Contemporary writers (distance/closeness > research folder)

The blog’s research folder introduces a series of relevant writers as well as (visual) artists who explore, develop and inform similar concerns around distance, closeness and near space. In the dissertation I introduce Joan Jonas and Katrina Palmer’s practice to orientate my own enquiries, yet of course there are wider influences, both in writing and in visual arts, so I would like to draw together some of the other writing influences here (and see this related post concerning (visual) artists)

A series of contemporary writers who write within and across relational human/ non-human narratives in which theory, documentary and fiction mingle:

— I add FB posts copied (and minimally altered in layout) to reference my conversations with Juliana Spahr and Bhanu Kapil. I had also intended to add those around Chris Kraus’s writing but feel these two will suffice for the material that organises around drawing/contact and open/close:

Juliana Spahr (Buuck & Spahr 2013; Spahr 2005, 2007),

Army of Lovers, This connection of everyone with lungs, The Transformation

thisconnection has been explored here:

Gesa Helms added 8 new photos to the album [almost titled].

30 July 2019  · for months i have been circling around her. like an elastic band i stretch the connection and at points then jump right onto some of her pages. . i write a cryptic line in my summary and off i go again..this morning i pack all three and search..among other things i i continue swimming i bodythink through the cosmos. through the work the living and the dying are doing for each other at this moment in time and any other. i had realised earlier this summer that my dad is going to teach me something vital. and here in this process with Achim i realise the work that is being done by us around to facilitate the movements between here and there and what each receives in this. i think i rarely felt so tender amongst it all..thisconnectionofeveryonewithlungs (juliana spahr) is the closing line of a longer thisconnection (men, women, roleplay, victims, essentialism).she will be the bridge across and away from the site. form content that connects while standing apart. .in army of lovers, she and David Buuck investigate a plot of grassy wasteland between a few major roads. .i have precisely such a plot. a pontoon bridge leads to it. all sorts of insignificant incidents take place. some are fantasy. a good part happens on speed. someone falls into the water and eighty-seven pelicans take off while the sparrows argue over the best spot to pig watch each morning. he who opens the kiosk at will and hides in dark corners within sells me an ice cream for €2.50. i think he made the price up. next time i check and i know he did. but he settled on it, having committed to a sun-worn board with lots of expensive ice cream (all cost €2.50). it sits next to the instant cameras,€20 for 2. how did the film develop?…unrelatedly, i observe the verge. in mid-July on the abundant West Coast it is exuberant. i move along and record it. later i step into it and record some more. elsewhere in the village, the council spent money on controlling growth. it does so abundantly. i record eagerly and just wait for being approached by watchful neighbours (none so far).

Gesa Helms shared a memory.

7 June 2020  · Shared with Friends; Except: Acquaintancesoh — a rare moment when i actually named my reading. i did read it again, not long ago and my frustration well and truly dissolved. of all the wonderful things that i have read the past few years, and the many that have come via Angela, Juliana Spahr has hit a spot (as A rightly anticipated). Army of Lovers does so many things at once, i probably need to read several more times over before i start to copy. or perhaps i have been copying all along. or who knows. i kind of know what my summer will be like. i wish they’d put those benches back up on other green. maybe we will need to DIY after all. or i do relocate after all into the dark and scary woods around my parents.

3 years agoSee your memoriesGesa Helms added a new photo to the album [untitled album].

7 June 2018  · for our bodies are bored by answers…. i read along and through, sense her frustration, am possibly frustrated a little too but sense too that a second reading may resolve it as only in part four i begin to sense the animating motif. the final part, army of lovers is replete with Caliban and the Witch, so much so that i can hear chanting throughout. it is an amazing culmination of what before appeared as rambling. so i do need to read again to be able to follow onto this high, or perhaps, instead just enjoy this momentary high.

Bhanu Kapil (2011, 2015) and

Ban en Banlieue and Schizophrene

Here is one FB post copied into the blog which denotes some of my own writing approaches towards secretive subject matter:

two things/2b. wow. no playlist and my reading was quite hit and miss (sorry Dodo Bellamy, hey there Bhanu Kapil). i travel to Manchester and reread Schizophrene in anticipation of a square somewhere. this line is good. i remembered the dream and almost wrote a message about it the other day, then didn’t, it would have been rather long and perhaps does not want to be a letter but a poster instead, on a wall in an errant building or perhaps it can paste onto a pavement nearby.i am still folding though (it almost has a form). i rewrote another dream and offered its concept to the second of two very nice coffees yesterday. she asks one thing, i can explicate another.did i say: i had two very good coffees in one day, one long long overdue, since winter at least, the other a regular routine for the past few weeks.2 years agoSee your memories

Gesa Helms added a new photo to the album [almost titled].

9 July 2019  · — i had a dream that still folds forward from the night and may come later. over more cold coffee i pick up the book for what is next. this page resonates with the folding (mysteriously though).LikeComment

Gesa Helms added a post to the album moves (variable).

3 December 2019  · this is a memory from open/close a year ago. just as i started the Level 3 courses and looked ahead to what became drawing/contact.i also talked about precisely this last night, we talked about so many good things last night (and the bar encounter was just one thing). i just about catch a sliver of what i was after back then. and as i regretted it in early autumn, it is most clearly not what this body of work is about.— and, yet, it of course also sits in the trajectory of this. like i insisted last night to K.: that i had found a way to move with these themes in public. the past couple of weeks made that clearer still (and i guess this is where the two men from yesterday and my barely contained seething rage also belongs to).not everything has to be everything all the time. i giggle now at the thought of writing a racy novel as degree show work (i can photoshop the cover of the Groschenroman that i picked up in Kozani KTEL on my birthday on the front cover).it’s almost year end, my Granatenjahr as T called it in January, and he wasn’t wrong. it is also the end of a decade when we finally know about the climate and the fascism. i miss my grandparents..anyways, i am stalling:


confession/obsession (365 days later):


confessional/ obsession– i am not quite through with this but it’s becoming clearer what this may become.of course, what i am after is the other side to the sexual violence and trauma. i am after agency, pleasure and desire. i am not sure if part of my wants to write a racy novel or direct some moving image materials. i think it would be rather rubbish at it. and yet:there is a range of registers and approaches that i have investigated rather seriously over the past few years while i was trying to find a way to move with the sexual violence.the pond piece notes were the firstthe line, the next……as materials, the new narrative stuff works for me. i also however find it quite triggering. it triggered me right off and threw me into all the stuff around resentment/pretty. i have a sense how it did that: i found it hot. it works for me as being with desire — the commentary about each character was at once totally abject and a sex god really hit on the head/in the gut for me..Hval’s exotic rot also works; but it is far less sexual in how it works: there is a trippyness in the spatial constellations that it incantates that works akin to a contemporary Victorian horror meets situationists setting.


I love Dick works too for me: it’s the headiness and the authoring of abjection and remaining with it in its mundanity. but also the high theory alongside it..The things we learned in the Shadows by Liz/Benny worked as a session too: that was possibly the one time that i was turned on in a group of strangers in the middle of the day and none of us were there to dance, take drugs, get laid… that was a fascinating form of turn on and being able to work with that would be quite stunning..the many many coming of age, Bildungsroman films that I watched..And then there are the French ladies: Catherine Breillat’s Romance was pretty good; I always liked Bunuel’s Belle de Jour; Ernaux doesn’t work for me but I may have been hasty. Story of O… hm…. that was important but its misogyny is also always impossible to get past these days (even though I like the stories of how O. moves within sub/dom networks and is being appropriated in various ways)..none of the latter trigger me at the slightest. I love Dick also didn’t trigger me at all and neither did Hval, though with her it wasn’t long before Glueck et al… I do think it is the form of narration of the latter that gets under my skin and challenges me not just intellectually but physically. I like that effect. I would like to be able to elicit it with the stuff that I do. .that is a rather heady degree show ambition.

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  • Gesa Helmsnone of the films neither Dick nor any New Narrative will feature. But: Exotic Rot will be spliced through the staircase, possibly creating the occasional refracturing of sunlight on a very short day of the year, just about scratching past (screeching in a high-frequency hiss as it does; it will forget to take an inbreath after; elsewhere, a cardboard box rattles and someone hums Peggy Lee while snapping his fingers and the audience shuffles in utmost discomfort. i later am angry with myself, uncharacteristically, while all the outrage should have been directed at him) .
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  • Gesa Helms - Peggy LeeYOUTUBE.COMFever – Peggy LeeFever – Peggy Lee
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  • Gesa Helmsoverlaying with this, it creates a rather wondrous thing:"Un violador en tu camino": la intervención que dio la vuelta al mundoYOUTUBE.COM”Un violador en tu camino”: la intervención que dio la vuelta al mundo“Un violador en tu camino”: la intervención que dio la vuelta al mundo
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  • Gesa HelmsI have started reading Kate Zambreno’s Appendix project (a Rachel recommend), she is far too fond of Barthes for my liking, I find him insipid, every single time buhut: what her ten or so essays written the year following her publication of the mourning book that is Book of Mutter do is to unpack her work process, her circling around, notetaking, assembling, the texts are looping and fragmented (in a way that isn’t quite mine; it is also more trying, self-conscious than e.g. in Kapil’s work; and without being a resolved performative form) and I almost can picture and hear her notes assembling and being referenced back to right throughout. I like that, I will use that (in the parts where it actually tells me something of what I have been doing, or of what I could have done).
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Ban en Banlieue (notes)

I have taken Ban with me. I have now twice refused to pass on my copy of her, and each time I could not anticipate a time by which it may be alright to loan my copy to others. I also regret not having taken any post-it notes with me. I sense this book is not for writing within or alongside.I have however ordered a couple of extra copies of Ban for giving away. I can’t recall a book that encircled me to quite such an extent. In my writing about it I am conscious that each of these sentences, except for this one, begins with my I, while Ban is always written around, not directly written about, let alone being a one to have an I. This former sentence, the one without my I however began with my writing – not quite but almost an I.And still, and still, in all that absence and the void that this writing around opens out, she is cared for, deeply cared for. The whole writing around is indeed, so Kapil’s title for the main section of the book, a (self-)sacrifice. So, if anything, Ban is ever-present in her (dis-)embodied (ab-)sense.I started noting Ban with the section of the contents in which she absented her childhood stories. Kapil does so be quoting an encounter with Petra Kuppers over vegan cake in 2011. All disregard for stories are attributed to Petra who is ‘not interested in disclosure. I am interested in discharge.’ (Kapil 2016, 9). My first reading of it makes me blush, I think I would not like Petra Kuppers was I to meet her, what’s that with the confident statement made over vegan cheesecake in 2011 anyway? Kapil writes that she deletes the childhood stories but yet she lies and discloses at once: she moves them elsewhere, and frequently (already on the next page) discloses further, fails, and hopes to find a form and place for those stories that she has nonetheless.No disclosure but discharge. Do these circumvent the confessional, I wonder?‘I am not interested in where you are from’, Petra continues. And still, she wants a discharge. I wonder what in her mind builds up that that is to be discharged. Just collapsing the then violently into the present does not erase the then. It may avoid the agentic construction of a story neatly told. Moving form, either as Kapil does from novel, narrative, to notebook to Ban en Banlieue in textual registers; or by moving across curating, performance, bodywork and back to text, as she also does, are all ways of discharging.And still, they also disclose a ‘from’, however hidden, concealed, burnt to ashes, buried, smudged. Writing around Ban is form-giving nonetheless – negative space gives form to figure/ground too.#pondpiecenotes

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(see also related post concerning contemporary visual/artists)

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