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Barefoot in the head

at the Bruce High Quality University, 225 West Broadway, NYC 10013, New York as part of Performa '09


 >>We had been working in the archives for some time. Nine unsorted, uncategorised acid-free boxes of unmade film screenplays and plagiarised manuscripts represent the holdings relating to an author – Brian Aldiss. Amongst the creased pages of drafts, texts, documents and letters we uncovered visions of the immanent future.

In the novel ‘Barefoot in the Head', published 1969, we had rediscovered poetry punctuating fiction. A futurological and ‘auditory stabilised' image that arranges montages based on attractions and correspondences. All visions become plural. The poetry itself orders sensory input differently. More compressive and affinitive, it is less bound by logical associations, linearity, and so on. The outstanding characteristic of these texts is their ideogrammatic quality. In between their visible form, they add the optical gesture of the word to its semantic meaning. Abandoning the narrative structure of a novel the poems create a visual and aural sentence string as elements in the space of the page. Opacity is carried to a degree whereby the poems pilot their own structure, without curtailing the references of which they are composed. Presented as concrete objects, they accentuate distance, as ideograms, offering parallels to the realities to which they refer. They are verbal diagrams – the dynamics of movement and flight. And, a pictive multiplication of the field of apparition, attempting to depict in words as beyond-words, visionings, ecstasies and sensation processes. There is clearly a sense in which the poem offers a responsive and communicative tool for exploring our questions and reporting such disconnective experiences.

Thirty years on, we made a decision to initiate adispersed and directed FUTUROLOGICAL POETRY EVENT — an evolving entity within an ecology of readers, authors and contributors. Multiply without limits, in the foaming, in the flicker, in an immeasurable extension. The ‘verbivocovisual' event develops from a necessarily oblique engagement with the novel and confronts the idea of being possessed by poetry, possessed by fiction and possessed by philosophy. An exploration of the ecstatic potential of possession as a form of revelation, speaking in tongues, actions develop as or through a blizzard of words, voices and sounds that may exist as poetry or fiction. The final destination of all the material solicited would be the creation of a tenth box, to be held at the Aldiss archive in perpetuity.<<


NB: the following can be seen as instructions/commands/directives (or not).

φ BAREFOOT IN THE HEAD at the Bruce High Quality University , New York as part of Performa 09 on November 12,   8-10pm.

φ As previously indicated: the project ‘develops' from a necessarily oblique engagement with Brian Aldiss's novel Barefoot in the Head and engages with the idea of being POSSESSED BY PHILOSOPHY. And/or POSSESSED BY FICTION. And/or POSSESSED BY POETRY. Not as critique of the institutionalisation, instrumentalisation or commercialisation of theory (for instance) but rather as an exploration of the ECSTATIC POTENTIAL OF POSSESSION. As a form of PENETRATION. Or revelation. Or speaking in tongues. DIALOGORHEA And/or ideas as NARCOTIC .

φ The intention is that the curation develops as or through a ‘blizzard'of words ( word -cloud ) which may exist as/or as not INSTRUCTIONS and/or COMMANDS and/or LOGICAL/LOGISTICAL and/or as POETRY
φ As you/herewith the (maybe) participant in the event as required to be known as 'BAREFOOT [stop] IN THE HEAD[stop]' which may or may not exist as an art event co-existant with contemporary configurarions of art (as art) qua qua and so on beyond searching, inhabiting, crying, loving ... tenderly like rain or snow or maybe just love as a kind of incessant song – softly heard but also loud [BREAK] all being consistent with the intentions of the artist [STOP] and/ or fortwith.

•  performance as  bad ritual
•  Dialogorheaaaaaaa
•  performance as non-ritual
•  voicing it
•  hack[ing] it
•  gastromancy
•  ventriloquising it
•  possession
•  Séance

They determined to expel the Young Communists.

‘For me, it was a movement of terrible crisis! I realised that Communism was a just system for hanging on to what you had, no better than Capitalism. And I realised that my father was just a big fraud – an opportunist, not an idealist. From then on, I knew I had to get away, to live my own life.'

The waiting man showed his furry teeth and said, ‘That's hardly as interesting to me as what I was telling you about the serpent, I think you must admit. There's no such thing as an “own life”.'

What if I knew every word I spoke
Fell into silence deep as any sea
Or sailed it drunken derelict should that
Stop up a throat others have used

φ YOU ARE FEEELING RELAXED YOU ARE ON A BEACH you are HAPPY which may or may not be content (and or) communication

35. Masks

He goes through the land
His tomorrow in his pocket
He seeks a land
Where the faces fit the heads

Little paper faces
Little paper faces
Little paper faces
Yeh, with hand drawn expressions

He crosses over the sea
Pilgrim of the Pilgrim Age
He hopes to see

A different mask beneath the skull

Little paper faces
Little paper faces
Little paper faces
Yeh, with crayoned experience

Little paper faces
Little paper faces
Little paper faces
Yeh, papered on the paper bone

            THE ESCALATION

36. Whatever is profound love masks; what is most profound even hates image and parable. Might not nothing less than the opposite , be the proper disguise for the shame of a god ? A questionable question: it would be odd if some mystic had not risked something to that effect in his mind. There are occurrences of such a delicate nature that one does well to cover them up with some rudeness to conceal them; there are actions of love and extravagant generosity after which nothing is more advisable than to take a stick and give any eyewitness a sound thrashing: that would muddle his memory Some know how to muddle and abuse their own memory in order to have their revenge at least against this only witness: shame is inventive.

37. Follow the command:


>>Barefoot in your head<<
edited by Mark Beasley, Alun Rowlands & John Russell
published by ARTicle Press, Birmingham, 2011

The Reconsidered Voice in Three Acts: melancholy, dirge and decelension Mark Beasley

For Writing Out Loud or A Potential Workshop on Fiction (with insert of Will Holder's Demonstration for A and B) Alun Rowlands

A largely intolerable combination of two mainly unconnected texts: 1 Barefoot in the Head; 2 Fictioning and the End John Russell

Fuck Your Tongue (Uncoil or Swallow), Institute of Contemporary Art, London, April 2011

Uncoil or Swallow at the launch event for four volumes of the art-writing-research series published by Article Press @ BCU. The volumes present art writing practices engaged with fiction, performance, paranoia and negativity as forms of knowledge or as truth processes, critical of or alternative to forms of knowledge privileged by neo-liberalism. The editors of the volumes, Gavin Butt, John Russell, Alun Rowlands, Maria Fusco and David Burrows, will address the importance of fiction, performance, affirmation and negativity within contemporary art writing research through readings or presentations, screening films and a panel discussion.


The volumes are:
* Barefoot in the Head, edited by John Russell and Alun Rowlands featuring contributions from Mark Beasley and the editors.
* Performing/Knowing, edited by Gavin Butt featuring contributions from Oreet Ashery, Kate Love, Aaron Williamson, Heathfield, Etchells & Glendinnig and the editor.
* Performance Fictions, edited by David Burrows featuring contributions from Sadie Plant, John Cussans, Simon O'Sullivan, Pil and Galia Kollectiv and the editor.
* Who is This Who is Coming, edited by Maria Fusco featuring contributions from Alexandre Singh, Craig Martin, George Clark & Beatrice Gibson, Jennifer Higgie and the editor.

The books were produced following a series of events held at the ICA and Whitechapel Gallery London, Performa 09 @ Bruce High Quality Foundation University New York and Electric Cinema Birmingham. The books are published by Article Press at BIAD, Birmingham City University and will be available at Fuck Your Tongue and from Central Books, the distributors for the Press.

Take pictures of yourselves, he had said, pictures every moment of the day. That’s what you should do, that’s what you do do. You drop them and they lie around and other people get into them and turn them into art. Every second take a picture and so you will see that the lives we lead consist of still moments and nothing but. There are many still moments, all different. Be awake but inwards sleeping. You have all these alternatives. Think that way and you will discover more. Cast out serpents. I am here but equally I am elsewhere. I don’t need so much economy – it’s the pot training of the child where the limitation starts. Forget it, live in all regions, part, split wide, be fuzzy, try all places at the same time, indecisivize time itself, shower out your photographs to the benefit of all. Make yourself a million and so you achieve a great unilateral trajectory, not longwise in life but sideways, a unilateral immortality. Try it, friends, try it with me, join me, join in the great merry multicade

Brian Aldiss, Barefoot in the Head (1969)