Two Hundred Fifty-Seven Word Abstract:

Issues our panel is considering (bold signals my bold opinion to follow; italics signal indifference)

  1. frictions to epistemic certainties
  2. How have art institutions grappled with this
  3. what new agencies of art writing do such frictions generate?
  4. How might other fields of knowledge benefit from art writing’s speculative, performative and material conditions?
  5. What kinds of (un)productivities or productive refusals might art writing contribute to the precarious economies of artistic and institutional labour?
  6. How does failure function as a form of resistance?
  7. What alternative forms might be brought to address these conditions?


  1. My pseudo-philosophic pronouncement how epistemic certainties are a mirage
  2. benefits of hiding research from art institutions?:  new art writing forms as duckweed
  3. free association as a research method is old to me: is it really a new method for others? Are parallel, collegial artworks, including performance, instead of supplementary text, new? And the ethical responsibilities to audience are….????
  4. I can’t trace the history of how philosophy has benefited (some say it has)
  5. manifestos submitted and acted out by sizeable, cohesive groups or solo creative martyrdom (representing sizeable, cohesive enabling group) group disruption of practices (from details of language/formalities to accepted behaviours and manners) not necessarily issues: gotta think of power relations…..gotta think how little $$$ an artist could subsist upon….gotta think whose respect you’d respect….
  6. failure may have become a technical term by now, otherwise wouldn’t it be a phenomenon whose symptoms are relative to the social group’s values the art writer is addressing (or ignoring dramatically)
  7. whatever the new forms, how can the ethics of their relationship to art phenomena and audience be made obvious?



Reading With A Bao A Qu Reading When Attitudes Become Form

Maria's book With A Bao A Qu Reading When Attitudes Become Form has been described by Jens Hoffman as 'An entertaining and thought provoking addition to the re-examination of one of art history’s most mythologized exhibitions that demonstrates how language is attitude and how words are form.' The book's methodology is a practical embodiment the effect of reading Harald Szeemann's 1969 catalogue of When Attitudes Become Form with A Bao A Qu, Jorge Luis Borges' invisible creature described in Book of Imaginary Beings, to create an ad hoc, art historical taxonomy of implausible intimacy.



Toward a New Poetics of Propter Nos

With reference to a recent essay entitled ‘Prairie/Argo’, commissioned for the exhibition Barthes/Burgin at the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, UK, in 2016, this paper explores the potential for art, generally, and art writing, specifically, to generate the new: new thinking, new knowledge, new forms of life and, in the words of Sylvia Wynter, a new poetics of the ‘propter nos’. For the essay itself, a composition of writing and drawing, myself and my collaborative partner, James O’Leary, mobilise Roland Barthes’ image of the argo as a critical tool through which to contemplate Victor Burgin’s video work Prairie (2015). Replicating Prairie’s formal structure as a piece of writing, details of the video become titles for fragments of text that contemplate, for example: erasure, resistance, potentiality; the relation between aesthetics and politics; the role that form, figure and rhythm play in this and the homogenizing impulse of the grid; whiteness, blackness, nativeness; ornament and crime; the importance of story, poetry and myth for our conceptions of the human and new configurations of the social. So we begin with Prairie and, ‘by dint of combinations made within one and the same name’ come to find that ‘nothing is left of the origin’ and, from this site of disappearance, comes an emergence of the new.