Room to Manoeuvre

3 January 2011

I see [language] as a play between constraint and room to manoeuvre. If you think of language in the traditional way, as a correspondence between a word with its established meaning on the one hand and a matching perception on the other, then it starts coagulating. It’s just being used as a totally conventional system for pointing out things you want other people to recognise. It’s all about pointing out what everyone can agree is already there. When you think about it, though, there’s a unique feeling to every experience that comes along, and the exact details of it can never be exhausted by linguistic expression. That’s partly because no two people in the same situation will have had exactly the same experience of it – they would be able to argue and discuss the nuances endlessly. And it’s partly because there was just too much there between them to be completely articulated – especially if you think about what was only there potentially, or virtually. But there are uses of language that can bring that inadequation between language and experience to the fore in a way that can convey the ‘too much’ of the situation – its charge – in a way that actually fosters new experiences.

Navigating movements – Brian Massumi interviewed by M. Zournazi in ‘Hope: new philosophies for change’ Pluto Press.


Andy Field flags the virtual/SMS performance I made last year – An S.M.S (A Short Message Spectacle) – in his round up of performances from 2010. Meanwhile my latest virtual/imaginary performance venture – Vacuum Days – makes it to the very early fourth day of a planned 365 tomorrow.


Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein… sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur’an. But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight – locked away behind three vaulted doors. It is the one part of the ousted tyrant’s legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with.

More here.



2 January 2011

months ago. you are sitting in the lobby of a hotel somewhere (not England), waiting for taxi… as unseen, to your left, a pair of receptionists make early morning wake-up calls – one after another, after another after another. The calls coming out of phase with each other "Good morning. This is your wake-up call.. it’s 7am..", "Good morning. This is your wake-up call.. it’s 7am, this is your wake-up call….", "Good morning. it’s 7am.." And as you sit there you imagine all those sleepy hands reaching for phones, all those interrupted dreams, all those narratives (lives) starting over again after the interregnum of the night.


afternoon of new years eve. city centre. light fading but not yet gone from the sky. a man and a woman in a blurred dance, she pulling cans of special brew from a polythene bag, opening them and pouring the contents out into the gutter, the guy staring at her in resigned show, at a metre’s slow motion distance staggering slightly and watching his lifeblood glug out there into a set of mingling pools on the cracked paving. no one pays much attention.


Some nice material about Anna Chapman and her appearance on a Russian chat show, Let Them Speak, here .

On being asked if she would die for her country, she gives this very natural and easy going answer: "The incorruptibility of a person is one of the most important qualities. The only thing more important than patriotism is to be humane. Love of the motherland is vital to be a happy person."

Also an appearance by Chapman’s grandma, narrating how, as a child, Chapman had a favourite book called, The Tale of the Military Secret. "We used to play out the roles… I  would tie Anya up and say, ‘Tell me the secret!’ But she would always reply, ‘No!’ very severely. And I would shoot her."

New project. As if I didn’t have enough to do I launched a new web-project which will be updated daily with new entries through the whole of 2011. Scurrilous and often abusive or obscene Vacuum Days is a rolling version of the booklets of imaginary events I’ve produced from time to time for specific contexts in the last couple of years.


9 November 2010

tim etchells - red sky at night -dsc_8990teeditsml.jpg

A couple of the more interesting blog/online reviews of The Thrill of it All which I made with Forced Entertainment: Carousel of Fantasies and Art Review. Also an extended web-radio/audio archive interview about the project here.

Above you see more images of the accumulating Red Sky at Night piece from my show in Bremen which closes on 21 November. I’m in Bremen next Friday 19th November at 7pm for a video screening and discussion.

Also coming soon: the Beunos Aires version of Ciudades Paralelas which features the project The Quiet Volume (auto teatro for two people in a library) which I made in collaboration with Ant Hampton. More info on The Quiet Volume at Ant Hampton’s website. Documentation here of the Berlin Ciudades Paralelas. Also here.


October Salon: Belgrade Coming Soon

2 October 2010

October 8th – November 21st

The Night Pleases Us…

Former Military Academy – Resavska 40b, Belgrade

Curators: Johan Pousette and Celia Prado (Sweden)

Open every day 12.00 – 20.00; Fri 12.00 – 22.00; Mon closed

Friday, 8th October
19:00 – Official opening of 51st October Salon
Former Military Academy – Resavska 40b, Belgrade

Artists: Ana Adamović, Maja Bajević, Rosa Barba, Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, Jonas Dahlberg, Dušica Dražić, Tim Etchells, Amar Kawvar, William Kentridge, Eva Koch, Erik Krikortz, David Maljković, Aernout Mik, Steve McQueen, Zoran Naskovski, Harun Farocki, Omer Fast, Carl Micael von Hausswolff and Thomas Nordanstand

Current Events

23 September 2010

A selection of the Empty Stages photographs I've been doing with Hugo Glendinning since 2003 are part of a group show during the spectacular Printemps de Septembre— à Toulouse. You can find the Empty Stages at Musée les Abattoirs, 76, allée, Charles-de-Fitte, 31300 Toulouse. 24 September – 17 October 2010. Opening times Monday to Friday, from 12 noon to 7 pm – Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm. Nocturnes: Friday 24 and Saturday 25 September, Friday 1 and Saturday 2 October, to 12.30 am.

In the same show my solo sound work Brief Reminder plays with the form and expectations of the kind of PA system announcements often heard in public spaces. I'm also a small part of very nice mini-exhibition of instructions-related artworks, curated by Charles Aubin and titled Walk Like An Egyptian.

Here’s more information about all of these, plus the many diverse aspects of Printemps de Septembre— à Toulouse.


Tim Etchells and Vlatka Horvat


Over the Table

22.09.2010 – 26.09.2010

Aichi Arts Center, Nagoya. Aichi Triennale.

Over the Table is a 5-day long collaborative project by Tim Etchells and Vlatka Horvat. Following their previous collaborations – the hour-long improvised videos Insults & Praises (2003) and Threats & Promises (2008), as well as the 5-week long 'faxing performance' To Bring Down a House (2006/2008) – Over the Table is conceived as a continuous process of call and response between the two artists. Conducted in a gallery space which they occupy together for the duration of the piece, Over the Table takes the form of a series of playful and competitive exchanges which unfold within a set of pre-arranged performative frames. Visitors may arrive, depart, and return at any point during gallery opening hours and will always encounter the artists engaged in one or another of their collaborative activities and tasks. The space of the gallery itself will change from day to day, as evidence of the artists' diverse activities gradually fills the space, accumulating alongside whatever is currently happening.

More information on Aichi Triennale.


My solo show Fog Game, at Künstlerhaus Bremen continues until 21 November, City Changes is part of LONELY AT THE TOP: Modern Dialect at M HKA (Antwerp) until 14 November, my Drama Queens collaboration with Elmgreen and Dragset is at LOOK – Container Cinema – 1061 Budapest, Andrássy út until 26 September. The Quiet Volume my 'autoteatro for two people in a library' collaboration with Ant Hampton is part of Ciudades Paralelas, festival of portable theatre curated by Stefan Kaegi and Lola Arias at HAU, Berlin until tomorrow.