by Travis Jeppesen on July 2, 2014
Graphics Concept: Mario Dzurila
Sound Production: Paul “Snax” Bonomo
Voices: Brian Tennessee Claflin, Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo, Paul “Snax” Bonomo, Travis Jeppesen, Sophie Iremonger
The book: Publication Studio
by Travis Jeppesen on June 5, 2014
O’BORN CONTEMPORARY presents a marathon reading performance by novelist and art critic, Travis Jeppesen, hosted by John Monteith
SATURDAY, JUNE 7, 2014 7:30p.m. -8:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, JUNE 7, 2014 8:30 p.m. onwards:
Marathon reading performance by Travis Jeppesen
Stay for a while, or see the whole performance through!
131 Ossington Avenue, Toronto.
Tuesday – Saturday, 11 – 6 and by appointment.
O’Born Contemporary and John Monteith are pleased to host Travis Jeppesen for a book signing and marathon reading of his latest novel, The Suiciders. Performed at the ICA London and as a part of the Whitney Biennale’s programming, the Toronto reading will occur as a part of OBC’s presentation of Monteith’s latest exhibition “At Night All Cats Are Grey”. The gallery will be transformed into a comfortable reading room where guests can recline as Jeppesen delivers his entire text in a single night’s reading. This endurance-based performance further propels Jeppesen’s enquiry into linguistic forms and our relationship to them.
The Suiciders is a book about a group of friends occupying an indeterminate house in an unidentified American suburb, replaying a continuous loop of eternal exile and youth. Permanently in their late teens, the seven young men are fluid and mutable ciphers, although endowed with highly reflexive, and wholly generic, internal lives.
In The Suiciders, Jeppesen ventures beyond any notion of fixed identity. The result is a dazzling, perversely accurate portrait of American life in the new century, conveyed as a post-punk nouveau roman.
ABOUT TRAVIS JEPPESEN
Travis Jeppesen was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA) in 1979. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Victims, which was selected by Dennis Cooper to debut his Little House on the Bowery series for Akashic Books in 2003; a Russian translation of the novel was published in 2005 by Eksmo. Jeppesen’s second novel, Wolf at the Door (Twisted Spoon Press), was completed during a residency at the Slovenian Writers’ Association in Ljubljana, and appeared in 2007. In 2006, BLATT Books published a collection of poetry, Poems I Wrote While Watching TV; a second collection, Dicklung & Others, appeared in November 2009.
His writings on art and literature have appeared in the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Art in America, Artforum, Bookforum, Flash Art, New York Press, Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, Dazed & Confused, Zoo Magazine, and The Stranger, among other publications.
A contributing editor to the online literary journal 3ammagazine.com, Jeppesen currently lives and works in Berlin and London, where he teaches at the Royal College of Art and is pursuing a PhD in the department of Critical Writing in Art and Design. His most recent novel, The Suiciders, was published by Semiotext(e) in October 2013 and he is the recipient of a 2013 Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/the Warhol Foundation. Jeppesen’s object-oriented writing was featured as part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial and a solo exhibition of his latest piece “16 Sculptures” is planned for this summer at Wilkinson Gallery in London. A collection of novellas, All Fall, is forthcoming from Publication Studio.
For media information:
Rachel Anne Farquharson
T: 416.413.9555 E: Rachel@oborncontemporary.c
by Travis Jeppesen on May 30, 2014
“Rather than continuing to align the DPRK’s art with an outdated Soviet style that was internationalist in intention, one would do better to see the foreign influence as melded with North Korea’s own artistic forms and aesthetic; let’s call the mix Norko Realism. This is a socialist, yet also ultranationalist, “realism” that belongs strictly to the Korean people north of the 38th parallel, and cannot be understood apart from their ideology-infused quotidian life, which has existed for a relatively brief span of time (since the DPRK’s founding in 1948).”
My essay on DPRK art is in the summer issue of Art in America; it can be read online here.
by Travis Jeppesen on May 27, 2014
All Fall contains two novellas by Travis Jeppesen: “Written in the Sky” and “White Night.”
“Written in the Sky” is a plane crashing in slow motion; it was written on a red-eye flight from Beijing to Vienna in the fall of 2012.
“White Night” is a thoughtscape of Gilles Deleuze in the moments before he suicided by defenestration on November 4, 1995.
All Fall will be published on November 4, 2014 by Publication Studio in their Fellow Travelers series.
by Travis Jeppesen on May 19, 2014
Wednesday 21 May, 7 PM
8 Angel Mews
London N1 9HH
+44 (0)20 7278 8226
To book a place, please email: email@example.com
Venus of Willendorf / Artist Unknown is a screening and conversation on method and collapse with writer Travis Jeppesen: reflecting on contamination, sincerity, and distance. With works by Julia Heyward and readings from Jeppesen’s recent object-oriented writing.
Travis Jeppesen’s novels include The Suiciders, Wolf at the Door, and Victims. He is the recipient of a 2013 Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/the Warhol Foundation. 16 Sculptures, his object-oriented writing project, was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and will be shown in a solo exhibition at Wilkinson Gallery in London this summer. A collection of novellas, All Fall, is forthcoming from Publication Studio.
by Travis Jeppesen on May 11, 2014
Koko the Gorilla loves art. Like a lot of great artists, she prefers to communicate in signs, rather than using the banal commonplace language that fills our days like so much static noise. Koko uses her hands to communicate. She can do a lot with them. Make signs. Wield a brush. Koko is a polymath – a gorilla of our times – and whether she is signing or painting, she always uses a language that is uniquely her own. This fits our definition of artist.
Pink Pink Stink Nice Drink is the name of one of Koko’s paintings. In Koko’s language, “stink” means flower and “drink” means water. The painting, then, is a landscape – a colorful, chaotic nature painting, somewhat reminiscent of a Joan Mitchell canvas.
Pink Pink Stink Nice Drink is also the name of Juliette Bonneviot’s show. Being human means you are more highly evolved than a gorilla, which in turn means you can do a lot more things, such as express yourself in a subtler, more refined language or even fuck up the entire world, if you want to. Bonneviot is alive to all of these complexities of humanness, and it is this awareness that she uses as a filter for her art.
As painting – along with virtually every other medium, traditional and non – increasingly moves in a more conceptual-oriented direction, we have come to expect the artist to play the role of philosopher: illustrator of complex ideas. At its worst, this role can devolve into that of the village explainer, producing a sort of cornball didacticism.
Bonneviot is not the type of artist who connects the dots for us. In fact, there’s an irrationalism at work here. With a certain amount of irony, she looks back at the heroic gestures of the Abstract Expressionists and all the heady justificatory discourse surrounding those gestures, hijacking and distilling them both for her own ends. Bonneviot calls this process “misappropriation”: stick a fake De Kooning in a computerized landscape. Fake, because Bonneviot made it herself. Her gesture of someone else’s gesture. Medal of Honor is a computer game set in the desert of Afghanistan; the landscape is Bonneviot’s painted rendering of it; instead of terrorists, two De Koonings have popped up in front of us. Confusion is the inevitable result: Are we supposed to shoot? Is the art the enemy? Or should I run out and try to save it, risk getting caught in the crossfire? If I succeed, will the US government award me with a medal of honor?
It is, after all, only a game – but one that has very serious implications. Kind of like art.
Misappropriation. Whenever I repeat the word to myself, the “mis-” makes me think of “mistake.” Perhaps all art is a glorious accident. But I think it’s no mistake that Bonneviot has misappropriated the works of artists for whom gesture was meant to be the expressway to the soul. The connections are there, embedded deeply within the confrontations between the visual referents. Unwittingly, Abstract Expressionism would go on to be used by the CIA as a cultural weapon, promoting the idea of American cultural supremacy, throughout the Cold War. Yesterday’s “communists” are today’s “terrorists,” and who needs art to spread the word when we can blow up all those bad guys ourselves at home on our laptops?
Over there hangs a Joan Mitchell painting. Only it’s not a Joan Mitchell painting. It’s Juliette Bonneviot’s re-make of a reproduction of a Joan Mitchell painting. That painting has traveled so far and through so many realms – from Mitchell’s studio in Paris to dozens of gallery walls to the lens of a camera to Google Images to Bonneviot’s computer to Bonneviot’s Berlin studio and on to a brand new canvas, where it has been reincarnated. It hangs on a Struc-Tube, the system devised by George Nelson, another hero of American Modernism, with the intent of democratizing exhibition spaces by getting rid of walls and other physical constraints. Only they aren’t Struc-Tubes, really, but Juliette Bonneviot’s re-make of the Struc-Tubes, or rather, Juliette Bonneviot’s re-make of contemporary artist Martin Beck’s re-make of Nelson’s original structures…
Still with me? It’s complicated, I know. All this fakery, all these very intentional mistakes. Who could predict that landscape painting in the 21st century would get so messy? Where it all leads to has yet to be determined; it is up to you, viewer, to copy Bonneviot’s process of gestural referentiality in your mind, to connect the dots and form your own brand new-old picture. It’s a process that Koko would most definitely approve of.
Originally published in 2011 by Circus Gallery, Berlin, on the occasion of a solo exhibition by Juliette Bonneviot.
by Travis Jeppesen on May 6, 2014
Marathon Reading of The Suiciders
by Travis Jeppesen on April 3, 2014
Here I sit by my large ass window, staring out at the milkgray sky, brewing up my own typhoon. This harbor is such a whore. Look at all the boats she allows to crawl all over her. Kind of like me last night, in my misguided attempt to field out some relief…I know I am really going nowhere. Let an avalanche of foam drown me. This sky, its name bears no definition – that is what’s so sexless about it. Who has the craving for a landscape, to attach yrself down into it. Little hermit poets outside of time…
I want to go and bathe. I feel like I don’t deserve to be anywhere. My great force is the unbearable secret of namelessness. Wear it like a string of prunes.
by Travis Jeppesen on April 1, 2014
-after James Benning-
I am alive (the sky.) The waters lapping, moving towards. Calm – cool, the curl of momentum. Speedboat whizzing past the birds. In April birds’re louder. Still, the sky desolate – a deathly gray. Inside that surrounding curl. Stepped on the rocks to look out at the mound, that wannabe mountain, defines the beyond. Water lapping at my crustacean brains. A bit silvery, that moon of rock. Its collapse. Magnetized the shore. No localized feeling. From the first curl look at the green the constant shore. Were it not for silence. Blackish rock single emerges from the waters. A scar on the canvas. We follow the around. Pick up that spiral, put it in the sky. Bendy shore the stones lean in to punctuate.
September came and then the sun, a mountainous angle. Sometimes the salts wrap around, form a beatific muck shell. Sweet whistle of lake bird, here have some salt. The water cold swallowing yr ankles, shoots up the legs and full body froth. The negligence that the sky commits its bold openness. Now the hills golden, so as not to commit to the sound. Cross the zonal malcollapse. Look how the salts make silty sculptures on the water’s lid. Rub up against the rocks inferring a shore. Reach out into the water’s calm fake beyond, it is pulling you there. Like an arm, saluted.
What winter does is lower the sky. Whee! someone shrieks. A voice in the abdominal mist. The spiral screams its own shore. Water surrounding has partially abandoned, left dry sand in its retreat. We know not what we are tracing. Voice keeps crying out, yell at that spiral, so desperate and angry. Or else maybe it is the stones crying out at us, desperate, their hydral therapy. We are zoning out and shocklike in the perpetual misery of our abandon. Scream at that mountain also, it is shocking in its tumescence. The mists fornicate with the horizon. A man squelches. Rocks have snows on them. The water melts. It was never frozen.
The following month and somehow the water so much brighter, but only the stones. Now a sheath layer of snow upon them, much hoary water noise in the otherwise silence. What happened the birds have frozen. Airplane. Gone down to the snows and to have found. A buck around. Zero in on that curve she makes the most sound. It is because the ice minnows, nipping at their form in the under. This ice looks like two breasts. Laps against and then oh the little bubbles. Rockshore mercy is frozen. The gulf that drains the block. All along the snowy hills surrounding. Yet nothing falls. A mere portrait of the ice. Soon something to emerge from all this.
Spring brings with it fresh sounds. The birds had babies, came back. They like to look at the spiral from their place in the sky. Soon also some mothers dying. Silt between the rocks has replaced the ice. Waters have returned to the jetty also. They wish to go under. At the beginning, ankle of the jetty, it has very neatly covered. And across the hilly expanse we can see it reflected in the water. We study the water mirror and two heavy explosions sound: the earth’s stunning rejection.
By May, it has become an ocean. Jetty all eaten by the flood. Will the waters wash all those rocks away? A sudden storm comes upon us, let it not be a Moby Dick tale. Rushing into salt foam, water matches the sky, that means there is no horizon for once. Looking out there. Please wash me, I am a spiral jetty stone, dirtied by the seasons. For me, there is no reason. What others soon may not. For me there is no season. A bath the only thing that keeps me dry. When the waters retreat enough to spot it from a distance. A dog running down the jet, about to attack the shore.
July and it’s all water (I am sneaking.) Lush, nature has had an orgasm, the cloud bodies. Shivers and curls, too enjoying itself to form a wave. What is not to be forgiven its quaking. Spiral can’t even be seen. Thought I heard someone slurping. The salt that bad. Maybe a gobular gulp. Cloud magnets underwater. Underwater sky, the by and by. Burp fat elastic yellow. I am watching.
A decade has surpassed our observatory folds, it is January. A skull-era encased. Now naught can be seen once again. It is almost all all-cloud, the only bright is the lapping. Light seems to spill out of that distant mountain, like a white dove vomited from Joan of Arc’s croaking bod. Waters assume a certain gray to contrast with the impressive blue-white of the sky, a certain time gone by. Now we are all waters. Buried may indeed forge our future legacy. Do you love the deposits, bubble? Not too far to be a landlocked breeze. How light the climb. The music in our disease.
Springtime for a whole other buried. Reach toward the fructified other, magnificent birdstock, never so innocent as to be seen. Rock has only its head above water, barely treading. Goddamn gunshot. America reacts back. You can’t put this fucking art down here. The curl now can hardly be inferred, that is why it is sad (the drowning.) A whistling cocktail of a bird, chickadee may be its name. Narrow focus on one rock appears like a sharkfin. Not in this stormy lake of dreams.
Five of them out there. He wants to be drunk, a pirate. Sixth, even. Three couples take their turns. This is the time of year there are sands surrounding. Go out to the middle, the very terminus, close yr eyes and hear the lapping. Looks different from the air, she says. She has knowledge. Others followed the signs from the national park. Him and her, the birds told them where to go. They unearthed it. Tiny dead robin asleep in permanence upon the sediment. Pretty soon its rot to be preserved. Salt is good for some things. That mountain making the brown waters move toward us. White stones look naked as summer takes its last flight.
Autumn is my favorite because every thing looks so beautiful when it starts to die. Here everything frozen by uncertainty. It knows (the everything) that winter is on its way, it just doesn’t know which direction it should run to escape it. Now, this year, an early snow has given us the answer. When in doubt, flush it out – yr entire system vague. Chunks of snow crawling up the shore, wishing to be elitist – they are only chunks. Great balls of flakiness, foam, chase the withered horizon. I love how you are not even me.
Skip ahead to spring and love hurts once more. What the effin’ fuck is that. The waters placid for once, making it singular – water, not waters. One lake, great and salty. The spiral recoils perfect in its stillness. Country music song. Sometimes (in yr mind) the water disappears and it’s like the spiral is a star wars spaceship frozen in the air. Because in that movie it is the camera always moving; the purple-pink bruise as day fades. Love is such a zoo.
The summer wanted to have something mean to say. We wouldn’t answer its fears. A great roaring, as though a chorus of tympanis. No ducks braying, only one lone bird that sounds like an insect. The shore’s hollow significance. Keep lapping, lord. It’s the trinkle that forms the treble, tympani is the bass. Aaaaahhhh, that bird’s screaming! It must really want to get laid. Wouldn’t you, if you were a bird? Rocks do their dance, stalagmites in the bleating stream. November came early this year.
The month of November is more like summer than winter or fall. All the calming that became involved, we wanted to camp out upon the jetty. Jet screamed across the sky, sentimentalized aerial bacteria. There is a moment when a curve becomes like an arch. Or you look really hard at a rock and see a bunch of little faces on it. The dance of the salt crystals as the liquid dries. Not an arch, but an angle. Water doesn’t move; we hear it anyway. That, I mean, is what was greatly needed: the bald eagle’s abortion across the midnight sky.
In February, the water moves faster than a flushing toilet, and so the better for those teensy parasites, who so love to dance. Let’s just hope the fishies don’t eat them. Even salt needs its identificatory features. Spiral almost got dissolved that year. Funguslike plant grows between the rocks, hoping to aid the upholdance. Little microbes grab on to it, praying. Living on the body of a larger thing is but one stop on the road to becoming.
And when it gets scattered, all the matter. The merry month of May, but this one ain’t gay. The sky is an elephant, water rushes away – not because it has things to do, but because it is scared. The rocks look the same to it as the sky, and so all is lost in indiscernibility. A tacky row of birds bawking in the distance. I don’t want to look at them. I am here to stare at the spiral. That and the everything that gets in its way. Storm clouds oh fuck. The curved arm reaches out, wanting. It comes closer the harder we stare.
by Travis Jeppesen on March 29, 2014
The ordinary mind is nothing – a chance to not break.
Our letters are thoughts
of having private feelings
to being in array
We were wise
to having been
Be wary of sirens
which I have implanted
to lead the silent ones
There are no awnings
in an ocean
no cover for the hurricane-watchers
You, Amphitrite, veil rustled by wind
perched still upon the shore
My arms the nightmists
that blanket the Pacific
I embrace you through the struggle
This horse below me it belongs to the sea. He a creature that yearned to be tamed, despite his wild neighs of defiance. Glaze myself over, reminded that if I am to rule all waters of the earth, that must mean I am in control of all movement also. The cause of every day is the pain of bleeding never. Where orthodox ducks in and declares, “Here – a boat!”
This goddamn horse called night. A horse from the sea, it does not wish to ride, it is not an ocean. Culled from waves, beating mercilessly against the dusk-stained horizon, summer’s reply was never. I may choose who I rescue. But even gods have their limits. The moon’s position this night ensures my planet’s even farther away than it’s meant to be.
The stallion unborn
as of yet
at gnarly sun
Drought dries the
earth the people
they cry out at me
in prayer & song
Me and this goddamn horse
I will answer with a storm
But only when
time is tide and
the winds have forgiven
I was the shore, too, in years unknown, unrecorded – the historians all aghast at my sudden disappearance. Withdrawal is perhaps the chief agent of interest. It defies all other movement to trickle meaning. Modern only to the floor of that lake I spawned, fed upon treacle and ocean floor violets, the scythe I use to tame this beast is more pertinent than the flawless form my body presents. A man has to tame his own desires or else live a life of torture. In such a life, every conversation, the slightest exchange is a wrenching reminder of what really controls us when the gods are absent.
The beast throws down
its head tries to bury
its own depths the sand
has its lots
Shores can be made
of many things – rock,
sand, grass, even
Nowhere yet has
our hero erupted
his fleece army
of shadow above us
Made the sky like
night only in the
of a day
Let us sit
beneath these shades
with our wine
until those clouds
come & please let them
as this sun
is diminishing our
Oh let us –
(but not once is Neptune able to hear their cries for allotment for his own task that which secretly controls those forces they wish for him to unfurl they have wished for some sign or symptom his presence his reign and yet the sweetness of his entanglement allows for no variants there are moments one at a time and then there is movement yet the action solidifies into a stop-start beginning that will end them all sooner than he may afford to stop engaged as he is with his own turmoil mired confusion this task the business with equus ferus and the winds have begun to mock his gestures and then perhaps he himself is persuaded by the sirens’ earthly calls)
Make blood an ocean. The certainty that a clear sky presents – that is what alarms. No higher ceiling than that – the fade-out drears their movements down until they are ankledeep in the dust, too moored to the barnacle-encrusted piers that deride their attempts at ascension.
We the hero-
sufferers of this
drought will we not get
our own statue
to commemorate our
to hang on &
not feel the burdens
of death too
We want out, the
dryness and the heated
winds – silent simmering
that engulfs our
breaths and pre-
vents our singing
What are we to do
but for the cloud leakage
that must baptize
We know not sing-
ularities we are broken
savage by this medi-
terrain & no winter
Lord, do you see our
promise, this cow for
yr horse, an ex-
change that will
satiate both our
worlds – yes, it is
A bridge & we hope
to hear yr steps upon
it – this dying not
our thing, yr fantasy
still to be reverenced
by those with strength
But the creature fought on, and the god tried to stab it with his fork. The wife sat quietly upon the shore and watched the commotion that disturbed the calm of the ocean and, as the struggle neared its completion, waves began to tear into the both of them, so that the two bodies – god and beast – had to equally contend with the ravishings of the salty waters. This gave their struggle a further tint of madness in the wife’s eyes (for she was the sole to see) – a chaos of movement of interlocking forms each becoming more brutal in strength as the tides set upon them, rabid as the cloudless night, and cold they became as they fought against the currents. Until the waves fought back and, beating against flesh and hide but unable to gain mastery, the all-out struggle between god, beast, and nature unleashed the first ripples of a tsunami.
Now sprinkles seem
to come our sacrifices
have wrought opulence
of a new season –
Let us finish the wine
Before we leave this patch
& head down to the shore
to offer our final thanks
Dear Neptune has arisen,
strengthened our valves
our fields shall give rise
to the richness that our
raped soil has forgotten
Breath of ambivalence
admitted but no
it must rain
One hears the
our god has
gulls screech fair
warning the sky
blackens to seal
This night our cellars
to be full this night
we will watch from
our cellars and see
that life brings
and in our chests
we know which way
the winds we are
led, now Neptune
Is upon us, hear
the rumble up ahead
The tide slowly
We will sleep before it. But lo – the tide has not returned. And in its place, a horse comes galloping toward us – a fire burning in its yellow eye. The rumble continues, and now it comes seaforth not skyforth. A wave higher than a tower, and up on top, Neptune in his boat-chariot, spear raised triumphant.