ELAINE M.L. TAM



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

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FORTHCOMING 
Urbanomic K-Pulp Switch





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SELECTED RECENT



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 and published by V2_Lab for the Unstable Media. Learn more
NOVEMBER 2022
Writing

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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. Highlights of FN004 include Tony Brooks, Camille Roy, Can Xue, Fanny Howe and Johanna Hedva. Buy now
NOVEMBER 2022
Publication

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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
OCTOBER 2022
Writing

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MISTRANSLATE

is a personal essay which attends to a complex of themes including 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. Published in Whitelies #11Read here

OCTOBER 2022
Writing

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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 which follows a relationship based on financial subordination; interviews with Japan-based supermodel Kiko Mizuhara and musician Terry Riley; and much more. Buy now
OCTOBER 2022
Publication

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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
OCTOBER 2022
Publication

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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 
AUGUST 2022
Writing

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DESIGNING THE WILD

is a research paper written by Arthur Gouillart and Elaine Tam, which traces 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, an annual design review by the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC), Lausanne. Buy now
AUGUST 2022
Publication

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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
JULY 2022
Publication

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ZONING, SOUTH LONDON GALLERY
Saturday 23rd July

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
JULY 2022
Workshop

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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
JUNE 2022
Publication

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REVERB, PUSHKIN HOUSE
Saturday 11 June 2022

is a Fieldnotes writing workshop which will explore 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
JUNE 2022
Workshop

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WISH LUSH

is a group exhibition curated by Elaine Tam 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.

Featuring João Alves, Louis Appleby, Suzy Babington, Ryan Brown, Sofie Burgaard, Luke Burton, Zoë Carlon, May Hands, Angus McCrum, Peter Larsen, Ranald Macdonald, Conor Murgatroyd, Alfie Rouy and Paula Turmina 
JUNE 2022
Exhibition

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BLOCK, WHITECHAPEL GALLERY
Thursday 5 May 2022

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
MARCH 2022
Workshop

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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
MARCH 2022
Radio

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TELL-TALE HEART,
MAGIC WAFERS, YOUNG LOVE

Three page-long stories comprise this commission 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 
MARCH 2022
Writing

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ZONING, SOUTH LONDON GALLERY
Saturday 5 February 2022

A local walking workshop by Fieldnotes editors Bella Marrin and Elaine Tam 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
FEBRUARY 2022
Workshop

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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. Poetry, art writing and essay come together in this mysterious anthology, to give silhouette to what lurks beneath. Find out more
JANUARY 2022
Publication

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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
DECEMBER 2021
Publication

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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
DECEMBER 2021
Publication

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EMOTIONAL FREQUENCIES

is a two-person show by Francesca Blomfield and Maki Katayama taking place at imlabor, Tokyo (12 December 2021 — 23 Janaury 2022). 

Written to accompany the show is an enigmatic text in third-person about ‘Ringlets’. Read here
DECEMBER 2021
Writing

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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
NOVEMBER 2021
Writing

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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 the tactility of South African click languages and land as something that is ‘not owned but owns us’; Dakin Hart explores Isamu Noguchi’s idea of the perfect functional object, focusing on his hypothetical proposals for playgrounds; Tracey Emin shares her reflections from intensive care, before and after cancer surgery; and plenty more. Buy now
OCTOBER 2021
Publication

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VERY COLD

An exhibition text taking epistolary form, written to accompany Henrik Potter’s new body of work ‘Very Cold’ at SUNDY, London (7 October—27 November 2021). Read here
OCTOBER 2021
Writing

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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
SEPTEMBER 2021
Poetry

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MUDCAST

Along the Deptford Creek as the tide recedes, mudlarkers descend onto the bank, accessing a non-linear history of detritus. Their finds chronicle a history of settlements, as commerce, warfare, agriculture and colonialism have littered the Thames since pre-Roman times. Mudcast combines interviews, field recordings, music and poetry to tell the stories of mudlarkers.

Commissioned by AAJA Radio and Deptford X Festival; Mudcast aired Friday 16 July, 12pm. Listen here
JULY 2021
Radio

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SPILLS 

— a performance lecture interweaving theory with original writing by Geiste Kincinaityte and Elaine Tam, 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 (CRASSH), University of Cambridge

An illustrated transcript of ‘SPILLS’ has been published in volume 1 of Deleuzine, ‘a zine for nobodies without organs’. Read here

Image: Cy Twombly, Natural History, Mushrooms (1974)
JULY 2021
Performance

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SANYA KANTAROVSKY, INTO THE BLUE

A comparative reading of Kantarovsky’s blue paintings with reference to Pablo Picasso’s Blue period (1901-1905), interspersed with fragments of Derek Jarman’s Chroma (1994). Read here
JUNE 2021
Writing

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SEMIONAUTICS X SUBTEXTS

An auditory experience by Semionautics and Subtexts, two projects toeing the line between fact and fabulation to explore natural phenomena and the syncretic now. First aired by Montez Press Radio

Writings and readings by Eloise Bennett, Silvia Bombardini, Andrew Copolov, James Hendrix Elsey, Arthur Gouillart, Alasdair Milne, George Finlay Ramsay, Siegrun Salmanian and Elaine Tam. Listen here

Read this article on Clot Magazine to find out how the thought of Stanislaw Lem inspired Semionautics.
MARCH 2021
Radio

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MONSTER MOMS AND PHANTOM PAINS

Tala Madani’s pithy look at Shit Moms and Mother Figures is dark, slippery and dead refreshing. While her older work may have explored male maladies, these recent paintings are replete with psychoanalytic ideas of femme gravitas. The handful in focus here — Mother Figure (2018), Shit Mom (Quads) (2019), The Womb (2019) and Untitled (2020) — bear Madani’s sparing palette which, as the artist professes, alternate between swarthy Watchmen comic shades and kindergarten pastels. Read here
MARCH 2021
Writing

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SNAKE (IN CHANEL 66 PULSE)

is a becoming-animal, neo-noir prose poem inspired by a Chanel lipstick shade, 18th century Baroque composer Scarlatti, Youtube video clips of snake poaching and, notably, Deleuze & Guattari’s notion of becoming. 

This work was published as part of Horizon Magazine Issue 2 in audio and text forms. Read / listen here
FEBRUARY 2021
Poetry

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LOOKING FOR LEONORA (CARRINGTON)

was my question to her Tarot, the selection of cards that answered appear here as a guide to this text. The distant stars beget a possibility, a means of path, a field of virtualities. A splay of cards will call forth a reckoning — a game of image association meets a delightful play with chance. To it, we deploy intuitive practices commonly used in the reading of art, whereby we attune ourselves to symbols, colour, scale and proportion, compositional harmony. Read here
FEBRUARY 2021
Writing

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FUGUES

is a study of objects. Elements repeat and imitate one another like a polyphonic canon of voices narrating stories of domestic confinement in looped time. With images by photographer Nicole Maria Winkler and texts by artist Issy Wood, writer Ella Plevin, model Freja Beha Erichsen and curator Elaine Tam. Buy now 
DECEMBER 2020
Poetry

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