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Alice Butler

MA work

Major Project: Ann Quin's Night-time Ink, A Postscript

In October 1959, Ann Quin took up her post as part-time secretary at the Royal College of Art, where she would type by day, and write by night. Decades have passed since her death; time has buried her form and face. I am surrounded by a life unknown, and a literature unknown: are text and author still divorced, like Barthes imposed in 1967, when Quin was writing her second novel, Passages? Biography has been branded an entropic weight on the energy of the form, but within this project the two collaborate, rejecting the cleanliness of demarcated genre.

Little bits of Quin, of her life, and work, have been scattered like ashes: anonymous invitations to a critical afterlife. It is this kind of everyday ephemera that would find a way into her writing; claimed back, the personal re-won: confession rewritten as concept. This is the ambush of the marginal, the libidinal literature born out of writing straight onto a typewriter for what Quin said was ‘three hours without a stop’. In texts like these, language is never safe: words are figured as mobile objects cut loose from the mechanisms of genre. Following on from the conceptual literary practices of writers such as Kathy Acker and Chris Kraus, and the linguistic art practices of Elizabeth Price and Moyra Davey; going back to Quin’s first workplace, could it be within the realm of ‘art’ that Quin’s forbidden languages are now being remoulded?

Info

  • Alice Butler profile image
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2013

  • Major Project: Ann Quin's Night-time Ink, A Postscript

    In October 1959, Ann Quin took up her post as part-time secretary at the Royal College of Art, where she would type by day, and write by night. Decades have passed since her death; time has buried her form and face. I am surrounded by a life unknown, and a literature unknown: are text and author still divorced, like Barthes imposed in 1967, when Quin was writing her second novel, Passages? Biography has been branded an entropic weight on the energy of the form, but within this project the two collaborate, rejecting the cleanliness of demarcated genre.

    Little bits of Quin, of her life, and work, have been scattered like ashes: anonymous invitations to a critical afterlife. It is this kind of everyday ephemera that would find a way into her writing; claimed back, the personal re-won: confession rewritten as concept. This is the ambush of the marginal, the libidinal literature born out of writing straight onto a typewriter for what Quin said was ‘three hours without a stop’. In texts like these, language is never safe: words are figured as mobile objects cut loose from the mechanisms of genre. Following on from the conceptual literary practices of writers such as Kathy Acker and Chris Kraus, and the linguistic art practices of Elizabeth Price and Moyra Davey; going back to Quin’s first workplace, could it be within the realm of ‘art’ that Quin’s forbidden languages are now being remoulded?

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons), English and Art History, University of Sussex, 2011
  • Experience

  • Assistant editor, Arc, London, 2012–present; Freelance writer, Frieze, London, 2012–present
  • Awards

  • Winner, Frieze Writer's Prize, 2012; Winner, Art History Prize, University of Sussex, 2011
  • Conferences

  • 'Sparraw's Kneecaps and Experimental Writing', Elizabeth Price and Stewart Home, Relatively Absolute: Live Events, Wysing Arts Centre, 2012
  • Publications

  • 'Crashing into Someword New', Alice Butler, The Coelacanth Journal, The Coelacanth Press, 2012; 'The Historical Box at Hauser and Wirth', Alice Butler, Frieze, 2012; 'Cally Spooner at International Project Space', Alice Butler, Frieze, 2013; 'The Vivisector at Sprüth Magers', Alice Butler, Frieze, 2013