Spill Writing

Spill Geist: Women, noise and states of unrest


“The sisters from Ratisborn could start a hailstorm”


The mist emerges out of the warm night. Little to confront here, though the aftermath of the spectacle has chased away the dying. The invitation of the night: there’s no rustling trees, no deep silence, just pauses in the everyday.


I think of the carcass of the fox in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist.I think of the rustle that reveals nature, and the meaning of horror, and the primacy of the body.


Mist acts as an organ of recall, rattling recent memories and battling the narrativity in my writing. Invoking, or evoking? What is writing in times of in-between?


“Tell me, how does it feel with my teeth in your heart?” 




I think of the city and its distortions, its aesthetic and physical invasion, in relation to bodies that do. I think of the labour of FK Alexander shifting coal, increasingly amassing amidst the noise and the vibrations, confronting its own coming into being. The red lantern, the mines (they become spaces of our imagination, recalled ghosts of political questioning).


I think of the silence that Poppy Jackson’s Site brings on to the city: sustained, embedded, disturbing narratives with distinct loudness. In silence. Through silence.


I wonder if this is how we might create our folklore, now, through unfolding actions that reverberate (and in the city, this city, the stakes feel so much higher. The questions weight more heavily, amassing the weight of politics, of cultural processes, of sociality).


Site claims architecture, but it also invites the internal; it probes questions about agency, presence and the ideologies of representation. It disturbs the public/private by questioning affect. Under neoliberalism, affect becomes a key instrument (it takes noise to break that down, to rework). Neoliberalism brings labour and affect in dangerous relationships; how easy, divorcing boundaries and appropriate nature itself.


That same question of labour (and destruction) emerges in NO WHERE/ NOW HERE. Here, noise is a theatrical device, washing over appropriated images and extended actions. Red Road crumbling, Twin Towers falling (images that scream, though they scream theatrically, jumping across continents, an activist metaphor, albeit incomplete). The increasingly difficult labour, the sounds of coals amassing, the body breaking, the occasional sound of breath and tiredness, all prompted, initiated, by the red lamp that flickers back and forth (just to get us started).  Mining and white noise and the brutal acts of history. They flicker in fragments, on shards of coal, in shaking bodies crossing these narratives, in laborious processes of remembrance and protest.


The body rattles the image, it rattles the city, and the noise washes out the structured rhythms of every day.


Bodies imprint onto space. Noise frees the image. Noise as a contemporary paradigm (and what a rich history we have there too). We speak of making visible, but it seems, we need to make audible, too, for those who refuse to look.


Noise as deliberate misalignment, as way to mark unthinking acceptance, contemporary rationalities and routine assumptions. It struck me that the registers presented here (and their spirit, their concentration and activist poetics) probe questions about performativity and theatricality, about staging and doing, and ways to unpeel and rework. It’s striking that the in-between (yesterday, we were in the land of ghosts and timid horror) is gently probed here.


These are female bodies (Antigone, Medea?) seeking to confront the grotesque in the everyday through an embodied politics of confrontation. Site does so through stillness, and the power gained in disturbing the realm of the internal and external; NO WHERE in speaking of angst and turning wild and pushing through. This is a resistance to being tamed – the paradigm of silence/noise disturbs, if you dare to look, on the day of Hallows’ Eve.


– Diana