:: Interviews

Of Musil and his Translator: An Interview with Genese Grill published 08/12/2020

The greatest challenge in translating Musil is also the greatest joy. And both the challenge and the joy are embodied in the third noun of your question: “Surprise”. Musil is a writer at war with what he calls “congealed metaphors”—clichés, received ideas, “dead words”. The freshness of the words, the images, and the sentences’ syntax is as important as the ideas they carry, and a translator must always resist the temptation to replace his surprising arrangements with common phrases or more conventional concepts.

Joseph Schreiber interviews Genese Grill.

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Oikeiôsis: An Interview with Steve Finbow published 14/11/2020

I certainly do not worry about backlash, but I don’t write books just to provoke people. If people are offended, that’s their problem. I usually write books because I am interested in a subject but I cannot find books that are related to that subject, and so I research and end up with enough material for a book. Grave Desire came out of my fascination with taboo subjects and serial killers but also out of my interest in the Marquis de Sade, Lautréamont, Hans Bellmer, Jean Benoît, JG Ballard and so on. And we have to remember that what is transgressive in some cultures is accepted in others; what is transgressive in one century is conventional in another. What I am drawn to is limit-experience and how humanity blurs, pushes at and breaks through the boundaries of morality, ethics and aesthetics (a sort of an-aesthetics).

Chris Kelso interviews Steve Finbow.

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Maybe the People Would Be the Times published 16/10/2020

We are all in our youth training to enter a mode of life that will have ceased to exist by the time we attain the right age to enter it. I was born into the world of paper and ink, of arranging social life by pure chance because nobody answered their phone, of learning about the world by scanning the contents of the nearest newsstand, etc. I employ the digital world and have done so for 23 years, but I will never be comfortable there, and while I think the Internet is an enormous convenience I also think it’s an enormous social mistake, at least as great as the private automobile. I have a home, but I am not at home in the world now — but can any of us say they are, between fascism and climate change, not to mention the pandemic?

Luc Sante interviewed by Oscar Mardell.

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Invitation to Stillness: An Interview with Kate Wyer published 01/10/2020

I unconsciously relate the word silence to a lack of human speech. Lack of voice, rather than lack of all sound. When I was young, I went through years when spoken language was not available to me—I had a form of mutism. It was painful; it drove me into writing to communicate. I carry that period of silence in my body to this day. I don’t think I’m intentionally inviting people into more silence, but I would say I invite them into stillness with my work. Quiet observation. My use of white space invites this too.

Babak Lakghomi interviews Kate Wyer.

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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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