Alan

Dear Marie, I’ve never been a fan of Francis Bacon. That’s not to say that I don’t feel the power of his work, but I can find it facile and macho. Bacon has sometimes been opposed to David Hockney, and I’ve always preferred the latter. I like how Hockney engages...

Alan writes: You wrote in Task 42: ‘Why should I have to feel isolated and alone in my pregnant body?’ I wondered what you meant and asked. Weren’t you getting enough hugs? Did I need to listen better? You answered that you lacked a community to discuss the experience of...

Dear Marie, My task was to document the experience of caring for my mother after her recent hip replacement operation. How—you asked— would we negotiate each other’s space? What conversations would we have? What type of care would I give? The answer to the third question is simple. Tie her...

Alan writes: You mention your pregnancy in relation to the time it took to finish your response to Task 39. You describe being ‘physically and mentally slower’; ‘there is no way,’ you write, ‘of ignoring the insistent presence of my changing and grotesque body.’ And you ask a question: ‘how...

Dear Marie, Sorry it’s late, but here’s the home movie I made in response to your task.   As requested, I have created a scrap book of the house in Jespersvej which we had to leave at the end of last week. Moving home recalls all the other homes you...

Alan writes: Your surprising response to Task 37—in which you took the text from the task I set and foregrounded the ‘small’ words that were its obscured underpinning—recalls an approach to scholarship known as ‘deformative criticism’, as described in Buurma and Gold (2018: 146-7; they put the emphasis on the...

Alan writes: Your task this week is to think materially about ‘status’. When we were setting up this project, we both wrote introductions to post on the project About page. Here are two snippets on the theme of equality and status – a longer one from mine (as prolix as...

Dear Marie, In a very interesting essay from 2008, ‘Constraint, Cruelty and Conversation’, Hector Rodriguez asks a question that is also at the centre of our project. He asks ‘whether generative or constraint-based artworks must always comprise tightly closed formal systems, or whether (and how) formal constraints can also open...

Alan writes: This week, Marie, you and your collaborator Mette Terp Høybye are running a two-day workshop as part of your ‘Fieldwork in the Body’ project. This relates to Mette’s ethnographic work on the corporeal experience of hospitals for all who visit, work and stay there, and the best ways to design...

Dear Marie, Scholars of culture like me, when accused the triviality of their topic, tend defensively to react by asserting its weightiness and significance. We’re wrong to do so, even if the paradox of the trivial is that it’s foundational. The word itself comes the Latin for the meeting of three...