Collapsing in Parts

Cally Spooner


Book, 11 x 18 cm, 160 p, language: English, publisher: International Project Space, Birmingham; Mousse Publishing, Milan, ISBN: 978-8867490745.

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2026/262).

Literary synopsis

Structured by a reluctant philosopher, managed by an overworked copy-editor, supported by an evolving cast of case studies (including a golfer, a politician and a faded celebrity screen-writer), Collapsing in Parts stages the crisis of performing, progress and the loss of private life in an eight-month performance at International Project Space. Collapsing In Parts was conceived as a form of thinking out loud, generating this ‘single-take’ novella. It was originally written episodically over eight months and published online as, when and however the parts were written.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

For her solo exhibition at International Project Space in 2011 Cally Spooner produced a new body of writing over a period of eight months. Beginning with a framework without content, Spooner played with a form of performance as promise, whereby this promise, and the anxiety to produce, became a part of the performance itself. Examining the crisis of publicness, progress and the loss of private life, Cally Spooner’s writing was published in eight parts and made public online as they are written, enacting the process of ‘thinking out loud’ integral to all of Spooner’s work. A series of programmed live events acted as footnotes to the evolving text, adding to the cast of borrowed voices and characters Spooner employed to shape and articulate her own thinking. With outputs ranging from performance, film and broadcasting, Spooner wrote in dialogue to script the anxieties and obstructions of turning theory into thought, thought into text and text into events (plays, projects and productions). Drawing on theatrical tropes and devices, she embodied this movement between states using historical thinkers as alibis to help her write, and casts of colleagues, friends and actors to help her perform. By fracturing her writing into parts for her cast to carry, she found and occupied multiple positions through collisions of arguing characters, looping narratives and unrelenting disturbances from impossible stage directions, most often delivered by Spooner herself.

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