Practising Poetics (June Tang)

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For two or so weeks in 2018 I came to Frontyard with a vague, only half-conscious desire: to think about the intersections between writing and architecture. I spent my time there leafing through the beautiful books in the library, following one to the next like a dog learning to smell a route. I made notes, jottings, some related to the readings I came across, and much of it not. And when I became restless, or too cold, I tried to film a little. I liked the green leather chairs, and the frosted(?) glass window of the library, especially when it rained, and to where I often retreated in the evenings.

I had one very memorable visitor: an old man, short, with a wheelie bag, a can of Mother, wearing perhaps a baseball cap. He was an ethnomusicologist, and somehow began to ramble on wonderfully about the nomadic horsemen of Kyrgyzstan, playing their stringed instruments as they galloped.

Words felt flimsy and sometimes redundant, as I wondered how to situate my own in relation to architecture, which seemed manifest in such concrete, physical forms. I spent a lot of time looking out the glass windowfront, listening peripherally to 89.7FM, and conducting small, sporadic experiments that attempted to force language into the physical.

I left FY buzzing with thoughts about poetics -- the poetics of architecture, and the architecture of poetics; nested within that was a rhizome of notions relating to materiality x textuality, much of which I have yet to untangle for myself. The link below will take you to a piece that emerged out of my time at Frontyard, and further below are some scatterings from the log I kept while I was there.

 infrastructural poetics [1]


In English we say it’s raining hard/heavy or raining light … but in Chinese it’s a matter of size and scale. Big rain or small rain. Big sound or small sound. What does this mean for the body, its relation to its environment?

In Chinese, asking after age: ‘How big are you now?’
Which finds its correlate in English, contextually: ‘Back when she was still very small…’

Big wind, small wind …


In the bathroom, on a post-it:

    IS AN 	    


The front room is a multifunctional space
It becomes whatever you need it to be
Last night it became a small viewing theatre
If you take the table out it would seem like just a room for some kind of physical activity
Ballet or aerobics


From an experiment:


Will the privilege of space / Be an adequate defence?
Who gets to decide?
Find a corner / Must it have a function?
The privilege / To stay empty


Poetry / Must / Have a function?
Who gets to decide? / Who needs it / More?
Maybe it wants / A window to look into?


Exposed to the elements ...
The privilege / Of language


 “Grammar is politics by another means” (Haraway)