DAY 1: Cultural Fiction; Curatorial Fact

Resize Liverpool Spirit

November 5, 2012 in A WONDROUS SPACE, LIVERPOOL, Wondrous Cities

I was born in Liverpool and, apart from about a year, have lived here ever since; be it in the centre of town or on the outskirts. I have studied and worked in the city centre for the past five years, mainly between two large arts organisations, and have recently found myself writing for various Liverpool-based cultural websites and zines. I am a proper Scouser (although with a very weak accent, unless I’m drunk) and, like all proper Scousers, I am obsessed with Liverpool and see it as one of the most unique places in the country. This individuality colours not only the art which is produced and shown here, but also the venues, events and gallery spaces which continually pop up across the city and into our lives.

What will follow may not be completely factual, nor will it be fiction, by any means. It is a mixture of the two, existing in the fantastical, contradictory landscape of my memory (and exhumed with the heavy hand of artistic license). Hopefully these half-truths and real experiences clouded in fiction and narrative will begin to illustrate the way I feel about the city I have grown up in, and which I have only-comparatively-recently begun to see, feel and form responses to, properly. Liverpool is a place which I love, hate, in which I am scared, elated, comfortable and filled with doubt. It is a city that engages with its populous in a manner which is constantly at odds with itself, which promotes juxtaposition and the paradoxical, but which never leaves them indifferent, uncaring or apathetic. I think this is why I am wont to switch from factual journalism to fiction at the drop of a hat. It’s the scouser in me: the tall-tale teller, the pub philosopher. Anyone who has ever been to The Roscoe Head or Peter Kavanagh’s knows what I mean.

The way I have attempted to negotiate my city for this project is by narratively revisiting those places which I feel closest to, those cultural hubs and holes in which I spend not only my working days, but also all of my free time. These are the places, the exhibitions, the events and most importantly, the people, which have left impressions in my memory, my writing and, as sentimental and schmaltzy as it my sound, ultimately my heart. I will either begin or end each day’s entry with a brief, very real, introduction to the place which that day is dedicated to, and in doing so, try and explain why I feel that the things I will write into each space reflect the true heart of not only that organization, or venue, but also the cultural landscape of Liverpool as I see it.

I am perpetually interested in the various forms of embodiment, and as such, my writing is continually aimed at pulling you into a room, a place, a moment; and explaining a non-verbal emotion, reaction or instinct as thoroughly as possible using the invariably constrictive medium of language. Most of what I write will be real, but I deal, as always, in the construction of a feeling and that’s what is most important to me during this week: to try and make you see, and experience, these aspects of Liverpool as I do. So whether that is best done by just telling you about them, or by telling tales remains to be seen…

Image: Copywright Sean Wars for TVS Magazine

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Lesley Taker

Academically pre-disposed word-monger and noise fancier. Most of my words are made up, or are about books, pictures & music. Although, oddly enough, all of my published academic work is about some form of pornography. Since graduating from my MA in Contemporary Literature (& Modern Art) at Liverpool Uni two years ago, I have worked as a Gallery Assistant at the Bluecoat, FACT, and now am the Curatorial Assistant in the latter. In my spare time I write about local art and music, and occasionally about the books I love to read, mostly for local Culture website The Double Negative, and my own blog Perfect Unlikeness (http://unghosted.blogspot.co.uk). I am currently writing a book of my own about the YBA painter Jenny Saville, as well as working towards curating a rather unsettling (hopefully, funded!) show with some amazing Liverpool based artists. I have a penchant for massive, impractical rings that get me refused from clubs, Earl Grey, Simon Schama, Rothko and Bill Murray. I truly love literature, writing, and the Liverpool Arts scene, and am always eager to find chances to blend them together!