Printed Project 13 Virtual Fictional (PDF)

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					Belfast                           Cavan                                Dublin

Belfast Exposed Photography       Bluewall Gallery Corracanvy          The Douglas Hyde Gallery
23 Donegall Street                    Trinity College, D2
                                  26 June – 21 July
2 July – 13 August                ‘Form’                               28 May – 3 July
Daniel Jewesbury and              Niall Walsh, Louise Rice,            Stephen Shore (Gallery 1)
Aisling O’Beirn                   Vanya Lamdrecht Ward                 Agnes Martin ‘The Paradise’ (Gallery 2)
                                  24 July – 4 August                   16 July – 15 September
                                  ‘Immersed’                           Dana Schutz. (Gallery 1)
PS2                               Work in progress by recent Degree    Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
18 Donegall Street                and MA students – Laura O’Connor,    (Gallery 2)                 Anna O’Reilly, Harriet Brown,
                                                                       24 September – 3 November
                                  Sally O’ Dowd
5 – 25 July                                                            ‘Holding Together’
‘Situations Wanted’               7 August – 1 September               Group Exhibition
Pii Anttila                       ‘Print 1’
                                  Wendy Dison, Eimear Jean
2 – 21 August
                                  McCormack, Debbie Godsell,           Green on Red
’Digital Arts Studios’
                                  Peter McMorris, Paul la Rocque,
Residency programme                                                    26 – 28 Lombard Street East, D2
                                  Heike Heilig-Finn
23 August – 18 September
                                  4 – 29 September
’Budgie Butlins’                                                       The Green On Red Gallery is one of
                                  ‘Paint 1’
Catherine Roberts                                                      Ireland’s most dynamic and exciting
                                  Pricilla O’Gorman, Derek Cummins
                                                                       galleries. We represent some of the
27 September – 2 October          and more
                                                                       best contemporary work on the
‘Age Awareness week 2010’
                                  2 – 27 October                       market, both Irish and international.
4 – 30 October                    Vanessa Lopez
’Museum TV Station’
                                  30 October – 24 November
Lado Darakhvelidze                                                     The LAB
                                  ‘Ceramic Show’
1 – 27 November                                                        Dublin City Council Arts Office,
‘Drawing on Illness’                                                   Foley Street, D1
Beth Frazer                                                  
                                                                       9 July – 28 August
Ulster Museum Botanic Avenue                                           ‘In Mind of the Gap’                      National Sculpture Factory           Maria McKinney        Albert Road                          15 September – 23 October
                             Fiona Whelan and What’s the Story
15 October – 14 November
Royal Ulster Academy – 129th      14 October – 27 November             Collective
Annual Exhibition                 ‘Pepinieres 09’                      5 November – 23 December
Showcasing work by                Alana Riley, Katrin Hornek,          Mark McGreevy, Matthew
Diana Copperwhite, David Crone,   Oliver Jacobi. In association with   Northridge and John J. O’Connor
Colin Davidson, Rita Duffy,       Crawford Art Gallery
Julian Friers, Graham Gingles,
Clement McAleer, Hector
McDonnell, Simon McWilliams,                                           mother’s tankstation
Eilis O Connell, Barbara Rae                                           41 – 43 Watling Street,
                                                                       Ushers Island, D8
                                                                       8 September – 23 October
                                                                       Uri Aran
                                                                       4 & 5 November
                                                                       ‘Mount Analogue Revisited’
                                                                       Walker and Walker
                                                                       10 November – 18 December
                                                                       Laura Buckley
Dublin (Continued)                       Kilkenny                       Waterford

Pallas Contemporary Projects             The Butler Gallery             Lismore Castle Arts
111 Grangegorman Road Lower, D7          The Castle, Kilkenny           Lismore Castle                   (T) + 353 (0) 58 54061
A not-for-profit, publicly funded        12 June – 25 July
gallery space, focused on                ‘Happenings and Non-Events’.   24 April – 30 September
developing exchanges between             Declan Rooney                  Gerard Byrne
Irish and international artists with a                                  Curated by Mike Fitzpatrick
                                         7 August – 31 October
strong conceptual approach
working in different media.
                                         Tony O’Malley
                                                                        6 Lombard Street, Waterford City
Project Arts Centre                                                     www.
39 East Essex Street Temple Bar, D2      Leitrim                        9 – 24 July.                                                ‘WAFER (Wired Art For Ears and
9 July – 4 September                                                    Retinas)’
                                         The Dock
‘King Rat’                                                              Anthony Kelly & David Stalling and
                                         Carrick-on-Shannon             Times Up
David Bennewith &
                                                Curated by Bernard Clarke of Lyric FM
Joseph Churchward (NZ),
Heman Chong (SG), Matthias Bitzer        3 July – 18 September          30 July – 21 August
(DE), Isabel Nolan (IE), David Noonan    ‘Double Ground’                ‘Everyone is an Audience’
(AU) and Pae White (US)                  Paddy McCann                   Curated By Claire Meaney &
17 September – 13 November               24 September – 4 December      Mary Grehan
Group exhibition in the Gallery          ‘Blasphemy’                    3 – 25 September
                                         Curated by Mary Cremin &       Robbie O’Halloran
22 – 30 October
                                         Oonagh Young
‘Live Show’                                                             7 – 30 October
Live Exhibition in the Cube theatre      24 September – 4 December      Philip Evans
space                                    Cathy Carmen

The Return Gallery
Goethe-Institut,                                                        Wicklow
37 Merrion Square, D2                                                    Mermaid Arts Centre
8 September – 23 October                                                Main Street, Bray
‘New Work’                                                    
Colin Crotty
Curated by Georgina Jackson                                             4 June – 24 July
                                                                        Julie Henry & Angela Fulcher

Rubicon Gallery                                                         23 August – 17 October
10 St Stephens Green, D2                                                ‘Unbuilding’                                                   Group exhibition

9 June – 10 July
’Making Nature’
Rowena Dring, Blaise Drummond,
Anita Groener, Katie Holten,
Caroline McCarthy, Barbara Novak,
Nadin Maria Rüfenacht,
Jennifer Steinkamp, Robert Voit,
Yuken Teruya
Curated by Gemma Tipton
Printed Project
Issue 13
Virtual Fictional
Curator / Editor: Kevin Atherton

Printed Project      Virtual Fictional
ISSUE 13             Curator / Editor: Kevin Atherton

Kevin Atherton       Virtual – Fictional                             15

Tim O'Riley          (From) A to B (and back)                        18

John Smith           The Black Tower                                 24

Ciara Moore          L'Amouria                                       32

Liz Lee              Pharmacopoeia – Illness Narratives              42

Priscila Fernandes   Towards an Ensemble of Relations                52

David Critchley      Nothing                                         63

Keith Hopper         Delighted and Daunted: Reading and Re-reading   78
                     Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman

The Television       The Repeat                                      88

Peter Hill           An Encyclopedia of Superfictions                96

Contributors                                                         106
Virtual – Fictional
Kevin Atherton

If the role of guest curator / editor is similar to that of putting together an exhibition, as

                                                                                                        PRINTED PROJECT 13: Kevin Atherton
previous guest curator / editors of Printed Project have pointed out, then the result has to be,
by its very nature, a group show. Group shows, especially those that have a theme, can be
notoriously tricky things for artists to be in. The initial elation experienced on being invited to
exhibit in a themed show is often swiftly followed by a private – “why the hell did I say yes to
being in this exhibition, my work has nothing to do with Nomadism”. If one addresses the
theme of the show through the creation of a new work, then one risks feeling like the only
person who turned up at the party in fancy dress; and if one doesn’t, then be prepared to fend
off a sense of guilt because one didn’t.

In 1984, as one of ten artists, I was invited to be a part of one such themed exhibition, in this
instance, entitled ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four – an Exhibition’ 1, at Camden Arts Centre, London. The
private view for the exhibition was appropriately held at lunchtime on New Years Day. From a
social point of view, the timing proved to be somewhat difficult. On looking around the
sparsely populated gallery, dotted with a handful of wan-faced casualties from the New Year
celebrations from only hours before, I felt distinctly ‘over-dressed’ in terms of the work that I had
produced for the show. Called Big Sister, my surveillance video installation not only responded
to George Orwell’s original 1949 novel but also took a cunning sideswipe at Margaret Thatcher
along the way. In contrast, I thought that almost all of the other works in the exhibition, given
their generic nature, hadn’t bothered to address the theme of the show at all, and would have
been equally at home in ‘Ulysses – An Exhibition’, or come to that, in ‘Winnie the Pooh – An

The feeling of disgruntled self-righteousness – “at least I made a work about the damn book” –
mixed with that distinct brand of embarrassment, that is the aftertaste of a public display of
over-enthusiasm, consumed me during the first few days of 1984. However, everything was to
be put into perspective and take on a fictional narrative of its own, when on making a phone
call home to the Isle of Man, in enthusiastic response to my having rather pretentiously
announced ‘I’m in an Orwell Show’, my mother replied with the best unconscious put-down
I’ve ever been at the wrong end of, when she said – ‘You’re in an Orville Show’?

Orville, for those who managed to avoid this aberration of 80s television, was a highly popular
puppet in the form of a furry green duck. The fact that my mother, who incidentally was a
furrier, hadn’t batted an eyelid over the thought that one could have an exhibition of
contemporary art devoted to the theme of a furry green puppet, illustrated very clearly that
she had absolutely no idea of what it was that I did in London, and that the gulf between her
and modern art was unbridgeable.

                                     ‘An Orville Show’ – what a prospect! Who would you have in it? Tony Oursler of course, Pierre
PRINTED PROJECT 13: Kevin Atherton

                                     Huyghe with his marionette of Le Corbusier, Bruce Nauman for his Punch and Judy piece, on
                                     the materials front Meret Oppenheim’s fur cup and saucer would be a must and under the
                                     same banner, Eric Bainbridge’s large fur-fabric sculptures would also be in. ‘Fantasy Football’
                                     move over, the curators are in town and they’re creating their dream exhibition.

                                     If an exhibition based around a work of fiction generates its own fictions, then a publication is
                                     also open to other narratives and realities. Last year, on a visit to a video art exhibition in
                                     Edinburgh, I came across a publication – A History of Artists’ Film and Video in Britain on the
                                     ubiquitous study table. Looking over my shoulder to avoid being caught in an act of undiluted
                                     egotism, I turned to the index to see if I was included. With my heart beating faster I casually
                                     attempted to flick to page 225. I was amazed to find a detailed description of a piece of work
                                     that I had never actually made. On the opposite page, the same author eloquently outlined the
                                     artistic trope that underpins David Critchley’s seminal 1970s video work Pieces I Never Did 2.
                                     Thirty years on from when I didn’t make the work described by the author as mine, I’m now
                                     seriously considering doing so.

                                     As a consequence of the emergence of virtual reality technology in the 1990s, the age-old
                                     relationship between truth and fiction was cast into a new light. Now, two decades later, when
                                     the hype has largely subsided surrounding VR, we can see that the true alternative world that
                                     was emerging twenty years ago, was not after all, the one to be found by each of us
                                     individually through the act of putting a helmet over our heads, but rather the one that would
                                     collectively contain us all. Almost whilst we weren’t looking, the Internet was expanding to the
                                     point that now it has us all surrounded, trapped in the gaze of our own reflection. Perhaps the
                                     lasting contribution that virtual reality technology has made is as a poetic metaphor serving to
                                     underscore and sharpen our awareness of the virtuality of existence itself, rather than, as so
                                     much of the hype wanted us to believe; as an alternative to it. Robert Alter, writing about the
                                     18th century pioneering novel Tristram Shandy, by the Irish born author Lawrence Sterne, puts
                                     the ‘reality’ of the relationship between art and reality into clear focus when he says:

                                         Tristram Shandy is as much an act of pure play as any novel ever written, but as with other
                                         kinds of games, it is play that makes us strenuously rehearse some of the vital processes by
                                         which we must live reality. In this early but ultimate instance of self-reflexive fiction, the many
                                         mirrors of the novel set to catch its own operations also give us back the image of the mind
                                         in action; and at the moment when the dominant intellectual assumptions had seemed to
                                         subvert philosophically the realistic aspiration of literature, literary self-consciousness
                                         paradoxically proves to be a technique of realism as well (Alter, 1975, p 55-56).
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of the contributors for the individual effort that they each

                                                                                                                                       PRINTED PROJECT 13: Kevin Atherton
made in order to make this edition of Printed Project a reality, and also to reassure them that
they are not in the ‘Orville Issue’. At Printed Project, I would like to thank Jason Oakley for gently
steering me away from carrying out any of my initial ideas for this issue. The most unrealistic of
my concepts echoed the facility offered to the readers of the Irish Times by Flann O’Brien over
fifty years ago. Under the pseudonym 3 of Myles na Gopaleen, O’Brien earnestly promoted to
the devotees of his column, a ‘Book-Handling Service’, which he advertised as follows:

     Yes, the question of book-handling. The other day I had a word to say about the necessity
     for the professional book-handler, a person who will maul the books of illiterate, but
     wealthy, upstarts so that the books will look as if read and re-read by their owners. 4

Please note, that for the purposes of this edition, this has been left to you the reader to do.

Kevin Atherton

     1    Curated by Zuleika Dobson and Linda Brown.
     2    Described by Dave Critchley in this edition of Printed Project.
     3    Flann O’Brien was itself a pseudonym of Brian O’Nolan.
     4    na Gopaleen, Myles The Best of Myles. Ed Kevin O’Nolan. Picador – Pan Books.

     Curtis, David (2007) A History of Artists’ Film and Video in Britain, London, British Film Institute.
     Alter, Robert (1978) Partial Magic – The Novel as Self-Conscious Genre, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, University of California
     na Gopaleen, Myles The Best of Myles. Ed Kevin O’Nolan. Picador – Pan Books.
                                                            (From) A to B (and back)
                                                            Tim O'Riley

                                                            Parataxis / n. Gram. the placing of clauses etc one after another, without words to indicate

                                                            coordination or subordination, eg Tell me, how are you?
                                                            Hypotaxis / n. Gram. the subordination of one clause to another. 1

                                                            Parataxis is a type of syntax in which there is a juxtaposition of syntactic units without the use
                                                            of a conjunction.2 Its counterpart in the syntactic realm is hypotaxis, a form where one clause is
                                                            subordinated to another. Hypotaxis is often used to establish a narrative sequence or the
                                                            progression of an argument. In the former, connections are left open; in the latter they are
                                                            more determined.

                                                            The small images on these pages feature instances of what could be called distributed works.
                                                            These are singular images of modelled spaces and objects generated using a computer. Each
                                                            also incorporates a real photograph mapped onto a computer model of a photograph, pinned
                                                            or taped to the walls or lying on the objects in these spaces. The photographs are the only
                                                            things that have a causal, indexical relation to the outside world. Everything else has been
                                                            constructed from memory or, very occasionally, with the help of observations or
                                                            measurements of actual objects. I imagine a distributed work comprising a network of objects
                                                            or elements. This could take many forms, for instance, a series of physically separate objects or a
                                                            singular representation of diverse things. Working across a number of elements, the gaps
                                                            between things can act as a speculative space for imagining connections, generating reveries
                                                            or drawing blanks. Narrative connections can be implied yet remain open-ended. The work can
                                                            exist in a realm of association.

                                                                                The image on the left is from volume six of Laurence Sterne’s The Life and
                                                                                Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, published in 1762.3 The four lines
                                                                                represent the narrator’s progress through the first four volumes of his tale,
                                                                                which are intended to be an account of the natural sequence of events of
                                                                                his life but which are generally interrupted by frequent digressions,
                                                                                disjunctions and shifts in time, represented in this case by deviations from a
                                                                                straight line. On the following page of the novel, Sterne includes another
                                                                                line that represents the events recounted in volume five where Shandy has
                                                                                apparently been ‘very good’ in his narration and lists his various digressions
                                                                                on the drawing with appropriate letters of the alphabet.4 Shandy remarks
                                                                                that his wish is to go on in an orderly manner but the book unsurprisingly
                                                                                continues as previously, structured around numerous digressions where
                                                                                terms such as before, during and after begin to lose their sense.
                                  Page from Volume VI of Laurence Sterne’s
                                    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy,
                                    Gentleman, 1762 © British Library Board

                                                                                        Opposite Page: Detail of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image, 2004. An earlier version, the
                                                                                        Hubble Deep Field from 1995 provided the source for the central photograph in Galaxy.
                                                                                                                           NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team
Source image featured in Doppelgänger, photograph taken in 1993

                         “The forms of art are explainable by the laws of art; they are not justified by their realism.” 5

                         In the early 20th century, the Russian Formalist group of literary critics (including Osip Brik and
                         Viktor Shklovsky) developed a distinction between what they referred to as fabula and syuzhet.
                         The fabula or story is made up of events featured in a narrative while the syuzhet or plot orders
                         how those events are related. The reader does not have access to the story but experiences or
                         constructs the story through the way it is plotted. As such, the story provides material for the
                         plot that forms it. As Shklovsky puts it, “[the] story is, in fact, only material for plot formulation.” 6

                         Later in the century, the structuralist writer, Tzvetan Todorov, draws on a similar distinction
                         although his terms are identified as histoire and récit.7 Todorov also distinguishes between
                         description and narrative stating that although the former can act as an element within a
                         narrative, it is not, in itself, narrative. On the contrary, narrative involves the fragmentation of
                         chronological or event-time into elements that can be composed in duration-time. In the
                         ordering of successive events, narrative transformations occur between the beginning and end
                         that render the sequence irreversible. Shklovsky was a keen reader of Sterne and while he does
                         not seem to contend that the novel be understood or read in different temporal directions, he
                         is at pains to point out that it is structured through various temporal cuts or disjunctions where
                         an effect can precede its cause. For him it is preferable to understand plot as distinct from story
                         and to emphasise that the plot is what a reader encounters. For this reason, Tristram Shandy, far
                         from being atypical, “is the most typical novel in world literature.” 8
                                                                                                                       PRINTED PROJECT 13: Tim O'Riley
                                                               Tim O’Riley, Doppelgänger (detail), 2002
                                                               Stereoscope and pictrographic print, 6.5 x 15 x 6 cms

“An image is not a permanent referent for those mutable complexities of life which are revealed
through it; its purpose is not to make us perceive meaning, but to create a special perception of the
object - it creates a ‘vision’ of the object instead of serving as a means for knowing it.” 9

Such thinking calls into question the effect that the form has on one’s understanding. If a
feature of artistic production has to be admitted, perhaps uncertainty would fit the bill and this
uncertainty is mirrored in the mind of a viewer or reader or participant.10 The work may set the
conditions but it cannot legislate for how it is to be read or sensed or understood. Writing
about what he called defamiliarization, Shklovsky expressed the view that a technique that
inverts the normalised or habituated could unsettle or disrupt perception. Drawing a
distinction between prosaic and poetic uses of language, he maintained that art should make
one notice how it is made; it should interrupt the automatism of perception. “[Art] exists that
one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone
stony.” 11

Encountering uncertainty or defamiliarization is a distinct possibility when it comes to making
images. The space in which an image operates is not linear; it is not necessarily to be
understood in an orderly manner. An image is a wholeness that can be read or approached
from an infinite number of angles. Pictures are surfaces over which the eye wanders as it
pleases. According to the philosopher, Vilém Flusser, different means of representing the world
have their own logic and engender different ways of thinking about the world. The wholeness
embodied by the image for him was characteristic of a symbolic, magical consciousness
radically altered through the development of writing, circa 3500 BC. In contrast to the image’s
open surface, the text requires direction along a path in order for a reader to receive a specific
message. “Linear codes demand a synchronization of their diachronicity. They demand
progressive reception.” 12

Obviously texts take many forms but perhaps the function of writing is to disambiguate
wherever possible. In contrast to an image, a text serves to add clarity and to determine what is
being communicated with more or less certainty. Or at least if an ambiguous, interpretive logic
Source image featured in Filing, photograph taken in 2000   Tim O’Riley, Filing, 2001
                                                            Digital c-type/lambda print on aluminium, 115.5 x 144.5 cms

                                                            Tim O’Riley, Galaxy, 2001
                                                            Digital c-type/lambda print on aluminium, 115.5 x 144.5 cms
is at play then this is clearly apparent in the format and
means of address. An image on the other hand has
other dimensions that can be explored. While it is less
effective at determining a narrative direction or
argument, its intrinsic openness means that it can be
read, perceived or interpreted in myriad ways.

Reading is an acquired skill. Looking feels more natural,

perhaps less trammelled by conventions but it is also a

                                                                                                                                             PRINTED PROJECT 13: Tim O'Riley
skill that is acquired. In order for sense to be easily
communicated, a sequence of words cannot                         Source image featured in Galaxy,
necessarily be disordered. But this is not the only way          bought in a flea market in New York, 1994
in which the world is encountered or figured.
Language can order thought but thoughts also
occupy other, multiple realms: associative, analogical, serendipitous etc. Just as the laws of
physics do not confine movement to a single direction along a temporal axis but allow for
reversals where an effect can be traced back to its cause, narrative sequence privileges
movement along an axis where transformations render movement in the opposite direction
less likely.13 The ‘virtual’ spaces (textual, visual, telemetric, photographic, perspectival etc)
inhabited through technology are both an analogue for the spaces inhabited on an everyday
basis and simultaneously part of that everyday experience. As Tristram Shandy shows, people
have long been adept at multi-directional mental ‘travel’ but this process is also expressed in
forms that are realised or concretised externally and that can be easily shared and modified.

  1 Oxford English Reference Dictionary (eds. Judy Pearsall & Bill Trumble), Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press 1996, p1056
    and p698.
  2 A popular example would be Julius Caesar’s utterance at the Battle of Zela (47 BC), “veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered).
  3 Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, London: T. Becket & P. A. Dehondt, 1762, Volume VI,
    Chapter XL, p152. (Image © British Library Board. All Rights Reserved. Shelfmark C70aa28)
  4 Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, New York: The Modern Library 2004 (1966), p378. “By
    which it appears, that except at the curve, marked A, where I took a trip to Navarre,—and the indented curve B, which is the
    short airing when I was there with the Lady Baussiere and her page,—I have not taken the least risk of a digression, till John de
    la Casse's devils led me the round you see marked D.—for as for c c c c c they are nothing but parentheses, and the common
    ins and outs incident to the lives of the greatest ministers of state; and when compared with what men have done,—or with
    my own transgressions at the letters A B D—they vanish into nothing.” (p378)
  5 Viktor Shklovsky, ‘Sterne’s Tristram Shandy: Stylistic Commentary’ (1921), Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays, trans. & eds. Lee
    T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis, Lincoln/London: University of Nebraska Press 1965, p57.
  6 Ibid. p57.
  7 Tzvetan Todorov ‘The Two Principles of Narrative’, Genres in Discourse, Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press 1995
    (1978), pp27-38.
  8 Shklovsky, op.cit. p57.
  9 Viktor Shklovsky, ‘Art as Technique’ (1917), Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays, p18.
  10 The tension between poetic uncertainty and prosaic closure obviously features in all kinds of artistic production but is keenly
     expressed in John Keats’ letter to his brothers of 21st December 1817 where he writes about what he calls ‘negative
     capability’; “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and
     reason” John Keats, Selected Letters of John Keats: Based on the Texts of Hyder Edward Rollins, ed. Grant F. Scott, Cambridge, Mass.:
     Harvard University Press, 2002 (1958), p60.
  11 Shklovsky, ‘Art as Technique’, p12.
  12 Vilém Flusser, ‘The Codified World’ (1978), Writings, ed. Andreas Ströhl; tr. Erik Eisel, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
     2002, pp35-41.
  13 Of course, there are numerous exceptions in the arena of avant-garde, experimental or independent film such as Manuel de
     Landa’s Raw Nerves, 1980, but less so in commercial cinema although Christopher Nolan's Memento, 2000, is a good example.
The Black Tower
Spoken text from the film by John Smith
(24 mins. 1985-7)
(Man's voice) –

I first noticed it in Spring last year − it must have been early
April. I remember it well − it was a Saturday morning and
I'd been to the corner shop to buy some food for a fried
breakfast. For some reason, the shop was closed so I
decided to cut through a back-street to the supermarket
on the High Road. It was a bright morning but most of the
street was still in shadow – I found myself walking very
close to the front walls and hedges in order to expose my
face to the thin strip of warm sunlight that ran the length
of the street. It was from here that I first saw it, its crest
protruding over the roofs on the other side of the road.
Surprised that I hadn't I noticed it before, I wondered what
it was and then forgot about it for several weeks.
On April the twenty-eighth I was late for an appointment –
I'd left my car lights on overnight and had to get a jump-
start from a passing van. Waiting to turn into Crownfield
Road, I saw the tower through the gap between two blocks
of flats. It seemed very close – as far as I could remember,
the road where I had first spotted it was nearly a mile away.
I didn't have time to stop and work out the geography but
that evening I mentioned the tower to my next-door
neighbour as I wondered what it was used for. She said that
she had never seen it.

A few weeks later I went to visit a friend in Brixton prison. I
couldn't face driving through town in the rush hour so I
went by bus. It turned out to be a depressing meeting as
my friend had just heard that he'd been refused parole.
Waiting outside for the bus home, I noticed a familiar
structure inside the prison walls. I decided that it was some
kind of water tower but I was surprised that the design was
the same as the one near my home. I was even more
surprised when the bus stopped outside a factory and I
noticed another identical building inside its grounds.
I decided to take another look at the tower near my house
when I got back, but by the time I got there it was dark.
There was no moon and I couldn't see it over the rooftops.

That night I dreamt that I was imprisoned in the tower. My
body was paralysed and only my eyes could move. At first I
thought that I was in complete darkness but after a while I
noticed a greyish speck which remained in the same place
when I moved my eyes. I realised that I was facing a flat
black wall. I got the feeling that the room was in fact
brightly lit but I couldn't be sure.

The ‘Teasmade’ woke me up at eight-thirty and I jumped
out of bed and rushed across the room to switch it off. It
had rained again during the night but I drew open the
curtains to discover that the morning sky was bright and
clear. Shivering, I quickly put on my clothes and lit the fire.
In the kitchen, I poured myself some fruit juice and made
porridge – while waiting for it to cook I did the washing up
from the night before.

The tower was still on my mind so after breakfast I went out
to take a closer look at it and find out exactly what it was
used for. When I got to the place where I had first spotted it,
it was nowhere to be seen. I walked back along the road
nearer to the front gardens, I even stood on the garden
walls but I still couldn't see anything over the rooftops. I
walked the surrounding streets in case I'd taken the wrong
turning but there was still no sign of the tower. I went back
to Crownfield Road and I couldn't see it from there either,
so I went into the newsagents on the other side of the
street and asked the man there what had happened to the
tower. To my great relief he told me it had been demolished
the previous week. I bought the local paper and left the
shop. It was starting to rain. I felt like getting out of London
for a while.
                                                   When I got home I put some coal on the fire and started
                                                   looking at the newspaper. It had got very wet and the
                                                   pages were stuck together. I found it very difficult to read
                                                   as the reversed type on the back of each page was almost
                                                   as clear as the front. I laid the paper out in front of the fire
                                                   and fell asleep in the armchair.

                                                   I was woken up by the smell of burning and opened my
                                                   eyes to see the rising smoke. I stamped out the flaming
                                                   edge of the newspaper and my eyes focused on an article

                                                   about the tower block demolition on Hackney Marshes the
PRINTED PROJECT 12: Andrea Creutz & Thomas Borén

                                                   previous Sunday. I looked at the photograph of the leaning
                                                   building and remembered my conversation with the
                                                   newsagent. I decided to go back to his shop.

                                                   Our second conversation confirmed my suspicions – he
                                                   had been talking about the tower block. When I described
                                                   what the black tower looked like and pointed to where it
                                                   had been he just stared at me.

                                                   I left the shop and leant against a lamp-post outside, trying
                                                   to control my breathing. I stared at the space where the
                                                   black tower had been, trying to collect my thoughts. Two
                                                   boys came by eating chips. I tried to ask them about the
                                                   tower but they ran away before I could finish my sentence. I
                                                   stopped a woman pushing a pram full of groceries but she
                                                   ignored me completely.

                                                   I started walking home. One of my shoelaces had come
                                                   undone and my shoe slipped uncomfortably against my
                                                   heel as I walked. Outside Saint Mary's church I bent down
                                                   to retie it and looking up from the pavement again I saw
                                                   the tower behind the church roof. I panicked and started
                                                   running but when I got to the end of the street the tower
                                                   was there waiting for me. I turned the corner and saw it
                                                   again. I kept running, taking different turnings, but
                                                   whenever I looked up I saw the tower, whichever way I ran
                                                   it was always in front of me.
                                                                  PRINTED PROJECT 12: Andrea Creutz & Thomas Borén
I got home and collapsed onto the bed, but when I closed
my eyes I saw the black walls of the tower staring back at
me. They got darker and darker and the mass of the tower
seemed to press against my forehead and force the back of
my head into the pillow. I tried to keep my eyes open and
stared at the sleeping Mexican who sat cross-legged on my
ceiling. A huge sombrero was shielding his eyes from the
blazing sun. Eventually the light faded and I fell into a deep
dreamless sleep.

I awoke feeling strangely calm. I cooked myself a fried
breakfast and started to take stock of my situation. It
seemed as though I would have to stay at home from now
on as there was little doubt that I would encounter the
tower again if I went out. I resigned myself to my fate.

The days passed quickly at first as I was spending most of
my time working on this script. Writing had never come
easily to me and I found the pacing of dramatic fiction
extremely challenging – in some ways I appreciated my
incarceration as it forced me to keep working.

After my food supply ran out I lived on ice-creams which I
bought from the van which came down my street every
afternoon. For a while I ate mainly choc-ices but I soon
started to feel very unhealthy so I went over to strawberry
‘Mivvis’ for the vitamin C. I started to lose track of time and
spent months sitting at my desk staring out of the window,
always downwards in case the familiar shape appeared
over the rooftops. I took to wearing a cap with a large peak
so that there was no danger of the tower appearing on the
periphery of my vision. The arrival of the ice-cream van
became the high point of my day.
I don't know who called the ambulance but I was glad
when it arrived. At first I thought it was the ice-cream van
and wondered why it was playing a different tune. When
we arrived at the hospital I was not surprised by the

My recovery took several months but the doctors were
sympathetic and for the first time I was able to talk about
the tower in detail without feeling that my audience would
like to change the subject. As the weeks went by my
obsession diminished and by the time I was discharged it
had become clear to me that the tower had only existed in
my mind. It was suggested that I should convalesce in the
country so I arranged to visit some friends in Shropshire. I
felt rather apprehensive about socialising with people
again after so long but my friends were very understanding
and left me to my own devices. The weather was fine so I
spent most of my time exploring the countryside.

I didn't feel afraid when I saw the tower again – instead I
could only laugh as it looked so absurd peering at me
through the trees. I felt my old curiosity returning. I
wondered how it had found me. I made my way through
the woods and came upon the tower standing alone in a
clearing. It was even bigger than I had imagined, and close
up it showed signs of age and decay which had been
indistinguishable at a distance.

I opened the door and stepped into the darkness.
(Woman's voice) –

I first noticed it a few weeks after his death. I remember the
day well as it was the first time I went to visit his grave. It
was a bright morning, so I did a bit of washing and messed
about in the garden for a couple of hours before catching
the train to the cemetery. When I got there it took me ages
to find the place where he was buried – the cemetery was
enormous and the new grave was still marked with only a
small wooden cross. I sat down beside it and wondered

what epitaph would be carved in the stone. I closed my

                                                                  PRINTED PROJECT 12: Andrea Creutz & Thomas Borén
eyes and felt the warm sun on my face. When I opened
them again, I found myself staring at the tower. Surprised I
hadn't noticed it before, I wondered what it was and then
forgot about it for a few weeks.

© John Smith 1987
                                  Ciara Moore

                                  Bower birds

                                  During the breeding season, male bowerbirds attract females by building elaborate structures
                                  known as bowers. These bowers are the focal point of a male’s display as as it is here that that
                                  males exhibit the various natural and artificial colourful decorations they have collected,
                                  perform courtship dances, and eventually mate with females. Bowerbirds are polygymous and
                                  do not care for young. Because a male’s only contribution to females is his sperm, females
                                  choose mates based on traits that are indicative of ‘good genes’. In fact, many aspects of a
                                  male’s display are correlated with mating success, including bower quality and the numbers
                                  and types of decorations.
                             PRINTED PROJECT 13: Ciara Moore
Would I Lie To You Baby? 1

Would I Lie To You Baby? 2
34   PRINTED PROJECT 13: Ciara Moore
Would I Lie To You Baby? 4

Previous Page: Would I Lie To You Baby? 3
Cheating Jack Bowerbird

Stealing Behaviour and the maintenance of a visual display in the bowerbird
The Cheating Jack or ‘Sting’ bower bird, as it is commonly referred to in its native Australia, is an
example of male stealing behaviour in bower birds. Male–male competition is intense among
bower birds and males often steal bower decorations from and destroy rival males’ bowers
during the breeding season. Males that are successful stealers steal from other successful
stealers, have many feathers and decorations on their bowers and paint their bowers often.
Most stealing observed is of a reciprocal nature. The Cheating Jack builds its impressive bower
from collected playing cards and the Jack of Hearts is an especially prized find for this clever
species. Because of this the Cheating Jack is an especially notorious stealer.
Sampler Bowerbird

Sampler bowerbird
The group of avenue-bower builders consist of three genera and eight species, including the
sampler bowerbird. Samplers inhabit rain forests along the eastern fringe of Australia. A male
aligns his bower along a north-south line, with a display court at the north end. The male trims
leaves from above the court, and the northern orientation causes the sun to illuminate the
decorated sight, making it more attractive. Sampler bowerbirds collect male katydids in pairs
and place them in the bower. He organises the katydid pairs strategically, such that they are
hidden by green objects, feathers and flowers. When the Sampler bowerbird has achieved a
satisfactory katydid chorus he positions himself at the entrance to the display court and begins
to mime vocalisations. During the chorus, he moves swiftly across the northern bower and
rapidly flicks one or both wings. If the katydids stop their buzzing he stops at one side of the
bower entrance, puffs up his body feathers, holds his wings at his sides faces the female with a
small decoration − usually a yellow leaf − in his mouth and performs a series of knee bends.


                                  Fig. 1. Oscillographs of two paired acoustic interactions (choruses) by A. parvipennis males. A −
                                  several phrases recorded from each pair of chorusing males placed in the bower. The initial
                                  part of the phrase of each male overlaps the latter part of the phrase of the other male. In this
                                  selection, both katydids overlap the other katydid three times, ie, the overlap number of each
                                  katydid is three. The mean length of overlap, ie, the mean length of time that that each katydid
                                  overlaps the other katydid is the sum of the period that each phrase is overlapped divided by
                                  three. B − several phrases recorded from another pair of chorusing males. In this selection,
                                  katydid 2 overlaps katydid 1 but does not overlap 2. Therefore, the overlap number and mean
                                  overlap time for 1 is zero. A − indicates the time that the phrase of 1 overlaps the phrase of 2. B
                                  – indicates the time that the phrase of 2 overlaps the phrase of 1.
L’Amouria, Nuptial Gift

Nuptial gifts are male material donations that are transferred during mating. For arthropods,
gifts include prey, carrion, and plant products, items eaten by the female after being collected
by the male. Oral gifts also include secretions from male glands, such as the katydid
spermatophylax, the male’s own soma, his hemolypmh and specialized body parts. Gifts also
include certain ejaculated substances absorbed in the female’s genital tract. Genetically
absorbed male donations (seminal gifts) might include non-nutritional products beneficial to
females, such as immunostimulatory or antibiotic components, water, minerals, ions such as
zinc and specialized defensive substances. For example, in the beetle Neopyrochroa flabellate,
males eat Spanish fly and transfer it through the ejaculate. In balloon flies, the male ‘tricks’ the
female by bringing her an empty silk balloon. Tokens are of no direct value to females, and it is
unknown why females require such worthless gifts as a precondition of mating. One
hypothesis is that size matters. The female balloon fly favours males with large wings as larger
winged mates ensure offspring with larger wings. Copulation is difficult for the male balloon fly
as the empty silk balloon hinders his ability to hover during copulation. To compensate for this
the wing of the male balloon fly has evolved in size and ratio. So it is probable that the female
balloon fly is willing to ignore the cheating behaviour.

                                  L'Amouria 1                                            L'Amouria 2

                                                Courtship Behaviour of the Mosquito Sabethes Cyaneus
                                                A male approaches a female suspended from a horizontal stick,
                                                suspends himself in front of her as he grasps her folded wings, and
                                                proceeds with a series of discrete stereotyped behaviours that involve
                                                proboscis vibration and movement of iridescent blue paddles on his
                                                middle legs. The sequence of these behaviours is as follows: free-leg
                                                waving, swinging, copulation attempt, superficial coupling, waving,
                                                genital shift. The only overt reciprocation by the female is abdomen
                                                lowering during the males swinging. Courtship is often unsuccessful,
                                                and males are usually rejected during free-leg waving
The Kissing Bug’s common name derives from the
fact that it usually bites humans on the face
around the mouth. It can be easily identified by
the pronounced X where its wings meet on its
back. All Kissing Bugs feed on blood and those
that prefer human blood can carry Chaga’s
disease, which was the likely cause of Charles
Darwin’s demise.

At night I experienced an attack (for it deserves no
less a name) of the Benchuca, a species of Reduvius,
the great black bug of the Pampas. It is most
disgusting to feel soft wingless insects, about an
inch long, crawling over one's body. Before sucking
they are quite thin, but afterwards they become
round and bloated with blood, and in this state are
easily crushed. One which I caught at Iquique, (for
they are found in Chile and Peru,) was very empty.
When placed on a table, and though surrounded by
people, if a finger was presented, the bold insect
would immediately protrude its sucker, make a
charge, and if allowed, draw blood. No pain was
caused by the wound. It was curious to watch its
body during the act of sucking, as in less than ten
minutes it changed from being as flat as a wafer to
a globular form. This one feast, for which the
Benchuca was indebted to one of the officers, kept it
fat during four whole months; but, after the first
fortnight, it was quite ready to have another suck."
- Charles Darwin, March 25, 1835
                                                        Kissing Bug

FAKE YOUR ID Hiding in plain sight, this beetle
has evolved to look and act like Triatominae or the
Kissing Bug. Predators that learn to avoid the
Kissing Bug will also bypass the imposter. But the
ploy is risky: if the Triatominae discover the
innocuous copycat among them, they’ll attack.

                                                        Kissing Imposter Bug
                                                              Pharmacopoeia – Illness Narratives
                                                              Liz Lee

                                                              Virtual: The generation of an image or environment that appears real to the senses.

                                                              Fictional: Imaginatively invented, an invented narrative, an untruth.

                                                              Pharmacopoeia is a medical-art collaboration between the artists Susie Freeman and David
                                                              Critchley and the family doctor Liz Lee. We have been working together since 1998. Our central
                                                              agenda is to use art as a medium through which to examine and reflect on the Western
                                                              biomedical approach to health and ill health.

                                                              We have created a number of characters who act as vehicles for our ideas about the
                                                              relationship between modern medicine and human experience. There is an emphasis on the
                                                              pharmaceutical, but from that emerges a narrative that is more widely resonant. The process by
                                                              which these characters are developed is essentially iterative: we move backwards and forwards
                                                              between the raw medical data of disease and pill-taking and the emerging human story.
                                                              Through this process, characters like those in a novel gradually take on life for us.

                                                              In 2003, Pharmacopoeia was commissioned by the British Museum to make a piece of art that
                                                              explored our relationship with Western medicine, informed primarily by the biomedical model.
                                                              Our brief was to make it relevant to and recognisable by the majority of their annual five
                                                              million visitors.

                              Cradle to Grave, British Museum. Photo: Tom Lee 2003                       Cradle to Grave – detail of woman’s narrative early years.
                                                                                                         Photo: Tom Lee 2003

                                                                                                         Opposite Page:
                                                                                                         Cradle to Grave – Tamoxifen and Flucloxacillin,
                                                                                                         treatments for breast cancer and infection.
                                                                                                         Photo: Marcus Clackson 2003

                              Cradle to Grave – detail of man's pill narrative later years                          Cradle to Grave – objects.
                              Photo: Tom Lee 2003                                                                   Photo: Dave Critchley 2003

                                                          Cradle to Grave is an installation that tells the stories of a man and a woman through the
                                                          medication they have taken during their life. Central to the work are active pharmaceuticals.
                                                          These are bought from pharmacies using private prescriptions and are then incorporated into
                                                          fabric by a process known as ‘pocket knitting’. By using a fine nylon yarn small solid objects
                                                          such as pills are captured in rows of pockets to create large flexible fabrics. Medication is
                                                          arranged in the pockets in the exact order daily pills would be taken. In Cradle to Grave, the pill
                                                          fabric is accompanied by photographs, documents and objects. The installation occupies a
                                                          fourteen metre-long case running down the centre of the ethnographic Gallery of Living and
                                                          Dying in the British Museum.

                                                          Cradle to Grave is controversial. In his Guardian blog Jonathan Jones criticises the installation.
                                                          He praises the British Museum’s award-winning Living and Dying Gallery for its wonderful
                                                          display but bemoans the fact that
                                                          “Eighty per cent of visitors give all their attention to the installation by Pharmacopoeia and ignore
                                                          – or virtually ignore – the mysterious objects in the other cases” (Jones, July 24, 2009).

                                                          In her analysis of Cradle to Grave Camilla Mordhorst 1 explains why the work is so powerful,
                                                          arguing that it has an “indeterminate hybrid nature, suspended between the medical, the
                                                          aesthetic and the cultural”.

                                                          She writes at length about the effect of the piece on the viewer:

                                                          “It is a peculiar feeling to witness an overview of an entire life course, from entering the world to
                                                          leaving it again, all in one glance. The many photos from various family albums depicting major
                                                          events and intimate moments emphasise this feeling of grasping life in toto as we know it and
                                                          recognise it. At the same time, the thousands of pills expose and recount every single day in a life.
                                                          They remind the visitor of the repeated daily routines that usually never come to mind when
                                                          looking at the course of a life, but which nevertheless fill the days. The pills create a kind of
                                                          ‘biographical proximity’, which offers another view of the life course that we usually do not see.”
This passage eloquently describes the imaginative
transformation of medical data into fiction. The idea
of biographical proximity gives the viewer a way in
to the piece:

“Instead of looking at life from the outside, distanced,
as a linear process in time, the installation makes us
‘enter’ the life course…”

Cradle to Grave is one of four pieces by
Pharmacopoeia in which we develop fictionalised
characters. Wieg tot Graf made in 2009 is a Dutch
version commissioned by SKOR and Niet Normaal
in Amsterdam. A.N.Other and Dose were created for
the chapels at Pentonville and Holloway prisons in
London and are the narratives of a male and a
female prisoner.
                                                           Cradle to Grave. Photo: Marcus Clackson 2004

Research and Methodology for Cradle to Grave
Our initial research focused on national prescribing statistics and morbidity and mortality data.
We started with death and worked backwards, noting the average age of a man and woman in
the UK at the time of their death. Having established the commonest causes of illness and
death in the population we looked at national prescribing figures to ascertain the number of
total prescriptions issued a year. We examined certain classes of drug in more detail and so for
example discovered the number of antibiotic prescriptions, antidepressants, contraceptive pills
and indigestion tablets issued each year in the UK. This enabled us to calculate the average
number each one of us might take during our lifetime and we calculated that this equated to
approximately 14,000 pills.

Having studied the data we were able to imaginatively invent the disease narrative of
‘everyman’ and ‘everywoman’. We considered their childhood illnesses, their teenage and young
adult years. Even this simple, apparently prosaic process was revealing. For example, the
medical burden of menstruation, fertility and pregnancy meant that by the age of forty
everywoman has taken more than twice as many pills as everyman. During their reproductive
years women experience far more illness than men and are four more times more likely to visit
a doctor. Later, however this balance is redressed when everyman develops hypertension and
starts to take a tablet every day. Further on, he has a heart attack and dies of a stroke aged 76,
while everywoman continues with treatment for arthritis and diabetes into her early eighties.

Deciding on a rough outline of these two individuals’ medical history that broadly coincided
with the national statistics, we then took our invented narratives and matched them with real
patients’ medical records. This was not straightforward. We couldn’t simply use the notes of a
seventy-six year old man and eighty-two year old woman because they were born before the
invention of most modern drugs such as antibiotics or contraceptive pills. In order to reflect
contemporary prescribing we choose four different individuals to provide the actual
prescribing records for each of our two fictional characters. The first, a child from birth to
                              twenty years; the second a young adult from twenty-one to forty years old; then a forty-one to
                              sixty year old; and finally a man from age sixty-one who died aged seventy-six of a stroke, and a
                              woman with arthritis and diabetes who survived breast cancer to live into her eighties.

                              From this data we were able to create two complete prescribing records. As well as including
                              the major diseases we had selected, the real medical notes also revealed episodes of illness
                              that we had not anticipated; for example, treatment for shingles or a bout of constipation
                              caused by taking codeine-based analgesia for the pain of a broken leg.

                              I have already mentioned the iterative nature of the process by which we moved between
                              scientific research and the invention of our fictional individual. We moved backwards and
                              forwards between the raw data and the gradually emerging person, shaping minor details
                              within each narrative to make a more coherent whole. For example, the man has several
                              attempts to give up smoking, indicated by the inclusion of Nicorette gum for three periods of
                              one to five weeks. He then gets increasingly frequent chest infections in his sixties and after a
                              double course of antibiotics for a severe chest infection he finally gives up. The woman
                              similarly takes slimming tablets in her fifties and from this we gather that she is overweight.
                              Later she develops arthritis of her knees and diabetes. These are both conditions associated
                              with obesity and give continuity and validity to her narrative.

                              Some way into this iterative process, our everyman and everywoman came alive for us as
                              artists. We began by talking about a set of statistics and ended up discussing two individuals.
                              Although we never gave names to our characters we talked about them as human beings. For
                              example, we might speculate ‘when she has a mammogram and is diagnosed with breast
                              cancer do you think she is likely to get depressed?’ In Cradle to Grave we decided she is
                              frightened and distressed by her cancer but not depressed. However in Wieg tot Graf we have

                              Cradle to Grave – family photographs
                              (photos by Pete Davis, Mal Clare respectively)
Wieg tot Graaf at Niet Normaal Exhibition, Amsterdam. Photo: Susie Freeman 2009

created a patient with a similar medical narrative but for us she developed a different
personality. This difference in her personality was in part generated by social differences in her
environment. Because more tranquilisers are taken in the Netherlands than in the UK we
decided that she would have an episode of generalised anxiety at the time of her diagnosis for
which she took treatment.

The paucity of information about an individual that can be conveyed by their pill narrative
alone was recognised by us as something that needed addressing in the piece. As I have
explained, the starting point for making the work was a chronological list of diseases that
would take each patient through from birth to the end of their lives. Disease is a descriptive
term for a cluster of signs and symptoms defined and named according to the rules of
biomedical science. The concept of a disease entity refers both to the body’s response to an
invading pathogen such as a bacterium, or a consistent cluster of symptoms that can be
identified and allow us to predict the course of an illness. The notion of disease describes
events from the perspective of what Foucault called the ‘clinical gaze’ 2.

                              Pill chart for Wieg tot Graf. Photo: Tom Lee 2009

                                             But in modern medicine, and particularly in general practice, we are equally concerned with
                                             the meaning of the disease to the patient and to wider society. In The Illness Narratives Arthur
                                             Kleinman (3) writes

                                             “by invoking the term illness, I mean to conjure up the innately human experience of
                                             symptoms and suffering. Illness refers to how the sick person and the members of the family or
                                             wider social network perceive, live with and respond to symptoms and disability.”

                                             In Cradle to Grave, the pill diaries provide only one part of this narrative. In order for the fiction
                                             to become meaningful in Kleinman’s sense, and the piece to become powerful, the viewer has
                                             to make the journey from the stark ‘pill narrative’ through a ‘disease narrative’ and ultimately to
                                             an ‘illness narrative’.

                                             We contextualise the raw medical and pharmacological detail by including two other narrative
                                             strands. Running on either side of the pill diaries are personal objects, documents and medical
                                             artefacts that relate to daily life. Interspersing these are groups of photographs with captions
                                             written by their owners, tracing typical moments in real peoples lives. The photographs are
                                             drawn from the albums of family, friends and colleagues. We invited a wide spectrum of people
                                             to submit photographs that they felt particularly illustrated their own personal experience of
                                             health and ill health. The response we got demonstrated very clearly that maintaining a sense
                                             of wellbeing is much more complex than just treating periods of illness. Among other things
                                             the photos reveal that it is about family and community, work, weddings and funerals. It is
                                             about eating and drinking and smoking and dancing. It is about our relationship with nature. It
                                             includes sadness and suffering and loss.

                                                                                                                                           Opposite Page:
                                                                                              Susie Freeman working on Wieg tot Graf. Photo: Tom Lee 2009
                              The objects are more diverse still. They were selected in order to reflect the complexity of our
                              thinking and actions. They include choices we can make about healthy living as opposed to
                              risk taking behaviour. An apple to illustrate healthy diet, condoms for protection against
                              sexually transmitted disease, a glass of red wine which is protective against heart disease but in
                              excess can damage our social and physical functioning. Conflicting feelings about ‘healthy
                              behaviours’ are addressed by the inclusion of a full ashtray suggesting the dangers of smoking
                              while the photographs acknowledge the pleasure and sociability associated with smoking.

                              Medical artefacts fill the gap created by our tight focus on medication. The contribution

                              technology and science has made to health is represented by X-rays, a pregnancy scan, a
                              mammogram showing breast cancer and a prosthetic hip joint.

                              Within the British Museum the photographs are also very unusual in that they connect directly
                              with contemporary life. Although they do not relate directly to the character or life story of
                              everyman and everywoman, they draw people into the piece and they make them think about
                              illness in the context of a life lived. As Mordhorst says

                              “An installation which focuses on the appearance of objects and their substantial qualities, as
                              opposed to presenting them as realizations of an underlying culture, is something rarely seen
                              at cultural history museums.” 3

                                                                               A.N. Other installation in Pentonville Prison Chapel.
                                                                               Photo: David Critchley 2006

                                                                               Cradle to Grave. The British Museum.
                                                                               Photo: Marcus Clackson 2004
Narrative in medicine
Our aim from the outset was to start with scientific facts and statistics and from these, create a
fictional life which we could engage with and which we could use as a vehicle for reflecting
upon our own illness narratives. This mirrors the normal human response to illness. We need to
give meaning to our illnesses. There is a growing anthropological and medical literature that
considers the role of storytelling within medical narratives. In The Wounded Storyteller Arthur
Frank 4 explores his need to make sense of his own illness. He was a fit, middle-aged academic
and quite unexpectedly developed first a cancer and then a heart attack. The illness became

embodied in his life story. Not only did his illness have cultural significance for him, he was seen

                                                                                                                                        PRINTED PROJECT 13: Liz Lee
as wounded, less vital than heretofore, but ultimately a survivor. More profoundly, he also
imbued the illness itself with deep and personal meaning that arose directly from the wider
complexity of his own life story.

Such resonances are to be found within Cradle to Grave. They inhabit the space between the
layers of meaning woven into the piece.

Personal illness experience gives us direct access to complex illness narratives. ‘Everywoman’
has breast cancer; she takes the treatment and she lives another twenty years. In common
parlance she is a cancer survivor, not a cancer victim. Although the simple survivor/victim
dichotomy generally dissolves in the face of first-hand personal experience, its resonance
remains powerful and invokes deeply personal and often painful feelings.

‘Everyman’ suffers a heart attack in his mid-seventies, which according to medical science will
have in part been caused by his long history of smoking and hypertension. His pill narrative
shows he had several failed attempts to stop smoking in his middle years. This detail allows us
to contemplate questions such as guilt, weakness, recklessness. Did his illness narrative include
any of these? Was he what the anthropologist Gay Becker described as a ‘lonesome cowboy’ 5;
a romantic but elusive figure who lived from day to day, careless of his future, smoking and risk
taking along the way? Or was his story a more prosaic one of dependence and failure?

We all create our own stories to explain and make meaningful our experience of illness. Cradle
to Grave encourages contemplation of the meaning of individual illness episodes within the
context of a whole life, and within Western biomedical culture. Its three strands of narrative,
developed over time by three individuals from different disciplines provide complex layers of
narrative and meaning. These resonate with the individual narratives of many visitors and make
it powerful and fascinating as a result.


  1 Camilla Mordhorst: The Power of presence: the ‘Cradle to Grave’ installation at the British Museum Museum and Society, Nov. 2009.
    7(3) 194-205
  2 Michel Foucault: The Birth of the Clinic Routledge 1989
  3 Arthur Kleinman: The Illness Narratives Basic Books 1988
  4 Arthur Frank: The Wounded Storyteller Chicago Univ Press 1997
  5 Gay Becker: Disrupted Lives University of California Press 1999
Towards an Ensemble of Relations
Priscila Fernandes
David Critchley

March 2010

                                                                                                      PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
Dear David,
Please find enclosed a copy of the most recent edition of Printed Project …
I would like to invite you to make a contribution to the Virtual Fictional issue of the magazine. I
am asking that you make a contribution of around ten pages of text and images, which you
feel addresses in some form, the issue of the virtual and/or the fictional in your own work. This
could be a new piece or a piece that you have already had published, and could consist largely
of images, or of text – I will work with the designer to get a good balance of all eight
contributor’s submissions but you yourself can control the layout of your section as a condition
of it as a work.
… The date for the final submission of your contribution, if you say yes to your inclusion, is very
soon on Friday 16 April. With this in mind I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Kevin Atherton.

(Hand written post-script)
“Dave, I was thinking that Pieces I Never Did would be perfect.
Speak to you soon. Kevin”

                                      6 March
PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley

                                      Dear Kevin,
                                      Thank you for the copy of Printed Project and the invitation to contribute to the Virtual
                                      Fictional issue.
                                      I am interested in doing that, and am wondering how Pieces I Never Did could be presented in
                                      that context. Mainly images – mainly text – possibly transcripted, or a balance of the two. It
                                      could be the application of the overall idea to other newer or unrealised pieces. Did you see
                                      the Art Monthly article entitled Failure by Lisa LeFeuvre in the February 2008 issue? Some
                                      interesting lines of thinking and literary references there.
                                      Anyway, will continue to think on it and hopefully exchange ideas with you soon. Thank you
                                      again for the opportunity to explore this avenue of ideas.

                                      Hope you are well,
                                      All the best,

                                      You have to treat the nothing as if it were something. Make something out of nothing.
                                      Andy Warhol 1975.
8 March

                                                                                                         PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
Hi Dave,
Pleased that you have agreed to do this. The format that your piece takes is your decision but
to maybe help with the context: the title of the issue is Virtual Fictional and I thought / think
that Pieces I Never Did is fantastic in that it talks about several pieces that you didn’t do, but did
do. I remember the article in Art Monthly and thought it was good, but I feel that you could
write something that illuminated both the original piece (as a conceptual trope that gave you
‘permission’ to make these pieces from your notebook – I think Dave Curtis in his British Film
and Video book talks about PIND in this way.
I thought that your contribution would have both images of the piece as an installation and
also of the individual pieces themselves as ‘metaworks’ within the larger work. The text could
first of all be descriptive of what it is the work was and then secondly you could reflect on it as
a work ‘that you did do’ thirty one years ago and how looking back, you think about it now eg
are you glad you did it? Do you think you did do it? Would you do it now? I think the last
question is interesting in that in these days of ‘Irony By-Pass Art’ would you still have to
construct the conceptual conceit that allowed you to do it in 1979, or would you just do it eg
Tracey Emin just shows her bed, Hirst just cuts up a sheep.

Hope that this of some use. Come back to me if need more information.
All the Best,

Trope: any literary or rhetorical device, such as metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, that
consists in the use of words in other than their literal sense.
66   PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
9 April
Hi Kevin,
I hope this finds you well and things going well for Glasgow next week. I’m planning to go on the 16 –
19 so it may be a good time to hand things over to you if it doesn't get in the way of your work there.
This is by way of a request for guidance on the format to get things to you in. I have a strategic
plan that has grown out of all proportion as these things have a habit of doing. Rather than write
a narrative, though there may be interlinking narrative connections, I have drawn together a

collection of pieces of writing from different relevant sources, both from then, now and

                                                                                                          PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
elsewhere. They are a collection of transcriptions of the piece itself, which I have transcribed in its
entirety. Bits of quotes from the books that cover this piece – Elwes, Meigh-Andrews, Curtis, Jackie
Hatfield, LeFeuvre, Cubitt. Some of your suggestions too– which in the context of the piece may
or may not be followed :-). Quotes from artists whom I like – Picasso, Warhol, Hopper,
Michelangelo, Leonardo, van Gogh and others, and Biblical verses or references. Oh and Peter
Fuller from Images of God. All of these elements resonate in different ways – some contradicting,
some supporting, some going off into challenging areas that cannot be ignored.
The only way I can get my head round all this is to lay it out in a way that I can see, to which end I
printed a lot of pictures from the piece, copied text and printed quotes, and then laid it out as in
the photos here. They are by no means finished or definitive, and this is why I’d appreciate some
guidance from you please about what format you would like this in? I can organise the texts into
a long single piece that begins, has a middle, and then ends, and includes all or most of the
transcript interspersed with references, other texts and quotes.
Or, I could separate out individual 'pages' or collections of words and images that go together –
though I realise this may be your territory as editor working with your designer. Looking at the
example magazine is interesting, as the size of images makes a big difference, and the uniform
small text is not really conducive to differentiating between the source texts I’ve used – eg
handwritten transcript, photocopied enlarged serif or sans serif print – whatever was used in the
source books, plus the idea of a narrative in the native text of Printed Project. However, I realise
this may be academic supposition on my part if it is not possible to use a variety of images of
writing and printing.
As things stand, I have the basis of fifteen pages, one for each piece, plus a couple of intro and
outro pages. I know you said about ten pages; and I can either self edit or leave that to you. As
mentioned, I can forget about trying to lay pages out myself and just send a large selection of
images for you to pick from and lay out as works best for your concept. Equally, the writing can be
just a typescript that you can edit as fits best.
So – I hope that is cogent enough to be able to give me a few pointers please on how to gather
this together, and on how to physically get it to you.
Here are a couple of pictures to give you an idea – plus I have been starting to think of these as
framed pieces! I’ve been looking for a way to put things in frames, hang them on walls, and sell
them for a while now. Funny that.
Oh yes, there is a theme running behind my current narrative, often reflected in the quotes and
other texts. The title I have for this piece is 'Nothing'.

Looking forward to your comments.
Many thanks,
13 April
Hi Dave,
All this sounds good and the images look as good as I remember the piece itself looking but in
order that I get your instructions right (so that I can communicate them to the designer) it will
be good to go through the material with you in Glasgow. With the text, the people at the
magazine would like the text already typed.
Regarding the length – whilst the limit is ten pages it might be that one of the other
contributors individually comes up short, or collectively a short fall of a few pages occurs, in
which case it might be useful to have the flexibility of your four extra pages. So, if this was okay
as a strategy with you, it would be good if by the weekend you could have identified four
pages that you were prepared to lose and in which order.
Looking forward to seeing you at the weekend – I arrive Friday lunchtime to set up etc and
leave on the Sunday.

See you soon,
13 April
Thanks Kevin,
Will do that. When you say already typed, does that mean a Word document on computer? At
the moment they are photocopies. I’ll word process them for the weekend or so. Battery
running low on iPhone. On train to Stockport right now.
Speak again soon.


                                                                                                  PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
13 April
Hi Dave,
A word document would be good because then the designer can work with it. Hope this
doesn’t screw up your arrangements too much. See you at the weekend.
All the Best,

19 April
Hi Kevin,
I hope you got back safely and without too much hassle.
Just a quick one here. I have retyped the whole thing as a single Word document. It is over
seven thousand words and takes up eighteen pages. I will edit it severely tomorrow down to
the ten pages you suggested and send it with the pictures in the right places. I hope that will
be okay as I’m past rational thinking right now …
I hope it’s all coming together well.
All the best,

20 April
Hi Dave,
It was good to meet in Glasgow. Thanks for letting me know how you're getting on with it –
sounds fine and I look forward to seeing it.
Best Wishes,

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint. Michelangelo.
                                                                                                Then the LORD answered Job out of the
                                                                                                storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens

                                                                                                my counsel with words without
PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley

                                                                                                knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I
                                                                                                will question you, and you shall answer
                                                                                                me”. Job 38:1-3.

                                      On Reflection
                                      David Critchley
                                      By 1979 when Pieces I Never Did was made, colour cameras, U-matic cassettes and a wide range
                                      of colour monitors were available. Consequently I was able to visit many performance, film,
                                      video, installation and sculpture ideas in the work. This differed greatly from the narrowly
                                      limited materialist black and white video work of the earlier 1970’s.
                                      Talking to camera, I described ideas that had never got beyond a note in a sketchbook.
                                      Paradoxically, I was able to resurrect on video these items of personal performance that had
                                      been edged out by the structuralism of early video art, such as shouting the words “Shut Up!”
                                      until I lost my voice, having objects thrown at me until I changed colour, and proposing to end
                                      the piece by blowing myself up. I intended the piece to be colourful and action packed – far
                                      removed from the forty-minute, black and white, single-take of my first video recording,
                                      Changing in 1973.
                                      Aiming to create my own ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, Pieces I Never Did was probably the last artwork I
                                      made which tried to reconcile some of the material differences in the various media and
                                      methods I was using, and at the same time present a self-critique and by inference a critique of
                                      other video art work going on at that time. The work was intended to be screened on three
                                      monitors; and the thirty or so sections of all three tapes were edited to run in analogue sync for
                                      the thirty-five minute duration. This differed by fractions of a second from one screening to
                                      another depending on how the pause and start buttons were pressed, in turn resulting in a
                                      very different sound environment for the visuals to work in. In various combinations this work
                                      put together about eighteen propositions for art works covering many different forms.
                                      The complexity of the video recording and editing in the making of this piece went far beyond
                                      anything I had done before, yet was not the primary focus of the work. It is more about the
                                      reading of each distinct piece as realised on video in one-minute sections set against the
                                      justification for making them, or even thinking of them in the first place. It is about why we
                                      make art at all, and after I had done it, it was time to not do something else.

                                      If you know exactly what you are going to do, what’s the point in doing it? Pablo Picasso.
Pieces I Never Did – text version – April 2010

                                                                                                           PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
Black. Colour bars. Counting. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve,
thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Small standing figure in a wide shot, naked from the waist up.
“Shaddap, shadap, shadap, shutup, shut up, shut up, shut-up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up,
shut up, shut-u…..”
PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley

                                      Nothing piece 1
                                      “I never did this piece, it was to involve a very simple idea which was that I’d suspend a camera,
                                      erm, looking straight down over a flat area like // and erm, I’d mark out the perimeter of the
                                      screen on the floor and build a structure that was like a post at either corner, and erm, wrap
                                      polythene around it, round the four poles, erm, which was, em, then just going to fling myself
                                      about − in this confine bouncing // shut-up // would seem on the camera from edge of screen
                                      to edge of screen, diagonally and straight across, and horizontally and vertically // – uup // and
                                      I’d just keep this up until the thing gave way – ‘til the actual structure gave way // – up, shh //
                                      screen, went off screen (coughs) and erm, it might even be amusing to watch even // shut-up,
                                      shaddu // But that, that was quite a long time ago that I was going to do that, but I never did it

                                      Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to
                                      copy others. It leads to sterility. Picasso.
                                      If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.
Nothing Piece 7
... And erm – aah, then I was, I was gonna do one erm, where I shouted until I, until I couldn't
shout any more // ... uuuaaauup // ‘til, ‘til I went hoarse and erm, that, that was just gonna be a
long process again of screaming at the top of my voice the word, “Shut up” until er, ‘til I couldn't
say, ‘til my voice went. You know, // shut-uuup // process piece but in amongst all the others
kind of there didn’t seem any reason to do that particular one. So, erm, so I left it out. // blows
// just, forgot about it.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless”.

                                                                                                                 PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1:2 – 3.
I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love
people. Vincent van Gogh.

Nothing Piece 8
At Desk: Erm, there was another one that was, like Apples it was called. After the, I mean, that I
didn’t do – that er, if you write // shut-aaaa // you don't want anybody to read it, (clears throat),
afterwards, you want to cross it out so it can't be read – if you write “apples, apples, apples,
apples, apples, apples” all over it, you can’t erm, you can't read it. It totally obliterates it. It actually,
it works. // aaaauup // to erm, verbal communication, speech // aadaaap // stereo erm read a,
read a piece from a book or something or, aaahm, it didn’t really matter what. It was just er,
fodder for, for this process. Hmmm, and on the other track would be just, a recording of me just
sitting there saying, “Apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples, apples,
apples, apples”. Just to see what'd happen. See whether it would obliterate or whether you’d
em, be able to decipher anything out from that, erm. But again I never got round to doing it //
up. Shaduuu … //
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a
clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1.
The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. Michelangelo.

(What I think about a lot):
Astro-physicists estimate that there are no more than 1080 infinitesimal ‘particles’ in the universe,
and that the age of the universe in its present form is no greater than 1018 seconds (30 billion
years). Assuming each particle can participate in a thousand billion (10 12) different events every
second (this is impossibly high, of course), then the greatest number of events that could ever
happen (or trials that could ever be made) in all the universe throughout its entire history is only
1080 x 1018 x 1012, or 10110 (most authorities would make this figure much lower, about 10 50). Any
event with a probability of less than one chance in 10110, therefore, cannot occur. Its probability
becomes zero, at least in our known universe.
Even the simplest replicating protein molecule that could be imagined has been shown by Golay
to have a probability of one in 10450. Salisbury calculates the probability of a typical DNA chain to
be one in 10600.
Probability and Order Versus Evolution – Henry Morris, Ph.D.

                                      Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God. Rembrandt.
PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley

                                      The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science.
                                      He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in
                                      awe, is as good as dead … his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein.
                                      – what is man that you are mindful of him…? Psalm 8:4a.
                                      From the time I was six, I was in the habit of sketching things I saw around me, and around the age
                                      of fifty, I began to work in earnest, producing numerous designs. It was not until after my
                                      seventieth year, however, that I produced anything of significance. At the age of seventy-three, I
                                      began to grasp the underlying structure of birds and animals, insects and fish, and the way trees
                                      and plants grow. Thus, if I keep up my efforts, I will have an even better understanding when I am
                                      eighty, and by ninety will have penetrated to the heart of things. At one hundred, I may reach a
                                      level of divine understanding, and if I live a decade beyond that, everything I paint-every dot and
                                      line-will be alive. I ask the god of longevity to grant me a life long enough to prove this true.
                                      Hokusai, postscript to One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (translated by Carol Morland).
                                      For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Ezekiel 18:32a
                                      trope: a combining form meaning “one turned toward” that specified by the initial element
                                      (heliotrope); also occurring in concrete nouns that correspond to abstract nouns ending in –tropy
                                      or –tropism:
                                      entropy: a function of thermodynamic variables, such as temperature, pressure, or composition,
                                      that is a measure of the energy that is not available for work during a thermodynamic process. A
                                      closed system evolves toward a state of maximum entropy. In cosmology, a hypothetical tendency
                                      for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform
                                      temperature, known as ‘heat death’.

                                      Nothing Piece 15
                                      At Desk: And then, there was one with erm, I was er, wondering how I could sort of put a bomb,
                                      do a performance with a bomb. And em, // shut-up // y’know, get the audience in a room, lock
                                      the door, put a box in front of them and blow it up. // silent // End of performance. I mean it
                                      could be a sort of small harmless bomb that gave everyone a scare, or it could be a full blown
                                      anti-personnel bomb which I'd sit on top of along with everybody else and away we'd go. //
                                      shut up // but I couldn’t work that one out properly either.
When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting,

                                                                                                     PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
and so to get to the bottom of the subject. Winston Churchill
                                                                                                  Nothing piece 17
                                                                                                  Face close-up:“Aaah shut-up.”
                                                                                                  It grieves me greatly that I cannot recapture my
                                                                                                  past… I can only offer you my future, which is short,
                                                                                                  for I am too old. Michelangelo

                                                                                                  In 1989, I contributed to a conference about art and
PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley

                                                                                                  the church in Winchester Cathedral at which a
                                                                                                  member of the staff of the Tate Gallery encouraged
                                                                                                  the assembled clerics to believe that Gilbert and
                                                                                                  George and Andy Warhol were among the greatest
                                                                                                  spiritual artists of our time. Suddenly, I saw the
                                                                                                  catastrophe that might follow in the wake of the
                                                                                                  rhetoric of spiritual revival in aesthetic life. In my
                                                                                                  mind’s eye, I had visions of lurid stained glass
                                                                                                  windows with titles like ‘Marilyn’ and ‘Dick Seed’
                                                                                                  rising above the altars of parish churches, the
                                                                                                  length and breadth of the land. Claims about the
                                                                                                  ‘spirituality’ of such works are, of course,
                                                                                                  preposterous; but they should not surprise us.
                                                                                                  ‘What I affirm,’ writes Steiner, ‘is the intuition that
                                                                                                  where God’s presence is no longer a tenable
                                                                                                  supposition and where His absence is no longer a
                                                                                                  felt, indeed overwhelming weight, certain
                                                                                                  dimensions of thought and creativity are no longer
                                                                                                  attainable’.      Quite so.       And under these
                                                                                                  circumstances, all that we can fall back on are,
                                                                                                  perhaps, the consolations of lost illusions.
                                                                                                  Peter Fuller, new introduction to Images of God.
                                                                                                  Bath, March 1990.
                                                                                                  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
                                                                                                  with God, and the Word was God. He was with God
                                                                                                  in the Beginning. Through him all things were
                                                                                                  made. Without him nothing was made that has
                                                                                                  been made. In him was life, and that life was the
                                                                                                  light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but
                                                                                                  the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1-5
                                                                                                  Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to
                                                                                                  die having left undone. Picasso.

                                                                                                  The End.

                                      Al photographs from Pieces I Never Did, 1979, 35 minutes,
                                      three screen video. ©David Critchley.
21 April
Dear Kevin,
Thank you for your forbearance. Here is my final draft as a Word document with some pictures
in place. I will send the original pictures separately as well.
Hope all’s well and speak soon.

                                                                                                         PRINTED PROJECT 13: David Critchley
21 April, at 22:10
Hi Dave,
I’ve just read your piece and think that it is fine. In fact I think its going to be very good.
Regarding the ‘hole in the middle’ – I don’t think that there is a problem. I think of the middle
more as a hinge around which the whole piece pivots.
I do think however, that you need to keep it clear at the point where you shift from the first
section where basically you are folding the process of the invitation and your responses into
the piece itself into the 'description’ of Pieces I Never Did. I think that the ‘hinge’ occurs on page
six and I would suggest that the two quotes “Then the Lord …” and “I cannot live under
pressure” occur at the wrong side of the hinge and should come either at the end of our
correspondence at the bottom of page 6, or you integrate them into the text regarding pieces
I never did – or, just thinking, you put one quote either side of the ‘hinge’ say the “I cannot live
under pressure …” one at the end of our correspondence, because it relates to the process that
you've just laid out for the reader. The quote from Job could then be at the beginning of Pieces
I Never Did.
I think that you have attempted to do something that occurs right up to the point of the
reader engaging with your piece in the magazine and it becomes a piece in its own right. I also
think that you have pulled it off by making it clearer. So, well done.
What do you think about my suggestion?

21 Apr 2010, at 22:56
Hi Kevin,
Thank you for that finesse. I read it through earlier and was basically okay about it too, added
literally two words and adjusted three photographs. I will go to the place you mention and see
how that works. Then amend as it works best and send to you along with a folder of the best
versions of the photographs and stills. Hoping to do that right away, along with completing the
piece with the new ending.
All the best,
                                   Delighted and Daunted: Reading
                                   and Re-reading Flann O’Brien’s
                                   The Third Policeman
                                   Keith Hopper

                                       “If you lived here for a few days and gave full play to your observation and inspection, you
PRINTED PROJECT 13: Keith Hopper

                                       would know how certain the sureness of certainty is”   .
                                       (Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman (1967; London: Grafton, 1986), p. 87)

                                   I was recently invited to give a public lecture in my home town of Sligo at the local Institute of
                                   Technology. In my opening remarks I planned to observe the usual pleasantries by saying how
                                   delighted and daunted I was to be there: delighted at the honour of being asked to speak but
                                   daunted by the number of family and friends in the audience. This personal double bind, it then
                                   occurred to me, would make a handy focal point for the talk itself, which was on the topic of Flann
                                   O’Brien’s great novel The Third Policeman. What follows is the written text of my talk. I have
                                   resisted the urge to turn it into a more conventional piece of academic writing in the hope that the
                                   residual traces of my speech will produce a register that is ever so slightly off-key – a kind of
                                   objective correlative for what I actually want to talk about.

                                   I was delighted to be asked to talk about this particular novel because the central argument in
                                   my book on Flann O’Brien is that The Third Policeman is one of the great masterpieces of
                                   modern Irish literature, so I’m always happy to proselytise on its behalf. Strangely enough, when
                                   my own book was first launched in Galway in 1995, a very distinguished English professor
                                   sidled up to me and, glancing around to make sure he wasn’t overhead, whispered:“You know, I
                                   think Flann O’Brien is a better writer than Samuel Beckett” – and then scuttled off as if he had
                                   uttered some dreadful heresy. More recently, I gave a lecture on Flann in Tokyo (which, by the
                                   way, was the cultural equivalent of trying to explain the intricacies of sumo wrestling to a
                                   convent full of Irish nuns). Afterwards, during the question-and-answer session, an Irish
                                   colleague stood up and mischievously declared that The Third Policeman was a better novel
                                   than James Joyce’s Ulysses, at which point there were audible gasps of indignation from the
                                   audience. Of course none of them had actually read Ulysses or The Third Policeman (even
                                   though both books have been translated into Japanese). Nonetheless, it’s still considered
                                   vaguely blasphemous within academic circles to question the existing literary canon –
                                   especially Joyce – in public.

                                   So part of what I’d like to do today is to champion The Third Policeman and suggest that not
                                   only is it one of the greatest novels in the Irish literary tradition but also one of the first – and
                                   most exciting – examples of what we now refer to as post-modernism. Thus, in its own peculiar
                                   way, The Third Policeman is as important as Ulysses or Waiting for Godot.

                                   Despite all of this, though, I’m still slightly daunted at the prospect of talking about The Third
                                   Policeman. Even though it’s the central focus of my book, I’ve only ever given a public lecture
                                   on it once before – and that was almost twenty years ago. Part of the problem is that it’s a very
                                   intricately woven novel and there are just so many different things that one can say about it.
Brian O’Nolan (aka Flann O’Brien). Image courtesy of The Irish Times.
                                   Another problem is that it really is one of the strangest novels ever written, both in terms of its
                                   plot and its language, and it’s difficult to convey this essential strangeness if people haven’t
                                   already read it.

                                   So, hands up, how many people here have actually read it? [Out of an audience of about thirty
                                   people, five put up their hands.]

                                   Another key problem is that there’s also a very strange (even disturbing) twist at the end of The

                                   Third Policeman, which I don’t want to spoil for you if you haven’t already read it. Suffice it to
PRINTED PROJECT 13: Keith Hopper

                                   say, once you’ve finished the book for the first time you really do need to re-read it
                                   straightaway and reconsider the entire novel in light of that ironic twist. So to try and
                                   circumvent these various problems what I thought I’d do is say a little about Flann O’Brien’s
                                   work in general; say something about the origins, transmission and reception of The Third
                                   Policeman; and then say something about some of its stranger features. Finally, instead of
                                   talking about the ending I thought I’d just do a quick close reading of the opening page, which
                                   is often considered to be the most straightforwardly ‘realist’ part of the whole novel. And what I
                                   want to suggest is that when you’ve read this opening page slowly and carefully you’ll
                                   suddenly realise just how strange that supposed ‘straightforwardness’ actually is (and, by
                                   extension, just how weird and wonderful the rest of the book then becomes).

                                   So the basic idea here, really, is to persuade all of you to read it – The Third Policeman is a
                                   fantastic book, both literally and metaphorically – but in turn I’d also like to get your initial
                                   responses and first impressions at the end. After all, as one of my students said to me recently,
                                   as a critic I can analyse and deconstruct The Third Policeman until the cows come home, but
                                   the one thing I can’t do anymore is experience the thrill – and maybe even the horror – of
                                   reading it for the first time.

                                   To begin with, I just want to say something about Flann O’Brien’s first novel, At Swim-Two-Birds.
                                   In March 1939 the Longmans Green publication of At Swim-Two-Birds first appeared. After six
                                   months it had sold only 244 copies, by which time Longmans’ London warehouse was
                                   bombed during the Blitz and the book sank into obscurity for over twenty years. (As Flann’s
                                   journalistic alter-ego, Myles na Gopaleen, later commented: “In a grim irony that is not without
                                   charm, the book survived the war while Hitler did not”) Longmans had accepted the novel on
                                   the strength of a report from its reader, the novelist Graham Greene, who wrote: “It is in the line
                                   of Tristram Shandy and Ulysses: its amazing spirits do not disguise the seriousness of the
                                   attempt to present, simultaneously as it were, all the literary traditions of Ireland” Although At
                                   Swim-Two-Birds was hailed immediately as a masterpiece by several established writers
                                   (including James Joyce), the general critical reception tended to condemn the work as inferior
                                   imitation. Seán O’Faoláin, one of the leading Irish realists, seemed to sum up the general
                                   consensus when he commented that the book had “a general odour of spilt Joyce all over it” At   .
                                   Swim-Two-Birds had a small re-issue on the American market in 1951, but not until the
                                   MacGibbon & Kee edition of 1960 did it get a more favourable critical response. Since the
                                   Penguin edition of 1967 – a year after Flann O’Brien’s death – it has become one of the most
                                   celebrated works of the Irish literary canon, and something of a case study in scholarly debates
                                   on metafiction (ie fiction about fiction).
The tragedy of At Swim’s erratic publishing history and the initial critical hostility left O’Brien
quite embittered, particularly with the Joycean comparisons. Ironically, Joyce himself had
declared O’Brien to be “a real writer, with the true comic spirit” but when Samuel Beckett met
O’Brien in Dublin and passed on Joyce’s praise, O’Brien already had enough of the Joycean
debate, and reportedly snarled:“Joyce, that refurbisher of skivvies’ stories!”

O’Brien’s second novel, The Third Policeman, was composed in 1939 and completed by January
1940, and in anticipation of a rejection slip he had already briefed his publishers that “there will

be no question of the difficulty or ‘fireworks’ of the last book”. In fact, it was actually a more

                                                                                                       PRINTED PROJECT 13: Keith Hopper
radical and involved metafictional fantasy than At Swim-Two-Birds, and it was subsequently
rejected by his publishers: “We realise the author’s ability but think that he should become less
fantastic and in this novel he is more so”. Disheartened by a series of rejections, O’Brien
concocted a bizarre anecdote describing how he had lost the manuscript while on holidays,
and basically shelved the project. After his death in 1966 his widow sent the typescript to
MacGibbon & Kee, and it was published posthumously in 1967.

So, by 1941 Flann O’Brien had written three of the most innovative novels of the Irish canon, yet
had received very little public acclaim: At Swim-Two-Birds was still relatively unknown; The Third
Policeman remained unpublished; and An Béal Bocht, which was published in 1941, was
marginalized as inaccessible by virtue of the fact that it was written in Irish (it was eventually
translated as The Poor Mouth in 1973 by Patrick C. Power). These circumstances would adversely
affect the quality of O’Brien’s later work, The Hard Life (published in 1961) and The Dalkey
Archive (published in 1964), which most critics regard as inferior stuff.

Despite the unfortunate series of events that prevented O’Brien from enjoying mainstream
success during his lifetime, the release of The Third Policeman in 1967 consolidated and
encouraged a new critical appreciation of his work. Until recently the academic focus has been
almost exclusively devoted to studies of At Swim-Two-Birds, although on the ground the
general consensus amongst what Myles na Gopaleen dubbed the ‘Plain People of Ireland’ is an
instinctive awareness that The Third Policeman remains the best kept secret of Irish literature,
and as of late critics have had to reconsider their position.

The first person to acknowledge its greatness was my former professor Tom Kilroy, who
encouraged me to write my MA thesis on Flann O’Brien in the first place. Here’s what Kilroy
wrote in the Irish University Review in 1968:

    The Third Policeman is a masterpiece. And here is a writer that makes nonsense of
    conventional categories, … (with Beckett) the only writer since the days of Yeats and Joyce
    who is of considerable international importance. It used to be said with a certain amount
    of native satisfaction that … the man had failed to fulfil himself. Well, here it is, in case
    anyone still doubts, a beautifully written, terrifying, comic novel of the first order.

And this ‘terrifying and comic’ aspect is worth bearing in mind: despite its comic overtones, The
Third Policeman remains, at heart, a very dark and lonely kind of book. Indeed, in an RTÉ
documentary on Flann O’Brien in 2006, one of Ireland’s most influential literary critics, Professor
Declan Kiberd, dismissed The Third Policeman on the grounds that it was ‘unhealthy’ – which is
a rather odd thing to say, even for an academic. How, exactly, do we decide whether a book is
Sample page from Ale Lé Mercado's (illustrations) and Dara deFaoite's (text adaptation) graphic
novelisation of Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman. Courtesy Ale Lé Mercado
‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’? Could it, perhaps, raise or lower our cholesterol levels through some
process of literary osmosis? And, even if we could adjudicate the relative health or otherwise of
a book, why should this aspect be important anyway? To adapt Oscar Wilde, “There is no such
thing as a healthy or unhealthy book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all” Indeed,
if we were to exclude everything in the Irish canon which censors have considered indecent or
obscene in the past – including works by Wilde, Beckett and Joyce – then we’d be left with a
very short list of so-called ‘healthy’ books. In any case, as Tom Kilroy rightly said, The Third
Policeman is ‘beautifully written’ – even if it is ‘terrifying’ or ‘unhealthy’ – and it is this terrible

beauty that I really want to explore here.

                                                                                                           PRINTED PROJECT 13: Keith Hopper
The novel opens with a nameless narrator announcing that he is a murderer. In a rambling,
fragmented account – which we’ll look at closely in a moment – he relates how he and his
partner-in-crime, John Divney, had murdered and robbed a farmer, old Phillip Mathers, for the
contents of his mysterious black box. The nameless narrator – whom we’ll call ‘Noman’ for the
sake of convenience – tells us that he needed the money to publish the definitive work on an
eccentric idiot-genius philosopher known as de Selby. The bulk of the tale concerns Noman’s
subsequent treatment at the hands of three absurd policemen: supernatural and sinister
characters who police ‘The Parish’, an uncanny parallel world similar – but strangely different –
to our own.

After the opening chapter which describes the murder of Old Mathers, the world of The Third
Policeman becomes increasingly bizarre, in a funny but deeply unsettling way. In chapter 2, for
instance, Noman enters the house of his murder victim in order to retrieve the black box which
John Divney has hidden there for safekeeping. The house itself seems oddly proportioned:

    I clambered through the opening and found myself, not at once in a room, but crawling
    along the deepest window-ledge I have ever seen. When I reached the floor and jumped
    noisily down upon it, the open window seemed very far away and much too small to have
    admitted me. (3P, p. 23)

Adding to his confusion, Noman then hears a voice in his head – later revealed to be his own
soul, whom he rather blandly decides to call ‘Joe’ (significantly, Noman cannot recall his own
name). Then, much to his surprise (and ours), the ghost of Old Mathers appears. After a surreal
conversation with his murder victim – which includes Old Mathers’ lyrical description of the
different colours of the winds – Noman goes off in search of the police barracks, still hoping to
find his black box. In chapter 3, Noman surveys his strange surroundings:

    My surroundings had a strangeness of a peculiar kind, entirely separate from the mere
    strangeness of a country where one has never been before. Everything seemed almost too
    pleasant, too perfect, too finely made. (3P, p. 41)

Later on, he encounters a ghastly mirror image of himself in the figure of Martin Finnucane,
who, like Noman, has a wooden left leg and is a self-confessed killer:

    “I am the captain of all the one-legged men in the country [says Finnucane]. I knew them
    all up to now except one – your own self – and that one is now also my friend into the
    same bargain. If any man looks at you sideways, I will rip his belly” (3P, p. 49)
                                   In chapter 4, Noman finally enters the barracks and meets the oddly robotic-like Sergeant Pluck
                                   and Policeman MacCruiskeen, both of whom are obsessed with bicycles. In chapter 5,
                                   MacCruiskeen shows Noman some of his mind-boggling inventions, including a spear whose
                                   tip is sharpened to the point of infinity and a series of boxes-within-boxes which become
                                   infinitely small. “At this point” Noman says, “I became afraid. What he was doing was no longer
                                   wonderful but terrible. I shut my eyes and prayed that he would stop” (3P, p. 76). But the terror –
                                   and the wonder – continues. In chapter 6, Sergeant Pluck explains his Atomic Theory of
                                   bicycles to Noman:
PRINTED PROJECT 13: Keith Hopper

                                       “Do you happen to know what takes place when you strike a bar of iron with a good coal
                                       hammer or with a blunt instrument? … When the wallop falls, the atoms are bashed away
                                       down to the bottom of the bar and compressed and crowded there like eggs under a
                                       good clucker. After a while in the course of time they swim around and get back at last to
                                       where they were. But if you keep hitting the bar long enough and hard enough they do
                                       not get a chance to do this and what happens then? … Some of the atoms of the bar will
                                       go into the hammer and the other half into the table or stone or the particular article that
                                       is underneath the bottom of the bar. ...The gross and net result of it is that people who
                                       spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish
                                       get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the
                                       interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of
                                       people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles” (3P, pp. 87-88).

                                   And on it goes for another six chapters, each episode getting progressively stranger than the
                                   last, including a detailed description of a lift that goes to Eternity and the story of a passionate
                                   love affair between Noman and a stolen bicycle, all leading to the final encounter with the
                                   crafty Policeman Fox – the sinister ‘Third Policeman’ of the title, who reveals Noman’s destiny to
                                   him at the end of the novel. All of this, and I still haven’t mentioned one of the strangest
                                   features of the novel, namely Noman’s obsession with the eccentric philosopher de Selby and a
                                   series of footnoted debates where a legion of feuding academics debate the merits (or
                                   otherwise) of de Selby’s extravagant theories. At one point, these mock-footnotes spin
                                   completely out of control and begin to take over the body of the text, effectively displacing the
                                   primary narrative for several pages. Importantly, though, no matter how insane de Selby’s
                                   theories become, they always retain a modicum of logic and an oblique connection with the
                                   primary narrative, mirroring and binding together the seemly disparate episodes that make up
                                   this brilliantly controlled fictional experiment.

                                   How are we to make sense of this literary mayhem, if at all? How do we begin to analyse a text
                                   that draws on such an eclectic range of sources, including Celtic folklore and mythology,
                                   ancient Greek philosophy, atomic physics, French Symbolism, German Romanticism, Irish
                                   Modernism – to mention but a few? We could see it, perhaps, as an example of nonsense
                                   literature (in the manner of Lewis Carroll); or absurdist fiction (in the mould of Franz Kafka); or
                                   gothic fantasy (a là Edgar Allen Poe); or we could see it – as I’ve argued in my book – both as a
                                   metafiction (in the tradition of Laurence Sterne) and as a Menippean satire (an attack on
                                   intellectual pedantry, in the style of Jonathan Swift). But regardless of how we pigeonhole it, we
                                   still need to explain the inherent strangeness of the language, which seems to incorporate and
                                   transcend these various literary traditions. How, for instance, do we make sense of the
                                   catalogue of disturbing features which I’ve just outlined: odd visual perspectives and artificial
                                   landscapes; ghostly mirror images and disembodied voices; multiple doppelgängers and evil
                                   doubles; mechanical or robotic-like characters; repeated images of infinite regress – and so on?
One interesting way of looking at this might be to invoke Sigmund Freud’s concept of ‘The
Uncanny’, which was first published in 1919. In this seminal essay, which is often cited by literary
critics, Freud defines the uncanny as ‘that class of the frightening which leads back to what is
known of old and long familiar’. As Freud acknowledged, this frightening condition was first
identified by Ernst Jentsch in his 1906 essay, On the Psychology of the Uncanny. Jentsch
describes the uncanny as “doubts whether an apparently animate being is really alive; or
conversely, whether a lifeless object might not be in fact animate” and he expands upon its use
in certain types of literature:

                                                                                                          PRINTED PROJECT 13: Keith Hopper
    In telling a story one of the most successful devices for easily creating uncanny effects is to
    leave the reader in uncertainty whether a particular figure in the story is a human being or
    an automaton and to do it in such a way that his attention is not focused directly upon his
    uncertainty, so that he may not be led to go into the matter and clear it up immediately.
    (Jentsch, quoted in Freud, The Uncanny, 1919)

In other words, the language of The Third Policeman – which seems to me to be a textbook
example of what Freud and Jentsch are talking about – produces its uncanny effects by
playing on the reader’s uncertainty in a deliberately vague and indirect way. This is true not just
of the novel as a whole but also of its seemingly straightforward opening. Bearing all of this in
mind, let’s quickly analyse the opening page of the novel.

First sentence:
    Not everybody knows how I killed Old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade;
    but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because it was he who first
    knocked Old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with a special bicycle-
    pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar. (3P, p. 7)

The opening clause is a dramatic revelation: a killer, it seems, is about to confess his story. But
then the focus of the action switches abruptly with the introduction of another qualifying
clause – “but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney” – as if this friendship is
of greater interest than the details of his self-declared murder. It is a question, really, of
syntactical order: the positioning of the words on the page implies one thing while Noman’s
voice suggests another. Teasingly, we get some of the detail we seek but the action has
temporarily shifted to Divney’s part in the murder, and to the cold, flat description of the
murder weapon – a bicycle pump – that we assume had been fashioned for that very purpose,
thereby signifying a cold-blooded, pre-meditated crime. (It also, of course, initiates the first in a
long series of bicycle motifs which have an important bearing on later events.)

The point of this convoluted opening is that it cuts up our linear consumption of the narrative:
effects are given prior to cause and interrupted by a series of often banal digressions, which in
turn initiate other digressions, and so on. Like Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy (first
published in 1759), O’Brien often tells the end of a story first, then the beginning, then the
middle; sometimes he may even tell the beginning but abandon the story for a few pages or
so. Both authors place, displace and replace events as it suits them – the narrative moves along
a picaresque line but is constantly modified by flashback and interruption. This principle of
digressive-progressive narration is employed to great effect throughout The Third Policeman.
The murder scene is declared, interrupted, then resumed, and all according to the solipsist
imagination of the deeply untrustworthy narrator. As critic Rüdiger Imhof has written, “this
                                   device, in addition to its riddle or surprise effect, generates tension; it appeals to the reader’s
                                   curiosity; we want to know how the presumable ‘whodunit’ will be continued” In fact, from the
                                   announcement in the first line of the novel that Noman has murdered Old Mathers, ten more
                                   pages elapse before he actually recalls the murder itself. Even then the details are fractured and
                                   oblique, and fluctuate continually between detailed disclosures and vague ramblings.

                                   Second paragraph:

                                   Here, in the style of the classic Bildungsroman (reminiscent of the opening chapter of Joyce’s A
PRINTED PROJECT 13: Keith Hopper

                                   Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), Noman recalls his earliest memories of his parents.
                                   However, these flat and splintered recollections of his mother and father are syntactically
                                   interwoven, and often in semantic conflict with each other. The childlike chain of association
                                   sets up claim and counter-claim, thesis and antithesis, and the resultant synthesis renders both
                                   portraits strangely perplexing. It is worth quoting the passage at length:

                                       I was born a long time ago. My father was a strong farmer and my mother owned a public
                                       house. We all lived in the public house but it was not a strong house at all and was closed
                                       most of the day because my father was out at work on the farm and my mother was
                                       always in the kitchen and for some reason the customers never came until it was nearly
                                       bed-time; and well after it at Christmas-time and on other unusual days like that. I never
                                       saw my mother outside the kitchen in my life and never saw a customer during the day
                                       and even at night I never saw more than two or three together. But then I was in bed part
                                       of the time and it is possible that things happened differently with my mother and the
                                       customers late at night. My father I do not remember well but he was a strong man and
                                       did not talk much except on Saturdays when he would mention Parnell with the
                                       customers and say that Ireland was a queer country. (3P, p. 7)

                                   Whatever about Ireland, Noman certainly inhabits a ‘queer country’. The syntactical pattern here
                                   consists of a series of clauses, interconnected by a string of prepositions. These clauses
                                   alternate between descriptions of the father and the mother, which are disrupted in turn by
                                   the inclusion of banal or bizarre qualifying clauses. The juxtaposition of two sets of memories
                                   (one for the mother; one for the father) establishes a series of strange binary oppositions that
                                   equate a person with an object – the adjective ‘strong’ describes both the father himself (‘a
                                   strong farmer’; ‘a strong man’) and the mother’s public house (‘not a strong house’). Presumably
                                   this tangled web of fractured memories makes sense to Noman, but to decipher it ourselves
                                   we have to impose some system of order, and detach certain motifs and themes. If the father is
                                   strong but the pub is not then we wonder if one is at the expense of the other. He works
                                   during the day when the pub is closed, except for Saturdays when the pub is open and he
                                   drinks with the ‘customers’ (a word repeated four times). Then again, we are slightly thrown by
                                   the obscure linkage of association – do we literally accept that he only talked on Saturdays, and
                                   then only of Parnell?

                                   Similarly, the portrait of the mother is riddled with gaps which we plug using commonsense
                                   assumptions. As critic Sue Asbee has noted:

                                       How literally are we intended to take the statement that his mother was ‘always’ in the
                                       kitchen? The word and is used here very much as a child might use it, simply to join ideas
                                       together, but we may wonder whether there is a logical – indecent – association in the
                                       linking of mothers and customers implied ….’
Noman (like the reader) is a seemingly rational
observer making simple cause-effect assumptions. If
he is in bed then it is more than possible that
“things happened differently … late at night” – but
does this necessarily imply a sordid relationship
between the mother and the customers? And how
does this statement tie in with the succeeding
sentence which recalls how the father “did not talk
much except on Saturdays when he would mention
Parnell”? The mention of Parnell is the only specific
historical allusion in the entire chapter, yet it doesn’t
help us locate Noman’s memories within a
particular time frame. The allusion then is purely
literary, evoking comparisons with the first chapter
of Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and
it also reinforces, intertextually, the possibility of his
mother’s adultery by association with Parnell
(assuming, of course, that the reference is to Charles
Stewart Parnell and not some other Parnell).

From the outset, then, O’Brien’s uncanny style of
narration makes us doubt the ‘truth’ of his virtual
fiction. Several ‘truths’ seem to co-exist
simultaneously, each jockeying for position. The
language is structured like a riddle, which
ceaselessly shuffles the boundaries of potential
meaning. The disorientation this produces
provocatively delights in making us unsure of what
we normally take for granted when we read – that
the narration, however oblique, is at least
attempting to guide us towards a point of trusting
acceptance. Noman is the archetypal unreliable
narrator, an incorrigible solipsist whose external
world has been structured by the subjective
perceptions of his limited consciousness. We have
no way of verifying the reliability of his narrative
voice but, in the absence of any other authority, we
must grudgingly accept what we are given. Either             Keith Hopper, Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-Modernist.
way, we’ve slowly, but without much fanfare,                 Cork University Press, 2009. Courtesy of Cork University Press.

entered a linguistic realm where nothing is certain.
Or to quote one of the book’s cinematic influences:
“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”

I think, perhaps, I might usefully stop at this point,
and leave things open for questions.
                                     The Repeat
                                     The Television

                                     David Garcia interviewed The Television at Street Level Gallery in Glasgow on the 17 April
PRINTED PROJECT 13: The Television

                                     2010 as a part of the group exhibition ‘Lost and Found’, presented in partnership with
                                     ‘Rewind’ and the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.

                                     DG Good evening everybody and welcome to what I hope will be an interesting piece of media
                                     archeology. I, for one, am delighted to be reunited with my old colleague and sparring partner,
                                     and friend, Television, here. It’s been twenty-five years since we met in Amsterdam at an event
                                     that I organized called ‘Artists Talking Back to the Media’ so its quite interesting to be here again
                                     talking back to the media and I must say it’s great to see you after all these years, I think you’re
                                     looking great. You’ve lost a bit of weight haven’t you?

                                     TV Yes, I’ve slimmed down over the years, I’m not so bulky as I used to be. Being on the road
                                     helps – ‘the comeback trail’.

                                     DG I see, well, when I first met you in 1985 your career as a ‘media personality’ in your own right
                                     was beginning to take off, in the art world that is.

                                     TV Yes, that’s right, in the art world but also don’t forget that I had ambitions that it would take
                                     off in the broader world of television – I felt very much as if it was my moment.

                                     DG I see, okay. Well basically, I suppose it might be useful to point out to the audience, perhaps a
                                     lot of people wouldn’t even have been born then, in 1985, who are here tonight that you began
                                     to establish yourself in the mid 1980s as a personality in your own right. By appearing as a blank
                                     screen, it was as if you had emptied yourself of all content, like a light bulb.

                                     TV Yeah, but don’t run away with it, most TV was rubbish anyway; it wasn’t as if I got rid of all the
                                     good stuff.

                                     DG Well I see, okay, well can you talk a little bit about the ideas behind the creation of this
                                     persona, a television or The Television?

                                     TV Okay, well in the 80’s, along with a lot of other people, I think we began to see the end of
                                     Video Art, or what was known as video art; for me, this was to do with the end of the resistance of
                                     video art to television. Once one accepted that video art came out of the same frame as
                                     television this meant that you could no longer go on and pretend that there was any difference.

                                     DG I see, but the big factor that you’re forgetting is that around this time a lot of other media
                                     platforms came on stream, particularly projectors, didn’t that mean the end of the monitor as we
                                     know it?
TV Well, kind of like the data projector, you know, did contribute to the end of video art as a kind
of separate category, and brought video into the museum – its as easy to hang a Bill Viola as it is a
Julian Schnabel – easier probably, there are going to be no bits of pottery falling on the floor.

DG But the route into the museum, that wasn’t the route that you chose, was it?

TV No, no, I thought that the most interesting thing to do was to go into television, which is
exactly what I did – I entered the television. I became what I am now.

DG So, what should I call you?

TV Just call me the TV. If you want to be overly familiar, call me ‘The Telly’, but the TV will do.

DG What influenced this decision of yours, what was behind it?

TV Well kind of like despite what I said earlier about most TV being crap, I’ve always watched a lot
of television and it’s always been a reference point for me. In art it’s a kind of thing that’s ignored.
In Britain, I think it’s also a class thing, think of the number of Art College tutors who don’t watch
television – or who say that they don’t watch television.

DG But it was a brave thing to do – submerge your own practice as an individual video artist into
the television and in doing so to become anonymous to become unknown.

TV Yes, I remember being influenced by having seen a comic on ‘The Bob Monkhouse Show’, the
comic was called ‘The Unknown American Comic’, I don’t know if anyone else here can remember
that, and this guy came out, a stand- up comic in a very conventional sense with a dinner jacket
on, just like Bob Monkhouse himself, and he stood in front of a microphone and the only
difference was he had a paper bag over his head, one of those nice paper bags that you get on
American sit-coms, and he did this whole stand up routine to the television camera with this bag
over his head. He also did this fantastic thing – he had a ventriloquist act so he pulled his hand out
of his pocket and over his hand he had a small paper bag and he did his ventriloquist act with this
puppet – it was terrific. I remember that influencing me, the anonymity of it – I liked it.
DG And so who was he?

TV I don’t know, he was ‘The Unknown American Comic’. I saw him once again and then that was
it – he just disappeared.

DG Well anyway, maybe this is a good time to look back, a bit of nostalgia now, and remind
ourselves how you became who you are. You’ve been to Scotland before of course, in fact to
Glasgow, so lets have a look at a clip of an interview you did prior to a performance called Death
in Glasgow which you did at Transmission in 1985.

Cut to video clip of ‘Interview With Alistair MacDonald’ 1986

DG Funny to see that, plenty to talk about – you’re not taking any prisoners are you?

TV Well, I was only saying it as it was.

DG No time for Scottish television – poor old Dr Finlay’s Casebook, no time for art, no time for
anything but your bloody self basically.

TV Yeah, but I told you, that’s what I’m saying, I’m selfish, don’t be fooled − I swallow everything
up. TV consumes everything, I just said: I’m extremely powerful.

DG I find your aggression in this context a bit difficult to take but you do seem to have mellowed
a bit with the passing of the years.

TV Well a lot’s happened, possibly.

DG What you seem to be saying is that nothing is your fault, that everything is the problem of
the content providers. But surely art, originally when it got on to television, held out some kind of
hope, some sort of redemption from the usual stuff.
TV Are you joking? Art programmes are the worst of all, and artists; artists once we got into the
90’s, they were knocking one another out of the way to get on television, so don’t look to artists to
do anything radical with television, they just want to be on it.

DG Well you yourself took part at an event at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London in
1986 which was called ‘Live to Air’, would you say, Andy Warhol not withstanding, that this was the
beginning of the ‘Artist as Celebrity’ phenomenon in the UK.

TV I don’t think so; we’re talking Susan Hiller here, I mean this was an evening with a group of
artists including Susan Hiller, and people like Stuart Brisley in a discussion group, literally sitting
around a table at the ICA being filmed for TV discussing what art on television ought to be, but
doing it in exactly the same way that everything else was discussed on television, whether it was
the Turner Prize shortlist or what was going on in Northern Ireland, it didn’t matter. So, here are all
these experimental artists very happy to take on the cultural mediating role, being like Melvyn
Braggs and sitting around talking about art on television in a way that art on television had
always been discussed in a kind of Reithian way, in a way it was art on the television, not the
television as art.

DG You talked about what you did at the ICA when you gave this lecture / performance called
Death in Glasgow at Transmission, so perhaps we should have a look at a recording of a section of
that Glasgow performance to get a clearer idea.

TV So we’re just going to a little clip that introduces it?

Cut to video clip of Death in Glasgow performance / lecture at Transmission Gallery,
Glasgow, 1986.

DG So, here you are again very critical of other people’s contribution. Did you really think that
artists could do something with / or on television? It all looks a bit naive now. Wasn’t it inevitable
that the artists would promote themselves through television and that they’d simply use it?
Didn’t you see the YBA thing coming?
TV No, and nobody I know saw it coming either.

DG Well, you’re obviously touchy about this, so let’s have a look at the ICA performance itself.

Cut to video clip of The Television Live at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London,

DG Very good. The ICA – cultural clout, those were the days, anyway. So what do you think, are
you still proud of it?

TV Yep, yep – I like some of the lines, I think that one about: “I might have well stayed at home
and had a night in front of the viewer” is a good one.

DG But aren’t all topical references like Quincy or The Last Place on Earth somewhat lost these

TV Well, there are one or two Quincy fans still knocking around, the gag about The Last Place on
Earth, being the Antarctic, that’s lost now, but at the time there was a programme that was mainly
a white screen because it was about the Antarctic. That’s what happens with television, TV is
contemporaneous and you need to be watching it, you need to be into it.

DG He might have even had some scripts written for him. Can you talk a bit about your ambition
for him as a character, his persona – ‘The Television’ and where you thought he was going?

TV Yes, even though it might appear to be deluded now to think of it, but I seriously thought in
the 80’s, that I could establish myself as this character that you see before you now, a bit bulkier, a
bit fatter, but I wanted to be a white TV screen that appeared on television and I wanted to
establish that person as a character and so therefore I would have had script writers. I could have
been interviewed on The Parkinson Show, I could have been a guest, I might even have gone on
Master Mind. I really wanted to insert myself within television.

DG Right, so in retrospect, do you think really that the persona right, he’s a bit of a ‘cheeky
chappie’ isn’t he? A bit of a joker.
TV Well, that would have been appropriate for say, I wanted to be on Blankety Blank, if anybody
remembers Blankety Blank which is a bit like University Challenge without any intellect, There was
a line up of people and I wanted to be inserted somewhere between June Whitfield and Roy
Kinnear and kind of coming up with responses, I wanted that persona of the stand up comic
within British television, I wanted to kind of command respect, I don’t know but I wanted that sort
of confidence.

DG But really I think it backfired possibly, I mean, is being humorous the right persona for the art
world? I mean things were pretty serious in those days.

TV Yeah, and in many ways still are but I wanted the respect, as I said, I wanted the respect for
him – for me, beyond that, there’s a difference between an artist wanting to be a comic and then
when he or she is not funny, saying when they didn’t get laughs, its okay, I was only doing it as an
artist, its okay. Like ‘Artist’s Comedy’ doesn’t require laughs. I wanted to do it and get laughs; I
wanted to do it for real.

DG So in retrospect was the ICA your London Palladium, was it your big break?

TV It was my peak, let’s say. I did other performances and as you mentioned at the very
beginning, I did some TV but I kind of feel that I didn’t fulfill my promise.

DG So in the end what went wrong? One rumour that I heard is that a character called ‘Max
Head Room’ put paid to your career? Or ‘Maximum Headroom’ to give him his full title. For those
of you who might not have been around in those days he was a computer generated ‘talking
head’ who was very popular in the late 1980s. Was he too close for comfort?

TV Yeah, I got annoyed about Maximum Headroom because I kind of liked it but everyone I
spoke to about trying to get breaks on TV they said: oh you mean like Maximum Headroom and I
didn’t mean like Maximum Headroom. I mean he came close in that, the rectangle of the TV
became a head and the head was something generated from within TV, but he was still on the
screen, my face is the screen and people didn’t seem to get that. So maybe that was my demise
DG So, a lot of things have changed, are you optimistic about the future? Are you optimistic
about your future?

TV Well, art changed, the television changed, the YBAs. You see more art on television now than
ever before. I mean I was watching an episode of Coronation Street not that long ago and Bett,
you know infamous Bett of Bett’s hotpot fame, in the Rover’s Return turned to another member
of the cast who’d brought in a bit of their kid’s art and she said:“Its not bad but she’s never going
to be a Tracy Emin, is she”? And this is part of the script happening on television so I feel a bit of a
hypocrite objecting to art not being on television, but it’s always as content, its not changed the
nature of television. It’s worthwhile remembering that most of the YBAs, with the exception of
one or two people like Gillian Wearing, they’re mostly makers of objects, so nothing changed. Its
still commodity, they are still producing content that can be exchanged. Sorry, back to your
question − am I optimistic? Well, I was before this evening. Yes I am, and also I’m multi-platformed
now, you know, I’m slimmed down, I can do computery things as well, I’m ready to go here!

DG Well, I think this is where it could get personally embarrassing for me, I haven’t seen this and I
think we’re going to go way back in time now to when I first interviewed you in Amsterdam, all
those years ago. Let’s have a look at that interview then.

Cut to video clip of interview with David Garcia as a part of ‘Talking Back to the Media,’
Amsterdam, 1986.

DG Oh God!

TV Well, we can see who ate all the pies David.

DG Well, I like to think that my personality is distinctly more rounded now, anyway. So, well
basically, what happened? I mean, I think that there are aspects of that interview that were really
prophetic in a way, we talked for instance about celebrity culture in art. How do you feel about it
looking back?
TV I still think its to do with framing and its to do with
whether you’re aware that you’re framing yourself or
whether you’re being framed. I mean, I think it’s fine, if you
know you’re being framed but some people don’t know
and that’s just dumb, it’s stupid.

DG But in the end all this emphasis on the hardware I
think basically is missing the point. All the works maybe in
this show are from an era when it was reasonable to think
of a category called Video Art, now basically any show
you go into is full of video but nobody thinks of
themselves as a ‘Video Artist’ any more.

TV This is my point, they don’t know their frame, they’re
not responsible for how their work is mediated, they’re
not at that threshold.

DG Yes, I know…

TV Its back to this thing – do you want a big aggressive finish like we had before? Because you’re
going the right way about it, you’ve criticising the entire show. The whole thing about framing is

DG Its not criticism. It’s interesting historically, but the question is, haven’t we moved on from this
obsession with framing, with the hardware?

TV No.

DG Just a second TV, I mean kids are – just a second Television…

TV The frame might have moved.

DG But listen, kids today are watching gaming consoles, you know, that’s where they get their
data from, the stuff that they’re watching goes from games, to You Tube, to social networks. This
emphasis on the hardware is missing the point, we’ve moved on, nobody knows what television
is anymore.

TV No, the frame has moved on. My slimmed down version, as I was saying earlier, those frames
are within this larger frame. There is a whole set of other relationships in this kind of endless
recession of frames within frames that are referring to one another within the larger frame of the
screen. Where I think you’re right is we’ve moved away from the box, I mean look at me I’ve
slimmed down, now its more to do with the screen but its still to do with an awareness of the
frame of the screen and I don’t literally mean the dimensions but with the way that − you know
what the frame means – in the way that its contextualized. To just think that it’s about subject
matter is dumb and to fall, just because you might be the subject matter that is being framed, to
think that you’re the important thing, without regard to the frame, is quite frankly just naïve.

DG Okay, on that point I want to say thank you very much, thank you also for mentioning the
‘endless recession’ which I hope won’t be too endless, thank you very much Television and thank
you very much to this audience tonight.
                                 An Encyclopedia of Superfictions
                                 Peter Hill

                                 Ai Weiwei                                        The Art Fair Murders

                                 Ai Weiwei is one of several artists whose        An on-going Superfiction of Peter Hill’s
                                 work only connects tangentially with the art     which is part installation, part novel, and part
                                 of the Superfiction. However, like Jorg          web-site. Its structure revolves around
                                 Immendorff, Group Irwin, and other Heroic        Twelve Chapters, Twelve Months, Twelve
                                 Amateur artists, much of his work grows          Murders, and Twelve Cities. See
                                 from a political-conceptual background. The
                                 Duchampian art object (in Ai Weiwei’s case)
                                 subverts dogma through poetic fiction. See
                                 profile at

                                 Francis Alys
                                 Francis Alys uses many Situationist devices
                                 of walking, thinking, and doubting which
                                 parallel Superfiction strategies. He exhibited
                                 at the 2007 Munster Sculpture Project and
                                 has been involved in projects and
                                 publications in New York, London and
                                 Mexico. Postmedia provides this brief
                                 biography:“Francis Alÿs was born in 1959 in      Peter Hill. Catalogue page from The Art Fair Murders,1996
                                 Antwerp, Belgium, and currently lives in
                                 Mexico City. His projects include Paradox of
                                 Praxis (1997), for which the artist pushed a     Banalists
                                 block of ice through the streets of Mexico       See Situationists and Ralph Rumney
                                 City until it melted, and, most recently, When
                                 Faith Moves Mountains (2002), in which 500
                                 people at Ventanilla, outside Lima, Peru,        Blair Witch Project
                                 formed a single line at the foot of a giant      The Blair Witch Project was one of the first
                                 sand dune and moved it four inches using         mainstream superfictions in which the film’s
                                 shovels.                                         directors and producers created a
                                 For more recent projects, see Wikipedia.         superfiction which played with the
                                                                                  emotions of both the cast and the cinema
                                                                                  audience. See Orson Welles The War of the
                                 The After Sex Cigarette                          Worlds.
                                 See The Art Fair Murders and Thirteen
                                 Months in 1989
A.A. Bronson                                      Janet Cardiff
A.A.Bronson describes himself as being ‘one       Janet Cardiff has, amongst many other
of the three-member group General Idea            projects, made a détournement of the
between 1969 and 1994’. He is the surviving       Situationist derive and melded it with film noir
member. A biography of General Idea can be        and pulp fiction. She first came to
found at:           international attention with her work at the biography/biointro.htm                    Whitechapel Library, London, Case Study B, in
The following interview with A.A. Bronson         which ‘spectators’ became ‘participants’, and

was made by Peter Hill at the Basel Art Fair in   were sent out into the streets of London with

                                                                                                         PRINTED PROJECT 13: Peter Hill
June 1993.                                        headphones and a CD which gave
                                                  instructions on where to walk – across busy
Peter Hill: General Idea is a fictional
                                                  streets and down dark lanes. An audio
construct that finds its subversive outlets
                                                  equivalent of trompe l’oeil was explored when
across a range of media including film,
                                                  the noise of screeching traffic on the
performance, installation, video and
                                                  headphones merged with real traffic noises
photography. It is twenty-four years since
                                                  on the street. Much of her work has been
the three of you invented it. How close have
                                                  made in collaboration with George Buros
you remained to your original vision?
                                                  Miller. She has constructed ‘walks’ in many
A A Bronson: I don’t think there was              parts of the world which often have powerful
anything we would call an original vision as      touristic backdrops such as the Sydney Opera
such back in ‘68, and we didn’t actually use      House and the Egyptian Pyramids.
the name General Idea until 1970 when we
used it for a particular project. Later we
established a program for ourselves that
would last us until 1984. When that date
came around we had to decide whether we
would continue to work together or
whether we would stop. Our original
intention was to close the project in 1984.
For complete interview visit:
                                                  Janet Cardiff The Missing Voice: Case Study B, 1999.
                                                  Audio walk, 50 minutes. Courtesy: Janet Cardiff.
                                                  Commissioned and produced by Artangel. Whitechapel
                                                  Library to Liverpool Street Station. London, UK
Cameron Oil
Fictitious oil company created by Peter Hill.
Supposedly Alice and Abner “Bucky” Cameron
made their billions from the Cameron oil          Gary Carsley
fields in Alaska. They bankrolled New York’s      Gary Carsley’s work creates a Superfiction
Museum of Contemporary Ideas on Park              from a range of cultural and technical tropes
Avenue and are loosely modeled on the Paul        including post-colonial history, industrial
Gettys and Armand Hammers of this world.          production methods, and the idea of the
                                                  drag-uerreotype’. In 2009, Peter Hill asked him
                                                  about his recent project for the Singapore
                                                  Biennale, curated by Fumio Nanjo, and his
                                                  subversion of IKEA flatpacks into works of art.
                                                  ‘I had been looking for a way to critically
                                                  re-engage with the conceptually playful
                                                  positions of the early 1960s. It was a radical
                                                  moment, full of radicalizing potential and
Peter Hill, banner for Cameron Oil, Biennale of
Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2002.
                                 IKEA’s flat pack is similarly idealistic,          Jacqueline Drinkall
                                 particularly in the way in which it co-opts the    Jacqueline Drinkall’s works across a range of
                                 spectator in a form of expanded, collaborative     conceptual and installation art, some of
                                 authorship similar to the way FLUXUS artists       which grew from her time when she worked
                                 like Yoko Ono were then doing.’                    as an assistant to Marina Abramovic, others
                                                                                    growing from her investigations into art and
                                                                                    telepathy. The project which came closest to
                                 DAMP                                               a Superfiction involved employing the

                                 Writing about DAMP in Photofile 59, in a           services of a psychic, at Sydney’s Circular

                                 section called ‘Encyclopaedia of                   Quay and instructing him to contact the
                                 Photofictions’, Peter Hill described some of       spirit of Marcel Duchamp. The outcome of
                                 their projects up to 2000:“DAMP: A                 this meeting of minds was a series of
                                 collaborative art group based in Melbourne.        drawings made by Duchamp and channeled
                                 They have been working together since              through the Australian medium.
                                 1995. They meet once a week in twelve week
                                 blocks, usually in the TCB studios in Port
                                 Phillip Arcade. Established with Geoff Lowe,       Ian Hamilton Finlay
                                 DAMP has developed into an independent             Ian Hamilton Finlays’ creation of The Saint
                                 collective with an extensive membership.           Juste Vigilantes and his battles with both the
                                 Their work seems to work simultaneously            Hamilton Rates authorities and the French
                                 with and against the media in a similar way        government were explored in an interview
                                 to the UK’s latest tabloid art stars The Leeds     with Peter Hill in Studio International, No
                                 13. Peter Timms gave a good introduction to        1004, 1983 (London)
                                 their work in The Age, Wednesday 18 August,
                                                                                    Peter Hill: Before we speak about the
                                 1999, when he wrote:“Apparently things got
                                                                                    problems you have had to face over the past
                                 a bit out of hand at 200 Gertrude Street a
                                                                                    year or so it might be worth speaking about
                                 week or so back. During an exhibition
                                                                                    the philosophy behind your garden temple
                                 opening, when the gallery was packed with
                                                                                    at Little Sparta. As one of the most beautiful
                                 people, a young couple started arguing. It
                                                                                    collaborations between man and nature
                                 was unpleasant, but at first didn’t cause too
                                                                                    that I have ever seen, I wonder how it all
                                 much disruption, apart from the odd
                                 disapproving look. Then the dispute got
                                 louder and more insistent and one or two           Ian Hamilton Finlay: Every question can be
                                 others became involved. A young man had            answered on different levels, or, that is, has a
                                 a glass of wine thrown in his face, then the       number of different answers. As a building
                                 shoving started. Glasses and bottles were          the garden temple began as a cow byre
                                 knocked over and smashed, and a girl was           which we converted into a gallery and then,
                                 pushed through the wall. The installation          over a period, into a garden temple, or, as we
                                 work in the front gallery, by a group of artists   at first described it ‘Canova-type temple’ –
                                 calling themselves DAMP, was almost                referring to the temple built by the Italian
                                 completely wrecked. Only gradually did             neo-classicist. This was not to equate our
                                 people start to realise that DAMP’s                garden temple with Canova’s temple but to
                                 installation was not being destroyed but           explain it by means of a precedent: a
                                 created.”                                          building which housed works of art but
                                                                                    which did not present itself specifically as an
                                                                                    ‘art gallery’. But in another way one could say
                                                                                    that our garden temple began because we
                                                                                    had a garden, and we have a garden
                                                                                    because we were given a semi-derelict
cottage surrounded by an area of wild moor         Richard Grayson
land. This moor land represented a                 Richard Grayson is an artist, curator, writer,
possibility, and produced our response. (I say     and director of the 2002 Biennale of Sydney
‘our’ to include Sue Finlay who has been,          ‘(The World May Be) Fantastic’. Many of the
from the beginning, my collaborator on the         artists included in this event created work
garden). For complete interview visit:             that could be described as Superfictions. In                              the introduction he writes “The traffic
                                                   between ‘the real’ and the ‘not real’ is, of

                                                   course, osmotic. Sir John Manderville

                                                                                                     PRINTED PROJECT 13: Peter Hill
Joan Fontcuberta and Pere Formiguera               published Manderville’s Travels at the end of
Using taxidermy and sepia photography              the fourteenth century. To us, it is a work of
these Catalan artists created the supposed         fiction and fable, with its reports of one-eyed
zoological discoveries of Dr Peter                 people in the Andaman Islands and dog-
Ameisenhaufen who died in a car crash in           headed people in the Nicobar Islands –
the north of Scotland. Joan Fontcuberta has        Manderville also locates paradise, but rather
since gone on to create numerous                   charmingly says he cannot say any more
superfictions, usually photographically and        about it as he has not yet been there.
through analogue and digital techniques.           Certainly by the sixteenth century ‘to
                                                   Manderville’ had become a colloquialism for
                                                   lying and exaggerating. However, Columbus
                                                   planned his 1492 expedition after reading
                                                   the book, Raleigh pronounced every word
                                                   true, and Frobisher was reading it as he trail-
                                                   blazed the northwest passage. So the ‘false’
                                                   maps gradually segue into the maps we
                                                   now accept, but these too are open to
                                                   constant revision.” See also Aleksandra Mir,
                                                   Suzanne Treister, Janet Cardiff and Peter Hill.

                                                   Richard Grayson is currently exhibiting in the
                                                   2010 Sydney Biennale curated by David
Joan Fontcuberta Centaurus Neardentalensis, from
Ameisenhaufen's Fauna. © Joan Fontcuberta &
Pere Formiguera, 1988.
                                                   Guildford Pub Bombings
                                                   The release of the Guildford Four in 1989
                                                   after fourteen years of wrongful
Rodney Glick
                                                   imprisonment was an act of fabrication by
An Australian artist based in Perth (WA), Glick
                                                   the police as complex as any Superfiction.
has created many Superfictions, notably The
                                                   For one of the best overviews of this case,
Glick International Collection and the work of
                                                   see Ronan Bennett’s lengthy article in The
the philosopher Klaus. Klaus had a ten-step
                                                   London Review of Books, 24 June, 1993.
program for reaching enlightenment and
                                                   (video clip)
every year Klaus would announce the next
step. Eventually he was due to disclose the
tenth step at the United Nations in New
York, but failed to appear at the appointed
hour. Several weeks later he was found by a
gardener wandering in a garden in
Bethlehem and revealed the tenth step to
him which was ‘Start again’.
                                 Iris Häussler                                          University (BHQFU) based at Cooper Union,
                                 One of her best-known projects, The Legacy             New York (see Art in America, March 2010,
                                 of Joseph Wagenbach, begins with a series of           pp59-64).
                                 ‘views’ expressed by, in turn: ‘the visitor’; ‘the
                                                                                        When Peter Hill’s first press release for the
                                 archivist’; ‘the protagonist’; ‘the artist’ and ‘the
                                                                                        Museum of Contemporary Ideas was posted
                                 curator’. The first of these begins:“We left the
                                                                                        out in 1989 to newspapers, news agencies
                                 Field Office to walk towards Wagenbach's
                                                                                        (Reuters/Associated Press), art magazines,
                                 house, wearing white lab coats. The archivist

                                                                                        critics, and artist friends, the German
                                 knocked on the door before turning her key.
                                                                                        magazine Wolkenzratzer (Skyscraper), edited

                                 We squeezed inside. Stale air. Dim light.
                                                                                        by Dr Wolfgang Max Faust, believed it to be
                                 Shapes formed in corners and shadows that
                                                                                        real and printed a story about the generosity
                                 I would have never imagined [...]” while the
                                                                                        of its benefactors Alice and Abner “Bucky”
                                 last one reads, “Approximately 2 years ago [...]
                                                                                        Cameron who made their billions from the
                                 Iris told me about an idea for a work titled
                                                                                        Cameron Oil Fields in Alaska. The article was
                                 The House of the Artist; however she had not
                                                                                        written by Gabriela Knapstein (now curator
                                 yet developed it due to the scale, intensity
                                                                                        at Berlin’s Hamburger Banhof ), and as a
                                 and logistics of the project. [...] Basically that
                                                                                        result Wolfgang Max Faust was asked to
                                 was it, a single idea of immense proportions.
                                                                                        chair a meeting of German industrialists and
                                 I immediately knew we had to make this
                                                                                        curators to see if Frankfurt could build a
                                 happen and that it would be an extremely
                                                                                        museum based on the model of Hill’s
                                 significant project.”
                                                                                        Museum of Contemporary Ideas.

                                                                                        See for complete
                                 Peter Hill                                             Encyclopaedia, artist interviews, and exegesis
                                 Peter Hill is a Glasgow-born Australian with           of Peter Hill’s studio-based PhD.
                                 dual nationality. In 1989 he launched New
                                 York’s Museum of Contemporary Ideas,
                                 supposedly the world’s biggest new
                                 museum and the first of many Superfictions
                                 he created (see The Art Fair Murders). Hill
                                 originally coined the term to describe the
                                 work of a number of artists operating
                                 independently in the late 1980s. These
                                 include Res Ingold (Switzerland) and his
                                 fictitious airline; SERVAAS (Netherlands) and
                                 his fictive world of deep sea herring fishing;
                                                                                        Peter Hill. Beer coaster from Plato's Cave,
                                 the Seymour Likely Group (Netherlands);                Museum of Contemporary Ideas, 1993
                                 David Wilson’s Museum of Jurassic
                                 Technology (USA); Rodney Glick’s (Australia)
                                 theories of Klausian Philosophy; and Joan
                                 Fontcuberta’s and Pere Formiguera’s (Spain)            Pierre Huyghe:
                                 creation of the German zoologist Dr Peter              Pierre Huyghe was born in 1962 and trained
                                 Ameisenhaufen.                                         at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts
                                                                                        Décoratifs. In 2001, Huyghe represented
                                 Since 1989 Dr Peter Hill has gone on to
                                                                                        France at the Venice Biennale, where his
                                 create his Encyclopedia of Superfictions in
                                                                                        pavilion, entitled Le Château de Turing, won a
                                 which is documented many more
                                                                                        special prize from the jury. In 2002, Huyghe
                                 Superfictions artists and art groups, most
                                                                                        won the Hugo Boss Prize from the
                                 recently The Bruce High Quality Foundation
                                                                                        Guggenheim Museum and exhibited several
works there the following year. In 2006,           The Leeds Thirteen
Huyghe's film A Journey That Wasn't was            “The Leeds 13 first gained notoriety when
exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in New           they leaked to the British tabloid
York, and at the re-opening of ARC/MAM             newspapers that they were using university
and Tate Modern. He is represented by the          money to go on holiday to Spain. In fact, the
Marian Goodman Gallery.                            13 art students from Leeds University stayed
                                                   in hiding for a week, spent none of the
The following is a description of the work
                                                   money and fabricated holiday photos on a

Huyghe made for the 2008 Biennale of
                                                   nearby beach in Scarborough. A few weeks
Sydney, directed by Carolyn Christov-

                                                                                                        PRINTED PROJECT 13: Peter Hill
                                                   ago the Leeds 13 presented their final
Bakargiev, now director of the 2012
                                                   degree show, made up entirely of work by
                                                   other artists, ranging from Rodin and
“At the Sydney Opera House, a unique
                                                   Damien Hirst to Marcel Duchamp. How do
experience occurs throughout the course of
                                                   university degree examiners assess such a
a day and a night. An event with no
                                                   submission? Should it get a first or a third? It
beginning and no end, no division between
                                                   is not the first time such problems have
stage and public, no specified path to take –
                                                   arisen. Not so long ago, identical twins Jane
it is a theatre liberated from rules. From the
                                                   and Louise Wilson submitted identical
stalls to the circles to the stage, a forest of
                                                   projects at different art schools in the UK.
trees has grown and spread throughout the
                                                   They are now candidates for the 1999 Turner
entire Concert Hall. The light of dawn barely
                                                   prize. The Leeds 13 are just the latest artists
shines on this valley obscured by clouds. This
                                                   to create a superfiction that plays with the
is an in-between reality, an image of an
                                                   media and with the viewer's ability to
environment, a fact that appears for a brief
                                                   correctly read visual material. It goes beyond
moment just before vanishing.”
                                                   the notion of a "hoax". Instead it illuminates,
                                                   to paraphrase Picasso, how "art is a lie that
                                                   can reveal the truth".” From an article by
Res Ingold
                                                   Peter Hill in the Times Higher Education
Ingold Airlines is the fictional creation of Res
                                                   Supplement London, 6 August, 1999. Google:
Ingold. His early work appeared only in
                                                   THE Superfictions
business plans and like the advertisements
of SERVAAS and the press releases of Peter
Hill used only ‘spot colour’ to sustain the
                                                   Made in Palestine Made in Israel
illusion and to keep production costs to a
                                                   A fictitous team of artists created by Peter
minimum. Ingold logos appeared on
                                                   Hill as part of his on-going Superfiction The
executive jets flying in to Documenta IX in
                                                   Art Fair Murders. One artist is Israeli, the other
Kassel. Through fiction he predated (in 1989)
                                                   Palestinian though neither ever reveals their
many innovations in 21st century
                                                   true name. For over thirty years they have
intercontinental flight such as the use of
                                                   been photographing artists and curators
gymnasiums on long-haul flights.
                                                   around the world at events such as The
                                                   Venice Biennale, documenta, the Munster
                                                   Sculpture Project, and the Sydney Biennale.
Institute of Militronics and Advanced
                                                   Double portraits are then produced under
Time Interventionality
                                                   the name ‘Art World Fan Club’ with one
See Suzanne Treister
                                                   portrait designated “Made in Palestine” and
                                                   the other “Made in Israel” Peter Hill originally
                                                   decided which artist would represent
                                                   ‘Palestine’ or ‘Israel’ by the throw of a dice
                                                   (see The Dice Man) – but now he invites the
                                 real artist to throw the dice. These works can          Orlan
                                 appear in various scales from postcards to              Her best-known Superfiction is her own
                                 billboards. Artists so far included: Martin             body and the changes she has put it
                                 Creed; Marina Abramovic; Dennis Hopper;                 through. Her aim is to change her physical
                                 Martin Kippenberger; Joseph Kosuth;                     appearance through plastic surgery until it
                                 Hermann Nitsch; The Raminginimg Artists                 resembles the male Renaissance artists’ view
                                 and Burial Poles; James Lee Byers; John                 of the ideal woman. Also known as Saint
                                 Armleder and Sylvie Fleury; Res Ingold,                 Orlan since she baptized herself with that

                                 Callum Innes, Fumio Nanjo, and Heri Dono.               name in 1971.

                                                                                         Ossian is the narrator, and the supposed
                                                                                         author, of a cycle of poems which the
                                                                                         Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to
                                                                                         have translated from ancient sources in the
                                                                                         Scots Gaelic. The furor over the authenticity
                                                                                         of the poems continued into the 20th
                                                                                         century and as such here are parallels with
                                                                                         the Australian Ern Malley.
                                 Peter Hill working as the art team Made in Palestine,
                                 Made in Israel - No idea is more important than a       Ossian was supposedly the son of Fionn mac
                                 human life, 2001.
                                                                                         Cumhaill, a character from Irish mythology.
                                                                                         See Wikipedia for further clues.

                                 Ern Malley
                                                                                         Phantom Limbs: see Alexa Wright
                                 The Ern Malley hoax, which Peter Hill sees
                                 more as a Superfiction, has parallels with the
                                 fictive Scottish poet Ossian, created by
                                 James Macpherson who supposedly
                                                                                         PigVision is a Superfiction created by Swiss
                                 discovered him in ancient Gaelic texts. For
                                                                                         artist/scientist Raymond Rohner while he
                                 those wishing to read further about these
                                                                                         was studying at the Centre for the Arts,
                                 ‘real’ poems by a fictitious poet (Ern Malley)
                                                                                         Hobart, Tasmania. He asks the question ‘Do
                                 the best starting place is Michael Heyward’s
                                                                                         Pigs See in Colour?’ The project sometimes
                                 book on the subject.
                                                                                         takes place in galleries, sometimes at
                                                                                         agricultural fairs or in scientific meetings. The
                                                                                         text on his website (http://www.artschool
                                 Aleksandra Mir: For profile and interview
                                 with Aleksandra Mir in THE BELIEVER, San
                                 Francisco, December '03 / January '04 see
                                                         “Paul Feyerabend, a foremost twentieth
                                 encyclopaediaofsuperfictions.                           century philosopher of science, became
                                                                                         known for his claim that there was, and
                                                                                         should be, no such thing as the scientific
                                 Eve Anne O’Reagon                                       method.”
                                 Creator of the Babyface Cosmetics
                                 Superfiction. The artist uses graphic design
                                 and elements of advertising in her gallery-
                                 based work.
Karl Popper                                        photograph of the Situationists, taken in
Karl Popper’s teachings on “sophisticated          Cosio because he took them). Ralph Rumney
methodological falsificationism” relate to         was a painter who gave up painting (and
Superfictions in terms of how we approach          has returned to it), an artist who regards
different visual truths. We can sight any          artists as generalists whose primary function
number of white swans, he tells us, but we         is to question, he has had a career in which
will never be able to say “all swans are white”.   both possibilities have been lived through.
Whereas the single sighting of a black swan        The interview is one aspect of his art, as is his

does allow us to say “not all swans are white” .   conversation, as are the derives on which

                                                                                                       PRINTED PROJECT 13: Peter Hill
Thus we approach the truth through                 one might find oneself in his company, as
falsifictionism rather than verificationism. See   are his writings.
also Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend.
                                                   For a three-way discussion between Ralph
                                                   Rumney, Peter Hill, and Alan Woods see:
                                          Also see

                                                   The Situationist International evolved from a
                                                   synthesis of various pan-European art
                                                   movements and revolutionary philosophies
                                                   including the College of Pataphysics; COBRA;
Peter Hill Untitled. Falsification in tribute to
Sir Karl Popper. Dimensions variable.              the Lettriste Movement; the Lettriste
                                                   International (LI); the International Movement
                                                   For An Imaginary Bauhaus (IMIB); Asger Jorn’s
                                                   Institute for Comparative Vandalism; Group
                                                   Spur; and Ralph Rumney’s Psycho-
Patrick Pound
                                                   Geographical Society. Its key members
Patrick Pound is a New Zealand-born
                                                   included Guy Debord, Ralph Rumney,
Australian based in Melbourne. He has
                                                   Michele Bernstein, Alexander Trochi, Asger
created many Superfictions, often
                                                   Jorn, Isidore Isou, Gianfranco Sanguinetti,
submitting his fake identities to Who’s Who
                                                   Raoul Vaneigem and Wolman. However, it
of Intellectuals and the Who’s Who Hall of
                                                   was always a loose alliance of people and
Fame. Pound frequently uses a black and
                                                   movements and many others were involved.
white photograph of East European soap
                                                   Guy Debord is now regarded as the leader of
carver Lester Gabo in place of his own.
                                                   the group, although it is debatable whether
Pound also uses the name Simon Dermott,
                                                   such an anarchistic conglomeration could
particularly for book reviews (see Photofile
                                                   ever allow itself to be ‘led’.
No 59, p 61 and page 63)

                                                   The Sorbonne Conference
Ralph Rumney
                                                   A landmark conference in Paris (2006)
Ralph Rumney was the founder of the
                                                   organized by Dr Bernard Guelton on the
English Psycho-Geographical Society and
                                                   theme of Art, Fiction, and the Internet (les
later a founder member of the Situationist
                                                   arts visuels, le web et la fiction). Artists and
International. Always one to back out of the
                                                   theorists who presented papers included:
limelight, he does not appear in the group
                                                   Jean-Marie Schaeffer, Jerome Pelletier,
                                 Kendall L. Walton, Jacinta Lageira, Marie-        Suzanne Treister
                                 Laure Ryan, Peter Hill, Alexandra Saemmer,        Founder of the Institute of Millitronics and
                                 Monique Maza, Yannick Maignien, Andy              widely exhibited artist, including in the 2002
                                 Bichlbaum, Lorenzo Menoud, Jean-Pierre            Biennale of Sydney, ‘(The World May Be)
                                 Mourey, Alain Declercq, Joana Hadjithomas         Fantastic’.
                                 and Khalil Joreige, Eric Rondepierre, Melik
                                                                                   One of her most endearing creations has
                                 Ohanian, Yann Toma. Sous las direction de
                                                                                   been the time traveling Rosalind Brodsky
                                 Bernard Guelton

                                                                                   who is like a cross between Dr Who and
                                 For more conference details see:                  Woody Allen’s Zelig (she mysteriously

                        and the conference          appeared on the set of Schindler’s List
                                 publication: ISBN 978-2-85944-636-9               alongside Ben Kingsley).

                                                                                   Treisters’s book No Other Symptoms: Time
                                                                                   Travelling with Rosalind Brodsky is described
                                                                                   in the catalogue to the 2002 Biennale of
                                 A term coined by Peter Hill to describe new
                                                                                   Sydney (The World May Be) Fantastic,
                                 uses for fiction in the contemporary visual
                                                                                   “Loosely resembling an adventure game, the
                                 arts using all media including the internet
                                                                                   story is set in 2058, at an institute of esoteric
                                 and the postal system. See other listings in
                                                                                   advanced technology. The facility is crowded
                                 The Encyclopaedia of Superfictions.
                                                                                   with paraphernalia through which visitors
                                                                                   can explore Brodsky’s life and
                                                                                   adventures…In the bedroom a large
                                 Synthetic Modernism
                                                                                   Introscan TV screen shows excerpts from
                                 In the early 1980s Peter Hill became
                                                                                   Brodsky’s career as a television cook, where
                                 frustrated with the (over)use of the terms
                                                                                   she loftily disregards the laws of physics with
                                 modernism and post-modernism as if they
                                                                                   a recipe for converting gâteau into Polish
                                 were competing sporting teams. He
                                                                                   pierogi dumplings.”
                                 preferred the term synthetic modernism as
                                 one that covered the grey area between
                                 modernism and postmodernism and was
                                                                                   Michael Vale
                                 useful to describe the art of the Superfiction.
                                                                                   Creator of many Superfictions, but perhaps
                                                                                   best known for his Smoking Dog series of
                                                                                   works, including the award-winning video
                                 Thirteen Months in 1989
                                                                                   set in various locations including Venice.
                                 See The Art Fair Murders and The After Sex

                                                                                   Orson Welles
                                                                                   His US radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of
                                 Torch Gallery
                                                                                   the Worlds was one of the earliest and most
                                 This Amsterdam Gallery run by the late
                                                                                   successful Superfictions. Across the country
                                 Adriaan Van Der Have was pioneering in its
                                                                                   listeners tuned in to what many believed to
                                 support of artists working with Superfictions
                                                                                   be an invasion of Earth from Outer Space.
                                 including: Gullaume Bijl; Res Ingold, SERVAAS,
                                 Seymour Likely, Gary Carsley, and Peter Hill.
Fred Wilson
By commenting on the place of African
Americans within US museums – and his
projects often position them as gallery
attendants or working as cleaners, rather
than as customers and spectators – Wilson
has caused many museum directors and
curators to re-think their programs and their

attitudes. He has also commented on the

                                                                                                      PRINTED PROJECT 13: Peter Hill
content of Colonial paintings and their
depictions of both slavery and domestic
interiors. For one influential project he
dressed as a museum attendant himself and
‘lived’ in the gallery for a week –
approaching white middle class couples and
interpreting the paintings for them.

                                                  Alexa Wright After Image RD2, Alexa Wright, 1997.
Alexa Wright
Alexa Wright works across many areas from
installation to photography and social            Xu Bing
commentary. Perhaps only one of her               Creator of a fictional language that closely
projects really fits the notion of the            resembles (to foreigners) classical Chinese
Superfiction. In it, she photographed a           script. He has exhibited globally in events
number of people in their own homes who           such as the Venice Biennale, the Asia Pacific
had lost limbs in car and motorbike               Triennial (Brisbane, Australia), and is currently
accidents, and through computer                   director of the Central Academy, Beijing.
manipulation documented the slowly
disappearing phantom limbs that each
experienced for some months after their
accident. These works were presented in
panels of three photographs. In one instance
a man has his hand, wearing his wedding
ring, resting on the table. However, there is a
gap between the wrist and the elbow where
he feels nothing. In the next image the hand
has disappeared entirely and the finger with
the wedding ring now grows out of the
stump of his arm. (see Stranger than Truth)
Kevin Atherton is an artist and fine art educa-      Slade and Chelsea Colleges of Art and was a          most significant being ‘The Next 5 Minutes’
tor born in the Isle of Man in 1950. Based in        visiting lecturer at many UK art colleges in the     (1994 – 2003) a series of international confer-
Dublin, he is the Head of the Sculpture              late 70s and early 80s. Between 1981 – 86 he         ences and exhibitions on electronic communi-
Department and Fine Art Post-Graduate                worked for LVA, which is now the LUX Centre          cations and political culture. Recently (since
Coordinator at the National College of Art and       for Film, Video and Digital Arts. His video art-     2006 as part of the Digital Cultures program)
Design (NCAD), where he has taught since he          works were screened widely in the UK includ-         he initiated ‘(Un)common Ground’ a research
moved to Ireland with his late wife Vicky            ing the Tate and the Whitechapel galleries, in       programme consisting of structured expert
Robinson (d. 2005) in 1999. Prior to teaching at     Europe, North America and beyond. After LVA,         meetings and publications, investigating the
NCAD, Atherton taught at a number of English         he formed and ran the video production com-          new role of art and design as a catalyst for col-
Art Schools most notably Chelsea College of          pany Greenstreet Ltd until 1991. His collabora-      laboration across sectors and disciplines. In
Art, London where he was the Head of Fine Art        tion with Dr Liz Lee and Susie Freeman in the        2007 he edited and contributed to the Book
Media. Whilst at Chelsea he established the          Wellcome Trust award-winning Pharmacopoeia           (Un)common Ground, Creative Encounters
Virtual Reality as a Fine Art Medium research        began in 1999 and has developed into the             Across Sectors and Disciplines, which was
project organising the 1995 international con-       production of art installations about our per-       launched in Spring 2007 at the Enter Festival,
ference at the Tate Gallery – ‘Virtual Reality and   sonal relationships with medical aspects of          Cambridge. In 2008 David Garcia co-founded
the Gallery’.                                        birth, life and death. Pharmacopoeia have            the Tactical Media Files on-line archive and
                                                     exhibited in many galleries in the UK and            resource connecting new forms of social pro-
He has exhibited in museums and galleries            worldwide, along with the permanent exhibit          duction based on networks to the rise of new
through out Europe and North America, most           of 'Cradle to Grave' since 2003 in the Wellcome      social movements.
recently in 2009 in ‘The Studio Dialogues’ at        Trust Gallery at the British Museum. Since
the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and           2004, involvement with ‘Rewind’ British Video
in 2010 in ‘Changing Channels – Art and              Art, based at Duncan of Jordanstone College of       Dr Peter Hill is a Glasgow-born Australian
Television’ at the Museum of Modern Art              Art, University of Dundee, has led to recent         artist, writer, and curator. His on-going
Vienna, and from May – June this year at Tate        exhibitions, publications and DVD collections,       ‘Superfictions’ projects links the visual arts
Britain in ‘Rewind and Play’. In Two Minds his       as has the ‘Analogue’ series of shows and            with literary fiction, and the internet. He has
video performance was first performed pub-           books curated by Chris Meigh-Andrews and             exhibited at the Sydney Biennale, the Museum
licly at The Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 1978     Catherine Elwes. A teacher of art, Critchley con-    of Modern Art, Oxford, and was a British
and more recently was presented ‘In                  tinues to develop collaborative ideas for new        Council ‘Link’ artist-in-residence in New
Conversation’ with the artist Sarah Pierce at        work growing from all of the above, and espe-        Zealand. In 2004, his book Stargazing: Memoirs
Four Gallery Dublin, and at the Van abbe             cially for very large installations in the near      of a Young Lighthouse Keeper (Canongate) won
Museum, Eindhoven.                                   future.                                              a Saltire Award for best First Book of the Year
                                                                                                          at the National Library, Edinburgh. It was read
Atherton received his first permanently sited                                                             as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week by the actor
public sculpture commission in 1982 at               Priscila Fernandes, 1981 Portugal, is an artist      David Tennant. He is currently planning a
Langdon Park School in Poplar, East London           based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Working         ‘Superfictions’ lecture tour of North America in
and won the ABSA Award for the Best                  primarily with video installations, she is explor-   October 2010, and in Europe in the middle of
Commission in any Media for his sculpture of         ing notions of identity, the power of represen-      2011. He is working on several ‘Superfictions’
three bronze figures on Brixton Railway Station      tation and systems of production. Currently          exhibitions around the world. His next book
in 1986. Since the early eighties he has carried     she is researching models we create when try-        of memoirs, Flashbacks to a Terrorist Bombing,
out over a dozen large-scale public sculpture        ing to understand the world. Considering that        recalls the trauma of witnessing the Guildford
commissions throughout Britain and Ireland           any singular representation fails to portray the     pub bombings in 1974. Dr Peter Hill is Adjunct
including in 2009 Another Sphere, a surveil-         world as it is, offering only a singular view        Professor of Fine Art at RMIT University,
lance sculpture, in Ballymun. His work has been      within a multiplicity of other interpretations,      Melbourne. He lives in Geelong, Victoria, with
written about extensively including in the first     Fernandes demonstrates the fascination with          his wife Sally.
edition of Roselee Goldberg’s Performance –          these objects in themselves and the pleasure
Live Art 1909 to the Present, Video Art – A          and joy of representation they evoke.
Guided Tour by Catherine Elwes, and Art Space        Forthcoming exhibitions include TENT                 Keith Hopper teaches Literature and Film
and the City – Public Art and Urban Futures, by      (Rotterdam), Klaipeda Exhibition Hall                Studies for Oxford University’s Department for
Malcolm Miles.                                       (Lithuania), Bratislava City Gallery (Slovakia),     Continuing Education and for St Clare’s
                                                     Pecs (Hungary), Gallery Traklaus (Austria),          International College, Oxford. He is the author
He is currently completing a PhD in the Faculty      Palazzo Ducale (Italy), Centre Art Tecla Sala        of Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a
of Visual Culture at NCAD.                           (Spain) and Museum Amadeu de Sousa                   Young Post-modernist (revised edition 2009,
                                                     Cardoso (Portugal).                                  with a foreword by J. Hillis Miller), and general
                                                                                                          editor of the Ireland into Film series (2001-07).
David Critchley was born in Manchester in
1953. He studied at Stockport College;               David Garcia is Dean of Chelsea College of Art       Keith’s recent work includes chapters in books
Newcastle Upon Tyne Polytechnic and the              and Design. Previously Professor of Design for       such as Shadows of the Gunmen: Violence and
Royal College of Art. One of the organisers of       Digital Cultures, research program based at          the Modern Irish Experience (Cork: Cork UP,
the influential series of installations and media    Hoogeschool voor de Kunst Utrecht and                2008); Literature and Ethics: Questions of
performances at 2B Butler's Wharf in the late        University of Portsmouth. In 1983 Garcia co-         Responsibility in Literary Studies (New York:
1970s, Critchley was also a central figure in the    founded Time Based Arts, which went on to            Cambria Press, 2009); and Aidan Higgins, The
organisation of London Video Arts from its           become one of the premier venues for interna-        Fragility of Form: Critical Essays and
inception in 1976 following ‘The Video Show’         tional media arts in the Netherlands. From this      Observations (Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press,
in which he exhibited that year at the               basis he went on to develop a series of high         2010). He is also a contributor to the Times
Serpentine Gallery. He taught video at the           profile international media arts events; the         Literary Supplement – see, for instance, ‘Aidan
Higgins, the writer’s writer’ (31 March 2010)       logue with relevant experts. Drawing on mate-        major prizes at many international film festi-    rial gathered through her research into animal       vals. His solo exhibitions include Royal College
and_entertainment/the_tls/article7082554.ece        signals and related fieldwork she reflects upon      of Art Galleries, London (2010), Sala Diaz
                                                    our often humorous, deceptive and tragic             Gallery, Texas (2010), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
Forthcoming work includes reviews and essays        attempts at meaningful connection to each            (2006), Kunstmuseum Magdeburg (2005),
for the TLS, Senses of Cinema, and Notes &          other and our environment. She has exhibited         Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (2003) and Pearl
Queries. He is currently writing a book on the      nationally and internationally. Recent and           Gallery, London (2003). He regularly presents
filmmaker and novelist Neil Jordan.                 future exhibitions include ‘Repetitions’ at The      his work in person and in recent years it has
                                                    Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart, Australia 2008. ‘The       been profiled through retrospectives at the
                                                    Ivory Tower Project’ at Triskel Arts Centre, Cork    2007 Venice Biennale and film festivals in
Dr Liz Lee works both as a family doctor in         and ‘Would I Lie to You Baby?’ at The                Oberhausen, Cork, Tampere, Uppsala, Bristol,
Bristol and in partnership with Susie Freeman       Guesthouse, Cork 2009 and ‘Bound’ at the             Regensburg, Glasgow and La Rochelle.
and David Critchley as the sciart collaborative     Xuhui Arts Museum in Shanghai July 2010.             John Smith lives and works in London. He
Pharmacopoeia.                                                                                           teaches part-time at the University of East
                                                                                                         London where he is Professor of Fine Art.
Qualifying as a doctor from London University       Tim O’Riley was born in Britain in 1965. He
in 1980, Lee worked first as a GP in Hackney        lives in London where he works both as an
and then for the past fifteen years as a partner    artist and a research fellow at Chelsea College      The Television experienced a short but mete-
in a large urban general practice in Bristol. Lee   of Art and Design. O’Riley studied at Leicester      oric rise to fame when he first appeared as a
has also been a forensic medical examiner for       and Chelsea and was awarded an AHRC fellow-          bright new star in the London art world firma-
the London Metropolitan Police caring for vic-      ship at the latter in 2004. He is variously inter-   ment of 1986, when he performed his stand up
tims of sexual assault. Lee’s areas of special      ested in science, the limits of knowledge,           routine, as a part of ‘Live to Air’, at the Institute
interest in medicine are cancer and end of life     curiosity and dialogue as spurs for thinking         of Contemporary Arts, London. Conceived of as
care and they have taken an active role in sup-     and generating artworks; a key project has           an evening of exploration into new televisual
porting people who wish to die at home. Dr Liz      been a commission to make artworks in                formats ‘Live to Air’ included the artists Stuart
Lee’s book In Your Own Time – a guide for           response to research at CERN, The European           Brisley, Susan Hiller, and Bruce MacLean. Also in
patients and their carers facing terminal illness   Laboratory for Particle Physics, Geneva. O’Riley     1986 the artist and media theorist David
at home is published by Oxford University           has published work in various journals and           Garcia, as a part of the ‘Talking Back to the
Press. Dr Liz Lee sat on the National Breast        books and has exhibited work at venues               Media’ festival in Amsterdam, interviewed ‘The
Screening Committee and was the Macmillan           including Houldsworth, London; Rubicon               Television’ on Dutch Cable Television. Later that
lead GP in Bristol until 2008.                      Gallery, Dublin; Galerie Olivier Houg, Lyon;         same year ‘The Television’ travelled north to
                                                    Briggs Robinson Gallery, New York; PS1, New          Scotland to present his stand-up routine pre-
Since winning a 1998 Wellcome Trust Sciart          York; Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon;          sciently entitled Death in Glasgow at Street
Award, Pharmacopoeia has created a body of          Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; The               Level Gallery in Glasgow.
work that reflects and responds to the bio-         Science Museum, London; Birmingham City
medical approach to health and illness focus-       Museum and Art Gallery; Walker Art Gallery,          After a period of prolonged stasis lasting twen-
ing on a range of medical conditions such as        Liverpool. In 2010, he will be releasing a book-     ty four years The Television was recently
arthritis, heart disease, HIV and malaria.          work, Accidental Journey, based on some of his       coaxed out of retirement when he agreed to
                                                    interests in astronomy and space and in partic-      be interviewed again by David Garcia, now the
Pharmacopoeia’s first solo show in London           ular on a memento from the Apollo 11 mission         Dean of Chelsea College of Art, as a part of the
toured to seven UK cities. Since then               to the moon in July 1969: a small Irish flag that    2010 ‘Glasgow International Festival of Visual
Pharmacopoeia have exhibited widely, most           accompanied the astronauts on their historic         Art. The Television’s reappearance at Street
recently at Mori Museum Japan, Hamburger            journey. For more information visit www.timo-        Level Gallery was as a slimmed down flat-
Bahnhof Contemporary Art Museum Berlin                                                screened version of his former self. Pleased
and Science Gallery Trinity College Dublin.                                                              with the way things went in Glasgow the sec-
Commissions include work for London                                                                      ond time round, The Television is now available
Development Agency, SKOR Amsterdam,                 John Smith was born in London in 1952 and            for bookings.
Wellcome Collection and Bergen Permanenten          studied film at the Royal College of Art.
Vestlandske Kunstindustrimuseum.                    Strongly influenced by the structural material-
                                                    ist ideas which dominated British artists’ film-
                                                    making during his formative years – but also
Ciara Moore is a visual artist based in Dublin.     fascinated by the immersive power of narrative
In 2000 she graduated with a BA in painting         and the spoken word – he has developed a
from NCAD and received her MA Art in the            body of work which deftly subverts the per-
Contemporary World at NCAD in 2007. In 2008         ceived boundaries between documentary and
she was the inaugural recipient of the National     fiction, representation and abstraction.
Sculpture Factory’s Ireland / Australia             Drawing upon the raw material of everyday
Residency Exchange at the University of             life, Smith’s meticulously crafted films rework
Tasmania, ArtSpace in Sydney, and Monash            and transform reality, playfully exploring and
University in Melbourne. In December 2009,          exposing the language of cinema.
she was invited to take part in the Mamori Art
Lab sound workshop in the Amazon jungle,            Since 1972 John Smith has made over forty
Brazil. Working primarily with film and video       film, video and installation works that have
installation her work also includes drawing,        been shown in cinemas, art galleries and on
sound, text, ephemeral intervention and dia-        television throughout the world and awarded
Printed Project is a curated contemporary art journal, published twice a year by
Visual Artists Ireland.
Printed Project brings comprehensive thought, argument and opinion to bear on
contemporary dialogues and debates; and considers the shared consequences for
all as our culture backs into the future.
Previous curator / editors have included: Katya Sander; Sarat Maharaj; Lolita
Jablonskiene; Declan Clarke & Paul McDevitt; Munira Mirza; Kim Levin; Anton
Vidokle & Tirdad Zolghadr; Alan Phelan; James Elkins; Les Levine; Saskia Bos;
Sarah Pierce.

Printed Project is published twice a year in Dublin            The views expressed in Printed Project are not necessarily
by Visual Artists Ireland.                                     those of Visual Artists Ireland, the Curator / Editor or the
                                                               Editorial Panel.
Printed Project is registered as a trade mark with the Oifig
Na bPaitinní Irish Patents Office. Reg No. 239639.             ©2010 Visual Artists Ireland, the authors and artists.
                                                               All rights reserved.
Issue 13
Published July 2010                                            Visual Artists Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation
                                                               and is core funded by the Arts Council of Ireland
Curator/Editor: Kevin Atherton                                 and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Administrative Editor: Jason Oakley
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Cover price: a7.50                                             Filing (detail), 2001
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Back Issues & Subscriptions
              Issue 12. November 2009                                    Issue 6. February 2007
              ‘Circulation’                                              ‘I Can’t Work Like This’
              Curator / Editor: Katya Sander                             Curators / Editors: Anton Vidokle & Tirdad Zolghadr
              Contributors: Zach Formwalt, Elin Wikstroem, Neil          Contributors: Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Sarah Pierce,
              Cummings, Boudry & Lorenz, Alex Villar, Katja Eydel,       Tirdad Zolghadr, Anton Vidokle, Anselm Franke, Maria
              Simon Sheikh, Brian Holmes, Andrea Creuz, Thomas           Lind, Adrienne Goehler, Martha Rosler, Liam Gillick,
              Boren, Ashley Hunt. Jason Simon, Simon Sheikh John         Diedrich Diederichsen, Ingrid Serven, Fia Backström,
              Strauss, Sandra Schäfer, Hito Steyerl, Ralph and Stefan    Joseph Cohen, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tom Holert.
                                                                         Issue 5. May 2005
              Issue 11. June 2009                                        ‘Another Monumental Metaphor’
              'Farewell to Post-Colonialism - Querying the Guangzhou
              Triennial 2008'                                            Curator / Editor: Alan Phelan

              Curator / Editor: Sarat Maharaj                            Contributors: Niamh O’Malley, Georgina Jackson, Steven
                                                                         Duval and René Zechlin, Anna Colin, Tim Davies, John
              Contributors: Dorothy Albrecht, Avi Alpert, Maria          Langan, Ann Mulrooney and Deirdre O’Mahony, Gavin
              Thereza Alves, Saleh Barakat, Ulrich Beck, Ecke Bonk,      Delahunty and Nevan Lahart, Gavin Murphy, Tim Stott,
              Conrad Botes, Zoe Butt, Lyn Carter, Amy Cheng, Amy         Ciarán Bennett, Jason E Bowman, Sarah Glennie,
              Cheung, Chen Chieh-Jen, Joseph DeLappe, Johnson            Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Karen MacKinnon and
              Chang Tsong-Zung, Paul Gladston, Khaled Hafez,             Hugh Mulholland, Alice Maher, Mark O’Kelly, Susan
              Huang Xiaopeng , Du Keke, Michael Lee, Simon Leung,        MacWilliam, Shane Cullen, Vanessa O’Reilly, Niamh
              Trinh T. Minh-ha, Paul O'Kane, Annie Paul, Hans Hamid      McCann, Katie Holten.
              Rasmussen, Gertrud Sandqvist, Stuart Sim, Gilane
              Tawadros, Hu Xiang-cheng, ChenYun, Yi Zhou.                Issue 4. April 2005
                                                                         ‘The New PhD in Studio Art’
              Issue 10. October 2008                                     Curator / Editor: James Elkins
              'The Art of Living With Strangers'
                                                                         Contributors: James Elkins, Timothy Emlyn Jones,
              Curator / Editor: Lolita Jablonskiene                      Jo-Anne Duggan, Sue Lovegrove, Frank Thirion,
              Contributors: Lolita Jablonskiene, Zygmunt Bauman,         Ruth Waller, Christl Berg, Maria Mencia, Uriel Orlow,
              Flash Bar, Brendan Earley, Steven Flusty, Sam Ely & Lynn   Phoebe von Held.
              Harris, Lukasz Piotr Galecki, Tessa Giblin, Daniel
              Jewesbury, Jesse Jones, Danius Kesminas, Eléonore de
              Montesquiou, Nikos Papastergiadis, Paulina Egle            Issue 3. October 2004
              Pukyte, Simon Rees, Société Réaliste, Apolonija            ‘The Self Express’
              Sustersic, Sarah Tuck, What is to be done? / Chto          Curator / Editor: Les Levine
              delat?, Pavel Braila.                                      Contributors: John Boone, Soke Dinkla, Jenny Dixon,
                                                                         Catherine Galasso, Ted Greenwald, Noritoshi Hirakawa,
              Issue 9. April 2008
                                                                         Yu Yeon Kim, Vivian Kurz, Thomas McEvilley, Declan
              ‘The Call of the Wild is now a Cry for Help’
                                                                         McGonagle, Lars Movin, John Perreault, Steven Rand,
              Curators / Editors: Declan Clarke and Paul McDevitt        Walter Robinson, Katrin Roos.
              Contributors: Jonathan Meese, Sophie von Hellermann,
              Goshka Macuga, Luke Dowd, Liz Craft / Klaus Weber,         Issue 2. May 2004
              Markus Selg / David Godbold, Matthias Dornfeld / Sara      ‘Letters from Five Continents’
              MacKillop, Mamma Andersson, Jockum Nordström,              Curator / Editor: Saskia Bos
              Jewyo Rhii, Tyler Vlahovich.
                                                                         Contributors: Tobias Berger, Annie Fletcher, Basak Senova,
              Issue 8. October 2007                                      Machiko Harada, Francesco Bernardelli, Natasa Petresin,
              ‘Artistic Freedom – Anxiety and Aspiration’                Clive Kellner, Nina Folkersma, Paula Toppila, Raimundas
                                                                         Malasauskas, Ilina Koralova, Nuno Sacramento, Edit Molnar,
              Curator / Editor: Munira Mirza                             Nikola Dietrich, Luca Cerizza, Montse Badia, Dominique
              Contributors: JJ Charlesworth, Pauline Hadaway, Paul       Fontaine, Sophie O'Brien, Sjoukje van der Meulen, Yukie
              O’Neill, Andrew Calcutt, Sonya Dyer, Padraic Moore,        Kamiya, Florence Derieux, Lorenzo Benedetti , Anja Dorn,
              Cecilia Wee, Dolan Cummings, Emma Ridgway, Becky           Rob Tufnell, Phillip van den Bossche.
              Shaw, Andrew Brighton, Josie Appleton.
                                                                         Issue 1. September 2003
                                                                         ‘There Once was a West’
              Issue 7. June 2007                                         Curator / Editor: Sarah Pierce
              ‘Unconditional Love’                                       Contributors: Issa Samb, Bettina Funcke, Rachel Price,
              Curator / Editor: Kim Levin                                Aleksandra Mir, Pip Day, Wendy Judge,
              Contributors: Kim Levin, Ekaterina Degot, Maurizio         Gerard Byrne, Simon Sheikh, Caoimhín Mac Giolla
              Cattelan, Marina Abramovic, Tania Bruguera, Christoph      Léith, Grant Watson, Peter Fend, Asier Pérez, Alan
              Buchel, Luca Buvoli, Andrea Fraser, Kendell Geers, Oleg    Phelan.
              Kulik, Maurice O’Connell, Santiago Sierra, Nedko
              Solakov, Tavares Strachen.

Description: Printed Project 13 Virtual Fictional brings together a range of artists practices that both reflect upon and utilize strategies drawing upon notions of meta -fiction, virtual space, hoaxes and misdirection. As Kevin Atherton has observed, � as a consequence of the emergence of virtual reality technology in the 1990s, the age-old relationship between truth and fiction was cast into a new light. Now, two decades later, when the hype has largely subsided surrounding VR, we can see that the true alternative world that was emerging twenty years ago, was not after all, the one to be found by each of us individually through the act of putting a helmet over our heads, but rather the one that would collectively contain us all. Perhaps the lasting contribution that virtual reality technology has made is as a poetic metaphor serving to underscore and sharpen our awareness of the virtuality of existence itself, rather than, as so much of the hype wanted us to believe; as an alternative to it.