The secret's signature. An essay on redaction, secrecy, and conceptual art, for a Jenny Holzer Ivory Press book. Forthcoming.
How To Do Things With(out) Words. On 25 April 2015, I participated in a panel entitled 'Fact, Fiction and the In-between' at the Art in General What Now? symposium on the Politics of Listening, organized in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. A book that collates the discussions which occurred during that symposium has now been published, and my talk, entitled 'How To Do Things With(out) Words', which dealt with redacted documents from the American war on terror, is on pp.48-53.
Assume the worst until something is known. An essay on the UN mission in South Sudan, wilful ignorance, and the vagaries of UN flight timetables. In Chimurenga's excellent magazine, Chronic. 5 April 2016. You can read it here on Chimurenga, or here, with a couple of minor differences to the published version, and larger font sizes.
In The Dead Letter Office. In Jenny Holzer: War Paintings, edited by Thomas Kellein (Walther König, Koln, September 29 2015). An essay on Jenny Holzer's Redaction Paintings, the logic of state secrecy, and what happens when a document is painted. This essay was published in the catalogue of Jenny Holzer's 'War Paintings' exhibition, which was on display in the Museo Correr, in Venice, from May-November 2015. The catalogue produced in collaboration with Frankfurt's Written Art Foundation. You can buy the catalogue here, or read the essay here. An earlier version of this essay appeared in Media-N's issue on the aesthetics of disappearance, on 7 May 2015. You can read that version here.
Excerpts from a Grammar of Redaction. A version of a part of my 'Grammar of Redaction', which was exhibited at the New Museum's Temporary Center for Translation in Summer 2014, was published in Archival Dissonance: Knowledge Production and Contemporary Art (I.B. Tauris/Ibraaz, May 2015). You can read the excerpt here, or you can read the entire grammar here.
Nobody Talks About The Weather. On the logic of the conflict in South Sudan, the fantasies of international observers, and the centrality of the weather. In Creative Time Reports. 24 March. You can read it here.
Saving the Bad New Things. An essay about Beaumaris, Wales, and the collapse of artisanal labour, which poses the question of why we save things--buildings, ruins, people. In Onsite Review 32: Weak Systems. Fall 2014.
A Grammar of Redaction. As part of the New Museum's Temporary Center for Translation (Summer 2014), I published an essay from an ongoing book project, How To Do Things Without Words, which looks at the logic of redacted documents from the American War on Terror. You can read the long essay here, and download the 'phrasebook' (which contains the documents I refer to in the grammar), here. An excerpt from the grammar is also forthcoming in the edited volume, Archival Dissonance: Knowledge Production and Contemporary Art (I.B. Tauris/Ibraaz, 2015).
In Gurs. An excerpt from a book I am writing with my father about a trip we took to Gurs, the site of a former WWII-era interment camp. The book, entitled On Passage, is a series of meditative exchanges on ideas of passage. 20 April 2014.
Dreams are not made of Concrete. Fourth Genre. Volume 15, Issue 2. Fall 2013. A long essay on migration, money, and dreams, in Juba, South Sudan.
Is a building a witness? Onsite Review 30: Ethics and Publics. An essay on the decline of the figure of the witness, and the rise of forensics. Fall 2013.
Unclear Lines: State and Non-State Actors in Abyei. A more academic essay on territory in Abyei, South Sudan, published in Chris Vaughan, Mareike Schomerus, and Lotje de Vries (eds.) 2013. The Borderlands of South Sudan: Authority and Identity in Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Under the soil, the people. Onsite Review 29: Geology. An essay on geology and the claims of memory. May 2013.
Influence: three and a half metaphors. An essay on the difficult of working out just who one's influences are. The Waste Books. 20 April 2013.
Every thing has its own silence. An essay on sound and silence, in Marseille and Paris. Onsite Review 28: Sound. Fall 2012. You can read a version of this essay just prior to the final tearsheet here.
Islands of the Imagination. A short letter on islands. Onsite Review 28: Sound. Fall 2012.
On the road to Yei. A reportage on rubbish in Juba, South Sudan. Anthropology News. 15 October 2012.
A sketch for the tent of the future. An essay on Qadhafi, nomadism, and the history of the Libyan state. Read it in Onsite Review 27: Rural Urbanism. 5 May 2012. You can read an extract here.
Freethrows and miniatures. An essay on gesture, novelty, and my inability to learn to shoot hoops. 8 May 2012.
No lines, no peace? On the borders of Abyei. Anthropology News. 21 February 2012.
On hunting. A meandering exploration of exile, detectives, and, obviously, hunters. Originally published at The Waste Books. 13 January 2012. Then published as a letter in Onsite Review 27: Rural Urbanism. 5 May 2012. There is also a podcast of me reading the text, available here.
just stay put and keep quiet. An essay on the form of the camp. Originally published at The Waste Books. 13 January 2012. Then published as a letter in Onsite Review 27: Rural Urbanism. 5 May 2012.
Moral Conquest: visiting the Wellcome Collection. A review essay about Mary Douglas' famous phrase, "dirt is matter out of place." On-Site Review 26: Dirt. Fall Issue 2011.
Burning the future, which looks at the story of a mysteriously inoperative waste dump in Juba, South Sudan, is available in Onsite Review 26: Dirt. Fall Issue 2011.
Stasis | Noise | Heaviness. An essay on ideas of home and nomadism. 20 December 2011.
In Abyei. A short reportage from Abyei, Sudan, when it was attacked by government-sponsored militias. 3 March 2011.
Self is a form. A selection of aphorisms (well, two of them). Hotel Amerika. Volume 10. Number. 1. Fall Edition 2011.
Animal Cities, on urban planning in Juba. Onsite Review 25: Identity. Spring Issue 2011.
Between the Red Lines, on urban planning in Oakland. Onsite Review 24: Migration. Fall issue 2010.
Counting a Divided Nation: On the Sudanese Census. A short article I published in Anthropology News in May 2010, looking at some of the contradictions inherent in approaching a political process quantitatively.
The Logic of Soap & A Mobile Home. (two short texts). re:site. Insert in Onsite Review 24: Migration. Fall Issue 2010. Available here in the original, (pp.6-9), or you can read them on this site. Here is the first text, about mining in Sierra Leone, and here is the second, about notions of home.
Above is a selection of my essays since the beginning of 2010. A selection of my pre-2010 essays can be found on the essays page.
NREC Past Topics and Winners
Topic: Мой идеальный день
Previous Years (will be updated later)
Teachers with questions about the essay contest should contact one of the Contest chairs: