Caitlin Merrett King   ->   Isobel Wohl   ->   George Yarker   ->   Jack Brindley
Blank and bouyant parts

An asterisk (*); from Late Latin asteriscus, from Ancient Greek ἀστερίσκος, asteriskos, “little star”) is a typo- graphical symbol or glyph. It is so called because it resembles a conventional image of a star. In English, an asterisk is usually five-pointed in sans-serif typefaces, six-pointed in serif typefaces, and six- or eight-pointed when handwritten. It can be used as censorship. It is also used on the Internet to correct one’s spelling.

The asterisk is derived from the need of the printers of family trees in feudal times for a symbol to indicate date of birth. The original shape was seven-armed, each arm like a teardrop shooting from the center. The asterisk is used to call out a footnote, especially when there is only one on the page. Less commonly, multiple asterisks are used to denote different footnotes on a page (i.e., *, **, ***). Typically, an asterisk is positioned after a word or phrase and preceding its accompanying footnote. In marketing and advertising, asterisks or other symbols are used to refer readers discreetly to terms or conditions for a certain statement, the “small print”.

“ I would give my entire output of words, past, present and to come in exchange for easier access to the world, for permission to state ‘I hurt’ or ‘I hate’ or ‘I want’. Or indeed, ‘Look at me’. And I do not go back on this. For once a thing is known it can never be unknown. It can only be forgotten. And writing is the enemy of forgetfulness, of thoughtlessness. For the writer there is no oblivion. Only endless memory.”

‘Look At Me’ Anita Brookner

Once these pines have left my hands it’ll feel better, as slowly but surely they pierce the skin.
All read from the palm, lines criss and cross.
Seen as a crystal ball, I put some faith in the process of drawing new images, new symbols from the deck. Compatibility charts all over the place, will this run with these settings?
Or does another tightly sealed layer of cellophane wrap need to be pulled back, please let there be refrain.

Cast out;
globular digits clamped to cold polished glass.

You see it’s kinda like the sharp and the spiny,
that really is the point,
bottom feeder dredging depths
down here looping.

Gears turning, often frozen in snapshot never cool rather expelling heat.

       Keep moving.

Tear me apart, tear me apart,
it’ll happen sooner or later most likely through my own dissection.

Peering through holes at all times,
the need for new value.

               Keep moving.

           If only someone knew the delicacy within,
           I keep expecting to be scooped
           to brush past all needles
           as I pin more into my flabby flesh.

           Pushed and dripping freely prickles that have punctured.

           Leave it behind, whole flabby pin cushion
           hold out with my soft nascent shell
           and forget all spines.

        How that might crunch though wheels?
        How that might shake and shudder?
        How might I be crushed under this weight?

Hold out with my soft nascent shell.

Cupping to my mouth
this thirst is trapping
salt water surrounds us.
Recognize me, do take note*, please do take note*,
Echo’s curse was cast upon a rock pool for sure.

Watch your step we’re here clinging on the rocks
blood well read
self sharpening teeth.

And the needle of the meter indicates new strokes
bristling against worth, barbing the self
trying so doggone hard to avoid these matters,
but the crank keeps turning


              Chin upon head
             a pallette of soft bruises, smeared in gel.

              Such long shadows for a dimly lit room
              as eclipse movement allows an enclasp.

              Encapsulate this moment a brief elongation
              a blush with you
              do take note*.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

 I’ve been thinking for some time now how they cling
 to the rocks below me.

 A cliche would be to compare them to sirens, but these
  little stars do not sing, rather they act as dark hard
 punctuation, do not tread on me, be wary of your step.

 Sea, awash with urchins
 planted on the page take note and hold the break.
 Cut this ream and maybe be weary of where your
 fingers land not your feet.

                It’s odd to think of all the eyes in these inky depths.

                Ever feel like you have been left out?
                A trending occurrence when you have your eye
                plugged to the hole in the fence.

                How the gears and cogs grind slacked with grease
                amassed from the repeated rotations.
                Second guessed by these movements eyes and fingers
                   freshly formed spicules eject,

                continuously reforming from older thoughts and
                wistful glimpses.

                I think the Urchins begin to seem more appealing
                they should entwine with the gear points, pointed
                quills sequencing
a breakdown in glyphs.

Crushed and cracking slowing down.

Devour the soft entrails
lapse your tongue around the wet gloop.

Degraded gossip swirls couldn’t help me with my mind
yet there is still some small heart in there somewhere, these sultry spindled words are really
imbued with love.
Another note, yet one more annotation rolling around from mouth to mouth.
Ceasing these spirals only leads to bobbing with the current, do not swim rather float.
I hold on to this utterance being sweet, though it seems often when consumed tender
thoughts invert to sharp points.

Long period of time, the sting will dissolve in the body or will be expelled from the flesh.

Level with the surface so it just washes over.

I am very soft right now
slipping into the rapids
please take note*.

              Mark this with a little star, note that there is something
             missing from here
             always in abeyance.

             Take note*.

             Entering dark recesses repeatedly
             little stars mark this half wrought deck.
             Pointing gestures impossible to seize as individual,
                  constantly yeilding place to other things.

To throw a spanner in the works (third-person singular simple present throws a spanner in the works, present participle throwing a spanner in the works, simple past threw a spanner in the works, past participle thrown a spanner in the works)

(idiomatic, Britain) To introduce a problem, dilemma or obstacle, something unexpected or trouble- some.

Halfway through the production of Macbeth, the director found that the stage was smaller than he had expected. This really threw a spanner in the works.

        heart         altogether
I can                            shine back
            shall be to me
            shall be to me
        heart        altogether
I can                            shine back

Sappho Variation, Veronica Forrest-Thomson

Text by George Yarker

But I promise I have actually been doing stuff, i.e.

putting in my contact lenses, recycling the plastic shells. typing, framing and reframing. I promise I have actually been improving my financial situation. attempting to improve my financial situation. calling my mother. paying attention to the texture of the duvet. changing the sheets. working. I have been. I have been being a person in the world. Incessantly. It has been exhilarating and authentic. I have made cake and cleaned the fishtank.

There are two fish. Of the two, Vesper has the more dynamic personality. It must be said. She has a certain charm. When she swims the long way of the tank her dark fins ripple out behind her in the most pleasing way and anyone nearby falls in love. Now that the wall behind her has been painted a glorious blue it is even more enchanting. It is as if night were swimming through midday, yes exactly. At 1 am the warm light of the kitchen feels comforting; insomniac time spent here is bordered like a picture. Here, a woman alone is drinking chamomile tea, she is having an idea, she judges it to be very good and interesting. It is as if night were the sun. A smile passes across a face and is not seen.

Earlier, no one was watching a woman rub a pane of tank glass in circular motions. No one was watching her remove a small amount of water from the aquarium. OO7 dove behind the toy castle on my approach; he is churlish and unglamorous. For this reason it is difficult to get a good picture of OO7. I promise I have actually been doing stuff, i.e. not checking my phone, not sharing, that is to say more broadly not engaging on social media, i.e. buying stamps. removing the seeds from peppers. looking at a map so as to improve my geography. For example there on the map you have the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone. NIGHT AS SUN can be the caption for the next Vesper post, or maybe NIGHT THROUGH NOON or just night/day. You have also Casablanca and Detroit, Michigan and many other places such as the Mariana Trench and Oslo and Antananarivo and the Great Meteor Tablemount.

No one was watching when the tank was topped up with clean water, though the thought did occur. The thought of photographing, filtering, posting did occur and for some time it fluttered in the indecisive and watery space of a mind desirous of some inchoate importance. Ancillary to the thought there was the consideration that authenticity plays well on the Internet. It must be said. And cleaning is authentic because it involves dirt and dirt is what is removed to make an edit and so when one reintroduces dirt into the edit one is uncleaning and therefore telling the truth. And so there could have been a photograph of an algae scrubber. There was none; no one could see a woman rub a pane of glass in small and tender circles but the thought did occur that it might have been a crowd-pleaser, a hive-pleaser, this moment of real engagement, a sort of invitation. But then again you must really have experiences.

Recent posts show a green velvet dress bought last week. shelfie showing Orlando, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, the new Krazsnahorkai (The World Goes On) and other things she is to be seen reading. selfie. a swirl on a coffee. edge of Vesper’s caudal fin. silver shine on a dessert fork. tbt to Cataluña. a picture. a group of friends, all fashionably dressed, seen smiling to the unseen, who like them. Forty-seven times they like them. And they like OO7’s large telescope eyes, they like an éclair, they like a close-up of the softgrained pale interior of a pear where it reveals a dark and glossy seed. The green delineation of the mesocarp caresses the edge of the frame.

And this all makes a feed, an account, a handle: this makes a history, i.e.

velvet                Preliminary Materials                face

swirl                  fin                                         silver, reflecting

holiday               picture                                  friends

fisheyes              pastry                                    detail (seed, flesh, mesocarp)

and it scrolls on, or you can scroll on, back to the first post, each image supported and lucid in time on touchscreen.

and what happens in the
blank and buoyant parts
, between 14h and 1d and 4d and swirl and fin? What was someone doing when they were not visible, a feed-proprietor, handled? There were moments she wanted to keep, to blindly show by keeping, when she wanted to be the sort of person who poured wet ingredients into dry without needing others to see the result. There were moments when she wanted to be a person who could enjoy, alone, the extraordinary yolk of an egg, as if she were not watching herself play with its texture, as if she did not understand surface tension and the mounting of pressure, as if there were still anything off the touchscreen. There was a membrane; a luscious thick yellow touched the air.


48h later (another 1 am)

The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone consists of two transform faults. Its frigid waters are home to vampire squid. corals. vulnerable deepwater redfish. other species not yet categorised and sorted. roundhouse grenadier. alfonsino. many sponges. nameless items. There are many fish and no aquariums; no one is watching. The Fracture Zone is a Marine Protected Area. When the deep scattering layer intervenes, sonar data are no longer reliable: a false seafloor. And yet there is colour, if you can find a way to see it. Photographs from the Mar-Eco expeditions show lacy things that I, writing, do not have words for and pink deepsea jellyfish that melt in the eye of the mouth. Translucent delicacies, these photographs, taken in the lowest of lights. Can you imagine pitch black? Vesper and OO7 would disappear here, yes, yes, they would freeze into invisibility, dead telescope eyes one with darkness. Online, an insomniac can find proof that something close to inaccessible remains. And someone has found that there is a seamount far below, someone has sensed it in the midnight area.

Text by Isobel Wohl

Information about the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, Charlie-Gibbs Marine Protected Area, and the international Mar-Eco expedition project was retrieved from on 11 January 2018.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to Instagram it, does it really happen?

Ironically or un-ironically or just funnily (dunno?) I will probably end up spending more time on instagram this week than I will writing this, although I suppose that could really be declared as something akin to research or method acting. Also, I’m trying to think about how to talk about instagram without sounding too much like a millennial version of Carrie Bradshaw. But why I am so embarrassed about being read like that? I think it’s something to do with not wanting to look overly pretentious or self-obsessed, but to be quite honest I’m 25 and an artist and I love instagram so it’s probs too late to worry about that now.

Instagram allows us to create fictions around our lives, to present as more prolific, more fun, better looking, better travelled. And I’m jealous of certain people’s lives because of instagram even though I know that they probably do argue with their beautiful boyfriend sometimes or that their skin isn’t actually that great at the moment or that they’re not really that vegan. And/but sometimes we do see these things in moments of confession but often as a cry for help, a complaint about a train being delayed or the appearance of a new spot - - a small break in the illusion, a ‘look we’re human too!’ - - and this now made even more juicy and fleeting with instagram stories.

Instagram works with a currency of knowledge and friendship. When we instagram images of a book we’ve just bought or seen in a shop for example, we are proclaiming knowledge of something, of not just having seen the book but having read it cover to cover and totally understanding everything in it. When we post an image of a person, e.g. a new art friend or a partner, we are aligning ourselves with them, their beliefs, their reputation, and flaunting this relationship either intentionally or unintentionally. And what is our response to this social capital as viewers of it? We love it of course. We pat each other and ourselves on the back knowing that we’ve never met this person, that that person has never spoken to that person irl, or that we’ve only put that picture up to show that we’re cool because we’re pals with that other person. Trust me, I have totally caught myself doing that ‘look at me doing this thing with this person’ in an openly showy offy way, don’t worry, I’m reading myself here too.

Jan Verwoert says something similar to this but about irl in ‘The friendship dimension: Against the commodification of social relationships’ ( here, “... that moment, making small-talk at an exhibition opening, when someone exclaims at the mention of a high-status name “S/he’s a good friend!” and one can only transmit back on the same frequency: “Good for you!” The speed with which relationships are thus defined as capital has painfully little to do with the time that relationships would need to mature.”

 * fyi coincidently currently listening to James O’Brien on LBC who is talking to a 23 yo guy about instagram (and social media in general) and how he feels like it makes us strive too hard for perfection and to be liked which is all because of three decades of neoliberalism- discuss *

As artists we use instagram to display research, as a promotional tool, as a lifestyle blog, as a gallery and/or to archive our non-art existence. We can present our multiple millennial personalities/roles/hats as artist/curator/director/writer/partner/friend/sales assistant/ (// “creative engineer” is a fave title that I recently came across) all in one feed or divide these up, tidy ourselves up into nice little boxes via separate instagrams. Something like one for your normal life, one for your art work, one that you manage at work work, one for your band, one for your puppy, and maybe a few private ones (useful for incognito liking of your own photos or spying on other people). You are your own social media manager and look how productive you are being- fab.

The artists’ lifestyle becomes part of their portfolio, by which I mean your life and your work are judged within the same aesthetic framework and so far as followers will like photos of your drawings on instagram, they’ll also like photos of your city break to Rotterdam. At this point, a true and honest shout out to those people who have their aesthetic seriously down as well, that ‘purity of stream’, so beautifully done, a perfect brand identity. And when this is done with images of your own work as well then wow that really does make you look the most prolific. Especially if you post images of the same work over and over - me quoting someone quoting someone else, ‘you should post three photos of the same piece of work to make it stick in people’s head.’ Just like when Beyonce puts up three pictures in a row of the same outfit and you question liking all of them and you look to see who of the people you’re following has liked all of them and then you like all three anyway because you’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t cos you truly do love every single one (please also note her recent hilarious, weird, cute Christmas insta vid posts)

But who knows, you might put a photo up of a painting from 2015 and even if it’s really quite shit if you keep on posting from a solid bank of images and ‘doing’ social media then you’ll still look incredibly on it most of the time, even if it becomes just vaguely apparent that maybe you’ve not actually made anything new at all since 2015.

With instagram, the more we post the more visible we become (many thanks, algorithms), the more followers and likes, and therefore an exponential increase in url reputation, which in turn leads to more irl invitations to do exhibitions, articles, commissions, residencies. Not always true, I know, but we all know that person/peer who gets all the shows and is also all over instagram and hats off to them for being on their game tbh.

I’m also really interested in instagram residencies; how arts organisations/artist-led groups/galleries invite artists to take over their instagrams for a period of time and to what end. Artists are able to use this platform similarly to their own instagram but with a heightened focus on posting pictures of their own work, other artists’ work, or bits of research, things of general interest in relation to their practice. It’s a chance for artists to access a new audience, gain new followers themselves. But by occupying someone else’s instagram, as I mentioned before, we are by proxy aligning ourselves with them, their values and aesthetic whilst being situated alongside other previous artists-in-residence and their values and their aesthetics.

And from the other side of this the institution/group/gallery/collective is aligning itself with you, the artist, gaining from your reputation whilst acquiring a new audience and new followers. A mutually beneficially promotional tool. Although often without payment if you’re part of the ‘artist-led’ scene often without arts council/other funding; this is free advertising, a gaining of social capital through free labour. (But then again, for example, I’m doing this for free and generously [but I also think it’s an interesting thing to write about *is that enough? - discuss* ] in the hope that something more financial remunerating will come along at some undefined point in the future I guess.)

And so again irony irony whilst unconsciously staring at instagram for approx. 12 hours a day as per, I’ve not actually posted anything (apart from a few stories feat. a new bird feeder, my partner and a cat) for six days because I’ve been in a New Years Eve hangover hole.
But I promise I have actually been doing stuff, i.e.
making onion soup, doing a lot of sleeping and watching the new series of Black Mirror, I’ve just not really taken any photos.

In fact the only photo I took on NYE was of someone’s window that had loads of cute Christmas ornaments in it at about half three in the morning. Luckily I do appear in my pal’s instagram story twice- once wearing a party hat and what I think was supposed to be a sultry glare and the second time as a shadowy outline gesturing emphatically at the equally shadowy outline of another pal at a party. So at least there was some relatively concrete evidence that I had a great time.

And I have been doing some art stuff as well but that has mainly involved thinking a lot and then feeling the burning sensation of looming future art stuff that I’ve not yet organised. Then I also have the pressure that I should probably make evident to the world that I have actually spent the first few days of 2018 writing this thing. But now I’m six/seven days deep and still trying to decide whether my first post of this year is going to be the photo of the Christmas ornaments or the poster image for this project. But anyway, I’m not asking for a medal, just letting you know what I’ve been up to.

Text by Caitlin Merrett King