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Novel ~ Upstairs

NOVEL  Upstairs Edited  ~  Alun Rowlands & Matt Williams  Designed by Sarah Boris ISBN 978-1-5272-0375-4

Edited ~ Alun Rowlands & Matt Williams
Designed by Sarah Boris
ISBN 978-1-5272-0375-4

Hannah Black, It’s Not That Deep, 2016

NOVEL asks us to think of writing as something distinct from information, as at least one realm of cultural production that is exempt from the encompassing obligation to communicate.

In print

Ed Atkins, Lutz Bacher, Hannah Black, Elaine Cameron-Weir, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, James Hoff, Lisa Holzer, Travis Jeppesen, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Zoe Leonard, Stuart Middleton, Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff, Richard Sides, Cally Spooner, Studio for Propositional Cinema, Martine Syms, Gili Tal, Oscar Tuazon, Peter Wachtler, Steven Warwick & Nora Khan and Canary Wharf.

On screen
NOVEL film programme including a.o. B.S Johnson, Paradigm, 1970; Chen Zhou, My Loving Artist - Yu Honglei, 2012; Bernadette Corporation, Hell Frozen Over, 2000; Stephen Sutcliffe, Writer in Residence, 2010; Cerith Wyn Evans, Degrees of Blindness, 1988; Oliver Payne & Nick Relph, Comma, Pregnant Pause, 2004;  Arash Nassiri, Darwin Darwah, 2016.

On Reading
10 December 2016, 15:00 – 01:00 Upstairs and Landmark, Bergen Kunsthall

On Reading
, brings together artists, writers and performers to explore reading as a distinct and singular practice within contemporary art. With lectures and readings from Hannah Gregory, Karolin Meunier, Elaine Cameron-Weir and Travis Jeppesen; a remote conversation between Aveek Sen (Calcutta) and Moyra Davey (New York); a Landmark screening of Sidsel Meineche Hansen Seroquel®, 2014; a play by Studio for Propositional Cinema, Cut With Some Pieces of Cinematography: A Sonata for Two Women, 2016; and a DJ set by Steven Warwick aka Heatsick.
Watch live stream:

30-31 January 2017: Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Strømgaten 6, 5015 Bergen
1 February 2017: Odda Bibliotek, Rådhuset Opheimsgata 31, 5750 Odda

The Quiet Volume
, Tim Etchells & Ant Hampton NOVEL’s Upstairs residency will conclude with The Quiet Volume a whispered, self-generated (autoteatro) performance for two visitors at a time, exploiting the particular tension common to libraries: a combination of silence and concentration within which our experiences of reading and listening unfold.

In Oslo
NOVEL Upstairs launch, 8 December 2016, 19:00 at Kunstnernes Hus, as part of Bergen Kunsthall in Oslo, presenting highlights of current programme with Knut Henrik Henriksen and screening of Moyra Davey’s Hemlock Forest, 2016.

Mark Borthwick If by String (2009)


We would like to thank all the artists for their participation and the following for their kind support: Martin Clark, Maria Rusinovskaya, Steinar Sekkingstad and everyone at Kunsthall Bergen; Hauser & Wirth; Cabinet; Carlos/ Ishikawa; Arcadia Missa; Vilma Gold; Maureen Paley; Rodeo, London; Greene Nafatali; Callicoon Fine Arts; Bridget Donahue; Reena Spaulings; Rhizome, New York; Rodolphe Janssen; dépendence, Brussels; Exile; Bill Kouligas/ PAN; Isabella Bortolozzi; Supportico Lopez, Berlin; Galerie Emanuel Layr, Vienna; gb agency; Galerie Chantal Crousel; Goton, Paris; Jenny’s; Venus Over Manhattan, Los Angeles.

NOVEL is an editorial and curatorial project, publishing artists writing and texts that oscillates between modes of fiction and poetry. NOVEL acts in-between the potential performance of a script, and the indeterminate transcript of the event. The journal hosts a cacophony of voices that coalesce around writing as a core material of a number of artists exploring language and the speculative force of fiction. Here, art writing is an apparatus for knowledge capture, writing as parallel practice, writing as political fiction, writing as another adventure, renegotiating unfulfilled beginnings or incomplete projects.

00 Ed Atkins
Front cover
01 Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff
contribution dispersed throughout the publication
02 THE EDITORIAL (after D.B. 4 May, 1968)
03 Lutz Bacher Horses, 2013
04 Elaine Cameron-Weir Data Collection, 2016
05 Lawrence Abu Hamdan Diagram of a future flat, 2016
06 Lisa Holzer, Eat Me, 2016
07 James Hoff Every Second 17 Packs of Cigarettes are Consumed by US Kids, 2016
08 Sidsel Meineche Hansen
Contribution dispersed throughout the publication:
NO TO PEPE (USA), 2016 Credit: Shrub, Linked by Air; FREE WIFI STUDENT DEBT (CalArts, LA.), 2016 Credit: Shrub, Linked by Air; We’re Better off Out (White Chicken), 2016; AGAINST UBER (San Jose, Costa Rica), 2016
09 Lynn Hersham Leeson, Women Art Revolution, 2016 (extract from graphic novel written by Lynn Hersham Leeson and Alexandra Choweniac, drawings by Spain Rodriguez)
10 Martine Syms, Misdirected Kiss Notes, 2016
11 Zoe Leonard, I want a president, 1992
12 Stuart Middleton, Tup, 2016
13 Travis Jeppesen, Poem against the fog, 2016
14 Studio for Propositional Cinema, Dialogue from AS WATER DISSOLVES SUGAR…, 2016
15 Cally Spooner, Assorted early research methods On False Tears and Outsourcing (a novel in progress), 2016
16 Hannah Black, It’s Not That Deep, 2016
17 Oscar Tuazon ongoing serialization of Last Try, 2009 (extract)
18 Canary Wharf, Father 3 George Iacobescu The total annihilation of a human being 3 April 1999, 2016 (extract from ‘Architectural Fathers’, volume 3, OCR)
19 Peter Wächtler, News 1, 2016
20 Steven Warwick & Nora Khan, Fear Indexing the X-Files, 2016 (extract)
21 Richard Sides, dread, 2016
22 Gili Tal, Weather Forecast, 2016

NOVEL explores the apparatus of exhibition making and the sites of reading (gallery, publication, screen). The residency proposes an ‘op-ed’ curatorial method of counter programming and staging a dispersed scenography of reading practices. This enquiry tests how renewed emphases on editorial sensibility in curatorial contexts are being shaped and transformed. How new editorial positions emerging through exhibitions and publishing platforms (digital, print, and broadcast), as well as expressly socialized events that bring talks, screenings, and live events into closer proximity and influence with art production, its reception, and narratives? What are the aesthetic and political potentialities and responsibilities of the editorial, and what makes contemporary art a ready context for an emerging orality.

Bringing together international artists, writers and performers, to explore reading as a distinct and singular practice within contemporary art, NOVEL Upstairs starts with the publication of a special issue of the journal alongside a durational film programme, talks, scripted performances and reading. ‘On Reading’ a public symposium reflects on the research including tele-presence remote conversation between Moyra Davey (New York) and Aven Seek (Calcutta) live streamed and archived by Kunsthall Bergen.

NOVEL asks us to think of writing as something distinct from information, as at least one realm of cultural production that is exempt from the encompassing obligation to communicate.


“She’d studied history and acting in New York and London but ditched her career when she met her ex-husband Michel. A former student of Sartre’s and nearly two decades older than her, Michel held an endowed chair in philosophy and traveled all over the world. Her acting career was a hopeless cause so she went along too. Her legs were too short, her nose was too long. Like Eleanor Aveling -daughter of Karl Marx and subject of the PhD thesis Catt could not get approved – Catt’s passion for acting was a flight from her literal, serious mind into some kind of freedom and beauty. For a long time being welcomed as the quirky young wife of the great old guy was better than being told she wasn’t right for the part. When she wasn’t so young anymore, she started writing and moved to LA alone. Since they’d never had kids this was easily done. Without a PhD, the only paying work she could find was teaching part-time at an art school and writing art catalogue essays.”

— Chris Krauss excerpt one from the novel Summer of Hate (2010) p. 6 - 7

OSCAR TUAZON Last Try (2009)

Lynn Hersham Leeson,  Women Art Revolution , 2016

Lynn Hersham Leeson, Women Art Revolution, 2016


NOVEL Upstairs is published as part of the Upstairs Residency Programme at Bergen Kunsthall 22 November– 11 December 2016

For the Upstairs residency, NOVEL (Alun Rowlands & Matt Williams) will host events, readings, screenings and the dispersion of a new publication. Upstairs will be cast in the yellow glow of Mark Leckey’s Untitled (Sodium Light), 2014 and filled by the sound and textual image of Hannah Black’s Power Cut 1970, 2012. The NOVEL archive covers the walls of Upstairs as a locus for reading and the fictioning of a scenario.


Paul Sietsema Painter's Mussel (2010)

Michael Dean Physique (2010), p. 2

“Standing in front of an open mailbox with a scorched envelope in my hands. The confusion was similar when his “imaginary rooms” first presented themselves to me: awkward, unpeopled, Degas-colored, irreverent of style or purity, freely invented with just enough effort to complete a semblance of space, dashed off like an inscription or a thank-you note. The charisma of his costume designs, fashion illustrations, frontispieces, paintings, sets, rugs, scarves, improvised stylings and “looks” for legendary parties is buoyed by this sure, yet unsure line. Everything I can’t talk about I read into this trenchant shorthand for a world so detailed and sweet, social, hilarious, intuited, complete within the borders of its ambitions as a proposal, a counter-design. Unbearable, because I recognize it instantly, inviting, because it is still completely foreign to me.”

— Nick Mauss Everything that Hesitates (2010) p. 4 - 5


Film Programme
La Chaussette presents... at  l'Archiduc, Antoine Dansaert 6 1000 Brussels

You'll Never Walk Alone (2007)


ED ATKINS,  Still from Death Mask II The Scent , 2010

ED ATKINS, Still from Death Mask II The Scent, 2010