Ola Ståhl & Neil Chapman (2009 and ongoing)
The Outlands is a long-term, collaborative creative critical writing project involving Ola Ståhl and Neil Chapman, and occasionally other invited collaborators. Seeking to explore writing primarily as a collaborative process the project has generated several outputs (chapbooks, artist books, published essays and performances) that may appear disparate but that can be stitched together into a twisting trajectory in which beyond all the ruptures and disjunctures, environments and characters, artefacts and objects, turns of phrase and concepts appear, disappear and reappear in a continuous movement.
Our first published piece, BLOODCRYSTALPOLLENSTAR, was published in Simon O’Sullivan and Stephen Zepke’s anthology Deleuze and Contemporary Art (Edinburgh University Press, 2010). It takes as its starting point, a series of concepts and characters that appear in the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and develops, from these concepts, a set of characters and a series of narrative trajectories.
A central concern in BLOODCRYSTALPOLLENSTAR was the relationship between the characters that populate the text and certain features of their environment. This is a question we continued to explore in later pieces, including Earth Motifs, Shallow Designs, Outlands first published as part of an artist book by Valeveil and later as a chapbook with Publication Studio, and the short text Day published in the artist book A Poem A Day by Nico Dockx & Clara Meister.
Our continuing interest in landscapes and environments also took the form of a series of sound – text assemblages and performances. The first one of these was a performance entitled Whatever Happened to Kurt Steiner? performed at the International Conference of Deleuze Studies in Copenhagen in 2011.
A recording of the performance was published with In Edit Mode Press together with a text-sound assemblage, You’re Doing Some Dangerous Work, Kurt Steiner, produced in collaboration with Carl Lindh.
You can download a zip-file including the contents of the publication here.
These pieces of text was developed in two further performances, The Execution of Kurt Steiner and The Kurt Steiner Documents. You can watch a video recording of the first of these performances, at Ptarmigan in Tallinn, Estonia, here:
A further exploration of landscapes and environments took the form of an artist book published with Good Press under the title Spillways, Pedways, Silos, as part of their residency at Krets in Malmö, Sweden.
Coinciding with the release of the book, parts of text was reworked live together with the presentation of a slideshow during a performance at Krets.
Upon invitation by the artist group Plastique Fantastique to participate in their exhibition THERE IS NOT AND NEVER HAS BEEN ANYTHING TO UNDERSTAND! at ASC Gallery in London, UK, we sought to develop the more performative components of our writing practice by contributing a text to be exhibited and a score for a performance to be staged by members of Plastique Fantastique. The score took the form of a long scroll and has since been published by Scenes Adventures. You can download a pdf-version of the scroll/score here and watch a video of parts of the resulting performance here: