Site-Reading Writing Quarterly
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Solar Trajectories
Pin-hole images by Maryjane Orley & Martin Purvis.

A series of pin-hole photographs created over 6 and 12 month periods (solstice to solstice) in 2017 and 2018.  Made in empty beer cans placed around the site of old Northbrook Nursery in the north of Guernsey, the images trace the movement of the sun across the skyline.

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Maryjane Orley is an interdisciplinary artist whose work involves drawing, print-making, conceptual sculpture, and installation. Over the last eight years, she has been exploring ways of defining and realising notions of emptiness and erosion and their potential for regeneration.

Site-Reading Writing Quarterly celebrates reading and writing as situated practices, releasing a special pair of seasonal reviews four times a year.

Each solstice and equinox I invite writers to swap recently completed written works and to provide a situated ‘review’ of each other’s work. This involves raising a shared issue/concern, connecting out to another work/text/set of ideas, and/or producing a creative response to an aspect of the writing which might be fictional, prose, visual, sonic, filmic … These acts of exchange open up ways of ‘reading writing’ differently, generating multiple modes of engagement with words, and exploring the practice of ‘reviewing’ from a situated perspective, one that critiques and experiments with the genre of the ‘critical review essay’, creating something far more entangled.

For this June 2021 issue, I have invited nonbinary researcher and theorist of embodied practice, Ben Spatz, and writer-artist, Emma Cocker, to review publications which explore practices associated with the laboratory. Composed of a trilogy of audio-recordings of her own readings, Emma Cocker’s reading of Ben Spatz’s Making A Laboratory: Dynamic Configurations with Transversal Video (New York: Punctum Books, 2020) is a work to be listened to; while Ben Spatz’s reading of Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2017), co-edited by Cocker, with Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil, takes a more conventional review essay form. Spatz explores the performative methods of artistic research practice presented in the volume, and in drawing attention to wit(h)ness – a playful combination of witness and withness – introduced in Choreo-graphic Figures – calls for whiteness to be taken into account in practice-led artistic research.

That this public act of reading Choreo-graphic Figures has taken place four years after it was published, opens up for re-view how the gap between one writing and another reading is always framed by historical difference. Spatz’s reading offers a stark reminder that despite an increased awareness of race issues in current academic and artistic practice in the past year – following the murder of George Floyd and the ways in which COVID19 has laid social inequalities bare – white privilege largely remains invisible. This is a matter to address in future issues of Site-Reading Writing Quarterly.

With this in mind, I draw your attention to one of June 2021’s new additions to Critical Spatial Practice – Montserrat Gutiérrez Mesegué’s Our Starter Culture, a tool that she describes as ‘reintroduc[ing] empathy through an intersectional pedagogical methodology’ in a world where a climate crisis exists. Gilly Karjevsky’s Silent Conversation also focuses on a public practice methodology but one aimed at ‘facilitating horizontal, experimental, inclusive writing, thinking and ideation’ for co-creating terminologies, while Andrew Benjamin and Gerard Reinmuth’s Architecture and Co-Existence: DMZ as Site (2020) is another mapping of our current condition, which, through a series of notes and drawings, seeks to address the ‘potential for architecture to counter or redirect the spatial, financial or ecological conditions present at the time of its conception.’

Meanwhile for this June’s Site-Writing, in Glòries_(Eixample). A dispositive for very slow aesthetic observation, Alex Arteaga shares the framework for a project which aims to ‘disclose new intelligibilities’ of environments yet to come, combining practices of exploratory essay writing, video recording and re-framing, through the creation of a research catalogue. And finally, in a fifth collaborative project for this quarter, editors Simon Morris, Gill Partington and Adam Smyth, present ‘beginnings,’ the first issue of Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History, a new journal published by Information as Material, which takes the forms and processes of human communication – making marks, lines, notes, images – as its main area of inquiry.

If have a written work that you’ve recently completed and someone you’d like to read it, or would like to write a response to a new book, or contribute a project to either Critical Spatial Practice or Site-Writing: please let me know: – j.rendell@ucl.ac.uk


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