A few years ago I was invited to participate in an exhibition and open studio. The title of the show was Fidget (and I still don’t know why that was its title). I decided to make a piece that related to or, at least, stemmed from the word. The piece evolved during the making from a thirty-second durational shot in the corridor outside my studio with me moving about as if waiting, to a considerably processed monochrome print. I was happy with the result and enjoyed the process of, in effect, working to a brief but with considerable scope to deviate.
Some time later I decided to produce a series of photographs based on randomly selected words. How could I gain words to work from? Could I ask other people to make suggestions? I decided that they should be selected from ‘almost’ arbitrarily chosen books, by opening at an unplanned page and—without looking at the page—placing my finger on the text. Whatever word chosen, that would be the impetus for the next photograph.
Word No. 1: Creature
Intelligent, stunning women, but intelligence and beauty in one and the same creature seemed to cause a deep inner disunity.
Source: A Beautiful Young Wife
Author: Tommy Wieringa
Page 11, line 23
Published by: Scribe. 2016.
Word selected: 2 April 2017
Photographed: 5 July 2010,
Completed: 11 April 2017
Photo: Tiger in my small back garden.
Word No. 2: Comme
Pendant mon premier séjour, une journaliste avait évoque devant moi un article qui présentait “les gens qui n’avaient jamais vu la mer” comme un catégorie sociale.
During my first stay, a journalist had evoked before me an article which presented “people who had never seen the sea” as a social category.
Source: Ainsi de Suite
Author: Sophie Calle
Page 25, line 30
Published by: Éditions Xavier Barreal
Word selected: 11 April 2017
Photographed: 4 August 2017
Completed: 17 August 2017
Photo: Macro photograph of the word ‘As’ as the title of the song As as it appears on the sleeve, inner sleeve and disc label for the Stevie Wonder record Songs in the Key of Life and as the word Comme as ‘as’ in a translation into English.
Word No. 3: Café
In the spring of 1887 he [Van Gogh] organised an exhibition of his Japanese prints in the Café du Tambourin.
Source: Van Gogh Museum Guide
Page 57, line 20.
Published by: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. 1996.
Word selected: 18 April 2017
Photographed: 24 February 2010
Completed: 27 April 2017
Photo: Morocco’s Cafe and Ice Cream Parlour, Hove seafront. An earlier photograph which was later included in the series Looking Up.
Word No. 4: Partly
The mouth of this gold head is open, and spread over the teeth of the lower jaw at well-judged intervals, partly hanging out of the mouth, are various pieces of jewellery.
Source: One Way Street
Author: Walter Benjamin
Page 83, line 13.
Published by: Penguin Modern
Word selected: 31 July 2017
Photographed: 9 November 2017
Completed: 10 November 2017
Photo: Partly optimistic, partly pessimistic?
Word No. 5: Dangerous
Man Ray set down casual instruction to anyone who might have been thinking of a convenient way to travel with such a cumbersome (and potentially dangerous) device.
Source: Man Ray
Author: Neil Baldwin
Page 326, line 14
Published by: Da CapoPress 1988
Word selected: 25 April 2017
Photographed: 5 July 2017
Completed: 11 July 2017
Photo: Man Ray was, of course, referring to Cadeau of 1921 and I have chosen, on this occasion, to relate my photograph to the original.
Word No. 6: Elsewhere
…we’re in women artist groups
in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Sheffield
at a distance from the centre of the art world
but not from cultural, economic and political debate and action.
Source: Monica Ross Ethical Actions A Critical Fine Art Practice
Edited: Suzanne Treister and Susan Hiller
Page 68, line 24.
Extract from History or Not.
Published by: Sternberg Press. 2016.
Word selected: 1 May 2017
Photographed: August 1993
Completed: 2 May 2017
Photo: A road junction 4.2 kilometres from Blévy on the D1386. Another time, another place.
Word No. 7: Purposes
Article 14.2 This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Source: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Brighton Festival 2011. Special Edition.
Published by: Brighton Festival, 2011.
Word selected: 5 May 2017
Photographed: 2 October 2017
Completed: 5 October 2017
Photo: A Device with Many Purposes
Word No. 8: Disarticulated
In a post-Westphalian setting, this tendency unfolds strong decision-making public authorities shift from being situated within formal institutionsof global governance to being functionally of these same institutions, and thus wholly or partially disarticulated from the transnational public sphere.
Transnationalizing the Public Sphere
Author: Nancy Fraser et al.
Page 86, line 14.
Published by: Polity
Word selected: 12 May 2017
Photographed: 8 October 2017
Completed: 12 October 2017
Photo: Parked outside Lydia’s house in Brighton.
Word No. 9: He
He contrasts the intellect formed through visual recognition with the secretive inner world of emotion.
Edited by: Kathrin Beer & Christina Feilchenfeldy
Page 27, line 9.
Published by: Parvenu. 2010.
Word selected: 13 May 2017
Photographed: 8 July 2017
Completed: 10 July 2017
Photo: At first, I thought of just photographing the cover of The Man Who Sold the World album cover which has a title which would qualify the perpetrator (the man who sold the world) as a significant ‘he’ plus the fact that Bowie is wearing a frock (a man’s dress—as
he reputedly explained to an American policeman). Then, I thought of Bowie himself, being recognised as a relatively exceptional ‘he’ in the pantheon of the all-time greats so I built a little assemblage with some of the equipment that I once used to play his music.
Word No. 9: Greatest
Here, in exquisitely organised parts, the elementary colours present themselves in their greatest purity and beauty.
Source: Theory of Colours
Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Page 257, line 11.
Published by: MIT Press. 1970.
Word selected: 14 May 2017
Completed: 18 May 2017
Photo: In 1966, I went to see the show Funny Girl at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London which starred Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice. In the musical, Barbra Streisand (the actress) is just 24 years old and one of the numbers that she performed (ironically) as Fanny
Brice was a song entitled I’m the Greatest Star. I include this photograph as The Greatest Star That I Have Ever Photographed although, at the time, she was, very much, still in the process of becoming ‘established’.
Word No. 11: Gear
The most popular video features Mrs Eaves (real name Gemma O’Brien) in gym gear, which leaves a lot of room to inscribe ‘Write Here, Right Now’ in different letter styles on her flesh, to the accompaniment of the Fat Boy Slim song of almost the same name.
Source: Just My Type
Author: Simon Garfield
Page 113, line 12.
Published by: Profile Books. 2010.
Word selected: 17 May 2017
Photographed: 28 September 2017
Completed: 28 September 2017
Photo: I built the MGM (Meccano Gear Mechanism) to propel a camera dolly with on-board lights, a distance of four metres over a two-hour period in order to video the whole of Title Roll—a self-portrait as exposed by a record collection. It was electrically driven by an old Copyproof photo-mechanical transfer processor motor, the drive spindle of which rotated at approximately eighteen revolutions-per-minute so had to be slowed down to a ‘snail’s pace’ and the only way I could find to do that was to a few bits of Meccano.
Word No. 12: Option
As is so typical of the maternal melodrama, sacrifice is the only option left to Fanny, one which despite its negativity can be seen at least to validate women’s experience, but more fundamentally to point to the fact that this sacrifice is itself also ‘a problem’7; she sacrifices her love for Marius to his greater love for ‘the sea’ in Marius, sacrifices all for her child in Fanny, and, arguably, sacrifices her newfound freedom after Panisse’s death for the
(re)formation of her couple with Marius and César.
Source: French Film Texts and Contexts
Edited by: Susan Hayward and
Page 79, line 20.
Published by: Routledge. 1990.
Word selected: 19 May 2017
Photographed: 17 June 2017
Completed: 17 June 2017
Photo: A selection of aids—possibly considered useful in decision making.