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Archive for January 2009

London Launch: Novel

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Novel ~ publication, event and screenings
6-9 pm January 29th 2009

Contributions from Ei Arakawa, Edwin Burdis, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Steven Claydon, Henry Flynt, Megan Fraser, Anna-Catharina Gebbers / Luis Jacob, Barry MacGregor Johnston, Michael Krebber, Sam Lewitt, Scott Lyall, Alastair MacKinven, RH Quaytman, Hannah Sawtell, Mark von Schlegell, Michael Stevenson / Jan Verwoert, Josef Strau

Novel draws together artists writing, texts and poetry that oscillate between modes of fiction and criticism. A cacophony of voices, that is the primary condition of writing, seek to break the habitual methods of representation and productions of subjectivity. Disconnected from any unitary theme these texts place writing as a core material of a number of artists exploring language as a force. This fiction as force is no longer defined by what is said, even less by what makes it a signifying thing, but by what causes it to move, to flow and to erupt.

Here, writing is an apparatus for knowledge capture, informed by theory, film, politics and storytelling; writing as parallel practice, different, tangential; writing as political fiction; writing as another adventure on the ‘skin drive’, renegotiating unfulfilled beginnings or incomplete projects – that might offer points of departure. Amidst the insinuated narratives and materialised visions there is a concern for writing and the impossibility of fiction which is at stake. 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.

Edited ~ Alun Rowlands and Matt Williams
Designed ~ James Langdon
24cm x 33cm, 42 pp.
Berlin-London 2008
ISBN 978-1-906424-07-7


Screening of Bernadette Corporation ~ Hell Frozen Over
Sacha Hahn ~ Obviously
and a reading of the RH Quaytman’s The Call of the Wind by Edwin Burdis



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January 26, 2009 at 12:04 am

Alphabets by Artists in Alphabetical Order

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Anthon Beeke

Alphabet by Anthon Beeke, 1970

Alphabet by Anthon Beeke, 1970

Starting with an A and a B, we are showing Anthon Beeke and his ‘nude’ Alphabet from 1970. This is a square portfolio containing 30 photographs on card, one for each letter of the alphabet and four for the punctuations marks. Each letter and mark is composed of the figures of nude women posed in the shape of the letter.

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January 26, 2009 at 12:01 am

Posted in Alphabets

Poetry Might…

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Wednesday 21st January at 7pm

Bring along a poem to read aloud to the rest of the group by an author who is not yourself. We will then talk about these poems and poets.

El read an extract from ‘Eunioa’ by Christian Bök

Cushla read William Carlos Williams ‘ I just want to say’.

Becky also read William Carlos Williams ‘ To a poor old woman,’ and ‘To Elsie’

Marianne read an extract from ‘Sleeping with the light on’ by Stephen Rodefer

Nick read David Markson, ‘ History and Theory of Art’, ‘The youthful poet’s unspoke response to a woman talking too loudly in his favourite bookstore’, ‘To a Lady.’


‘I am going to read an extact from a  book called Eunoia by Canadian poet Christain Bök, which was the winner of the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize.’

The word ‘eunoia’, literally means ‘beautiful thinking’, is the shortest word in English that contains all five vowels. Directly inspired by the Oulipo (l’Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle), a French writers’ group interested in experimenting with different forms of literary constraint, Eunoia is a five-chapter book in which each chapter is a univocal lipogram (the first chapter has A as its only vowel, the second chapter only E, etc.). Each vowel takes on a distinct personality – the I is egotistical and romantic, the O jocular and obscene, the E elegaic and epic (Bök actually retells the entire Iliad in Chapter E)



Hassan balks at all sacral tasks – a mass at Sabbath, a fast at Ramadan: “what Kabbalah and Brahmana can match blackjack and baccarat?” Hassan brags that a crackajack champ at cards lacks what knack Hassan has at craps. A cardsharp, smart at canasta, has a scam: mark a pack, palm a jack. (A cardmatch can act as a starchart that maps fata arcana.) A shah hazards all cash, stands pat and calls. A fatal pall wracks a casbah, as a charlatan fans a grandslam hand (“damn, darn, drat” rants a braggart). A rascal salaams and thanks Allah that a bank can award a man a stash that dwarfs what alms a raj can amass.

Hassan drafts a Magna Carta and asks that a taxman pass a Tax Act – a cash grab that can tax all farmland and grant a dastard at cards what hard cash Hassan lacks.


The empress … sheds her velvet dress; then she lets repellent men pet her tender flesh. Her lewdness renders even these lechers speechless. She resembles the lewdest jezebel.

Whenever Helen seeks these perverse excesses, her regretted deeds depress her; hence, Helen beseeches Ceres (the blessèd Demeter): “let sweet Lethe bless me, lest these recent events be remembered” – then the empress feeds herself fermented hempseed, her preferred nepenthe. Whenever she chews these hell-bred seeds, the hempweed skews her senses. The hemp, when chewed, lessens her tenseness (hence, she feels serene); nevertheless, the weed, when needed, renders her dependent. She enters the deepest sleep – the nether sphere, where sleepers delve the secret depths.


Writing is inhibiting. Sighing, I sit, scribbling in ink this pidgin script. I sing with nihilistic witticism, disciplining signs with trifling gimmicks – impish hijinks which highlight stick sigils. Isn’t it glib? Isn’t it chic? I fit childish insights within rigid limits, writing shtick which might instill priggish misgivings in critics blind with hindsight. I dismiss nitpicking criticism which flirts with philistinism. I bitch; I kibitz – griping whilst criticizing dimwits, sniping whilst indicting nitwits, dismissing simplistic thinking, in which philippic wit is still illicit.

Pilgrims, digging in shifts, dig till midnight in mining pits, chipping flint with picks, drilling schist with drills, striking it rich mining zinc. Irish firms, hiring micks whilst firing Brits, bring in smiths with mining skills: kilnwrights grilling brick in brickkilns, millwrights grinding grist in gristmills.

A lipogram (from Greek lipagrammatos, “missing letter”) is a kind of constrained writing or word game consisting of writing paragraphs or longer works in which a particular letter or group of letters is missing, usually a common vowel, the most common in English being e [1]. A lipogram author avoiding e then only uses the 25 remaining letters of the alphabet.


Written by bökship

January 25, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Marianne Morris

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Marianne Morris is the current poet in residence at the Bökship. She has been finishing old poems, writing new material and rediscovering a lost novel.

Poetry books by Marianne:

NEW BOOK. Tutu Muse. Prophylactic Poetry for the Last Generation
Published by Fly By Night, 2008

OLD BOOK. A New Book From Barque Press Which They Will Probably Not Print.
Published by Barque Press, 2006

Read some poems Marianne has been working on behind that desk

What does a writer in residence do?

"What does a writer in residence do?"

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January 25, 2009 at 11:47 pm

You’ve got mail

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Tonik! – I’m really sorry that it has taken me 6 months to send this newspaper package to you… but it is now honestly ‘in the post.’you-got-mail-1


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January 25, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Run Riot!

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A gentleman poses at the Bökship’s  Zine stall at the Run Riot ‘No Shame -French Flapper Disco’ at the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club on 17th January.
A young man of...

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January 25, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Neons by Fiona Banner

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X marks the Bökship is showing two neon works by artist Fiona Banner

'Bones' by Fiona Banner

In the window is a selection of neon punctuation from a series called ‘Bones’.

Extract from ‘The Bastard Word’ Interview with Greg Burke, 2007.

Fiona Banner: ‘Neon has mainly commercial applications, but actually I always thought of it as being kind of an urban nature—you know, instead of trees you have neon, or something. It’s too simple to say it is commercial, because actually, it’s romantic and alluring. Neon’s relationship to advertising is interesting because advertising speaks to us on quite a primitive level.

I like your idea of it relating neon to early forms of language. The first neon pieces I made were from found bits of broken neon signs. I found a load of letters in a skip near my house and then because I walk a lot, I started finding more here and there. I welded together the bits of broken glass and remade them into abstract shapes, filled them with gas and fired them up to get them working again. They became symbols without an index—I thought they were kind of pre-language or post-language. I called them ‘un-broken signs,’ though thinking about it now they were kind of ‘un-signs,’ because they had no signifier.

I wanted to work directly with neon and just get into the stuff of it: I never really understood what it was. When you see art neon, it is so professionally produced, the material becomes invisible. I wanted to get behind the language of the material: sometimes by doing things badly, or unprofessionally, you reveal things. It takes years and years to learn how to bend neon professionally, and when I started this, I had zero experience. So I was working with neon, but instead of making words—the words one expects neon to make, or the words it actually predicts—I ended up feeling like I was un-making this thing called ‘neon’ in that it is sort of all-wrong. So it is an alphabet—not words—words fallen apart or yet to be made, but not words themselves. The neon forms themselves are reaching as far as they can technically to form the letters. It feels like the form of the letter is just within its (my) grasp. The letters are like when you just learn to speak, or when you can’t speak when you want to; it’s a bid for language, trying to get your mouth or head round it. In an odd way, it is like being really drunk.

Greg Burke: The sense of the tentative in the ‘Nude’ series and the sense of your own struggle can be seen to carry through to Every Word Unmade (2007), the neon alphabet piece you have recently finished for the exhibition at The Power Plant. Is it crucial that you handmade the neon letters yourself and that you are not a seasoned practitioner?

Yea … Because I have no experience working in glass, the neon is kind of crappily made. The piece reflects a continuing struggle to control the medium—the language if you like—and that in turn reflects the struggle to control the meaning. I did not practice bending glass, and there was no trial, but then bending the “A,” bending the “B,” bending the “C” … is the practice if you see what I mean. “O” was the very first letter I made, and then “R.” “OR.” Then I filled in the gaps. Making this work was like regressing, and getting back to some kind of very simple battle with language. I mean here we are now, impossibly moving around this work in words, trying to fix something that can’t be fixed, you can’t fix meaning …

I called the neon alphabet Every Word Unmade (2007); I was thinking about a kind of un-making of language, like you could make every word and every story imaginable from the alphabet. All the potential is there but none of the words, the fragile, wobbly letters—a byproduct of incrementally, inexpertly bending hot glass—with the electrical circuit and gas, makes it like one big constant stutter … words about to be made or words un-made. Personally, I am very conscious of the brilliance of language and communication—I mean it is the blood to our thoughts—but also I find it very frustrating and I have a lot of fear about language and communication. So the physicality of this piece addresses that too.

After making the alphabet, I then made punctuation in neon. These pieces, I thought, looked like ancient weaponry or like something that had been dug up and excavated—skeletal—like the very bones of language, so I called the neon punctuation Bones (2007).

On the run up to Christmas Fiona installed ‘Star’ a piece made from reassembled found pieces of neon.


Written by bökship

January 19, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Savage Messiah

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Launch of Savage Messiah Zine Issue 10 and launch and demonstration of the new business that offers beautiful designer solutions for your identity needs.

Laura Oldfield Ford

Laura Oldfield Ford

Savage Messiah is a London zine by Laura Oldfield Ford, each issue featuring her drawings and psychogeographical reflections on a city of squats, punk, free parties and urban dereliction.

John Wild presents: Why be you?

What better present to give at Christmas that a new designer Identity? Its the perfect gift for one of your foreign friends or an oversees relative.

The ‘Why Be You’ range offers fingerprint casts made in fine silver and package in an exquisite luxury velvet lined chrome case. Each silver fingerprint cast comes with instructions which makes use of the research carried out by the cryptographer Tsutomu Matsumoto to demonstrate how fingerprint scanners can be fooled using gelatine fingerprints. Our casts are procured totally legally, from terminally ill patients, and by the time of purchase free for you to use for your own Identity needs.

 Live demonstration of gelatine fingerprint making

Live demonstration of gelatine fingerprint making

 Live demonstration of gelatine fingerprint making

Live demonstration of gelatine fingerprint making

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January 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm

The Coelacanth Journal: No. 2:

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Launch of The Coelacanth Journal: No. 2:


Winter 2008

The Coelacanth Journal

The Coelacanth Journal

Contributions by Oliver Basciano, Phoebe Blatton, Wayne Burrows, Captain Zip & Claire Suckall, Susan Finlay, Hinterland Projects, Susanne Oberbeck, Ezra Pound, Rowland Thomas and Mimei Thompson

Launch: Wednesday December 10th, 7-9pm, Donlon Books, Cambridge Heath Road, London, and featuring films and performance from Zoe Brown, Adam Christensen, Captain Zip and the Dolly Mixtures.




The Coelacanth Press was founded by Phoebe Blatton and Susan Finlay in 2008 as a publishers, research methodology and collective happening. The Coelacanth Press collates both new and established practitioners from different fields, with the intention of creating new publications and works of art.

The Coelacanth Press publishes the Coelacanth Journal and organises Coelacanth Events. In 2009 they will also launch Coelacanth Books. The first of these will be a reprint of Brigid Brophy’s cult classic of 1956, The King of a Rainy Country.

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January 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Don’t smile now… Save it for later

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Launch of Wassinklundgren – Don’t Smile Now..Save it for Later!

Don't Smile Now...Save it for Later

Archive of Modern Conflict 2008

Feature photos shot using a mirror at London photo booths.

Limited edition of 500 hand numbered copies.


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January 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm