:: Interviews

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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Reading Faulkner’s The Hamlet in 2020 USA: Part I published 14/07/2020

And what is the first significant sign about Flem? His shirts. Newly cut and stitched at the beginning of each week, then soiled by weekend in exactly the same places. And then he adds a necktie: “a tiny viciously depthless cryptically balanced splash like an enigmatic punctuation symbol against the expanse of white shirt…postulated to those who had been present on that day that quality of outrageous overstatement of physical displacement which the sound of his father’s stiff foot made on the gallery of the store….”

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

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The Narrator Escapes to Japan: Interview with Dale Brett published 17/06/2020

I have always been naturally drawn to the dichotomy of the ethereal and the destitute; the soft and the hard; the smooth and the harsh/mega-abrasive. I basically wanted my literary voice to be the equivalent of shoegaze music—I wanted to take very intimate, sensual moments of ordinary life and make them tactile, bring them to life sensorially. I wanted to create works that I couldn’t really find elsewhere, in particular I wanted to cultivate a voice that could evoke a certain emotion or feeling in a reader not often felt in literature—like those experienced while listening to repetitive music or resembling a certain sensation like floating on water or that moment before you enter a hypnagogic state. These are the kind of things I think about imitating when I write.

Mike Kleine interviews Dale Brett.

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Minding the Dreamer: An interview with S. D. Chrostowska published 10/06/2020

Calling leisure time a “mine” represents it as something exhaustible. This seems false, insofar as there is no limit to the monetary value we can extract from every last moment of down time. But we still use this time primarily to consume culture. After all, we have the world’s cultural treasures, and refuse, at our fingertips. There is not much more rhyme or reason to this cultural consumption than the novelty factor and media recommendations increasingly based on our consumer habits. When it isn’t justified as self-improvement or cultural competence, it’s simply a way of killing time. While such leisure activity doesn’t exhaust culture or our capacity to consume it, it does exhaust our capacity to derive meaning from what we consume.

Joshua Rothes interviews S.D. Chrostowska.

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