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Fionnáin

fionnain@bookwyrm.social

Joined 1 year, 2 months ago

I arrange things together into art, including paint, wood, plastic, raspberry pi, people, words, dialogues, arduino, sensors, web tech, light and code.

I use things other people have written to help guide these projects, so I read as often as I can. Most of what I read is literature (fiction) or nonfiction on philosophy, art theory, ethics and technology.

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A grain of wheat (1986, Heinemann Educational) 4 stars

The tumour of imperialism

4 stars

A tale of people livong in a time of massive transition as Kenya gains 'Uhuru', independence from the British Empire. Ngugi wa Thiong'o wrote this book only a short time after Kenyan independence, which is amazing because it carries so much sympathy and distance that it could have been written today. Added to this, the characters and storytelling is also very modern and seems more like an ethereal novel of the early 2000s. The complexity of violence both in imperialism and in its removal is bittersweet, touching and enriching.

The characters and dialogue is brilliantly sharp, and the motivations and actions both realistic and dreamlike, but what is most striking is the empathy that Ngugi wa Thiong'o manifests for all parties, even those who commit atrocious deeds. This empathy is something that many struggle with even 100 years on from bitter periods of imperial rule. The only flaw in the …

A grain of wheat (1986, Heinemann Educational) 4 stars

Content warning quote from last page

Pig Tales (Hardcover, 1997, New Press) 3 stars

A woman working in a beauty parlor chronicles her descent into gluttony and lust. In …

Absurd Metamorphosis

3 stars

Marie Darrieussecq's debut novel is a metamorphosis story that pulls in themes of sexism, racism, and political extremism, all painted with a heavy brush. The story is painful but playful, told by a narrator who has transformed into a pig after a series of harrowing life events where her body is abused constantly, mostly by men.

The story is absurd but engaging enough to entertain, even if at times it feels a little like you are being told the same joke again and again. The cleverness is spoiled at times by the obviousness of the plot or the clear influences of other books that come through too strongly. While some of the themes are obvious (the abuse of the female body for money, for example), other moments such as the strange ending or the fictional political events are a little too muddled. But even so, as a story and an …

A Convergence of Birds (2002, D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.) 3 stars

Exquisite objects, poor responses

2 stars

In the introduction, Jonathan Safran Foer outlines how this project came together: he has asked prominent writers to write texts in response to some amazing object artworks of birds by Joseph Cornell. He reflects on a rejection letter from an author who has written to him lambasting him for expecting so much from writers without guidance, concept or recompensed.

I tend to agree with this critic – this book is a failed vanity project. The photographs of the Cornell artworks are wonderful but the short stories and poems in response to them are mostly poor, unconnected from the works, and poorly curated. Aside from a couple of exceptions (The Grand Hotels by Robert Cooper stands out) this collection is underwhelming, and I suspect much of this is down to the privileged presumptions of the editor-author who acknowledged (and then ignored) the author who eloquently lambasted him.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers (2015) 4 stars

Crow brings hope

5 stars

This amazing book creeps into you as you move through it. Three protagonists, "Dad", "Boys" and "Crow" show different views of grief at the loss of the boys' mother. Written like a disjointed play, the short book manages to be heartfelt and heartbreaking, hopeful and tearful all simultaneously. The poetic writing and the well defined, carefully crafted voices of each character ensure the book wraps its wings around you and holds you, firm but not constricting. And then it lets you go.

Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices (Paperback, punctum books, Earth, Milky Way) No rating

Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices is a speculative endeavor asking how we may represent, relay, …

Anthropomorphic attributions are something we cannot completely avoid when telling this story. In order to empathize with another being, to ask what it wants and why it does something, we can’t help but draw conclusions from ourselves first, before we abstract from our own perspective in the next step. And sometimes it seems necessary to bring a strategic anthropomorphism into play, in order to make things more sharp, indicating that anthropodenial is the problem we need to be more aware of.

Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices by , (Page 50)

This is something I deal with regularly in my work, and feel very strongly about. Very eloquently put. From the chapter by Hörner/Antlfinger titled Tales of a Modern Parrot: Living Entangled Lives in an Interspecies Art Collective, pp49-76

Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices (Paperback, punctum books, Earth, Milky Way) No rating

Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practices is a speculative endeavor asking how we may represent, relay, …