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It is 4:56 a.m. Vivian is good at going in and staying in the guitar. I always keep one foot out, always watching, as if something may happen when I am in there, in this place of my own making after all, keep an eye out in case some management needs to be done. It’s an illusion, right? I am in there, immersed, and I can get out anytime I like. But something, paranoid litter, stops me. So I keep looking in two directions, in the guitar but always outside as well. Not a balance, a divide. I am not sure I like immersion, I prefer to look around myself, herself, looking around at what? At now! Maybe this is the thing about noise. The present is unstructuring, is a noise, and so nothing is built, well, except practice, getting better at the here and now.
Let’s begin. Guitar! Means, Hello! This is how you learn to speak.
When something is flat and round, not spherical, not collapsible or collapsed, on only one plane, not a solid, a shape, but not patterned, not decorated, not a disc, what is it?
Can Ba touch Guitar?
Here a balloon touches a sound hole!
Here a round belly touches a bud!
Here an egg touches a mouth!
Here a lantern touches an iris!
Here a bubble touches a wheel!
Here a sphere touches a circle!
It is 5.41 a.m. I have been wondering if, with the right listener, you could live with just two words.pp.49–51
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!
The other work that I wanted to share was a series of small sculptures by Phyllida Barlow. They are small clay sculptures no bigger than the inside of a closed palm that she made in the dark, in silence, after she had her fifth child. I am not sure if I have ever seen these sculptures, or if any documentation exists. It was the click of the illuminating pen in the dark (in Guitar!) that brought these sculptures to mind. Improvised tools and approaches. When I read Guitar! it was the first time in a long time that I had an urge to make something, to play, to be creative, and perhaps this is what drew Barlow and Tripp’s works together for me; noticing an urge, compulsion or necessity to make, play, be curious, to work in the dark.
Sarah Forrest is an artist based in Glasgow who works across film, installation, text and sound.
“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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