Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, 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.

Helen Potrebenko blog

Anyone looking for more info on Helen’s work needs to jog on over to her blog: Doing my share of the world’s work.

You’ll find  some of her poems and other writings are uploaded there for your delight and reading.

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)