Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Parataxis thank you

Thank you to everyone who joined us last Sunday afternoon for the Parataxis event exploring Helen Potrebenko’s novel Taxi! in today’s city and interfacing the book with what was and what is. Thank you especially to the members of the public who “read shotgun” (open the book randomly and read passages) and to Helen who planned the route and talked to readers as we wandered.  We were also blessed to have the collaboration, performance and generous support of Lori W (Mme Beespeaker) who concurrently documented the event at her blog.

I had a strange crisis before embarking on the event, which has given way to new/re-imaginings and invited input (some helpful, some less so). I set out perhaps to ask a few questions, one certainly was who authors remembering? Another was: what am I prepared to do for this book?  I did not factor that one needs “permission” to revisit repeatedly.  I had not considered that a repeated revisit might invite an assumptive yawn. But then it’s always easier for people to yawn, dismiss than engage.

The actual experience of repeatedly visiting a text like Taxi! (through different interventions) is quite the contrary. Each time we engage with this book it delivers new delights, reflections and questions, not least because of its fragmentary form. Again, a reflection of the working day, the working shift, the working life and this particular city, where the tea does not sit inside the pot for long.

The 11 people who joined us last Sunday engaged with the text in such a committed, enthusiastic and detailed manner which resulted in whole new considerations, especially about the present day.

Parataxis: walking the ride

Yesterday I walked Helen’s fine Parataxis map (for our planned May 1st event) and enjoyed the adventure very much. Esp. standing alone in my good black coat, obtained at my sister’s prompting last summer in Dublin, and reading aloud from Taxi! to no one in particular, into the city.

I was able to experience the difference within the past two days of being a flaneur (esse?) vs being an orator. I’ll give you a clue, it is way easier to orate.

I could not be more glad of my current crop of artistic ventures and the experiences and interactions they have given me. All of which would be nothing without the goodwill and generous input of my various collaborators. Thank you to them all!

Skytrain to Rio Taxi

During last Friday’s Taxi! intervention Lori and I continued with a technique of inquiry from our previous collaboration for Chaos and that Lori had employed in her other works. On the way home I was asking Lori about the exchanges that came out of her security deployment and was fascinated to hear there were geographic repetitions within peoples stories. Two told stories that related to Rio (was it ?). The next day I remembered hearing an identical type of story that took place in Burnaby. The intervention took place in an industrial area of Vancouver. If we were to map the trail of the lines in the stories they would have gone Vancouver – Rio – Vancouver – Rio – Vancouver – Burnaby. I like the idea of taking say a train to Rio to arrive in Burnaby.  All the world’s a stage … and so on.

Curiously, as is my talent for not turning left, I managed on the way home to keep turning right and we ended up back where we started from until the fateful “left turn” re-arrived. So in fact we were turning right for Rio and finally left for home.

It may have Buenos Aires ? Not Rio. But it was certainly Burnaby not Bandung. (A friend of mine did a parachute jump in Bandung and promptly landed in a bush and broke her arm, but I don’t know anyone whose parachuted into a bush in Burnaby. The aforementioned parachute jump was problematic only because she had promised her mother, who was vehemently opposed to parachute jumps, she’d never do another one.)

Taxi! intervention (not hailed cabs) @ Not Sent Letters

On Friday evening I, alongside my generous and esteemed collaborator Lori Weidenhammer, undertook my first experiment in what will be a series of experiments and ongoing interventions (“Transactions”) around Helen Potrebenko’s 1975 novel Taxi!

Thank you to everyone who engaged with both Lori and I. Lori was deployed as Security Guard (Insecurity) and as you’ll see from the photo documentation (again thanks to a varied bunch of snappers) I was installed in the Taxi! rank. It was an embodiment piece that sought to recontextualize the experience of reading and being read to. It also was an inquiry into the conditions by which we read and how might we read a forgotten text over an available and advertised text.

I have more to write about this intervention. I was grateful to Helen Potrebenko and her husband Earl for turning out and supporting the piece. Also a huge thank you to Charlene Vickers for hosting the event at her studio space and Jeremy Todd for creating space for it. It was a fascinating experience to have such an engagement with readers. And as usual within performance art offered surprise, learning and took me in directions I could not have conceived of.  For now I offer some photos of what took place.

(Also thank you to Jeremy Isao Speier for his precise, diligent work on the sign)