The Bureau of Writing Program


Prelude event: 9 September 2015, Golden Age Cinema & Bar

Screening of Writing Not Yet Thought: Hélène Cixous with Adrian Heathfield. Speakers: Stephanie Rosenthal, Adrian Heathfield.

Launch: 12 September 2015, Artspace

Launch of the Bureau of Writing, with readings from the participants as part of VOLUME 2015: Another Art Book Fair.

Seminar: Adrian Heathfield, 12 September 2015, Artspace

Flesh–Event–Writing, a communal conversation led by Adrian Heathfield exploring approaches to writing practice that reconfigure the relation between embodiment and textuality – in particular, thinking through the impacts of écriture feminine, performative writing, affect theory and ficto-criticism.

Workshop: 28 November 2015, Online

A collaborative online writing exercise to re-write Michel Foucault’s famous text ‘Of Other Spaces’ (1967) as a ‘mash-up manifesto for these times of Reddit comments, commercial spaces online and terrorist threats’.

Constant Dullaart is an artist whose conceptual work considers contemporary modes of information access and distribution via networked and virtual technologies.

Workshop and exhibition: Gerry Bibby, Flexing muscle (closed workshop 16–18 February, exhibition 18 February–4 March 2016), Ideas Platform, Artspace

In a space constructed by Gerry Bibby, this workshop takes encounter as its point of entry/exit. Writing presumes reading, inferring both ingestion and ejection, states of introspection and production that contract from, and expand into, the social in space, here becoming a public exhibition, opening on the evening of 18 February in the Ideas Platform at Artspace.

Gerry Bibby is an artist working across performance, sculpture, print and writing. Recent projects include Point Center for Contemporary Art Cyprus, The Showroom London, and Kunsthaus Bregenz. He is author of The Drumhead, Sternberg Press (2014).

Workshop: Heman Chong, Common Characters (2016, ongoing), 21–22 March 2016, Artspace

The first of a series of ongoing, artist-led workshops in which participants gather for the duration of 24 hours in order to each produce a fictional character that will be open for anyone to use under a selected creative commons licence. The workshop is inspired by the work of the science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, who in his lifetime wrote reviews of books that don’t exist.

Public talk: Anna Gibbs, 5 April 2016, Artspace

Performative Writing will address, sometimes by demonstration, sometimes by explanation, some of the different modalities of such work, from fictocritical methods to ways of writing in collaboration with life forms like plants or algorithms, provoking questions of who or what performs and for whom.

Anna Gibbs is a Professor of Writing in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University, where she is also a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre and the Digital Humanities Research Group.

Radio launch: Antisoulmate Mixtape by Andrew Brooks and Astrid Lorange, 4 May 2016, Sleepless in Sydney on FBi Radio

Beyoncé’s 2006 track ‘Irreplaceable’ addresses a bad boyfriend at the moment of break-up. The title is ironic – the boyfriend thinks he’s indispensable, but in fact, he’s not. He’s infinitely substitutable, because a boyfriend is anyone who comes to occupy that category. The song is therefore a kind of anti-soulmate anthem, describing the love relation as a relation that exists in time and as time, rather than the beloved as a singular, fated ‘one’.

Antisoulmate Mixtape is an audio essay on Beyonce’s Irreplaceable created by Andrew Brooks and Astrid Lorange that takes the song, subjects it to a vaporwave-style slow-down, and loops it (almost unbearably) alongside a text that thinks through the anti-soulmate as ideal other. Tune in from 11 pm on Wednesday 4 May to Sleepless In Sydney, FBi Radio’s weekly exploration of emotional affect in popular music, hosted Alister Hill and Marcus Whale, to hear their new work, developed over the course of the Bureau of Writing. The artists will be on the show at midnight.

Website intervention: Seven Hundred and Fourty Three Fragments Drifting by Benjamin Forster and Sarah Rodigari, May 2016

During May, Seven Hundred and Fourty Three Fragments Drifting, 2016, will be hosted on this website as a project of the Bureau of Writing, created by participating artists Benjamin Forster and Sarah Rodigari. Through this digital intervention, the artists alter normal reading behaviours by editing their texts – written during Bureau of Writing workshops in February and March this year – through custom code that causes their words to cascade down the screen. While distracting visitors from the informative function of the website, this abstract, slow-time reading exercise also illustrates the ‘in-between’ and partial status of the Bureau of Writing. The project began in September 2015, accompanied the 20th Biennale in its lead up, witnesses the exhibition and concludes with the Biennale in June 2016 – both part of and observer of this edition.

Poetry reading: Eileen Myles, 25 May 2016, Artspace

Eileen Myles is an unparalleled live commentator on her own work and everything else going on in the room. Her readings have a talk show quality that quickens our idea of what and who a poet and writer can be.

Poet, novelist, performer and art journalist, Eileen Myles is the author of 19 books, including the recent I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems and a re-issue of her 1994 novel Chelsea Girls (both 2015). She has received a Guggenheim, several grants from Creative Capital and the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. She both appears in and is the inspiration for the Cherry Jones character on the current season of Transparent.

Radio launch: Scaffold, audio installation (11:15 mins) by Beth Caird and Aodhan Madden, 26 May 2016, Ears Have Ears, FBi Radio 94.5FM

It was disappointing that the Obituary Writer was an extreme, pedantic gossip. At Circular Quay I ask a woman the name of her two dogs tied up to an iron fence, ‘this one’s named Mummy, this one’s named Beddy-Bye‘. To experience the sensation of having a song stuck inside your head is to be apart of a community with other people who repeat it with you. Silently and for a time and sometimes sweating, flu symptoms, telephone cliché. Shared matter comes in many invisible, transient forms, like Songs, or Embassies, sometimes containing the energy of a State Prosecutor, others have a Bedside Manner, all of which sound as if they are translating someone else’s Journal Entry. Precarious edges are found in The Top 40, Embassies, Advertisements, Footprints and Data Farms or Visions That Can’t Be Trusted. And so on. Everyday we use our calendar to give chaotic mystery order. We give a dog a name. A Funeral March is a piece of music played during the Funeral Processional or Execution. At the end of the ordeal, you’ll say, whistling, ‘Don’t tell me, I’ll catch it,’ when you simply want me to say, ‘I can hear it too’.

Lecture: BoS Fan Fiction, Kelly Fliedner, 27 May 2016, Alaska Projects

Taking the Biennale of Sydney, its associated projects, lectures, artists and staff as a body of stories, this BoS Fan Fiction lecture is a fictocritical pastiche written in response to the 20th Biennale of Sydney – a way of re-scripting and inserting a plethora of seemingly incongruous interests and desires into new narratives and responses to the Biennale.

The BoS Fan Fiction lecture will be read as a series of creative instalments that riff off the work and lives of Agatha Gothe-Snape, Stephanie Rosenthal, Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, Stanislaw Lem, Jumana Manna, Adrian Heathfield, Rhiannon Newton, Adam Linder and various Bureau of Writing participants among others.

The Bureau of Writing has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. It has been made possible through the generous support of the Keir Foundation.