Ex Libris

5 March 2011

Last night Site Gallery‘s new director Laura Sillars kick-started a project for a library of donated books in the gallery canteen. I worked with Laura to curate a dinner for around 80 people, all of whom brought books to donate, with catering supplied free of charge by the amazing team that run the canteen – P.J. Taste. There were performances (HRH giving out kisses as Frankenstein), speeches (Designers Republic‘s Ian Anderson, also a patron of Site) and a short presentation from artist Penny McCarthy about her work and the book she donated – a copy of The Odyssey.

“Over the next year, we are going to build up a small library of books that will be lodged in the café and which we hope will be read, debated and that will provoke and inspire people. Each book will be chosen by a creative person from Sheffield – to start us off, Site’s patron, Jarvis Cocker has donated Leonard Cohen’s 1963 novel The Favourite Game.”

To close the evening I made a short text – remix/cut-up/cut & paste car crash – combining fragments chosen by other people from the books they’d donated, along with sentences or part sentences from the short comments they’d written about their selections. Below you find the text containing (amongst quite some other things) shards of Calvino, Salinger, Herodotus, Jay Griffiths, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and of course The ‘Every Action Counts’ Community Champions Handbook’. Enjoy.

1 ounce powdered potassium nitrate, 1/4 ounce minium, 1/2 ounce powdered gum arabic, 1 dram phosphorus, saffron and cardboard
passion, fortune, comedy and tragedy
human frailties, grim personalities, mental suffering, vicious pain, dysfunctional
kindness, healing, love and hope.
take a step. Then another step.
What saves a man [that should be a person] is to take a step. Then another step. always the same step, but you have to take it.

Somebody once asked your dad how long a person would have to live in Marsden before they were no longer ‘comers-in’. Your dad looked him in the eye and said ‘Fifty years, and you’ll be dead then.’

And whose natural state was iridescent disorder? Who were even more unpunctual than the poor? Who by nature were living in a state of such disgraceful enchantment that they thought the hour of now the only possible time? Who – unforgivably – insisted on seeing the purpose of life to be not work but play?
Kids I think, kids would be the answer I guess.

Everyday beauty, the transformational power of the arts and a Polar Bear Suit. innovation, creativity, intelligence and interdependence,
collaboration, kindness and bravery.
Anxiety, Claustrophobia, nose bleeds, and near asphyxiation. , waiting and hoping
low energy lightbulbs, bikes, tractors and informative lists, soft recycled paper, pastel colours, hilarity, poignancy, over-packaged products and shopping bags, proper suits and nice glasses.
Steel workers, lovers, a young man in possession of beetroot, Movie stars And a 13 year-old English girl

The trees are coming into leaf, like something almost being said;
like losing yourself in a very well produced, well scripted superior American TV detective show with characters you can see
“We must do what we can to help ourselves
“We must do what we can to help ourselves

or maybe you will gasp
or like me be Hurt and jolted by the twists and turns of the fiendish plot

The trees coming into leaf, like something almost being said;
And the writing makes you feel the air has become thinner

“Let us try to talk it over calmly, Laura – let us do all in our power
makes you feel the air has become thinner

We take a few photos for Tachia. We all sign the illustrious visitors’ book and then go off in search of the past, so present here.

My name is:

the time for the train’s departure must be very close.

My name is:

Avoid over-packaged products
Use your own shopping bag

she looked lovelier than she ever had when glimpsed in stellar space.

1 ounce powdered potassium nitrate, 1/4 ounce minium,
1/2 ounce slowly disappearing former factories, nightclubs and rivers
passion, comedy and papercraft frailties,
personalities, and sufferings,
kindness and hope.
take a step. Then another step.

What saves a man [should be a person] is take another step.
“The Greeks, just because of a girl from Sparta, raised an army, invaded Asia and destroyed the empire of Priam.”

the time for the train’s departure must be very close.

I remember the day Marilyn Monroe died.
no limits can be set
I remember rainbows that didn’t live up to my expectations.
I remember wondering what the bus driver is thinking about.
no limits can be set
I remember trying to visualize “the travels” of shit, after you flush the toilet.
I remember the dawn.
I remember the rumour that James Dean got off on bodily cigarette burns.
Without looking up
I remember the way a baby’s hand has of folding itself around your finger, as if forever.
Without looking up, the girl said “I’m drawing a picture of God.”

In Raissa, city of sadness, there runs an invisible thread that binds one living being to another for a moment, then unravels, then is stretched again between moving points as it draws new and rapid patterns so that at every second the unhappy city contains a happy city unaware of its own existence.

the dawn of personal computing.
A series of scandalous correspondences
vicious pain, and dysfunctional relationships,
where writing makes you feel the air is thinner
On this table, Joyce, Hardy and Austen can frequently be found
the time for the train’s departure is now very close.

I told her [straight up] that I’d never written a story for anybody,
but that [right now] it seemed like exactly the right just the time to get down to it.
She nodded. “Make it extremely squalid and moving,” she suggested. “Are you at all acquainted with squalor?”
I said not exactly but.. [well…] We shook hands….
“Goodbye,” said Esmé. “I hope you return from the war…”