Scrivener's Monthly: Clint Burnham Talking About SLOW ART WRITING

Nov 16, 2012



Grand Luxe Hall, Western Front


8:00 p.m.


Scrivener’s Monthly presented an evening with writer Clint Burnham in which he read from a new novel in progress and discussed the problematics of making art about poverty and homelessness, while advocating for the importance of such practices. 

Of his talk, Burnham writes:

“In Rob Nixon’s book Slow Violence, he uses that term as a populist summary for an environmentalist politics of what is essentially structural violence (deforestation or the polluting of rivers, as opposed to crises that grab headlines); I want to turn the phrase around and use it to talk about art writing that resists the instantaneity of the review, the online Twitter feed or Facebook status update, the blog comment. Art writing that takes forms that include reviews and essays but also fiction and poetry, memoir and theory. Art writing that resists the prostitution of writing to art (all catalogue essays are pimping your art, giving it the proper theoretical armature). Art writing that uses textuality, as Jodi Dean says, to resist, “communicative capitalism.” So partly what I want to talk about is the ecology of art writing using some of my own practice over the past ten years—locally as a worst/best case scenario (writing in The Vancouver Sun, writing catalogue essays, online, using Twitter), but also thinking about a worker’s slow down as a critical practice. Partly I want to engage with the art/writing nexus that is Western Front, perhaps showing a rare early videotape from the 1970s. Partly I want to talk about my latest novel project, which is about (writing about) the Vancouver art world.”

Following his talk, Burnham screened video documentation from the Western Front archive of a 1974 reading by Fred Wah in the Grand Luxe Hall. The evening closed with a question and answer period. 

Scrivener’s Monthly was a series of public presentations that explored the space between material practices and spoken words. Set alongside exhibitions at Western Front, this experiment in “not publishing” involved readings, performances, and other articulations.

Video documentation of this event is available upon request.
A yellow sandwich board reading Scrivener's Monthly a periodical that talks, with Clint Burnham talking about slow art writing on November 16th at 8pm at Western Front, Vancouver. The text is written in black capital letters. Th sign is positioned outside in front of a blue temporary fence that partitions off a demolished building.


Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.