In February, I spent a quite a bit of time over a number of days watching Siobhan Davies’ dancers explore the idea of archive through their Table of Contents performance. In Tramway’s intimate exhibition space fronted by big windows, the dancers’ exploration of the fallibility and possibility of archive was mesmerizing, welcoming and thought provoking, and the crafted, at ease nature of the project found its way into an essay I’d drafted but hadn’t found a way to complete. This has become “Body as Archive” I & II – the first is a commissioned response to the Zembla exhibition at An Tobar on Mull and the second is a response to Table of Contents.
In the same week, I wrote a blog post for Kirsty Logan on Theft. This is a longstanding interest of mine (as you can see from the blog post) and the idea of creative influence and sampling definitely crosses over with the idea of archive – for archives are at their best when they are discovered, re-enlivened and serve as a trigger or depth for another idea or project.
My collaboration with the artist Amanda Thomson is underway and the book is shaping up nicely. Watch this space for images and perhaps even my own table of contents for direction is the moment you choose: two elegies.
I’m also teaching and working away at my next novel and when I’m not thinking of archive, theft and death, I’m thinking about prairies and fire…