Category Archives: 2005

In the Beckett archives

In 2005, having long loved Samuel Beckett’s writing and recently read the wonderful biography Damned to Fame, Lara characteristically found out how to get in touch with the author, James Knowlson, and wrote to him. At his suggestion we got the train to Reading and a  bus to the university to find, off a corridor in the upper floors of its musty 1970s library building, the place where all Beckett’s letters and books were being kept. The archivist, Julian Garforth, was one of the few people alive who could read Beckett’s handwriting. He was extraordinarily generous with his time and enthusiasm. I saw the funny little cartoons that Beckett drew in margins. I saw conkers from a tree in the garden of his house in a French village where he went to write.  It was the hundredth anniversary of his birth the next year, so I had an idea to make my name with some tie-in art. I took some photos on that first visit, and thanks to Julian Garforth I took more and made some video on another visit a few months later. 2006 came and went, but I still like these photos and the video. It’s all here.

The archive was soon moved to an environmentally controlled basement of the Museum of English Rural Life, where you can’t just visit and leaf through the pages, and Julian Garforth doesn’t work there any more.

My Inhuman World

Point G rocks 07

Whenever I don’t know what to take a picture of, I tend to take a picture of rocks. Point the camera at something without trace of human interference. Texture, process stilled in time. Then I look at the picture and think, I like it, but this is a bit old hat, isn’t it? But I keep on doing it. So I made all these pictures into a slide show.

It’s Mount Olympus, 1994; Point G, Bamako, Mali, 2004; river Niger, near Bamako, 2004; Constantine Bay, Cornwall, 2004; Hackney, 2005. Shown in Unhuman.

The History of Photography

Thanks to the splendid Cinzia Cremona, in February 2005 I got to play with the cool kids for once. This was in a group show at Project 142, which was living quarters and studios for artists and musicians in a Victorian factory complex on the Lea Bridge Road in Hackney. Now, of course, redeveloped. I didn’t have much money or time, so I contributed one of my periodic attempts to get away from cameras – although this is the only work I’ve ever shown that was made without one. Without the machine itself, that is, though as you can see I could think of no topic more interesting. You can see more of it here.