ELAINE M.L. TAM



is an itinerant writer, editor and curator from Hong Kong currently living and working in London. She collaborates with contemporary artists and thinkers to create new forms and forums for critical engagement. Her research interests include psychoanalysis, media theory, performative writing and feminist new materialisms.

Curatorial @ White Cube
Editorial @ Fieldnotes 

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FORTHCOMING 
Urbanomic K-Pulp Switch





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︎ Contact
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NOTICE BOARD





TO BE DISPERSED, NOT TO DISAPPEAR

is the title of Yi To’s solo presentation with Alice Amati, London (31 May–6 July 2024), which comprises painting and sculpture. This commissioned piece of writing brings together wide-ranging references from the fields of systems theory, archaeology and intelligent design. Through these, the text broaches the enigmas of the body, its interpretation and symbolisation, existential questions underpinning To’s artistic practice. Read here

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MAY 2024
*WRITING




APPROXIMATIONS

is the first solo exhibition of Serbian collective Belgrade Raw (est. 2009) in the UK, programmed to coincide with Photo London. Contra resolved photographic narratives, the collective take the open-ended, daily incidents of urban life in Serbia as their primary material. Comprising one major installation of image-based work, ‘Approximations’ conveys ubiquity and spontaneity through the synaesthesia of a ‘visual cacophony’: a slipstream of snapshot-encounters. Learn more

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MAY 2024
*CURATION



EVENING SCHOOL II

is a Fieldnotes initiative comprising a series of six online sessions structured around communal reading and writing, geared towards the creation and cultivation of new text-based works. The programme is aimed at emerging writers and artists with text-based practices. Learn more

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APRIL 2024
*EVENT




FIELDNOTES 006

this brand new issue of Fieldnotes revolves around ‘the destructive method’, and features work / writing by Anne Carson, D.S. Marriott, Stephen Emmerson, Chris Kraus, Ocean Vuong, Gregory J. Markopoulos, Flo Ray, among others. Buy here

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APRIL 2024
*EDITORIAL



THE UNWRITTEN SCRIPT

is a group show that takes the metaphor of the script as a formal device for mental structuration. Considering the incipient moment of an image, sensation or feeling before it is reified as conscious thought, the selected artwork revels in improbable situations, amorphous being, destabilisation and visual slippage: all of which ‘unwrites’ the script. Learn more

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MARCH 2024
*CURATION



THAT WHICH I HAVE NOT HAD

is a poem about the unrequited love of an artist you met just that one time at Art Basel last summer, the delusional quality of an adult crush, an homage to the teenage swoon and an admittance of unresolved daddy issues, apparently. Read here

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MARCH 2024
*WRITING



EVENING SCHOOL I

is a Fieldnotes initiative comprising a series of six online sessions structured around communal reading and writing, geared towards the creation and cultivation of new text-based works. The programme is aimed at emerging writers and artists with text-based practices. Learn more

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JANUARY 2024
*EVENT



PHUNG-TIEN PHAN

an artist profile covering recent works by the German-Vietnamese artist, published on Burlington Contemporary. Exploring Phan’s work through ideas of performativity, selfhood and archetypes, the text makes reference to Judith Butler, Lynne Tillman, among others. Read more

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JANUARY 2024
*WRITING



LET THE MUD SETTLE

is the title of a solo exhibition by Hiu Tung Lau at Alice Folker Gallery, Copenhagen (19 January–8 March 2024). A work of prose-poetry accompanies Lau’s paintings, making oblique reference to the adjacency of love and pain, relationships as feats of endurance, and the power of a trauma bond. Read more

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JANUARY 2024
*WRITING



GIRLCHILD

is the title of a solo exhibition by Warsaw-based painter Helena Siasny. Who, or what, is the ‘girlchild’? She is an issue of feminism, the victim of misogyny, an instance of culture, the fiction of women, the dysphoria of gender. A creative text has been written to accompany the exhibition. Learn more

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DECEMBER 2023
*CURATION



FOREVERS AND ENDS

is the final instalment in a tripartite text on diasporic maternality and mourning. Appearing in ‘Closure’, the 12th and final issue of Whitelies, the work was published over the past three years with the continued support of the magazine for the subject matter. Buy here

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NOVEMBER 2023
*WRITING



THE MAKESHIFT BODY

is a monograph on the work of Mandy El-Sayegh published by Black Dog Press. It features an in-depth essay by Elaine ML Tam that explores the entwined corporeal and language-based dimensions of the artist’s practice, through the psychoanalytic theory of Julia Kristeva, Lacanian metaphor and Franz Kafka’s short story In the Penal Colony. Buy here

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OCTOBER 2023
*WRITING




FIGURE THIS

is a two-part exhibition of work by nine artists informed by and indebted to the tradition of figurative painting, who also visually fraternise with its subversion. Of the group, five artists produced work during a residency hosted by UK-based patrons the Kowitz Family and Noldor Art Residency in Ghana. Learn more

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OCTOBER 2023
*CURATION



COMPANION III

is an anthology of art and writings featuring TJ Demos, Alex Bennett, Robert Macfarlane, Rod Mengham, Philippa Snow, Mona Hatoum, Robert Ryman and Julie Mehretu among others. Visual essays, recorded lectures and artist writings are just some of the forms of creative expression and discourse brought together in a single volume. Buy here

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OCTOBER 2023
*EDITORIAL



UBIQUITOUS NO.14

is a group exhibition featuring conceptual, process-based and performative works of art, taking place at Tube Gallery, Majorca (26 September – 10 December 2023). The exhibition title is derived from Michael Thonet’s 1859 bentwood No.14 Cafe Chair, a revolution in design and one of the first instances of furniture disassembly for economic packing. Learn more

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SEPTEMBER 2023
*CURATION



FLOOD

is a walking–writing workshop exploring concrete poetry, psychogeography, meta-fiction and frottage, delivered in partnership with Cement Fields. Join us on Isle of Sheppey for an afternoon of experimental writing and discussion. Free and open to the public. Book now

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SEPTEMBER 2023
*EVENT



CRUISE, DÉRIVE

is a session bringing together a screening of ‘The Cruise’ (1998) by Bennett Miller and reading by poet Richard Scott. A discussion will be held on queering the Situationist concept of ‘dérive’, in relation to the practice of cruising. Hosted by Auto Italia and Art/ Work Association. Book now

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SEPTEMBER 2023
*EVENT



LIMP GESTURES

is a focus piece on film works Dizzy (2019) and Passive Aggressive 2 (2017) by artist Morag Keil, as well as a meditation on opulence and ubiquity. Taking the fold as the motif of opulence par excellence, the text considers the virtual pleats and extension of surface area instantiated by the speed of contemporary movement, production and digital technology. Read here

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JULY 2023
*WRITING



WINDOW SHOPPER

is a two-person exhibition featuring works by artists Suwon Lee and Małgorzata Widomska (7 July–19 August). Thinking through the retinal pleasure of photography and abstract painting, Window shopper considers the parsimony of the frame edge, the aesthetic logic of transparency and the role of passionate detachment in memory formation. Read here

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JULY 2023
*CURATION




HIGH VARIANCE

Fieldnotes issue 005 contains new writing and artwork from Josephine Pryde, Fred Moten, Ren Ebel, Marie NDiaye & Jordan Stump, Dana Ranga & Christina Hennemann, Sirkhane Darkroom, Lauren de Sá Naylor, Eileen Myles, Sam Cottington, Margaret Tait, Luke Fowler, Mary Ruefle, Dabin Kim, Alex Aspden, Philip Ewe, among others. Buy here

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JUNE 2023
*EDITORIAL




ANNA SOLAL

A textual response accompanying the artist’s solo exhibition ‘Le Bréviaire’ at Mamoth, London, which weaves a constellation of the artist’s wide-ranging references, from data visualisation to the criminal-as-flower of Jean Genet. Read here

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JUNE 2023
*WRITING




SUPERSTRINGS. A SYMPOSIUM

Through rigorous engagement across art and science, this reader convenes artists and thinkers – from Alexander Kluge to Edward Witten – all of whom consider Anselm Kiefer’s artistic practice and the inherent irreducibility of superstring theory. Buy here

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JUNE 2023
*EDITORIAL




THE COLLECTOR

is a short story about an encounter between an art historian and art collector driven mad by obsession, written to accompany non-binary Polish artist Kle Mens’ London Gallery Weekend presentation, which features two paintings of mythical hybrids: Harpy and Sphinx. Read here

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JUNE 2023
*WRITING




PHANTOM CURRENTS

is the title of Lidija Kononenko’s new installation, which comprises a screen-based textual work powered by solar energy in real time. The text written for the occasion explores the contingent nature of the work as well as the absurdities of language, specifically that which is used by medical establishments to describe symptoms, emotions and embodied feeling. Read here

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MAY 2023
*WRITING




LAURA BERGER

Written to accompany the artist’s presentation of six new paintings set in the desert exhibited by gallery Mama Projects at Future Fair, New York. With reference to the geological process of denudation integral to the creation of deserts, the text considers Berger’s treatment of figuration in relation to the motif of the veil that recurs throughout this suite of works. Read here

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MAY 2023
*WRITING




AGAINST WRITING

A two-part writing workshop commissioned by and for Somerset House Studios bringing together place-based ‘free’ writing from the ZONING zine in the morning session, and structured exercises inviting reflection on poetics and art jargon in the afternoon. Learn more

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APRIL 2023
*EVENT




SOFTBOX

is an exhibition of new image-objects by Stefan Burger held at Kirchgasse Gallery in Switzerland, that star ‘actors’ hailing from the secret world of things. Written on the occasion of the show, this work of creative prose  explores the absurdity inherent to human / non-human encounters, and which underpins Burger’s process and thinking behind SoftboxRead here

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APRIL 2023
*WRITING




MILKY BLIND EYE

is an exhibition of paintings by Polish artist Julia Kowalska (21 April–13 May). Featuring an early abstract work of bodily interiors alongside recent dreamscapes, Milky Blind Eye abstracts the figure from the body with consideration to the psychoanalytical notion of unheimlich, ‘for what is the body if not the home of the mind’. A poem using Kowalska’s painting titles as its basis has been written to accompany the exhibition. Read here

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APRIL 2023
*CURATION




ZONING, SOUTH LONDON GALLERY
15 APRIL 2022

is a Fieldnotes publication exploring techniques of place-based writing launching at SLG with a reading by Declan Wiffen. Drawing from works by Robert Walser, Georges Perec, Raymond Queneau and Anne Carson among others, the publication features prompts devised for writers / non-writers alike to respond to. Buy now

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APRIL 2023
*EVENT




MIKE NELSON AND ‘OBJECT ARTICULATION’

is a short personal essay about an encounter with The Coral Reef in 2010, and a re-discovery of Nelson’s work years later at the Hayward Gallery. Though initially alighting from the idea of ‘object articulation’, the piece centres upon narrative devices and the role of fiction-ing fundamental to the artist’s thinking and practice. Read here

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MARCH 2023
*WRITING




NEVER LET A FOOL KISS YOU

is a metatextual work of performative writing that extends Frank O’Hara’s lyrical poem For Grace, After a Party (1954), and exploits literary forms and devices such as the footnote, the screenplay and the first-person narrative. Appears in Sybil’s Mouths, a Pure Fiction book published by Sternberg Press. Buy now

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JANUARY 2023
*WRITING




FILTH_SUBSTRATUM

is a performance lecture drawing together research, resources and imagery compiled for the written text ‘Filth’, first published in the ‘Becoming Geological’ anthology. The performance takes place live and online on 5 January 2023 at V2_ in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Get tickets

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JANUARY 2023
*PERFORMANCE




MESSENGERS

is a temporary set and open laboratory devised by artist Rebecca Salvadori, in which she filmed a series of mise-en-scènes with musicians Kenichi Iwasa and Maxwell Sterling, light artist Charlie Hope, writer ET and photographer Henerico Rossi. Messengers took place as part of PAF 2022, an experimental music and moving image festival in Olomouc, Czech Republic. Learn more

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DECEMBER 2022
*PERFORMANCE




MELTED WITH U

is the first New York solo exhibition of Barcelona-based artist Marria Pratts, hosted by La Bibi Gallery. With reference to her 2017 painting made directly onto a chocolate calendar, this exhibition text explores cheap sentiment, the alterity of surprise, and the peripatetic haunt that recurs throughout Pratts’ work. Read here

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DECEMBER 2022
*WRITING




FILTH

is a work of theory-fiction and a philosophical meditation on the metaphysics of decay and regeneration. The text draws upon the thought of German pessimists Arthur Schopenhauer and Philipp Mainländer, and is structured according to the six stages of decomposition. Edited by Martin Howse, the ‘Becoming Geological’ anthology is published by V2_ and features philosophers Thomas Moynihan and Patricia MacCormack, among others. Buy now

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NOVEMBER 2022
*WRITING





THE DECEIVER

is a performance by Agnieszka Szczotka which took place at Forma HQ (3 November 2022) to celebrate the launch of the new issue of Fieldnotes, in which the performance appears in transcribed form. FN004 includes contributors Will Alexander, Tony Brooks, Camille Roy, Can Xue, Fanny Howe and Johanna Hedva, among others. Buy now

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NOVEMBER 2022
*EVENT





THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN, BUT THERE ARE NEW SUNS

is a solo presentation of Paula Turmina’s work with Mama Projects at Bienvenue, Paris. Inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s Earthseed, this commissioned text involves an elder imparting ancient wisdom and regaling stories of another world to a petal-faced youth. Read here

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OCTOBER 2022
*WRITING





MISTRANSLATE

is a personal essay attending themes of mourning, cultural dysphoria and language loss. Appearing in Whitelies magazine, the piece follows a series of vignettes slipping between Paris, London, Singapore and Hong Kong, and considers alienation and its imbrication with an untranslatable inter-generational haunting. Read here

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OCTOBER 2022
*WRITING




WHITELIES #11

is a magazine which speaks to a breadth of intercultural experience focused predominantly on East Asia. Highlights of issue #11 ‘Identity’ include Zhong Lin’s reinterpretation of Satoshi Kons’ 1997 psycho-thriller Perfect Blue; Amanda Lee Koe’s short story Pawn; interviews with Japan-based supermodel Kiko Mizuhara and musician Terry Riley; and much more. Buy now

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OCTOBER 2022
*EDITORIAL





WHITE CUBE COMPANION 2

is an anthology featuring writing and artwork by Etel Adnan, Cecilia Alemani, Michael Armitage, Sophie Calle, Briony Fer, David Hammons, Estelle Hoy, Jenny Jaskey, Chris Kraus, Christian Marclay, Ben Okri, Isamu Noguchi, Alina Szapocznikow, Danh Vo, Jeff Wall among others. Buy now

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OCTOBER 2022
*EDITORIAL





BURN, BABY, BURN

is a review of Lindsey Mendick’s exhibition ‘Off With Her Head’ at Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate. Walking the reader through specific artworks across the three rooms of the show, the piece discusses mythology, the artist’s use of clay, and feminine rage. Read further for smoking pussycats, wine crate dioramas and Pandora’s (tissue) box. Read here 

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AUGUST 2022
*WRITING






DESIGNING THE WILD

is a research paper tracing the historical constructions of a ‘wild’ environment pervading ecological thought. Its aim is to ultimately reveal the artificiality of its signification as origin, purity and inherently good, and interrogate the concept of an ‘authentic’ natural environment. Published by Raddar, Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC), Lausanne. Buy now

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AUGUST 2022
*WRITING





A.R. PENCK

Published to accompany an exhibition on the late German artist A.R. Penck at White Cube, London, this monograph spotlights paintings by the artist, and lesser-known Super8 films he made in collaboration with director Wolfgang Opitz. Testifying to Penck’s assertion that art should be for everyone, the works mobilise the artist’s unique concept of Standart (a portmanteau of ‘standard’ and ‘art’) and are complemented by an in-depth essay by Hannah Klemm and an in-conversation with Andrea Schlieker, originally published in Artscribe in 1983. Buy now

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JULY 2022
*EDITORIAL





ZONING, SOUTH LONDON GALLERY

A local walking workshop exploring poetic and performative techniques of ‘place-based’ writing. Key texts and visual references will be used to look at methods such as: concrete poetry, psychogeography and frottage, as ways of mapping the urban landscape through graphic scores, typography and language. Book now

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JULY 2022
*EVENT





THE IDLE CLOTH

is an essay appearing in Jonathan Michael Ray’s artist publication Ubi Umbra Cadit, published to coincide with his two-person exhibition with Wilhelmina Barns-Graham at Tate St. Ives. The limited edition publication spotlights recent and new work of Ray’s. The text on Ray’s work threads excerpts from Samuel Beckett’s Ill Seen Ill Said, ideas from Hal Foster’s Brutal Aesthetics and original fictive prose. Read hereBuy now

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JUNE 2022
*WRITING





REVERB, PUSHKIN HOUSE

is a writing workshop exploring concepts related to collective memory, historicity and personal archives. Together, we will consider poetics and politics, narratives marginal to the historical record, and the ways in which the event is made manifest by different techniques and styles of writing. Book now

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JUNE 2022
*EVENT





WISH LUSH

is a group exhibition curated by ET and Arthur Gouillart. Situated by environmental philosophy and the ever-present climate emergency, Wish Lush engages the enchantment, ambivalence and melancholy with which its 14 artists approach the natural world. A work of prose has been written to accompany the exhibition. Read here

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JUNE 2022
*CURATION





BLOCK, WHITECHAPEL GALLERY

celebrates the artist’s studio as a site of failure and frustration, reflecting on the role these play in creative process. Bringing together experiences of failure, desperation and frustrated intentions, the workshop will consider how writing might be deployed as a medium or tool to en/counter creative blocks. Book now

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MAY 2022
*EVENT





EYOT

A new project by Geopoetics Research Group about islands, their intensities and chaotic psychic states. This 1-hour montage explores the mysteries of the archipe-logical, and considers breakaway evolution, fugitive imaginaries and the tie between erosion and sovereignty. Aired Thursday 24 March 4pm GMT on Montez Press Radio as part of a day-long program with Chisenhale Studios, London. Listen here

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MARCH 2022
*RADIO





TELL-TALE HEART,
MAGIC WAFERS, YOUNG LOVE

Three page-long stories responding to Open Space's 2022 theme of 'Recovery Through Kinship'. Tell-tale heart is a Poe-inspired piece that twins ideas of 'bloodthirsty' and 'blood ties'; Magic wafers interrogates the relationship between transubstantiation, communion and community; in Young love, a man longing for his deceased mother discovers an elixir of youth. Read here 

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MARCH 2022
*WRITING





ZONING, SOUTH LONDON GALLERY

A local walking workshop exploring poetic and performative techniques of ‘place-based’ writing. Key texts and visual references will be used to look at methods such as: concrete poetry, psychogeography and frottage, as ways of mapping the urban landscape through graphic scores, typography and language. Book now

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FEBRUARY 2022
*EVENT





SUBTEXTS

Unlike the vast, unknowable underworld, the field in which human activities take place is but a thin film on the Earth’s crust. Delving towards telluric intensities, Subtexts is a collection of geopoetic, sublithic writing – an earthward analytical offshoot exploring Nature’s underbelly and its chaotic psychic propensities. Find out more

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JANUARY 2022
*EDITORIAL






7 MOVEMENTS

is a work of theoretical autofiction that grapples with the great unknown in seven short chapters.

‘7 Movements’ features in the digital publication Overflow alongside artwork by Geistė Kinčinaitytė and further writing by Isabelle McNeill and Esther Teichmann. Read more

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DECEMBER 2021
*WRITING





MATERIA

A piece of poetic prose on the transmissive nature of maternality published alongside Nicole Maria Winkler’s body of work Materia, in response to Whitelies Magazine December issue #10 theme ‘Patience’. Read hereBuy now

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DECEMBER 2021
*WRITING





SPIGOT OF LOVE

A short essay about aberrant breasts in art, this text traverses references as diverse as Philip Roth’s novella The Breast (1972), the ‘jatte-téton’ milk bowl allegedly modelled upon Marie Antoinette’s breast, Lee Miller’s striking images of a radical masectomy, as well as Alina Szapocznikow’s uncanny sculpture Dessert III (1971). Read here

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NOVEMBER 2021
*WRITING





COMPANION 1

is an anthology of writings, in-conversations and visual essays platforming contemporary artistic practices. In it, Bronwyn Katz speaks to Zoé Whitley about land as something that is ‘not owned but owns us’; Dakin Hart explores Isamu Noguchi’s idea of the perfect functional object; Tracey Emin shares her reflections from intensive care, before and after cancer surgery; and plenty more. Buy now

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OCTOBER 2021
*EDITORIAL






INTERVALS

is a poem commissioned by FORM IV, a New York-based artist-run initiative. Littered with interrupted thoughts and rogue em dashes, and finishing with the first line of John Keats’ Endymion (1818), ‘Intervals’ is a pace-y poem that directs (in as much as it instructs) a romantic attenuation to the clandestine everyday affairs of urban life. Read here

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SEPTEMBER 2021
*WRITING






MUDCAST

Along the Deptford Creek as the tide recedes, mudlarkers descend onto the bank, accessing a non-linear history of detritus. Mudcast tells the stories of mudlarkers to chronicle a history of settlements, as commerce, warfare, agriculture and colonialism have littered the Thames since pre-Roman times. Commissioned by AAJA Radio and Deptford X Festival, aired Friday 16 July, 12pm. Listen here

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JULY 2021
*RADIO






SPILLS 

is a performance lecture interweaving theory with original writing for the annual symposium Tactics & Praxis: Creativity, Pleasure and Ethics in Academic Work, hosted by Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge. An illustrated transcript of ‘SPILLS’ has been published in volume 1 of Deleuzine, ‘a zine for nobodies without organs’. Read here

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JULY 2021
*PERFORMANCE