and veered towards what is, (for better or worse), my default position: the prolix. Working with an editor, (and especially I suspect, with David), insisted on an economy that I usually need uninterrupted blocks of time at which to arrive, but the frenzy of that fortnight meant that my focus was as fragmented as the themes that I addressed, and that I was forced into a decisiveness that meant a handing over of control to, and a trust in, both the criticality and benevolence of the other. I wrote to David, as the final draft was sent, ‘If you are happy then I am happy’, and he replied that he was very happy, and that made me very happy too.
To my surprise, but perhaps not to others, the spareness and abstracted form of the piece underlined the emotion and the yearning of the narrative in a way that the adjectival plenty of the original text perhaps did not.
I would Very much like to work with VerySmallKitchen again.