Before the RCA, I studied literature at the University of Sussex and Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich. I then worked in film in Bristol for a year prior to the Writing MA.
Alongside writing, I want to make films. I have previously written for and directed two short films, one about ghosts and one about self-help tapes. Ghosts in Films was screened at the Cube Microplex in Bristol in January 2019. My writing is featured in CityMetric, The Invisible Worker, Mshed, NOIT5 and Self & Other, a podcast on NTS.
I suppose my final major project Cold Storage betrays my conscious and unconscious habits in writing and research in the last two years, at least the starting point of some projects, which is a tendency toward circling around commonplace situations, objects, places. In the case of my major project: a desire to think and write about fridges, freezers, industrial chillers, etc.
Reading and research have led to experiments (often working with and drawing upon other writer’s work closely) with how this interest in exhausting the normal and ordinary can formally take shape. This interest was catalysed by a talk at our course symposium: ‘Where SARDINE’S: Poetry and Art in Conversation’ entitled: ‘Collective Ekphrasis’ with Max Porter, Jane Yeh, Rachael Allan, Catrin Morgan and Daisy LaFarge in November 2018.
These directions also (probably) began with visiting the Wallace Collection and reading dozens of documents about Charles Auguste LeBourg’s drinking fountain, ‘La Fontaine Wallace’ at the collection’s archive, leading to A Parisian Drinking Fountain in London. Dozens of these Wallaces dot the streets of Paris. Other smaller projects include a screenplay/interview with actor and writer of This Country Charlie Cooper about countryside inertia and the mockumentary form, and a catalogue essay on writing, reading and the work of Dora Garcia.
My piece for NOIT mixes short fiction with local history writing, trying to understand the sinister gentrifying ‘urban sculptures’ (bollards) made by Antony Gormley on Peckham’s Bellenden Road. This piece was also an overt attempt to write in the style of Francis Ponge in Soap, a key reference text in exploring how the quotidian can become bizarre, disturbing, profound, etc: ‘Because of this object’s qualities I expatiate a little, make it froth before your eyes.’
Another area of interest and prolonged period of research was experimental film in the 70s and 80s, in particular the work of Anne Rees-Mogg, whose work unveils an extraordinary range of video practices from that period, made more remarkable by its contrasting geographical locations and scenes, including the London Filmmakers Co-operative, Chelsea Art School and her bucolic Somerset home.
My interests in Rees-Mogg's work, along with some of the previous projects mentioned above, also indicate my intrigue in geographical locality and its manifestations in writing and film; how it is (re)produced, in moods and atmospheres of locality, regularity and familiarity (homes, college, garden, studio, pub, etc).
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COLD STORAGE BIB Sample
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It presents a literal and metaphorical search into conditions of stasis, suspension and temperature. It explores how these things collide as ideas, and how temperature-induced suspension — like refrigeration — tell us about thoughts, experiences and art forms.
My ambition in writing a broad and intuition-led set of writings on this subject is reflected in my research, which ranged from reading 1970s newspaper clippings from New England to Early Modern history to the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, Ursula Le Guin and Virginia Woolf.
The reader will glean, cold storage is an object of incidental personal relevance to me and my motivation to write about it.
Reading a local history book from the 1980s, The Names of Peckham and Nunhead, I discovered a bizarre association: the book’s author suggested there could be a link between the street name and a character in Walter Scott’s novel Tales of my Landlord, Lady Margaret Bellenden.
This seemingly far-fetched idea, along with researching the urban ‘regenerative’ schemes that gave rise to Anthony Gormley’s bollards and the ornate street lights, led me to the re-viewing of Bellenden Road as this bizarre confluence of history, fabrication and gentrification.
I collaborated with Sean Steed, a 2nd year Visual Communications student who took film photographs, along with designer Emily Schofield, to attempt to recreate this ‘local history’ format that we wanted to imitate and experiment with.
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Excerpt from the brief by Brian Dillon: 'The task here is to consider the forms of attention or concentration that inform critical (and other kinds of) writing – these may include the duration of looking or experiencing a work of art, place, object, or state; the spatial delimiting of your topic (a place, a room, a detail); the organisation of material by hierarchy or stratification or narrative movement. Among the narrative clichés often levelled at critics is one that says they have not paid enough “attention” to the work at hand… What is, or could be, the duration, extent, and degree of proper attention? We will think about the degree or kind of attention that our writing demands of the reader, and the techniques adopted to persuade a reader that an object or experience is worthy of attention.’
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Reading Ad Absurdum is a catalogue-style essay about how Garcia’s work pushes the extremes of performance and reading, how acts such as reading books, theatrics or comedy performances can be extended into daring, extreme political and artistic statements.