WRITING AS OCCUPATION – Neil Chapman & David Stent

WRITING AS OCCUPATION

And what of durations and time limits? Could any of this correspond to a foreseeable residency period?

The glass in the windows is frosted but enough light gets through to reveal that this is a workshop. There are tools hung on hooks, and there are benches. The colours and smells make of the place one surface, our presence a danger to its integrity. True, we can be seen as hostiles for more obvious reasons given that we have broken in. But already we consider ourselves guardians, even against those who might yet come to commence their instrument-making.

Step carefully. Don’t disturb the dust.

It is as well to remain quiet. Events on the street have taken an ugly turn. We have sympathy with the cause but any demand to use this place for the insurrection’s purposes will split our loyalties. If some needing sanctuary are permitted, the doors will close swiftly behind them. At all costs the interior’s neutrality will be preserved.

*

Writing as Occupation names a superimposition of spaces. The room that was a workshop is now a laboratory – J-Spur, a science wing abandoned after its supposed ‘contamination’ now itself the agent of impurity. We have come to write, to ask what it takes for a place to house the production of writing and nothing else.

A marvellous dictate is strewn and the Spur becomes a snow globe. Isn’t it wonderful that paper can be pinched at the middle, that it can be cupped to capture liquid? The scattered sheets are chased, caught and pinched into sphincters – grips through which writing can whistle. There are numerous break-flows throughout the body, most of which can be trained to speak. Make a fist of it.

COME QUICK AND BARRICADE THE WRITERS

A campaign is somehow secured against the institution. The Spur shakes with a motion that might never be compressed into stillness. ATTEND THE CASE. What is this – the brave and the bold? There’s not one fucker fit to curse, nor to pick the stitch. Writing is now formed from casings, even in its runoffs, fit only to trim, its threads of matter thrown from the spinning edge of the cylinder press. Writing a skull as soft as a dub plate.

BUST OUT YOUR DEFENCES. BUILD YOUR REDOUBTS AND YOUR PHALANX. GET DICTATED TO. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY OF MAINTAINING YOUR REVETMENTS. GET SANDBAGGING. EVERY SURFACE IS TO BE SET AS A RECEIVER OF WRITING.

Room in Widow M’cormack’s House Barricaded, engraving, 1848; approximate size 6.5 x 7.5cm, 2.5 x 3 inches.

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