Holly Childs

Holly Childs’ Danklands reviewed

31 July 2015

Experimental writing, it is said by those more comfortably ensconced in the sagging sofa of English literature, is simply a genre: a stereotypical form of book in which certain conventions apply, the same as in any other. As such, it’s over. That fuss and nonsense was all fine in the days of the proper modernists, from James Joyce, up to say, Brigid Brophy or Gilbert Sorrentino, but really, that’s all been mapped out.  It’s done with. Now it’s time to knuckle down and write studied novels with the occasional nod to Derrida if you really must. The relation to tradition is all the better to show that you have mastered it and are beyond it, there’s no need to be disruptive. Writers want that familiar warm novel feeling back, but with a few winks. Or rather, not back so much as to insist on being in a position to perpetuate it, though cleverly, at the same time as insisting, in tune with the times, that there is no alternative.

Holly Childs, Danklands presentation image. Courtesy the artist.
Holly Childs, Danklands presentation image at Lunch Bytes Life:language. Courtesy the artist.

Danklands would suggest otherwise. Written by Melbourne-based artist Holly Childs it is a book that takes place in the bits of cities that slipped through the master-plan despite being in the middle of it; something that echoes its place in literature. Danklands is written in English, but at all those points where it turns into a thick wet post-natural swamp, in jargon, awkward love, smoggy spaced-outness around the edges of the city’s docklands. Indelicate sentences, packed with clichés and gulped down verbiage that come back wrong, strands of linguistic mouth-backwash float into the reader’s bottle of Fiji water like the delicate tendrils of a jellyfish before dissolving back into narrative, a cluster of lists, bejewelled molten plastic slag and the goings on of several ciphers that pass for characters. In this movement the book occasionally takes time to gather its own co-ordinates, shifting paces, there’s a precision zoned-outness in the finely, almost molecularly, constructed sentences that flow out into the vast intertidal marshes of language with which the internet is silted together with. At other moments, the text floats in dense poetic dazes, tightly worded and loose.

unnamed-1

Danklands has the best YouTube make-up tutorial yet to be lightly spritzed on the surface of video. If you follow its steps precisely, it will make your synapses shimmer as much as it extends your lashes. Working out the co-ordinates of the book, in the coagulated oozing mass, of leachate, is part of the fun. Making a list of all the things that aren’t things in the world is amazing enough, making the links between them work as they are brought into conjunction by fire, sunburn, romantic interest, sleepiness, new kinds of plastic and code. Soon enough you’re gliding over the surface of the ice rink, smoothing out the crud from the surface on a giant Zamboni machine that leaves everything crystalised and clear, a glittering swathe of reflection that you can carve a path into, but not before hot water is already poured over it by the machine, Childs’ writing machine, that recomposes the relations between molecules.**

Holly Childs’ Danklands was published by Arcadia Missa Publications in December 2014.

Header image: Holly Childs, Danklands (2014). Courtesy Arcadia Missa. 

  share news item

WE WANT A FUTURE…@ Taylor Square Toilet Block, Mar 5

3 March 2015

Flaming Times is bringing a new exhibition – or “utopian visioning exercise” – called We want a future that outlives our past to Sydney’s Taylor Square on March 5.

The art exhibition takes place in front of the old toilet block at Taylor Square, populated by seedy, urine-stained brick blocks that are now in the talks of being turned into…cafes. The show describes itself as: “A collection of notices from noticeboards sourced from multiple queer utopian future worlds as envisioned by a flaming rainbow of curent (sic) queer artists and makers.”

The party will be one of imagining a better world on Oxford St. before it “disappears for good/the worse/in hetero property developer flames”. Amongst the fourteen exhibitors are Holly Childs, Vicki Papa, Anna Helme, and Sarah M Harrison.

See the exhibition FB page for details. **

  share news item

Events + exhibition openings (Week Dec 7)

10 December 2014

With most of the last of the exhibitions for 2014 opening at the end of November, December kicks off the holidays with too many events to mention individually, so here’s a list. Special mentioned should go to Imran Perretta and Takeshi Shiomitsu‘s /marinate exhibition at FFrigidaire, several readings across the western world launching Holly Childs‘ second book Danklands and a talk including Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani at Banner Repeater.

There will also be performances from Dan Bodan and Benedict Drew in London, as well as another Lunch Bytes in Stockholm, another CREAMCAKE and a new V4ULT location in Berlin and a Nick DeMarco exhibition in New York. Pick a date and peruse at your leisure. **

EVENTS

Gaybar celebrates Leslie Feinberg @ Rye Lane Studios, Dec 10

Private Settings film screenings @ MoMA Warsaw, Dec 10

Shana Moulton performance @ SLG, Dec 10

E+E, Krysaor, Nkisi & Why Be @ Endless, Dec 10

The Locoemotive Lounge  @ Cafe Kaizen  Dec 10

* * * *  MOONSIGN// DUBAIS  //LANII //MSHR  @ XB * * * * *  @ Liebig 34, Dec 10

Holly Childs Danklands launches: London on Dec 9, Berlin on Dec 11, Melbourne on Dec 16 and Sydney on Dec 18

Unreliable Source reading installation @ DRAF, Dec 10

Tropical Waste: Lotic + Felicita @ The Waiting Room, Dec 11

INFRA_SPECTION @ The White Building, Dec 11

Skinhead: An Archive @ Ditto Press, Dec 11

Gravy Party @ Apiary Studios Dec 12

Galavant Evenings  @ Stephen House, Dec 12

Lunch Bytes Life: Feminism @ Tensta Konsthall, Dec 12

Dan Bodan @ Birthdays, Dec 12

Algorithms, Zerowork, and Planning @ Banner Repeater, Dec 12

The Rare Earth Medicine Show @ Troy Town Art Pottery, Dec 12

/// A Weekend of Schizo-Culture /// @ Space, Dec 12 – 13

Kernel – Enclosures (First attempt) @ V4ULT, Dec 13

Friends with Books: Art Book Fair Berlin, Dec 13

CREAMCAKE presents E+E &c @ Südblock, Dec 13

Beyond the Rocks @ Kazachenko’s Apartment, Dec 13

Poverty Failure Rejection @ MilMa, Dec 13

Mulled wine @ Maria Stenfors, Dec 13

Benedict Drew @ Café OTO, Dec 14

OPENING

Vincent Broquaire @ XPO Gallery, Dec 11

Go Mango ~ Pt.1 @ Caustic Coastal, Dec 11 – 21

Chris Lux @ Jupiter Woods, Dec 12 – Jan 4

Nick DeMarco @ Interstate, Dec 13

Imran Perretta & Takeshi Shiomitsu: /marinate @ FFrigidaire, Dec 14

Hubert Marot @ Paris20, Dec 14**

 

  share news item

Quake II @ Arcadia Missa reviewed

9 December 2014

“I like an exhibition that reads as a first person shooter”, says the press release for Quake II, curated by Holly Childs, running at London’s Arcadia Missa and featuring the work of two Australian-based artists Marian Tubbs and André Piguet. Taking its name from the 1997 video game, which in turn takes its title from the 1996 original, Quake, the show was conceived as a “non-linear curve” against  Childs’ upcoming book Danklands, published by the aforementioned London gallery and launching across Europe and Australia through mid-December.

The exhibition very much reads as an interactive video game. Boarded off from the outside by white exhibition walling, there’s a window smashed through the panelling and supporting pinewood frames with a view inside that’s blocked by the back of Tubbs’ ‘untitled (the sea)’ (2014) video. It’s part of the artist’s ‘New Hunger‘ installation, featuring among other things a person-sized makeshift doorway where on walking through manouverability is key.

Quake II @ Arcadia Missa. Installation view. Courtesy Marian Tubbs.
Quake II @ Arcadia Missa. Installation view. Courtesy Marian Tubbs.

That’s especially true at an exhibition opening where the gallery floor is not only littered with Piguet’s lego trees, a mug, a red and white-dotted ceramic mushroom and a glazed and raw clay candle holder, but is also crowded with human bodies. At the centre of this single work installation scattered around the room, ‘WET_TIP_HEN_ax (blk lgn pale edit) Feat. SLCT troll garden garb’ (2014) lists “pigment”, “small amounts of gallium” and the presumably made up word of “tetrahydrosmaugs” as its materials, while a cloudy, semi-transparent battle-axe made from resin hangs in its centre. It’s fluoro axe-head equivalent is lying on the floor in a corner.

Tubbs’ dazzling stews of synthetic colour drift across loosely hung fabric limping from and falling out of wall-hung frames, a ribbon of motionless-but-abstractly-moving material tumbles down from ceiling to floor. “Feminist repurpose video #gamergate subversion shit” says the press release, as one considers the video raining Emojii and immaterial images of torn out fragments of words in ‘untitled (the sea)’. It’s at eye level and blocking the hole in the gallery wall, while announcing, “It’s hard for girls”. On the floor in the corner, ‘Vulgar Latin‘ (2014) projects screenshots of a YouTube window with a view into industrial sludge that’s suspended in time, floating across space. The soundtrack travels from pensive piano to crackling and crunching synth lines that slice across 2D gradient rectangles giving the illusion of 3D cylinders. Sometimes they bounce back from, other times bouncing out of, its frame. Bit coins. Coinye. Spilt milk. A wavy strip of snakeskin.

In announcing an interest in content that “reroutes its form” at the final Lunch Bytes in London before reading Augustine’s “make-up tutorial that is also subliminally a climate change awareness campaign, or a self-defence for women pep talk”, excerpted from Danklands, Childs expanded on an interest in physical space mediated by the online, in a Google Maps still of the Melbourne Docklands where it’s secret Control Pond Q is hidden from virtual view. In Quake II, Childs, Tubbs and Piguet present the spill over from the realm of the video game to the gallery floor in the implicit culture war of an exhibition that for once makes the Invisible Wall visible. **

Exhibition photos, top-right.

Holly Childs’ Danklands, launches in London on Dec 9, Berlin on Dec 11, Melbourne on Dec 16 and Sydney on Dec 18. Quake II is on at Arcadia Missa, running from November 28 to December 12, 2014.

  share news item

Life, language and London’s last Lunch Bytes

1 December 2014

“I’m going for a deeply oceanic look today”, Holly Childs is reading from her upcoming book Danklands, to be published via Arcadia Missa on December 9. It’s an excerpt of what she calls, “a make-up tutorial that is also subliminally a climate change awareness campaign, or a self-defence for women pep talk”. It features a persona called Augustine’ pointing at ephemeral hyperlinks from inside a computer screen, while recommending “slut shame” eye shadow or “urban decay & deathzone 4 Eva” liner to suit any lifestyle: “maybe you’re a scientist who’s just started dating again after a massive break up, or doing some whaling”. From here come the ideas of “dredging and resurfacing” that Childs actively explores in her work, a subject that is revisited in various forms across ideas and artistic practices expressed in conversation with several other writers and artists. They include Cally Spooner and David Jablonowski, as well as art historian Florian Cramer and panel moderator Elvia Wilk at Lunch Bytes exploring Life: Language. The film that should follow the ICA programme is being delayed as the last in the London editions of the Goethe-Institut‘s European series applies some interesting ideas to the computer generated future of communication via the internet.

Holly Childs, Danklands presentation image. Courtesy the artist.
Holly Childs, Danklands presentation image. Courtesy the artist.

“’Always scared amateur porn is going to turn out to be a snuff film”, Childs is quoting Australian artist Aurelia Guo in exploring the “rerouting of form” where a format meant to present one agenda exposes itself for harbouring another. Hence the post-presentation question time concerning Emoji and their relationship with the corporate interests of the companies that produce them – say, the myth of “John Appleseed” embedded in Apple’s tiny pictographs. It’s a technologised type of social interaction that started in emoticons and has since been colonised by corporate entities; Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!  encoding them with their own ideologies. Spooner goes further with these “shared behaviours between labour and speech, and therefore politics” citing Hannah Arendt’s derailing of a political form of life through speech and actions in the “big musical collapse” of her ‘And You Were Wonderful, On Stage’ (2014) performance. It was inspired by the artist’s experiences working with an advertising agency in a campaign that would refill its employees’ real-life stories with a company’s brand and values, only to resell it to its staff.

“I was thinking about how people use Emoji when they’re sexting, like an eggplant is supposed to be a dick”, Childs deadpans about the subversive potential of recalibrating said characters’ intended corporate meaning via context. This is something Cramer also illustrates via the encoded language of early 4Chan image boards, where he draws parallels between the highly referential “visual linguistics” of 17th century allegorical art and something like ‘Y U NO?’ or the Anonymous meme-cum-hacktivist group-cum-global symbol of dissent. The latter’s famous Guy Fawkes mask signifier is, of course, an iconic image that draws from Alan Moore’s cult graphic novel, V for Vendetta – which in turn was inspired by the 16th century activist – resurfacing via a Japanese anime-inspired culture transfered to Western image boards and manifesting physically via the #occupy movement.

Cally Spooner, Performance of 'Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner' (2014). Courtesy the artist.
Cally Spooner, Performance of ‘Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner’ (2014). Courtesy the artist.

In his ‘Powerslave, Revolution Main (Signature Series)’ (2014), recently shown at BRANDS – CONCEPT/AFFECT/MODULARITY, David Jablonowski draws a link between political revolutions via his found object sculptural arrangement of Iron Maiden tour merchandise from 1984. The band are regarded as the first rock act to cross into the Eastern Bloc at the time, while the limited edition Vans shoes were discovered by the Netherlands-based artist during a visit to New York when the 2012 Arab Spring in Egypt had erupted.

That sort of layering of symbolic objects not only expresses a sort of density of information but also an emptying out of a self-contained object’s self-contained meaning, especially when presented in pairings as disparate as the plexiglass and lacquered bamboo boxes in Jablonowski’s ‘Alibaba (dot cn dot sa dot com)’ (2014) sculpture at To Satisfy Algorithms/ Still Life with Asparagus. It’s inspired by a Chinese-founded trade website (alibaba.com) with an Arabic reference that has no connection to the region’s history except for its global potential for brand recognition.

Illustrating language as highly coded and malleable to its context – whether corporate, political or personal (often all three) – it’s in a clash of cultures and concerns that makes contemporary communication and the Lunch Bytes Life: Language discussion such a dynamic one. Cramer references Heath Bunting’s 1998 “social sculpture” ‘_readme.html (Own, Be Owned or Remain Invisible)’, where an article written by the net artist for Wired magazine is entirely linked by words to a corresponding .com domain. Starting out with mostly dead links, in the almost two decades since, they’ve been almost entirely populated and commercialised – even the conjunctions like ‘at’, ‘and’ and ‘to’.

Courtesy Holly Childs.
Courtesy Holly Childs.

Meanwhile, Spooner’s ‘Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner’ (2014) opera takes its title from a public statement made by Nike after Lance Armstrong’s revelations of doping. The opera itself outsources its scores to comment threads reacting to public controversy like Beyonce’s lip-synced Obama inauguration performance (“if you can’t trust her, who can you trust?”). All this, while Cramer suggests, “a new kind of writing needs to be invented”. But when Childs shares her “cute and nice conversation” with a Microsoft Word spell check function via an error-box gesturing, “it didn’t have the exact language to convey what it was thinking or feeling”,  I rather think it already has. **

Lunch Bytes is a discussion series examining the increasing ubiquity of digital technologies in the art world.

Header image: Cally Spooner, ‘Damning Evidence Illicit Behaviour Seemingly Insurmountable Great Sadness Terminated In Any Manner’ (2014). Courtesy the artist.

  share news item

Lunch Bytes’ Life: Language @ ICA, Nov 22

18 November 2014

The quarterly Lunch Bytes public discussion series continues with Life: Language, taking place at London’s ICA on November 22.

Examining the effects of an increasingly inescapable digital existence, chairperson and writer Elvia Wilk brings a panel of speakers together to talk artistic practice in the digital age. With a special leaning towards the effects of digital media on the evolution of language, Life: Language explores how what is traditionally conceived as a visual domain is  not only “fundamentally rooted in linguistic structures” but is also constantly interplaying image with text and vice versa.

Saturday’s panel features writer Holly Childs as well as artist David Jablonowski exploring how contemporary technologies have affected natural language, including platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, and 4Chan, and the role of complex social dynamics in linguistic mutation.

See the Lunch Bytes events page for details. **

3_childs web

  share news item

Camaradefest II @ Rich Mix, Oct 25

24 October 2014

London’s Rich Mix art centre will be hosting Camaradefest II, an all-day collaborative poetry festival, this Saturday, October 25.

Starting at noon and running until well after the sun sets, Camaradefest II brings together 100 contemporary poets working in pairs to put on 50 readings and performances showcasing some of the best of 21st century literary and avant-garde poetry.

And the line-up brings a lot of familiar names to the table, including a lot of the poets that contributed to the I Love Roses When They’re Past Their Best anthology, which we reviewed here.

Included in the 100-person line-up are Sophie Collins, who will be performing with Livia Franchini, Holly Childs performing with Cristine Brache, Sam Riviere together with Crispin Best, and Colin Herd doing his bit with musician Iain Morrison.

See the Rich Mix event page for details and for a list of all the contributing poets. **

  share news item

Emails unfinished w Holly Childs + Max T.T. Edmond

21 August 2014

On first accessing Holly Childs and Max Trevor Thomas-Edmond’s Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials} exhibition on the Life Gallery website, it appeared on my old MacBook as a series of ‘Server Authentication’ boxes floating across each other. Each of the Google docs comprising the exhibition had failed to load. It was serene yet commanding, each display message representing text existent but remote. When I finally did get things up and running, the structure of the looping docs demanded a higher level of concentration than I’ve become accustomed to for much of my online consumption. This call for alertness, attempting to pin down the link between each text, means the experience of the exhibition becomes as important as its content. The Internet connection necessary to do so also informed the creation of the texts themselves – part of an online, experimental discourse that makes up a series of collaborations Childs and Thomas-Edmond have been working on since October 2013. Using primarily Google docs and facebook chat discussions, they explore popular culture, gender, and fashion within truncated language that is written to be read, not spoken.

Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, Nutri-Cream cocktail portraits of bend it leik mathu barni h&m ecosystem artists and guests @ Centre for Style (2014). Photo by Elliott Lauren. Courtesy the artists.
Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, ‘Nutri-Cream’ cocktail portraits of bend it leik mathu barni h&m ecosystem artists and guests @ Centre for Style (2014). Photo by Elliott Lauren. Courtesy the artists.

Childs and Thomas-Edmond’s work looks at the way ideas intersect and overlap, and how and when they do so. Over a series of emails and another shared Google doc which the Melbourne and Auckland-based artist-writers invite me to join, they explain their participation in bend it leik mathu barni h&m eco system. It’s an event at the IRL Centre for Style gallery/store in Melbourne which, “came to surround Matthew Barney, David Beckham, h&m, migraines [and] Nutri-grain[…]resulting from our experimental/divinatory processes”, and whichleft the pair with scripts and planning discussions that remained unseen after the show. By giving this planning data unusual precedence in Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials}, the notion of a complete text gets hazy, and the hierarchical order normally applied to the creative process becomes less concrete.

By choosing to correspond by email and answer my questions using a Google doc as opposed to a face to face, or even phone interview, conversation becomes an extension of the collaborative practice of Childs and Thomas-Edmond, privileging the non-verbal and allowing ideas to bump against each other and sometimes transform, with the same improvisational tone that characterizes their previous projects. It’s a back and forth that becomes a kind of palimpsest – where the artists add a strikethrough to an irrelevant part of a question, rather than removing it. Unsure “if conclusions are (ever) reached or if they are worth reaching in general”, they’re more interested in making space for the divergent meanings that might happen between hyper-abbreviated words in an exploratory brainstorm on the zeitgeist.

Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, 'Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials}' (2014) @ Life Gallery. Screen shot. Courtesy the artists.
Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials} (2014) @ Life Gallery. Screen shot. Courtesy the artists.

The experience of the exhibition on screen reminds me of trying to consume text in many other ways online. Conscious of your eyes darting, trying to process different sources of information simultaneously. Why did you choose to layout the exhibition in looping shared Google docs?

Holly Childs + Max T.T. Edmond: Google docs is pretty central to our collaborative practice. We started online before we met IRL, so that was initially a means of writing together long distance though its also probably the best way to write together even if u in same room… so our work was already in google docs. We have a mass of work in many many google docs. Holly likes each one to have a really complex title + we had already done a couple of simpler things embedding google docs – like just one doc embedded over the top of a video of nature timelapse etc. It’s a way of presenting text preformatted. rich text.

Part of the process or structure of the IRL CfS event was that different artists would be doing different presentations/activities that disrupt, distort (etc.) each other, and that’s carried over by having different areas of text that overlap and interrupt each other at different points, different overlaps each time they cycle through. Presenting (text/whatever) in a decentralised way. Not having a designated point of focus.

You mention that you’re interested in looking at different interlinking ideas and textualities. What conclusions are reached/what is revealed in the intersections of the discursive formations of gender, fashion, celebrity and popular culture that you discuss?

H+M: These are maybe not the particular focus of this show, though they emerge through the way we talk about things and peripherally in many things we end up discussing. idk if conclusions are (ever) reached or if they are worth reaching in general. Conclusions seem to slow down discourse more than assist it because too static.

I guess we would hope that there are certain revelations/things revealed in (our) writing? Things that are maybe obscured by dominant modes of discourse, and deferred by dominant practices of development (of creative/intellectual produce…). By intersecting as many discourses as possible, at any opportunity. cos they can feed off/inform each other, at various different points of intersection.

How are these conclusions/revelations influenced by technology?

H+M: I guess that depends what kind of technology. There are different influences/distortions to be taken from all these different technologies. Maybe the purpose of technology being to enhance or facilitate or lubricate discourse/exchange – but each technology enhancing/facilitating in different ways by privileging different outcomes etc.

So, different technologies (would) allow (us) different forms of inter-pollination between discourses, and that fuels revelation in (our) writing. Blending and/or interlinking discursivities.

+ there are different ways to respond to/be influenced by different respective technologies. e.g. not everyone takes the internet as an opportunity to discourse or converse more fluidly; or less conservatively lol.

What’s more pervasive, nostalgia or irony?

H+M: In our work? Neither.
I guess they’re each pervasive in different areas of culture.
Ironic nostalgia seems pretty widespread.

I like the idea of people being prevented from fully engaging with online content by being present in the world. (#distractedbypresence) How does the notion of complicit consumption influence your work?

[By complicit consumption I meant the way most people embrace information created and shared on social media and other platforms, the lack of questioning/discernment in regards to such information, the benefits/worst aspects of such instant sharing, etc.]

H+M: I guess any form of presence creates its own brand of inability to engage (deeply or w/e). The focus on presence, on the present image, the visual, provable etc. Creating failures in connection or understanding. I guess there are many different ways to be #distractedbypresence which we could explore.

Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials} (2014) @ Life Gallery. Screen shot. Courtesy the artists.
Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials} (2014) @ Life Gallery. Screen shot. Courtesy the artists.

That instance refers to creating an online event, simultaneous with the CFS event, which would privilege absence from the event as the event revolved around disruptions, blindspots, holes, orifices etc. An event exclusively for absent “attendees” Anti-event [sub-event “bend it leik mathu barni h&m ecosystem“] hosted by Katherine Botten as her creative contribution to the event. To break down the idea that people present at the event, or present somewhere, are getting more than those absent – that presence is privileged over absence in general. So also, people are potentially inhibited from engaging with the exhibition online due to its recreation of presence/immediacy/realtime. It’s not a typical static reduced internet object but a moving/changing stream. It’s not typically accessible. Actually even the individual parts of text – if viewed statically – aren’t typically accessible lol.

This presence totally also applies to online activity, social media etc. People feel like they are being active or engaging by making something visible, or associating its presence with their presence – online presence. Sharing means something different to liking. “Liking” signifies more and less than liking? Posting links and receiving links posted by others. Everyone changing their prof pics to “=” sign to support gay marriage etc.

But presence in communication (not specifically on the internet) distracts people from really engaging with the issues IRL? in interpersonal, intercultural (etc.) situations and their actual practical politics/dynamics. Immersing in representations/presentations in communication to feel engaged is being #distractedbypresence.

I guess by making something less accessible, even if it might have ended up resembling a social media feed, either challenges people to engage or filters out people who aren’t prepared or motivated to engage.

Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, 'Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials}' (2014) @ Life Gallery. Screen shot. Courtesy the artists.
Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond, Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials} (2014) @ Life Gallery. Screen shot. Courtesy the artists.

The sense that some parts of the text in Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials} are the planning stage of an exhibition while at the same time comprising the exhibition itself reminds me of Chris KrausI Love Dick in that it too is a project within a text that shifts from personal to critical and breaks down barriers between the two. Would you agree? In what ways does this approach to creative process interest you?

H+M: Well, the text/script began as a plan for an event, as well as written material to be presented at the event, (whether or not that was prominent in the event lol). We are working on these different levels as we are writing. But most of the planning still visible in the texts online wasn’t for the show they’re presented in. It was for the event which preceded that show. So what you see online is even another extra degree removed/layer added, another doc added in, and also with some pictures from the first event that relate to and were performative of the script.

But we do generally have multiple things happening in a text. Or we don’t try to avoid having 4, 6, 100 (lol) different things moving in amongst each other thru a text. For decentralisation, nonrefinement, divination, potential etc. Not just between personal and critical obviously, but between any number of different things feeding into a text. That might tangentially arise from or collide with our writing/scripting of a text. I mean there aren’t really even barriers between concepts or sentences in our writing lol.

‘Preliminary’ implies there’s more to come – is there?

H+M: We are working on a book collaboratively. The series of events/presentations we’ve been working on is comprised of installments of content for the book, which is still being developed. All the writing we’ve presented so far is still being written and built up. We will keep giving these types of events/presentations, but when/whether this particular body of content will resurface is uncertain at this point. It may come up in other installments, if its relevant. But it’s also preliminary in its form. Decidedly unfinished, which is also potential. Maybe designating all work as preliminary. **

Holly Childs and Max T.T. Edmond’s Ellen Degeneres Beezin Topshop {preliminary materials} was on at London’s Life Gallery, running July 23 to August 20, 2014.

Header image: Alden Epp Holly Childs’ and Max Trevor Thomas Edmond’s nails all night. Post-production‘digital migraine auras’ by Dawn Marble. Concepts by distributed. Courtesy the artists.

  share news item