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Show RCA 2019

Ella Lewis-Williams

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Dissertation:

Across the Margent of the World I Fled

In moments of dizziness or delirium three touching sentences were often called upon. They would be vigorously copied, annotated and exploded several times as this project germinated and grew in multiple directions. 

I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tips of my words. My language trembles with desire.’ (Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse)
 
Whether Barthes rubs roughly or tenderly, who’s to say; but if desire is to turn into a possessive kind of love a firm grip is required, or at least a lover willing to be seduced. So what to do when the one you want is a slippery sort who won’t be grasped, sends you on a chase?
 



The chase is performed in various ways in this series of ‘escaping texts’, where the body and the page are made of the same flesh. Where some texts strive to arrest fugitive or leaky language, others strain to free the opaque mysteries trapped ‘beneath the surface of explicit life’ (Berlant), so the illegible becomes legible, so the mute finally speak.
 
An essay about the textures of confusion, thickness, nonsense and blankness rubs up against two textual bodies — the incontinent choleric, from the Ancient Greek theory of the four humours, and the incorruptibly blank Saint Christina the Astonishing, aka 'The Zombie Saint' — who are exhumed, reassembled and punctured in pursuit of a language that’s always just beyond this side of words.

Info

  • Ella Lewis-Williams is a writer, researcher and editor based in London.

    Another major Royal College of Art project was a critical study of WET, the new-wave magazine devoted to 'gourmet bathing', arguing that all is not quite as frivolous as it seems, but the product of a xerophobic mentality (fear of dryness), prevalent in 1970s and 80s California.

  • Previous degrees

  • BA (Hons) Drawing, Camberwell College of Arts, 2013; BA (Hons) Drawing, Camberwell College of Arts, 2013
  • Experiences

  • Editorial Assistant, Afterall, London, 2014–16 (including Research intern for the Exhibition Histories title, Cultural Anthropophagy: The 24th Bienal de São Paulo 1998, Afterall Books, 2015); Editorial assistant, Afterall, London, 2014–16 (including research intern for the Exhibition Histories title, Cultural Anthropophagy: The 24th Bienal de São Paulo 1998, Afterall Books, 2015)
  • Publications

  • Propland: Reprogramming Television Centre, Royal College of Art, 2018; Possibility Model, Offline Press, 2017; Propland: Reprogramming Television Centre, Royal College of Art, 2018; Possibility Model, Offline Press, 2017
Royal College of Art