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TRADING

ZONE

TALBOT RICE GALLERY

26 MAY – 23 JUNE 2018

POEMS BY: TIM CRAVEN

ARTISTS: KAT CUTLER-

MACKENZIE/FRANCES DAVIS/

DARA ETEFAGHI/SAMUEL

J H FROGGATT/HANQING &

MONA/JACK HANDSCOMBE

& JOE REVANS/ASAD KHAN

& ELENI-IRA PANOURGIA/

LOUISA

LOVE/DOUG

MCCAUSLAND/QUENTIN

SCOBIE/AMELIA TAN/

NESLIHAN TEPEHAN/ELLA

YOLANDE/MATT ZUROWSKI/

ALLIE TURNER, FINN

ICKLER & LUIS DE SOUSA

CURATED BY: TESSA GIBLIN/

JAMES CLEGG/STUART FALLON


TRADING ZONE #1


I’m waiting for the universe to send a signal

but we’ve not agreed upon its form

so I interrogate each gust of wind,

inspect the degree of lean in every blade of grass

for clues to their own elegant semiotics.

I expect the cipher will be delivered via tarot readings,

decommissioned sci-fi shows, coded gravitational tugs

at my sleeve sent from a molten darkness

that serve to second-guess all that is fixed and human.

To ward off the silence

I read alongside the faint stammer of the TV

right up to the boundaries of my nature,

monitoring the message in Morse

the fist of my heart knocks out.

»»»»»»»»

That’s why I can’t come to the bar tonight:

I’ll be signalling to the self via the self

using all of its terms and trapdoors.

I’m waiting for everything to change.

6


ight up to the

boundaries of

my nature,

monitoring the

message in

Morse

the fist of my

heart knocks

out.

7


and every

three-months

our ten-pints

of blood

are removed

and restocked,

drop by drop.

±

8


TRADING ZONE #2 – GOOD SONS


When we’re all together like this

we’re full of shit,

trotting out stories that’ve been told

till they’re all bent out of shape.

But we pass the wine,

we dish the potatoes

we nod at the flashbacks

as though it really happened that way.

It takes about a decade for the human

skeleton to dissolve and replace itself,

and every three-months our ten-pints of blood

are removed and restocked, drop by drop.

As the sun fades outside the window

the conversation turns

to how he worked his hands raw

to give us a better life

and then he complains for the rest of the night

that we have it too easy.

Were it not for the lens of the eye

and a few other lingering foetal cells

we’d be entirely new people by now.

9


^^

TRADING ZONE #3


It didn’t matter that it was only a local TV report

exposing air pollution hotspots,

when footage of our stretch of street

between the chemist and the bus station

made the evening news

anything seemed possible.

And when we spotted ourselves in the background

kicking a frayed leather casey down the road

we felt as proud as conquistadors.

Air so rich with diesel you could taste

the locomotives shunting behind the yard,

and the factories that lined the train tracks

their chimneys exhaling thick black stardust.

Dirt, our dirt, rising into the heavens like wishes.

10


11


»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»

12

you were owed

or further back

before the

cognac glow

and the

inexplicable

temper


TRADING ZONE #4 – DUSK


so we choose to remember

some earlier version

when you were ablaze

and caught red-handed

stretched and striving

collecting all you thought

»»»»»»»»»

you were owed or further back

before the cognac glow

and the inexplicable temper

before the new claws of winter

began to show themselves

and before the pale creep of dusk

which has always loomed

but now feels bigger

and is getting bigger still

13


TRADING ZONE #5


When you talk of a horse and I talk of a horse

are you thinking what I’m thinking?

What about cheval, pferd, perd, zaldi, uma?

What lessons can we take from the first Portuguese

who offered up flintlock muskets

and brass bracelets to the great Oba of Benin,

captor of the sea god, lord of the leopard king,

as swaps for pepper, tusks, honey-coloured coral beads?

We hammer out our discordance–

you on an old oil can, me on a freshly undressed

pig pelt stretched to taut transparency–

and pass through the clashing rhythms of change,

the ceaseless charge towards a common creole

that might, just might reveal

what we’re sure we’ve always known:

hidden within the fragile negotiation of our histories

sits a reluctant victory for us both.

14


15


Vague entities d

the other into a

lexicons

TRADING ZONE #6


I think they’re playing our song if this is the song

we agreed is ours, I forget, yet I’ll swear

to discredit all others who consider it theirs.

It’s the meaning that occupies the distance

between us, it’s the unexcavated dirt as two tunnelers converge,

as thin as a cigarette paper, as wide as the sky.

Vague entities dragged by the other into a new orbit of lexicons–

mine tougher than yours, yours better at talking its way out of trouble–

a common language as necessary as bread

to get us closer to capturing whatever absolute truth

is suspended in the air as delicate as hot breath.

16


dragged by

a new orbit of

17


TRADING ZONE #7


There’s an overweighted question woven

into the algorithm of the online dating

compatibility questionnaire that imploded

the distance between us. The one about

whether nuclear war would be interesting.

I guess we both answered ‘strongly agree’ –

bored within our skulls,

dreaming of watching the fallout unfold

with someone new and beautiful, reloading

fistfuls of popcorn into our aghast mouths.

***

18


19


20


TRADING ZONE #8


How was work? You ask.

I enquire how school went

and we proceed to talk past the other–

our speech slow, pronunciation deliberate

as though we’re back in Spain

and you’re guiding the barman

through the construction

of a Black ‘n’ Tan.

We each make our quiet study

of the other’s sadness:

you the theorist,

imprisoned in a bed-bound malaise,

me the experimentalist,

shitfaced out of my tiny liquid brain.

In what might be a massive

oversimplification of events

we lovingly contaminate each other

with our history of failings.

I sympathise with tall buildings

having to carry the weight


of themselves within their own walls.

I love you and hate you

with the static attraction

of two rubbed balloons.

We stand here in what will be

our slow love to the death–

your monkey claw

versus my eagle’s fist.

21


TRADING ZONE #9 – ZERO


You are driving me

to the airport.

How many more times will I see you

in this world?

The answer is scribbled on the back

of an invoice that has fallen

behind the sofa cushions –

a finite number we can’t quite calculate.

We’ve run out of words.

We’re hungover from good Scotch.

The radio says high interest rates & relays

the final scores.

»»»»»»»

I am moving to New York, London,

the Republic of Somewhere Else.

It’s nothing personal.

It’s always personal.

Death guides us by the wrist;

such strong hands.

When the number hits zero

and a phone call tells me it’s too late,

I’ll be standing on the edge

of important work that needs interrupting.

Negotiating a compromise

between theory and the empirical.

The damn radio ceaselessly blaring

as I search in disbelief for that invoice.

22


It’s nothing personal.

It’s always personal.

23


~

liquid ferocity versus

the howl of distance.


TRADING ZONE #10


I come here because

I’ve become allergic to my own language;

I can’t bear to write

and the idea of speaking

leaves a great ache in my heart.

I even trap my thoughts

where no light can penetrate.

But nothing stays static for long.

Close inspection reveals the tides are merely similar

and when a wave collapses it’s forever archived

with those that have fallen before.

I watch the slow decisions of the sea,

eavesdropping on the argument

waged between waves and wind–

liquid ferocity versus

the howl of distance.

Two untrained musicians

hammering their detuned pipes

in some unsyncopated surrender of call and response,

like the way all my letters begin,

How are you? I hope you are well. I’m fine.

25


TRADING ZONE #11 – A HILL OUTSIDE SANTO DOMINGO


As the last of the afternoon light

Falls off its boil and the moon waits on high

We climb against a Rioja hill

For a better look at the cathedral.

Our panting leaves us

Speechless but we sense the other’s presence.

Small white-headed flowers, fields of yellow rapeseed,

Greens so various each tree stands in sole identity.

The slight disappointment at finding the summit

Crowded with Spanish schoolkids passing around a bottle

Waiting to share in the sunset. From up here

The insistence that we’re the centre of the world weakens.

A self-portrait on a hill staring down at the town.

A form of mass worship in the language of landscape.

In an hour we will all be staring into darkness, obliterated,

Praying into the mirror of the night.

The flat lushness of the valley

Recalls my adolescence spent wastefully

Underground in a basement snooker club;

The acres of lush green felt, the explosions of colour,

A spirits shelf in the backdrop

Inverted bottles rising from their optics like stalagmites,

Being slowly poured dry. Nostalgia: I’m probably remembering

A time that never existed, the way ashes can’t evoke the fire.

I love it here but what is it I love?

The sun’s warm mouth, drinking wine for lunch,

The brine of the olives, no-one complaining about the noise.

Lavish in these perfect austerities.

I know that the small amount of Spanish I’m learning

Will atrophy back home. Synapses weaken

And words slip away along with the taste of the wine.

Slowly, my philosophy of no-regrets erodes.


A selfportrait

on a hill

staring

down at

the town.


Published on the occasion of

Trading Zone at Talbot Rice Gallery,

The University of Edinburgh

Poems by Tim Craven

Designed by Martin Duff

©2018 the artists and Talbot Rice Gallery

All rights reserved. The translation, the total

or partial adaptation and the reproduction

by any means (including microfilm, film

and photocopies), as well as the electronic

storage, are reserved in all countries. The

publishers would like to thank all those who

have given permission to reproduce material

for this book. Every effort has been made to

achieve permission for the images and texts

in this publication. However, as in standard

editorial policy for publications, the publisher

remains available in the case preliminary

agreements were not able to be made with

copyright holders.

Talbot Rice Gallery would like to thank all

the students involved in this exhibition for

their collaboration and artistic generosity.

We gratefully acknowledge the work of our

colleagues within the University of Edinburgh

and Edinburgh College of Art who encourage

and support all of our activities.

Special thanks to Edinburgh Futures Institute

for their generous support in helping to

realise the exhibition.

#talbotrice #tradingzone

www.trg.ed.ac.uk

+44(0)131 650 2210


#talbotrice #tradingzone

www.trg.ed.ac.uk

+44(0)131 650 2210

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