Recently I’ve re-read and scanned some of my early writings published in the 1990s and up to 2000. This was quite a specific phase of my work, when my writing was aiming to be both poetic and critical without following more formal structures. The essays were published (often under a pseudonym, Gilles Lazare, and once as Lily de Rais) in mostly obscure small-press creative publications, such as Brandon Labelle’s Errant Bodies series, Inventory: Losing, Finding, Collecting, as well as my own COIL journal of the moving image, and once in Parallax, a more conventional peer-reviewed academic journal.
Looking back almost 25 years, there are clear strands that run through this body of work, and which resonate through subsequent projects and my more recent writing too: the inequities of power, privilege and agency and how art and creativity provide powerful counterpoints and opportunities to change those narratives. Below are some short summaries of each piece:
An Endless Insurrection: Bataille, Matta-Clark, Athey
COIL journal of the moving image issue 9/10, 2000
A weaving together of the work and thinking of writer Georges Bataille with the work of artist/anarchitect Gordon Matta-Clark and performance artist Ron Athey.
The Masque of Self-Death
Parallax vol 5 issue 4, October-December 1999
Commissioned to write on the theme of ‘honour’ by Johnny Golding, this piece reflects on the role of suicide as sacrifice, inspired by the death of Walter Benjamin.
Against the Grain – Steve Farrer’s Cinema of Machines
Commissioned by Locus Plus, 1998
Exploring the work of artist/inventor/filmmaker Steve Farrer.
Inventory volume 3 issue 2, 1997
A poetic text exploring the dissolution of identity in a sea of being.
Jacob’s Ladder: Tarkovsky, Benjamin, Jennings
COIL journal of the moving image issue 5 1997
Cinema, dreams, poetry and gestures: drawing parallels between the films of Tarkovsky, the writing of Walter Benjamin and Humphrey Jenning’s Pandaemonium.
The Mutilated Body and the UnBroken Shadow: Jayne Parker/Mona Hatoum
COIL journal of the moving image issue 4, 1996
A study of sacrifice and ritual explored through Jayne Parker’s K and Mona Hatoum’s Corps Etranger.
Speculations on a Garden of Forking Paths: Andrew Marvell’s poetic ipse in the void of being
Errant Bodies Flowers Los Angeles, 1996/7
My take on Andrew Marvell’s extraordinary poem (from the mid 17th century), seen through the lens of Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, and a hint of Jorge Luis Borges.
Thief in the Studio: Genet & Giacometti
Inventory volume 2 issue 3, 1996
An exploration of the relationship between writer Jean Genet and artist Alberto Giacometti drawn from Genet’s 1957 essay, ‘The Studio of Alberto Giacometti’.
Jeux des Anges / Bovisa: an inventory of confluence & representation (Borowczyk/Hedjuk)
COIL journal of the moving image issue 1, 1995
Exploring overlaps between Polish/French filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk’s 1964 animation, Jeux does Anges, and the project, Bovisa, by Czech/American architect, John Hedjuk.