Session_21_It’s 1957, And the Press Release Still Isn’t Written
Private View Friday 2nd December 2011_6-9
Show open 3rd December - 20th January 2012

at WCW Gallery, Mokrystrasse 5, 21107 Hamburg, Germany (link)
organised by Hermes und der Pfau (link)

A project by Cally Spooner
Adam Gibbons
Lewis Ronald
Jesper List Thomsen

View installation
Press release

JESPER: (Explanation. Part One)

ADAM: Thanks and, yes, this sounds really good (pauses for thought). I'd love to develop a project (reconsiders) show (reconsiders) actually I have a pretty good idea of a piece (she's not sure), which is really an event (perhaps), which I’d really like to develop and stage. It sits somewhere between being an exhibition (she imagines an exhibition) an object (she imagines an object) and a performance (possibly technically impossible). I'd be working with a cast of others, (outsourcing) preferably in Hamburg (art trip). In this case, the longer the piece could stand the better, as I’d like to develop stable elements which would continue after the performance, or arrive before the performance, as a curated structure, for activity (stop) but let me know. I tend to build around whatever frame I’m given; so time, space, dates. And then I can start working on this (possible) idea from there. 

CALLY: It's 1957 and the press release still isn't written. This seems good. It's as far as she gets. And so, she starts, again, in a space of perpetual starts, this seems like a start to the action. And so, she starts, somewhere in Hyde Park, on the 22nd of august, where it's 1957, and speaking is in decline. 
LEWIS: Are you sure? 
Pretty sure. 
LEWIS: Are you quoting? 
Not exactly. 
LEWIS: Did you outsource? 
LEWIS: And remind me why this is ok?…
It's ok, Lewis, because I'm trying to carry some others.
LEWIS: Otters?
No, that was a typo.
LEWIS: Ok, so...
LEWIS: Thanks.
My pleasure. It's all in the book.
LEWIS: You sound like a priest.
LEWIS: There's nothing worse than a moralist Cally.

JESPER: (Explanation. Part Two)

ADAM: The Human Condition charts the shift from solitary contemplation (a solo event) to the life of action (not solo) while considering the key attributes of our human condition; labour (indicate labour) Work (indicate show) and Action (in progress right now).

Arendt was writing at a time of massive progress, technological advancements and a decline in simple human-to-human speaking, because it's 1957, post Hiroshima, space travel pending, and the first test-tube baby has been born. The book is an appeal for us to honestly ask ourselves what we want. (Edit, line-break, stop). The thing I’m hoping to consider, in this particular case, is the symbiosis between 'Work' (hyphenate) and 'Action' (hyphenate) somehow finding a way to perform this shift from one state (Action) to another (Indicate work).

CALLY: It's 1951 and ontology is fundamental. This seems possible, but only if we find out what ontology is, and the thing is, we just don't know. After some time, we realise it has something to do with thinking and ethics. This seems good, particularly as there's so many of us and we'll have to deal with the ethics of dealing with each other for approximately sixteen weeks, give or take breaks for holidays.  This, says Levinas, is something like a negotiation, and it's impossible to negotiate with something that doesn't have a face. This is because you wouldn't know whether they were really listening, or whether they'd fallen asleep. 
LEWIS: errrr.
Equally, it's impossible to have discourse, if you don't know who you're looking at. And it’s impossible to think if you don't have the discourse, and because  I can't think, unless I can talk… so...
Can we talk?
LEWIS: sure.
Face to face.
LEWIS: sure.
something specific. 
Non specifically.
LEWIS: right.
LEWIS: right.
LEWIS: Please stop talking.

JESPER: (Explanation. Part 3)

ADAM: In short, 'Action' is a fragile, event-based activity, generated from speaking and discourse or (in short) politics (delete). Work is the activity we undertake to produce the tools and objects that help us to labour. BUT Arendt also considers the possibility of Work, (indicate work) the products of work (indicate work) as aids to document, represent or acknowledge action (she's guessing). I'm interested in working out how, through an extended period of conversation and discussion on Action, it might be possible to generate some tangible manifestations (speculating), which might in some way act as documentation of a conversation on Action, (unlikely) and I guess it's this documentation that I’d like to bring (revise) make (revise) or perform (where?) in Hamburg. 

CALLY:  It's 1934, and individualism is on the rise. This seems rather terrifying because there's nothing much less manageable than a man without ethics. I'm reminded that's not really the problem, because being an individual doesn’t mean you don’t have ethics, and besides, no one much likes a moralist, especially not in Paris, where, let's say, it's hot, and the painters are lined up on the banks of the Seine, waiting to make some exponentially uninteresting art. Simultaneously, Henry Millar is getting busy. 
LEWIS: You mean...
No, not like that.
LEWIS: Well, a bit like that. 
LEWIS: he's a virile young man. 
I'm not denying this, but I just want to simply say; he was active. Which is good, though rather lonely, except he's never lonely because he's just busy being. 
LEWIS: Being what?
Just being, 
LEWIS: A writer?
No, that would make him no better than the painters, because it seems extremely important to be active first, and make art second, in response, and there’s nothing very active about painting the Seine on the banks of the Seine when the Seine is right there before you. Instead, it's perhaps better to feed off the world. The bad news is this is only possible in a state of extreme nomadic solitude. The good news is, you will collide with strangers in public.
LEWIS: great.

JESPER: (Explanation. Part 4)

ADAM: On Monday I'm going to start (hopefully) about six weeks (eight weeks)  of discussion on Labour, Work and Action (dot dot dot ) with a project I sometimes work with here called Am Nuden Da ( There's three of them; Adam (indicate Adam) Lewis (indicate Lewis) and Jesper. We were going to find the space and time to do some speaking on Arendt's concept of Action (dot dot dot). Try and work out what it is (dot dot dot)... I'm interested in seeing whether this conversation could somehow manifest itself physically, as 'Work' (she's repeating) either as performance, an installation, an exhibition, an object (repetition) or maybe all of this (strictly speaking, not possible) in Hamburg (strictly speaking not Hamburg). The rudimentary idea is to shift from 'Action' (conversation) to 'Work' (indicate show) and then maybe 'Work' (indicate show) back to 'Action' (conversation). But I’m not sure yet how this will work (dot dot dot) which I think is rather (disorganised) nice. Practically (pauses) this idea would mean we'd all need to be in Hamburg, which the budget would allow (just) because the main material (comma) as usual (comma) will be me (slash) us (what?) people (dot dot dot)...

CALLY It's 1913 and Proust has gone to bed. We think this might have be an anecdote to Miller, because you can't get less active than bed. 
LEWIS: Well....
I'm told bed is good. A very important space for a man, and in the absence of outside action, we might have to embrace the beauty of form over content, because there’s just not enough content, inside, in bed, and all form and no content in bed is definitely, most certainly, modernism.
LEWIS: Are you sure?
No, because we've only read five pages so it's impossible to say if he'll move.
LEWIS: He'll move, 
He might not move,
LEWIS: He'll move,
He's under performing. I found it quite funny.
LEWIS: Proust is not funny.
I find it quite funny.... that a man can get stuck in his own narrative, and make a text so impenetrable that only a likeminded man can read it. Although apparently I'm wrong and Proust is also a favourite with highly educated grannies. 

JESPER: (Explanation. Part Five)

ADAM: I think in this case (WCW show), I’m especially interested in how the conversations can quite literally transform into a collection of materials, (tries to explain) structure (already explained) an object (again) something (she thinks) tangible (stop). It’s a morphogenesis, of sorts from one state to another.... (dot dot dot). I'd like the conversation to happen privately (in the pub) as they already are (in the pub) and for them to somehow be documented or re-presented in public as Work (indicate show). Right now I imagine it might look like a temporary curated show, or an installation, acting as props (no) or markers (no) to aid a reading or performance (possibly) with some other related material, but these are all just thoughts, relating to the conversations so far, which are going ok (three delays due to holidays and illness). They're generating an interesting constellation of materials (reading) and, I guess, in some ways, the Footnote is turning into an expanded reading group, where we speak through a number of different texts, that are bouncing off the Arendt structure... 

CALLY: It's 1953, and the memoir, we are told, is tricky. It's never true, it's almost always false and if you're in the business of truth, and catching the evidence of action, it's best to avoid a memoir. Nonetheless like everyone with something to say, it is necessary to record ones story, but, in the absence of good memory, and the tendency to over inflate ourselves inaccurately, a self-penned memoir is thoroughly useless. This leaves us with few options. The first, strikes me as best; let someone else carry your history. The second seems weird; speak through your toys, like Baudelaire. And wow, you know, I really don't get this.
LEWIS: well we're dealing with history, and speaking through objects. Catch up.

JESPER: (Explanation Part Six)

ADAM: I really hope this makes sense... and I’m so sorry if it doesn't. We can change anything if it's confusing. Just let me know. But here's a first stab for now... (eighteen lines deleted). In the months preceding their show at WCW gallery, Cally Spooner and Am Nuden Da will run a weekly (private) reading group gathering texts and resources to generate an on-going dialogue on the possibility and complications of action, in an attempt to generate Action between themselves. Simultaneously three (five) new works will be conceived, developed and produced outside of this reading group, though not in isolation from its content (apart from the pole). The members of Am Nuden Da will be working singularly, (apart from the pole) producing one new work by each (plus the pole) which might act as the documentation of the group activities whilst serving as individual work, in and for itself ( not the pole). The work may take any form; for instance collections of found material, an object, an image (please don’t bring the pole) and so forth.... 

CALLY: It's 1955 and Blanchot has occupied the most desirable of positions, by separating himself from his being. To me, this sounds painful. It’s also rather difficult to talk about, because the complicated process involves negatives and negation, vacuums and voids, monochromes and grids, and margins and gaps. Big White spaces to bask in, which doesn't seem positive or active and I'm certain this can't provoke action.
LEWIS: In order for being, being must lack. It’s the possibility of incompleteness.
That's ambiguous. 
LEWS: And that's what you want.
Not on my own!
LEWIS: You're not on your own.
I am if I can't talk, and I simply can’t talk about Blanchot. I just don't understand. It's a space of confusion, 
LEWIS: this is the point,
...I want to speak about the difference between something that tells you what to do, and something you don't understand.
LEWIS: Really?
I want to talk about the difference between a didactic space and a paradox.
LEWIS: really?
I want to talk about the difference between being told what to do and having to work something out without reference, and finding yourself through that.
LEWIS: leave that to Blanchot. Its best you just explain. 

JESPER: (Explanation. Part 7)

ADAM: The new work will be installed at WCW gallery and (comma) eventually (comma) will be framed and contextualised by a live press release (she's making this up) written at the very last moment (predictably) by Cally Spooner, as a script which moves through (idealistically) quotes, fiction, borrowed text, splices of conversation, (realistically) footnotes (emails)  generated by the reading group (not exactly). The script will be performed by Cally Spooner (definitely) possibly (predictably) with Am Nuden Da. This is an attempt to expose the three Work's relationships between one-another; not through themes, form or curatorial logic, but simply by reactivating the multiple references, generated from the months of reading, speaking and discourse. (Dramatic line break). And so (comma) in short (comma) the project is.... (please don't repeat this again). A reading group in London, followed by the production of three new works, installed in Hamburg, framed, and activated, by a live press release, written, at the last possible live moment, with Am Nuden Da. It will be comprised only from materials generated from the reading group, and performed at an opening event, by Cally Spooner, who will effectively become the last-minute live-curator of eight weeks of attempted Action (please stop talking).

CALLY: It's 1999 and Frances Stark appears to be dealing with female responsibility towards the efforts of great men. This seems good.
LEWIS: Thanks.
Not you.
Its mostly big thinkers, you know, the big ones. How to speak through them, support them so she can find her voice through them. And you know what.
LEWIS: what? 
It works.

JESPER: (Explanation. Part Eight)

ADAM: I am so so sorry for being extremely slow on titling (one month late). It's been really difficult to understand how to sum up the project without being (disorganised) didactic (writers block) and of course it got to the point where all the content we'd been reading started collapsing into the title (bad management), and then there were four of us to decide things with (outsourced blame) and just in general, it's been one of the hardest projects to title (exclamation mark). I guess the thing I wanted most was to sum up this idea of something in progress, as action always is, so (dot dot dot) not yet made (dot dot dot). But starting from a given, so, the human condition followed by a number of unknowns (others) that would arrive both through the reading we bought to the group, the conversations, the show, and the work. This title is actually the first line of the press release (obviously) which I'm starting to write now (badly) and eventually I'll finish it just in time for it's delivery (we know) at the opening in Hamburg (yes). The press release work will be quite long I think (please edit). Though quite (confusing) fragmentary. A Beckett- esq scramble across dates, all the texts we read and conversations (she hopes), an attempt to communicate this concept of conversation as action, documented through Am Nuden Da's new work, which, in a way, I am documenting through the press release.  

CALLY: It's 1957 and the press release still isn't written. This seems good. It's as far as she gets. And so, she starts, again, in a space of perpetual starts, this seems like a start to the action. And so, she starts, somewhere in Hyde Park, on the 22nd of august, where it's 1957, and speaking is in decline. 
LEWIS : Are you sure? 
Pretty sure. 
LEWIS: Are you quoting? 
Not exactly. 
LEWIS: Did you outsource? 
LEWIS: And remind me why this is ok?…