:: Interviews

Unearthed: An Interview with Yvette Greslé published 25/09/2020

I think that readers always bring their own subjectivities and life experiences to any text. I like the idea that they will see things in it that I had not thought about or anticipated. The unearthing pertains to the ways in which the worlds I inhabited (and indeed continue to inhabit) are indistinguishable from the violence embedded in histories of slavery, colonialism, empire, apartheid and their afterlives. I write in the first person — mobilise the ‘I’ — to argue that there is no ‘we’ within the parameters of these histories. I don’t exist in a neutral sphere somehow removed or detached from historical and contemporary iterations of violence.

Fernando Sdrigotti interviews Yvette Greslé, author of Unearthed.

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entangled narratives and dionysian frenzy: an interview with dimitris lyacos published 18/09/2020

You are absolutely right, the epistemological struggle is part of it and it is part of the complex behavior hardwired in our brain, at least since the age of “behavioral modernity, about 70.000 years ago. The question is, however, why is it worth engaging in such a struggle? And why do we need to interpret anything, including texts, and why do we struggle to do so? With texts we do it in various ways, intertextuality being one among those. Here we mentioned a few texts that might deepen our understanding of Angels and Leviathans. My intention, however, was not to come up with a new version that would cast light on the biblical story. My two characters are not Jacob and Angel, not even their mundane counterparts. I had no intention to focus on the epistemological struggle, the same way that people that engage in an actual fight do not think about the knowledge they are acquiring during the process. But you are right, in the sense that for us humans to prepare for a struggle is as important as the struggle itself – and the time we spend training and studying our opponent lasts usually longer than the actual fight against them.

Dimitris Lyacos is interviewed by Andrew Barrett.

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Expanding Fields of Study: Jake Reber and Mike Corrao Explain Themselves published 14/09/2020

The pages can be navigated visually, wandering across the spread, eyes moving up and down pages. It can also be navigated through tactility—flipped through, started from the middle, skipping forward and back, fingers running down the edges of pages. It feels a bit misguided for me to think that anyone will approach this differently from any other book—especially considering all the standard conventions of the book that are embedded in this project—but I hope the entire experience of reading and extracting information/knowledge/meaning is relaxed. There is not much to extract, and (I think) it can be accessed through light reading and blank stares.

Jake Reber and Mike Corrao interview each other.

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A Greater Incompletion: An Interview with Will Eaves published 09/09/2020

Art isn’t complete, is it? You finish a bit of work and a strange thing happens: as soon as it’s done, it becomes part of a greater incompletion. Better luck next time, and so on. We seem always to want to see things from a contextualising distance. Where does the small-scale achievement belong in the large scheme? One can see how this leads to compound forms — dance suites, stories in chapters, novels in sequence, verse epics, and so on. It’s how the whole idea of a meaningful story is built to begin with, from suggestive parts. But putting little shapes in bigger shapes, or sets, like Lego, is also a kind of melancholy infinite progress, another way of engaging with the incompleteness of life. We never get to say, after death, “that was it, my life, that thing over there”, because the person to whom this profound realisation might have occurred has died.

Will Eaves is interviewed by Oscar Mardell about his new book, Broken Consort.

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Alphahood Watch published 04/09/2020

At the bottom of this is something deeper and elusive in the changing character and culture of the city, but equally something knowable in terms of being indexed simply by monetary value. It is a place in thrall to, directed by or rallied to the call of pounds, dollars, roubles and other currencies and those who wield them. We can see this power in the new skyline, in the basements dug beneath mansions, in the planning decisions that see profit as the guiding measure of progress and in the interwoven networks of super-rich from overseas with party circuit connections and political ties.  Knighthoods, political party funding, money laundering, planning kickbacks and other signs of corruption form the tip of the iceberg, signs of something much deeper and galvanising in the subterranean life of the city and the way that money captures and influences so many people. 

Andrew Stevens interviews Rowland Atkinson.

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Imagined Transcriptions : A Conversation between Chris Campanioni and Christopher Linforth  published 03/09/2020

The work of art actualizes what we feel, or want to feel, outside the work; outside the work, we aspire toward the conditions of possibility set forth by the book. It’s not a question of what comes first—the chicken or the egg is irrelevant here, because it doesn’t matter which is which, or even what comes first, only that it comes. Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m impressed by the insight of the editors who chose our texts for Otis Books/Seismicity Editions’ Spring 2020 catalog, because the two books seem to have always and already been responding to each other.

Chris Campanioni and Christopher Linforth discuss their new books.

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Our Sense of Time: An Interview with Olivia Laing published 04/08/2020

I don’t like the term autofiction. For a start I don’t think it’s a new thing. Isn’t Proust writing autofiction? And Christopher Isherwood certainly is. I think writers always play with the real and the invented, and I also think we’re in an era that is obsessed with memoir, to its own detriment. We like personal stories too much, and personal stories are very poor at revealing the political elements of a life, what’s shared. That excites me as a project, and I’m always trying to escape the I. Surely Crudo is biofiction, if it’s anything? I’m much more interested in we than I.

Claudia Bruno interviews Olivia Laing.

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Journey to the End of the World with Joanna Pocock published 03/08/2020

So many young, big-city children are being brainwashed. They spend so much time in front of a screen where they are sold a life. They don’t live life; they consume a simulacrum of a life. It makes me incredibly sad. At the same time, my daughter and her friends go on the climate marches and they care deeply about the planet. But I keep coming back to this idea of schizophrenia as the normal state of our world. On the one hand, kids are protesting the eco-cide that is going on, yet they are buying fast fashion and iPhones. It isn’t their fault. They are children. It is our fault. We have allowed this situation to blossom through the idea of exponential growth. We will never solve the climate crisis until we start giving back to the Earth more than we take. Yet, how to get that message across? I don’t have an answer to that.

Claudia Bruno interviews Joanna Pocock about Surrender.

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Reading Faulkner’s The Hamlet in 2020 USA: Part III published 16/07/2020

I just finished the book today. It’s always a strange experience to finish a novel for me; I wonder what it’s like for you. It’s bizarre in how I seem to focus my attention much more acutely in the final pages, though I hardly read for story—except that Faulkner’s plots do have something of the “boilerplate” about them, an astonishing key. I didn’t want it to end, but there are a plethora of other Faulkner fictions I can steep myself in.

Genese Grill and Greg Gerke read The Hamlet by William Faulkner, Part III.

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Reading Faulkner’s The Hamlet in 2020 USA: Part II published 15/07/2020

There are searing mementos of the Southern wages of sin in this novel, none perhaps more disturbing than the aside, mentioned in a description of Eula’s lover, who paid a black man so he could whip him. Man’s inhumanity to man (and to woman). His cruelty and depraved sadistic need to be stronger than someone else. Many would like us to cleanse the world of such depictions, preserve our children from these markers of our past, erase the stain and replace it with something more monolithically correct. But Literature—it shouldn’t have to be said, but it does need to be said—teaches us about all of the ways that humans are, rather than just an idealized, cleaned-up version of how they are supposed to be. Great writing, like Faulkner’s, gives us the complexities and makes us more fully human. Great writing, like Faulkner’s, is not essentially dogmatic either, not essentially Moral, but is a lever to open up ethical channels, ways of feeling and thinking, through irreducible aesthetic experience. The more uncensored or un-self-censored the better.

Genese Grill and Greg Gerke read The Hamlet by William Faulkner, Part II.

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