Close Eclogues on Tiptoe
Patrick Farmer (2018)
£10 + postage (£2 UK/EU £4 international)
Limited edition of 100
Risograph print; 188 pp; soft cover; 203x145mm
Close Eclogues on Tiptoe is an epistolary experiment that recalls my visit to Mass, an exhibition by the artist Lotti V Closs in 2015. Drawing on the ‘character’ inherent in Closs’s sculptural practice, Close Eclogues on Tiptoe uses the work as a structural device that brings together various literary, compositional, visual, scientific, and sonic references. Moving away from the literary form of the letter as a means of drawing the sender and recipient closer, the protagonists in Close Eclogues on Tiptoe experience a division or estrangement, a void that allows them to stand back from themselves and witness their own disappearance.
My long-standing research into listening is at the forefront of this writing. Following an accident in 2008 which caused long-term hearing loss, tinnitus, autophony and dehiscence, I’ve been working across various disciplines to develop an embodied sense of listening. This has led to a greater understanding of the auditory processing system of the human body and an awareness of myself as a dis-placed body in the landscape. This dispersion has led to the realisation that there is no one way of listening that holds prevalence over another, a conception of listening interwoven throughout Close Eclogues on Tiptoe.
Marcel Proust wrote that the past is somewhere beyond the reach of the intellect, and unmistakeably present in some material object (or the sensation which such an object arouses in us), though we have no idea which one it is. As for that object, it depends entirely on chance whether we come upon it before we die or whether we never encounter it.
This is essentially Close Eclogues on Tiptoe. It revolves around two nameless, sexless protagonists attempting to relive their life together. Through a series of letters they begin to unfold shared and fragmented memories, often illusory, that begin and end with their visit to an exhibition, Mass, by lotti V Closs, the in-between, the composite third term of their combined memory and amnesia. Each object, or character, in the exhibition serves as an edge on which to stand, leap, and fall from this third term, once again, into the secret history of the dividing line.
I still find the objects in Mass to be enigmas. Visiting the exhibition was indeed the birth, so to speak, of the book, and yet I feel they are barely touched upon, in a laconic conventional sense, in the book, there’s a strange relationship between the two distanced protagonists, they compose and receive their memories of the sculptural characters to bring them closer and yet they discard the memories as soon as they can hear each other, falling into old traps and patterns.