It’s meant to be fake, of course its fakery
that’s why it works.

Cover-up star cover star 

up star stared upon
the starry deceit seen not 
covered deceit star and seen deception star…

Our eyes are twinkling.

The falsity star misstatement; oh that was just an accident, a slip,and 
it really meant 
at all.

Star perjury brings fine rewards.
Star witness, nice hotel,
maybe just four star really.

Prevarication stars.
All tales told
tall tales
deep tales
long tales make for the star turn

conjuring and surgery, masks and masks, spells and fixes to control a creature whose control is largely given, already within the remit, a creature of combustion, of chemicals and mechanics, flow and rigidity, exhaustion and centre, gravity negotiated… Gravity negotiated in most instances…

But socially it seems this creature is wild. These social rules are all its own, only this creature makes the rules, and yet so often it is only this creature which refuses to abide by the rules. Here this creature becomes strange.
It becomes a body, as if by magic, and this is why it works. 
And this is why it is wild.
The put upon and torn at and pushed around body

and in the fierce locality of utterance, of will, of dispel and ego, of the great swelling, world conquering, the swift surety of knife, and deep booming resound of a transaction

this how it works

noisy, unanswerable, beauty imperious,

an underground empire of need

needs body

whose needs are slavery resting upon a lie of reward.

Do not rehearse the future. Reverse from day dream and rest in this moment.

Turning and change lead nowhere; stopping we progress.

One day your just doing will not do.

Lament not you eyebrow’s broken symmetry.

Stone written 


stone paper scissors
scissor written
scissors stone paper
paper written
paper scissors stone

Out streamed words and gestures, gathering back gestures and words. The material pause between presence and decay. 

As a moment between two forms, the hesitance is suddenly neither

gesture nor word

not suture not slice

not what it came from nor what it is going to. 

There is a new form. A shape of sensing. A material awareness, shaping sense, this moment becoming all its own. 

What is a moment that it is all its own? Paper wraps rock, rock blunts scissors, scissors cut paper.

The written cut and sewn together alphabet. 

Now decisions flow swiftly, call it a gamble, call it play, call it a game: Call it. 
Decide or elide, the moment hidden or revealed is also the moment.

The whole collection is a moment, a collection of gestures, the gathered role call of the pause. 

The whole gesture is a collection, the instance of history colliding with its own gaps.

A gathering of a strong scribble, fingers rolling around the making mark, the long scripting of senses seething forth from the smudge. A writing of the presence of present tense thought. 

And hovering above the possibility  – stilled in the scrutiny of this instant – there is discovery. 

I am told there will be discovery.
Awareness in material coming back to material awareness.

Your material awareness paused, heard, and returned may suddenly become materially different. Of course, your consciousness does not venture forth without its own potency. “You” may very well change everything around you and do so, sometimes, before ever reaching that which you have changed.

Beginning at the end of a book, we have changed the beginning.

To tiptoe out without net and barely a wire to touch our toe upon.

To step into a moment without a reference to another moment, without a beginning. What kind of foolhardy act is this?

of elements, blown across all scales.

Blown in magnetised wind, all essential patterns lift this kite.

The essential is there in the bread, in the brain, in the galaxies; a filamented network translated across all scales.

Ours is a limited translation poised before the possibility of all transcription.

The dictionary is a forest.

Transformation blows through the source from book, through process, from archive through process, from drawing through process from collection through processs

and from process through process

we move through

to the winds arising. Is this blown directly from the source

to books, archives, drawings, and collections

where all is conspiring toward reinvention?

To reinvent our inventions of ourselves in thought, reflection, change: where is the caught experience?

The catching of our bread, our neurons, our stars

our nutrition, our firing, our vast filamented wings depositing essential elements in the stored potential of transformation.

To savour the elements of transformation is to experience the process and to observe the process simultaneously.

To taste, sapor, is to engage sappers, the crawling insistence which will change our foundation.

The dictionary is a forest.
We cannot see the wood for the trees.

The forest is on fire.
We cannot sense the fire for the spelling of the siren.

The siren sings.
We cannot hear the song for melting wax.

The wax will be pooled, and one day will dry. In this surface we etch a map of filaments.

An edit
time and displace,
re-lace and locate.
Out streamed and gathering back time, temporal temper teased and tampered with. The material pause between presence and decay. (Tiktiktik…)

pause at a moment between two forms, this hesitancy, this bare abyss given the due irresolution of an instant amnesia
doubt is suddenly neither what it came from nor that which it is going to. 

There is a new form. A shape of sensing. An awareness all of its own. There is a material to it, built on an immaterial – and always so – from the moment’s apprehensive non-existence. By splicing across a gap the ground apparent allows its own appearance and decisions flow swiftly.

The edit is a gamble, a play, the game of decide or elide. Perhaps in this there is the addictive quality of addiction; to make reality, to make real, to make it more real yet. It is so simple to slice and to glue and to spin the wheel, to assist the internal speeds, and to adjust the focus, just so.

The whole collection is a moment, a collection of gestures, the moment’s pause. The whole gesture is a collection; the gathering of a strong scribble, the long scripting of senses.

One can only learn to think in the presence of other beings who are learning also. The seeming of thought is the beginning to think. 

Look at her hand on the drawer. Look at the line of his jaw. Her kiss curl is a question mark.

Gestured collection, a writing of the presence of present tense thought. And hovering above the possibility
stilled in the scrutiny of this instant 

Awareness in material returns to immaterial awareness which may turn again to the material. Time dissolves the skin, time renews the flesh. The dialogue between each absence leans toward presence.

The danger of a dialogue is that, for it to be genuine, one has to allow that the dialogue may actually change “you”. 

There is a gamble.

Your material sensoria paused, and heard, may be returned. The returning is materially different. It has crossed a gap. It has been edited.

He is chewing the inside of his cheek.

Consciousness does not venture forth without its own potency. “You” may very well change everything around you and do so, sometimes, before even reaching that which you have changed.

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come…
The soliloquy is tragic to the extent that it invites no dialogue and yet nonetheless engages in dialogic effect.

The conversation is comic to the extent that the two soliloquies run together, never meeting and yet making of the space between, an equation, a synchronic temporal. Comic conversation without dialogue moves to multiples of the tragic.

“Whose streets?”
“Our streets!”
“Crown’s peeps?”
“Clown’s sheets!”
“Whose feet?”
“Roast neeps!”

Cinema reproduced the circus; it reproduced the running and the walking; it reproduced the vehicle. And then it was painted on, frame by frame, reproducing the painting. But in each instance it stubbornly refused to merely copy, becoming always another circus, another movement and another field.

An abyss in time and displace, re-lace and locate; the edit puts armour to our gaps; articulates the muteness of this painkilling.

And then the heat of a projector melts the stock.

And then the glue of the edit displaces.

And then the crucible of play turns dialogue turns the day.
A moment between two forms.
A shape of an awareness that in the changing of consciousness becomes another shape
and another
and another becomes pattern
and some pattern will be rhythm and flow and some, ratcheted so, will be a costume for this drama.

Abject / Collect

… let none of the nuances or small happenings escape even though they might seem to mean nothing. And above all, classify them

There is nothing much to say: I could not pick up the paper, that’s all.
I very much like to pick up chestnuts, old rags and especially papers. It is pleasant to me to pick them up, to close my hand on them; with a little encouragement I would carry them to my mouth the way children do. Anny went into a white rage when I picked up the corners of heavy, sumptuous papers, probably soiled by excrement. In summer or the beginning of autumn, you can find remnants of sun-baked newspapers in gardens, dry and fragile as dead leaves, so yellow you might think they had been washed with picric acid. In winter, some pages are pounded to pulp; crushed, stained, they return to the earth. Others quite new when covered with ice, all white, all throbbing, are like swans about to fly, but the earth has already caught them from below. They twist and tear themselves from the mud, only to be finally flattened out a little further on. It is good to pick up all that. Sometimes I simply feel them, looking at them closely; other times I tear them to hear their drawn-out crackling, or, 
if they are damp, I light them, not without difficulty; then I wipe my muddy hands on a wall or tree trunk.
So, today, I was watching the riding boots of a cavalry officer who was leaving his barracks. As I followed them with my eyes, I saw a piece of paper lying beside a puddle. I thought the officer was going to crush the paper into the mud with his heel, but no: he straddled paper and puddle in a single step. I went up to it: it was a lined page, undoubtedly torn from a school notebook. The rain had drenched and twisted it, it was covered with blisters and swellings like a burned hand. The red line of the margin was smeared into a pink splotch; ink had run in places. The bottom of the page disappeared beneath a crust of mud. I bent down, already rejoicing at the touch of this pulp, fresh and tender, which I should roll in my fingers into greyish balls… I was unable.
I stayed bent down for a second, I read “Dictation: The White Owl,” then I straightened up, 
empty-handed. I am no longer free, I can no longer do what I will.
Objects should not touch because they are not alive. You use them, put them back in place, you live among them: they are useful, nothing more. But they touch me, it is unbearable. I am afraid of being in contact with them as though they were living beasts.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Low collection, lowly collection.
“Objects should not touch…”
“I am afraid of being in contact with them…”

If classification is an order, is that order an expulsion? We collect things in order to throw them away – visibly. To see these things rejected, ordered; collected, exiled.

We live in an anaphobic society, in the idolisation of novelty it fears repetition. A phobia of phobia, there is a continual call to face your fear. Stick a pin through the spider.

“Been there, seen that, done it.” We have all heard this refrain; it may be advertising, it may be real life, this may be someone you know: Thrill junkies, world travellers, the beautiful people (and we can collect group definitions as we horde resentments). “They”; we allow ourselves to believe, are forming into a special class of collector. Emotion turned to ephemera, sensation packaged as series of statements.
The trip.
The buzz.
The vibe.
The high.
And that special mania of the field which is tourism; the collector as eye and bowel movement, opened up onto a previously unimaginable scale. This is partially achieved by simply denying that this is tourism. People will pay for the luxury of no luxury. A series of life style statements.
A traveller.
An explorer.
Sports enthusiast.
Snow boarder.
Mountain biker.
Not the tourist thing at all, this collection of places and sensations, seem barely to class as a purchase at all.
Something money cannot buy.
I was there.
No fear.

And that is just what I am trying to find, a fear so palpable it becomes an object. An object that does not touch. Because it is not alive it should not touch. The dead object touching the living object makes an abject subject. A collation of subject and non-subject make for a suspect deviation.

But look, if you can collect then you can order, nothing need ever touch. Death. No touching, not without my say so. Only knowledge can circumnavigate a collection. At best it is perfectly solipsistic: Choose any object within the collection and from the information embedded therein, the inevitable references, reverberations, echoes and clues, we will be cast out on an adventure. Albeit and adventure within a frame. The routes are prescribed, predicted, and perfectly calibrated so that eventually, if not repeatedly, the seeker is turned around all the far corners of the collection to find, at end, beginning; the original object.

As an ego will presume it is complete, so a collection presupposes completion. It might not be complete, but that does not exclude it from the hope. Indeed, to be excluded from the hope of completion would be to destroy the collection before it has properly begun. To complete the collection would be to kill both the hope and the desire. This of course is exactly what we cannot say.

Yet how pointless; to embark upon a collection that will be killed if complete and will kill us if never completed.

Imagine; nothing from outside needed. Yet given the end, it persists. When it was meant to finish, instead it lingers. It corrupts, it seeps. The waiters hum the tune (from your collection). A melody returns while one is at one’s ablutions… Abstract.

Abstraction collection: copulation, excretion, consumption, and contamination. These are the biological regions to be vitally usurped if capitalism is to have any success at all. (One does not have to be a capitalist in order to collect.)

Is the C word a success word? Is your record collection complete? Records, vinyl records, will happily proclaim themselves as food, sex, shit; the sort of shit one finds gold in.

Sometimes there need only be one classification. Or rather, the binary trick; there need only be a series of coupled terms linked but forever held separate by their mutual antagonism. (It is to be fervently hoped that these terms will never actually touch.) The fixity of exclusion demands an order to which everything proceeds:

No taxonomy will ever be pleased to deal with “and”.

“And” implies an existence in two (or more) frames. The subject (and object) that can so elude fixity immediately effects a collection’s status. By the rules of collection a subject becomes an object in the collection and therefore must be placed somewhere, it must be classified as something. Frame A or frame B? There is a decision to be made and, because of “and”, this decision begins to appear arbitrary. The decision may be accompanied by a series of rationalisations and yet, because of “and”, the rationale might also be arbitrary. Rational argument becomes an additional content in the collection, it was not anticipated and, taking on the air of an improvisation, another “and” is added as this rational adage must now be rolled forward to future objects and cast back across the pre-existing collection. An osculate object so kissing slips toward being a subject. 

White owl.

It may be that this “and” is denied a classification. “And” refused is abject, and this abjection is also a classification. That replete sense of self, complete even in the striving toward completion, can no longer be anything other than lack. A refusal might therefore be a revenge for undermining the collection’s solipsistic knowledge.

To proceed by denial is hardly satisfactory however. To be conscious of the denial even less so. All the elaborate games of taste and the connoisseur may come into play but still there will be a nagging unease; something missing. Or rather, not missing at all; below mattress A and mattress B there is a pea. Uncomfortable, this tiny thing that does not belong to bed nor to bedroom and most certainly it is not appropriate for the sovereign comfort of this situation and yet it still cannot be wholly excluded. Indeed, the story demands its inclusion. This present abjection is “and” could be. Identity comes to be defined via the defect. If eventually this osculate object must become present to the collection then its intimacy insinuates a gestation period. A rearrangement is born wherein A and B is subsumed to AB which is coupled to DC while held – forever – separate.

White owl in black night.

Someone placed a clay toad in amongst the collection of frogs. It could have become a collection of amphibians but instead the toad was taken aside and smashed.

She has thousands of frogs: 
Clay frogs. 
Plaster frogs.
Metal frogs.
Stuffed cloth frogs.
Knitted frogs.
Frogs fill every available nook and cranny of her flat. Special frogs are associated with special events; a visit here, a niece there, the day such and such happened. If something particularly upsetting happens she will select certain frogs and destroy them. More than merely breaking the item, the condemned ones will be pulverised, meticulously unstitched, or melted down to a formless slag. Following this destruction her anger is purged, some bad memory or association has been cleared away, and she has created space for new frogs.

The metaphor is now Colonel Kurtz. He collects the dead. He has responded to abjection in a brutal but thorough fashion. Any confusion surrounding classification is, he believes, resolved. The enemy are dead. Traitors are dead. The dead are dead. Yet objects should not touch and he is subsumed within this collection. Living still, he touches the dead; moving still, he shifts amongst the no-longer mobile dead.

How to destroy the dead? How to clear space so as to replace the dead (“and” their associated emotion, story, memory) with more dead. The dead must make way for death and in this rain they will not stay buried. A mountain of white ash; mounds of blackened, charred remains. The dead know the dead. There is an “and” and an abjection to their intimacy. AH! Nonetheless, the Kurtz character is, we say, alive.  Nonetheless, his collection is so large that it begins to frame him, as if these burning bodies take up more space not less; as if they were getting inside of us.

You see the dead might become ornamental if the collection is not properly ordered. This is what is meant by the phrase: “He is operating beyond any reasonable control.”

The Kurtz collection positioned within the larger field reveals itself as a mere hobby. An amateur collection. The proper military classification of the dead is impressive. If the hierarchical demands are rigorous it is only because of the need to make sense of so huge a collection. Precision is required for classification: This is alive. This is dead. Body bag, tags, autopsy report perhaps but proper medical certification certainly, paperwork aplenty for without these stabilising influences the object simply cannot be admitted into the collection. Terror is not lessened specifically by bureaucracy, not tamed essentially, but it is channelled. A controlled use of alienation, taxonomy is terror sublimated.

Value slips when touched.
The warmth of a living beast.
“You put them back in place […] they are useful, nothing more.”
The horror, the horror.
A white owl in a black night and I am no longer free.

Collecting is about meaning, is it not? What else might there be?

A pen, a packet of batteries, Humbrol enamel paint tins, sausage rolls, party poppers, a clockwork toy soldier, a pencil, a tube of PrittStick, a troll, two yellow felt tips, a chocolate did, a packet of iced gems, a balloon, a plum, a pear, a banana, Rose sweets, a Mars bad, a hamburger-lookalike candy, a lipstick tube, an eyeliner, a yoghurt, a milkshake, two cartons of Ambrosia rice, some wallpaper borders and a large tin of paint from Fads.

The above named is a collection made in February 1993. Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, aged ten, allegedly stole these items prior to their abduction and murder of James Bulger, aged two.

Original first published in Inventory: losing, finding, collecting. Vol.2 No.2 1997.

Suicided Ornament
“Have you ever, kind friend, experienced anything which completely filled your heart and mind and drove everything else out of them? Which made you bubble and boil and drove the blood glowing hot through your veins, so that your cheeks burned red? Which transfigured your gaze, as if it were seeking out forms and shapes invisible to other eyes, and dissolved your speech into glowing sighing? […] And you wanted to express your inner vision in all its colours and light and shade and wearied yourself to find words with which to even begin. You felt you had, as it were, to compress everything marvellous, glorious, terrible, joyful, harrowing that had happened to you into the very first word, so that it would strike your hearers like an electric shock… [E.T.A. Hoffmann.]
“…and to give the death rattle in the electric shock of Bardo, as in the Bardo of electric shock […] Anyone who has gone through the electric shock of Bardo, and the Bardo of electric shock, never again rise out of its darkness, and his life has been lowered by a notch.” [A. Artaud; Artaud le Momo]

I cannot write this because I cannot bear to look at ornament. But what I count as ornament is not that which ornaments the place where I live. My living room.
Ornament is always someone else’s taste and choice. The colours, shapes and figures of another lose out in the translation. Ornament is always mere decoration, a second rate art if one has not invested personally in it.
Ornament throws itself upon the pyre of the user’s imagination: Here is the place where I try to be alive. My living room. Here I am not acting as a social being, not always. In here I am not always an economic entity. Within reach of ornamental grandeur I am allowed to waste, dissipate, and uselessly expend. I do not work in my living room. Here, most of the time, I am not even playing. Ornament is just the hook and crotchet of being.
These are not ornaments. These are tokens of my existence, markers of my path, and symbols of my soul. Most of the time I do not even notice them.
I have lost and gained televisions, bicycles, and armchairs yet this figurine, for example, is my companion still. The figure may seem to be without value or redeeming artistic merit. Its worth is nothing beyond what we must unfortunately call my sentiment. I invest something of myself into it, it haphazardly carries me as a hidden element of its being. Whoever has the joy of holding it after my demise will be stuck, embroiled in ornamental sentiment, the struggle to express a dissipated spark. Worth nothing, they inherit mystery; the value-less value of somebody’s meaning. The horror of a thing so imbued with my spirit that it would be impossibly callous to simply toss the thing aside.
Ornament carries with it a mute revenge fantasy.
The eyes are black disks hung evocatively in plastic bulbs with white backgrounds, the glue squeezes out from behind in dry mucus-like tears. An intricate surface made up entirely of small sea shells. Sharp spirals all aligned in one direction except for around the chops and the ears where they are artfully reversed to highlight the doggy form. My guardian hound. It scares ghosts from off my threshold. If children visit they do not touch. Their parents later describe their offspring suffering troubled nighttime disturbances and I sympathize blandly.

“I have discovered the following truth and present it to the world: cultural evolution is equivalent to the removal of ornament from the articles in daily use. […] It is possible to estimate a country’s entire culture by the amount of scrawling on lavatory walls.” [Adolf Loos.]

It is a little odd to see a series of events, a set of relationships, a barely collected set of works being re-inserted into the cultural life of a whatever cultural life there is – albeit in a most small manner. 

Odd, yet inevitable I presume. Clothes I have not yet thrown away are apparently returning fashionable. No, one really must not take any notice of such no sense none sense nonsense.

There they are, Inventory, a collaborative project. The journal was, and is. Inventory: finding, losing, collecting. 

My intention is to revisit my own contributions. To make new versions – perhaps new – available in the charcoal pit which is Grilled Fish.

About Inventory? These are some bare scrapings gleaned from an internet which, when we started, was barely there at all. Perhaps we would never have made a journal if it was possible to make a website? No, we would print, most certainly. Our conversations had circled the possibility for so long.