Welcome to the programme to accompany Guitar! by Sarah Tripp.

Guitar! describes the contours and conditions of writing – interrupted, in flashes, or in restless moments through the night. A narrator listens; as a child learns to speak there is a re-acquaintance with the strangeness of putting a feeling into words. There is a yearning for meeting, and an idea of love or companionship as a sense of being met.

This programme features work by Debjani Banerjee, Sarah Forrest, Lizzie Homersham, Helen McCrorie, Chloë Reid and Aman Sandhu, all of whom have been involved in one way or another with the development of Guitar! These artists and writers were invited to select a excerpt from the book, write a short response and present a work or text to accompany its reading.

Book Works, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and CCA Glasgow are very proud to present this programme of writing and artworks to accompany Guitar!


Guitar! book

“But then you find out about each other through this really contrived situation. Or maybe it's about some kind of reciprocal situation when you each get something from it.”

Debjani Banerjee I finished Guitar! in one afternoon. This is quite unlike me, I am a slow reader easily distracted, but that afternoon I couldn’t stop reading, I was completely drawn into the story of the couple.

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“What kind of tool will I use to make this noise? Scythe, flint, melon? There is no tool to make noise, only a happenstance wrong wielding of an awkward implement.”

Helen McCrorie Guitar! begins as a diary. Written at snatched moments, the entries speak of a mother’s exhaustion as well as moments of revelation and wonderment, witnessing her child’s development and the sounds he makes as he plays and learns to speak. The joy and surprise of play is echoed in the poetry on the page.

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“Your curiosity struck me as vast and you seemed to know, mostly, you were being misinterpreted and that was that. But that was not you.”

Chloë Reid I tried out the method. It wasn’t the response that I had planned. I’ve tried out a few things since receiving your invitation, like asking people for two words, which mostly came out too tidy, and taking pictures of the window when I’m awake at unusual hours. I tried initially to think only of existing materials made by other people that resonated with my experience of Guitar! I struggled to think of anything that wasn’t too much of a leap. I later realised that there was something right in front of me, made by someone with whom I share a kind of on-going conversation or practice, not unlike my exchanges with you over the last few years.

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“Because I do not play the guitar, nor do I want to, I have this with. I do not play the guitar, I play with the guitar.”

Aman Sandhu I chose this excerpt from Guitar! because it speaks to the generative space of the unskilled, the unlearned and the unprofessional. It opens the possibility of with-ness… being with others… being a witness with others. What happens when you lose the with – when you have acquired skill, when you have acquired accreditation… what are you missing, who are you not seeing? The materials that I have selected are united by a sense of with-ness, soundings that stumble from the personal to the social, and spaces of pedagogy.

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“YOU ARE AUTONOMOUS, you can say it out loud – no you really are free – but feeling free enough to use, or even see, the space up in front of you needs to accrete within a relationship, the words in your head are not enough.”

Lizzie Homersham Guitar! is a genuine wonder. As it discusses ‘finding someone you don’t know’ it resonates with one dimension of heartbreak but also inspires a sense of a new horizon’s possibility. I am re-reading Guitar! for the first time free of my role as editor, no longer checking words on screen but with a finished form in hand. In a couple of hours, I complete it cover to cover and am lifted. Guitar! possesses qualities I would like to imprint in my life: patience and steadfastness, observance and permeability, spaciousness and balance between heaviness and light, a cared for oscillation between the need to be in company and the need to be ‘alone’. In Guitar! one finds a zest for life, derived from making noise, and being heard.

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“It is 5.41 a.m. I have been wondering if, with the right listener, you could live with just two words.”

Sarah Forrest I am an early riser. Not all of the time, it is cyclical, although that suggests a pattern and there isn’t one that I can find. It is just a rhythm that I enter. I wake up earlier and earlier until I reset. I was in this rhythm when I read Guitar! – in bed, in January, between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. when it was still and dark and not quite daytime and I remember feeling like it suited the book, that I had met it at the right time, in a moment before (before work, before the day, before breakfast, before I had spoken). There is something about ‘before’ that feels important to Guitar! I think it has to do with anticipation. Or improvisation. The moment before words mean what they do so they can mean what you like. In Katie Dove’s animations sounds seem to do things to images and vice-versa: does this shape make that sound, does that sound make this move? Her films have the energy rush of an improvised moment coupled with a sense of play and curiosity that resonated with my reading of Guitar!

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