After Mellors Dinner Milnes Mince

Let’s talk about desire
And simulacra.
Let’s talk about objects
And language
As object.
Let’s talk about
The abject,
The grotesque,
The ugh what’s that smell?
I don’t know,
Let me smell it.
Ugh why did I do that?
Let’s talk about
Bad copies
And Venus
And bad copies of Venus.
And let’s talk about
“the physical and symbolic properties of language”
And Beckett
And Peter Cooke
And Dudley Moore
And the Viz
The Viz.
The. Viz.
Let’s talk about
Time and space,
Manipulated, shrinking, growing, twisting, spitting out new meaning
That we didn’t expect to extract.
Let’s talk about Brown Humour,
Lavatorialisms,
Toilets,
Reading on the toilet.
Consuming
And excreting
Words
And knowledge.
Eating your research.
Let’s talk about the art world.
No, let’s not.
Ok let’s talk about the art world
But when we talk about the art world
Let’s take the piss.
Let’s talk about piss
And all those bodily fluids we don’t like to admit we have in us
And on us
And outside of ourselves.
Let’s talk about shit tv
And getting in from the pub
And watching something on Channel 5,
A bit kale-eyed.
Let’s talk about VHS
And “technological obsolescence”.
Dead formats
And waste
And all the things we throw out
That others treasure.
Let’s talk about The Object.
The Object as research.
Masticating concepts
And swallowing
And waiting
Until you shit out an idea
Until an idea floats.
Let’s talk about
Dystopia
And how we’re already in it.
So let’s laugh about it
Before we cry
And shit ourselves.
Let’s talk about the Solar Anus.
The line that joins us to the earth
Through the place
We excrete from.
Let’s talk about nonsense
And finding truth
In nonsense
And trusting in
Nonsense
No sense
No sense of order.
In the wrong order
Episode 4,
Before Episode 3,
Before Episode -1.
But back to Episode 4.
And then the DVD extras.
The director’s commentary.
Let’s watch a mutant soap opera.
A melodrama,
A Sunset Beach
Of Monty Python gags
And migrating eyebrows.
A palimpsest of references
From heavy metal
Gameshows
Radio comedy
Avant garde performance art
Nihilism
The eerie
The uncanny
The prosthetic
The animatronic
The medieval
The ancient
The neanderthal.
Let’s talk about a modern family.
A true son,
A fake son,
A girlfriend
And an artist.
And the council.
And a jobby.
A Bobby Jobby.
Let’s stop talking about it.
Let’s watch Truthcurator.
And then let’s watch Ourhouse, Episode 4, Internal Problems
And then let’s watch Ouhouse, Episode 3, The Cure of Folly.
And then let’s go to the pub.
And then let’s go home late
And put on some shit tv
And feel like we’re doing art while we watch it.
Because it’s all research.
Because we consume all the time.
Because we ingest all the time.
Because whatever we absorb or eat
Becomes us,
Becomes our narrative.
Let’s talk about all of this, after.
Let’s watch an art.
Let’s watch three arts
One is very short.
Two are a bit longer.
You’ll be in the pub by 8.
Let’s watch three arts
By Nathaniel Mellors.

Text written as an introduction to a screening of films by Nathaniel Mellors at the Royal College of Art, London on 23 January 2018.

Notes on Rage: A Public Address, 2017

An Introduction

We stand before you, borderless, or attempting to be.

We have dissipated

And as we tremble, here, in this place,

We emit whatever thoughts

Drip from us.

We are a locus of connection, an intersection, an agent, in between.

We, as we are, we, potentially, ungraspable,

An anarchy, in a suit.

We are unresolved,

Vacillating materiality, with no edges, only excess.

There’s Something Brewing, And It’s Red With Rage

But there is something brewing about us,

And it is red, with rage.

It is more than a feeling, it is a movement within, around and below us.

This time, it does not come from above.

We are incandescent, conductors, we connect to each other,

We mirror each other, and each movement.

We reflect behaviours back at our aggressors,

Which does not go down well.

Let Us Explain

Let us be clear, let us explain things.

We are not addressing “you”, we are addressing “us”.

We have been explained to.

We understood long before, and during, and more so after we were explained to, our position.

Thanks, for the reminder.

We will accept it graciously, without argument.

We would ask, however, that it be remembered, that we understand.

We would ask, however, that it be remembered, that we know.

We know. More than we understand.

Derailing the Argument

We are accustomed to a certain derailing of our position.

When confronted with statistics, our aggressors often respond with a counter,

Entirely irrelevant to the matter at hand.

When confronted with empirical evidence, our aggressors often respond with a request for statistics.

When confronted with statistics, our aggressors often respond with a counter,

Entirely irrelevant to the matter at hand.

When confronted with empirical evidence, our aggressors claim “bias”.

Bias.

We understand.

Can We Say Something?

We wish to be heard. To be listened to. To be given space.

To be free of invasion, of all descriptions.

We wish to say something and for it to be heard.

How terrible, how unjust, that this is so often a wish, and not a right.

The right to be listened to. The right to be heard.

How infrequently we have this privilege,

Which is used and abused so freely by others, and without acknowledgement that it is a privilege, just that.

For a right, it cannot be.

If it were a right, it would be a right of all of us, and that, that, it is not.

It is the privilege, of less than all of us, not the right of all of us.

Can we say something?

Can we?

If we say something, can we be heard?

So, why say something?

If we cannot be heard, why say something?

We are silent. Because we are not listened to.

And the silence is deafening.

Coercive Control

We, are being coercively controlled.

Our privacy is invaded, our income limited, we are made to think we are

mentally ill

misguided

uneducated.

And whose fault is that?

If that is true?

And what is truth?

Whose fault is that?

We die, at the hands of our aggressors.

We die, on fire.

We die, in poverty.

We die, thinking little of ourselves.

We are not productive enough.

We reproduce but we do not offer a return.

Sale or return.

Return to sender.

Return.

To a better time.

To a time which was…

To a time which was…?

Which…?

Don’t Be Angry

We hear. We understand.

We are aggressive.

We are sensitive.

We are outspoken.

We aren’t wanted here.

We are difficult.

We understand that.

It is difficult.

We live.

We should smile.

We should cheer up.

We should be more positive.

We should put on a face,

A happy face, no less.

We are not entitled

To…

We are not educated

We are not well

We are not happy

We must take responsibility

We must challenge

We must overcome

We must defend ourselves

And others.

Empathy

All empathy,

We move,

Taking in our path:

Everyone, and nothing more than that.

Tumescent and engorged, quivering and vast

Enlarging as we fold.

We are here.

We are here with you.

Who are we?

We are we –

Who we are, not what what we do.

Any Questions?

Another, I

Take me, take me
Take me to another
Another
Another
Place
Time
You
Take me
Take
I’m taken
I drift
At the ceiling
I drift
I’m falling
Through
You
Take me, take me
I take myself
I let myself
I take
Take, take
I’m drift
Beyond
Take, take
Take me
One movement
Further on
One back
Two forward
I drift
Forward
Directional
And fizzing
Edges
None
Take me
I follow
I lead
I melt
You do
Melt
I am, you are, I know, I don’t
You have no
Edges
You,
Like honey
We are
Are
As
We are as
All
Nothing
Drift
Float
Expand
And die
A little death.

Smarts

I feel death keenly
At this time
Each little tragedy,
That shall be little
Because not my own,
Becomes my grieving

I am sugar glass
Susceptible to every vibration,
Liable to shatter
Into instant dust.
I try to stay in silence
But the white noise
Pervades and perverts my
Unattainable calm

These times, when I
Yearn for padding,
Cladding and softness,
Walls to fall against
But not be hurt.
My thighs are bruised like
Battered brisket,
I feel on the verge
Of broken
But barely hanging on,
Precarious
And worse

I am this slippery thing,
I ramble
I reverberate
And nothing is ejected
It only trembles with me
And makes me feel absurd.
I am between
I am a wobble
Followed by a burst

well up

I well up
When I see you;
When you see me
I look down,
But you’ll not know
Because I’m welling

My pallid face
Goes overlooked
As I buckle up
And knuckle down,
I’m welling up
And working hard;
What couldn’t be better?
What couldn’t be wrong?
I type out my to do list,
Tension from my fingertips:
A tyranny of typeface
On my dashboard
And my desk,
From behind
Nothing is amiss.

An overwhelming wellness
In my waters
Pervades the doubtful aura
You might have spotted
When I returned from the toilet.
Well, well.
There’s not a problem after all.
My output is exceptional,
My conversation, effortless,
My expertise, undeterred
By undermining colleagues
And the rest.
What more is there to say?
To ask, if not to tell?
You can’t tell.
I’m welling up.
So you won’t tell.
I’m getting on.
I’m out of breath,
Well.

Cast offs

I stand before thee

Dressed down

In a night out

You’ll never forget,

Clothed in

Your first pay cheque,

Your last dance,

The only time you thought

A wraparound

Was too much or not enough

(The two times 

You thought

A wraparound 

Was too much,

or not enough.)

I stand,

Rejuvenated by your

Reinventions 

Every six months,

Or when you’ve grown tired

Of on trend.

I’m draped 

In your mistakes

And better for it;

Littler maybe

But wiser because of you

And the impulse buys

You made

On the Internet

And in Miami, twice.

Who would have thought 

That a slip

Without a hem

Could fray so quickly,

That a spike-heel

Could impale itself,

That an elasticated waistline

Could end up

In the wrong place?

Not me,

Because I never had to.

You got there before me

And were quick to warn me

Of the perils 

Of an adventurous wardrobe,

Not to mention

The fun.
I was very small

(I’ve stayed little, but not small)

When I tried on your shoes

And took a tumble in the dirt.

I was smaller still

When I ran around

In kicks you gave me,

Flashing yellow

On the concrete,

In the grass, 

On my ass:

I fell over

Because I couldn’t take my eyes

Off my feet.

Now I’m older,

Wiser

(Maybe)

And I still benefit

From your better judgement

When you clear your mind

And your castle

And I go home

With bags of swag

And a bulging dressing up box.
If I forget to tell you

How delighted I am 

By spoils, unspoiled 

By being secondhand

(In fact, imbued with value

For their provenance:

Prominent

Because they’ve done it all before)

Just stop me

And remind me

And remember 

How I clomped around

In your clod-hoppers

In the 90s

In the kitchen

In the bedroom

On the sofa

On the stairs

On a Monday,

On a Sunday,

On a Friday night when you were out –

Oh wait – you won’t remember

You were out…

Well, picture it then,

A bandy-legged baby

In your 

Ribbon-tie

Mahogany

Chunky soled

Mary Janes.

And picture it now.

I may have filled out a little,

Sprouted up a little,

But I’m still littler

And I’ve still a lot to learn.

Pretty sure, looking back

First time

In a long time

Yesterday:

Three cornettos, maybe four, one I lost half of and was devastated,

The others were an attempt

To find that first

But not sated, satiated,

A hot chocolate,

Tired.

Today:

Washed everything I own

Another cornetto

5 cigarettes in a row

Some wine

A smoothie, at some point

Pretty good day,

I’d say.

Look back

At my bedroom,

At my boredom

Clean

ish

and I filed my receipts

And I filed my receipts.

What is crackle glaze?

No sorry

Don’t have that.

Like.

Like.

I miss you!

I miss you too?

Put everything away

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Cleverly.

Truffle face

Truffle place

Still not sated

Not too late

To be satisfied

With a lot

A lot of

Drag and drop

Smoky fingers

This is 30

This is 30

Never thought I’d see this side

It’s great.

Looking back.

Minimize.

 

He Might Not

Remember that thought
That crossed my mind
That time
When I wished my head against the wall
And then did it?
Yes?
That was you, that.

Remember that ball
By the railings
Weeping,
Shuddering and crumbling
Alone on a busy street?
Yes?
You were there then.

Remember that room
I couldn’t leave
For fear
I would never return
And neither would you?
Yes?
You’d gone then.

Remember that dress
That looked like shit
On me,
But not on other girls
Yes?
You knew that.

Remember that night
I sat with you
With drink
And told you not to call
Yes?
You should do.

Remember that time
I lost my mind
And strength
Because I let you take it
No?
How strange.

Remember everything
In blurry detail
On my hard drive
In pictures I still have
Yes?
I have that.

Remember me?
I remember me
I remember more
than you
thought
I would.

Meat Products

Contamination, a reveal
Hammering steak
Moulding mince
Slavering oil
Squirting sauce
Cling film wrapping
Prodding
Slicing
Putting egg yolks into mince holes
Hitting things
With a giant sausage
Mincing with Spong
Grating sausage
Lard on my legs
Plunging into yoghurt, peanut butter, mayo
Putting finger nails on hot dogs
Nailing a steak to a board
Eating a McDonalds

Image: from The Artist in Her Studio, 2016, photo by Liza Maria Dawson