We are very excited to be returning to the world of exhibiting and general shit-stirring with NOTHING TO SAY, to be held next summer and organised by eight cuts gallery’s more conceptual sister site 79 rat press.
Please feel free to quote at will from the press release below, or download it from the exhibition site here.
An exhibition of the written and spoken word to be held next summer promises to provide literature with its equivalent of the Sensation art exhibition and Turner Prize shows that propelled the so-called Young British Artists into the public consciousness. Dan Holloway, organiser of NOTHING TO SAY, believes that “The literary world desperately needs an event to catch hold of the public imagination and turn people’s idea of what words are capable of doing on its head the way for example Tracey Emin’s My Bed not only made people question what art actually is but suddenly made people aware that their everyday lives and sufferings were of infinite importance. Ebooks and the Internet are changing publishing, but the literary world using and talking about that new publishing landscape remains stuck, and the public is still wedded to a very outdated view of what literature can be.”
The exhibition will consist of collections from 6 of the most exciting new voices in literature, a catalogue featuring the works of around 20 more writers, and a live installation comprising spoken word alongside paper and electronic reading material and exhibits that will range from traditional poetry through formats increasingly used by a new generation of writers, such as image macros, to video and other installations more usually seen in the art world.
The first contributors to be announced are Sian S Rathore, a leading figure in the UK’s alt lit movement, Paul Askew, editor of art and poetry magazine Ferment whose works are surreal meditations on loneliness, and Emily Harrison, winner of the prestigious Tower Poetry Prize in 2010. The three will each contribute collections to be published on June 1st. There will also be exhibits from the event’s organiser, Dan Holloway, who won the international spoken word show Literary Death Match in 2010 and whose recent books include a collection of 512 limericks composed from just two words. An open call for submissions can be found on the website of 79 rat press, Holloway’s conceptual publishing house.
NOTHING TO SAY takes its name from the sense among many commentators in the literary establishment that contemporary literature, especially performance poetry and online writing, are superficial and have nothing interesting to offer. NOTHING TO SAY is a door into a world brimming not just with energy, but with the potential to change the way people see themselves, their place in the worlds, and what words have the potential to do.
“This is a landmark event,” says Holloway, who has run the alternative arts event Not the Oxford Literary Festival for the past three years, “because by focusing on writing and writers that are both instantly accessible and deeply strange, we are bringing some of the most important conversations out of the rarefied academic atmosphere they have occupied for too long and relocating them to the bus queues and watercoolers and twitter feeds where they belong. Language itself, with its rules and assumptions and history, is a cage that keeps people prisoner, but it can also be the hacksaw with which they can cut themselves free. By downplaying alternative popular or experimental forms of writing that throw out many of the rules of language as being amateurish, careless, or just meaningless, the media and the world of cultural punditry is not making a serious academic point, but a statement of political aggression against which NOTHING TO SAY is an act of defiance.”