by Ma Bibliotheque

Yes, I Am A Destroyer
Mira Mattar
Ma Bibliotheque - 13.00€ -

I travel far across the city, cut it knowingly, concealing behind me the entrances to tunnels, altering the signage. I traverse the grimiest bowels, skirt the farthest wettest edges like a silverfish active only in the hallucinatory hours, to avoid becoming known, to avoid any collusion between my body and theirs, its. 

Under the neon sky of a sick city, which might be London, a nameless governess oscillates between lucidity and dissociation, solitude and communication, wage labour and escape attempts. A wild and unreliable narrator-without-character—ardent, delirious, complicit, vengeful, and paranoid—she embodies a perverse and chaotic resistance. Simultaneously demonic and angelic, both maniacal and generous in her fury, accidentally elegant, tongue tied and barbed, she veers towards defiance as devotion. An anti-Bildungsroman in the collapsing first person, Yes, I Am A Destroyer is an unbecoming record of memory and forgetting, of a relentless undoing. 

‘Any girl who learns how to read is already a lost girl, wrote the infamous confessionalist Rousseau. But if that lost girl, with insatiable pronoun, bastard spawn perhaps of the exiled Genevan, palmed a pen and confessed—how would that read? What can she know? With relentless intelligence and urgent prosody, Mira Mattar shows us. She invents a narrator in the raging anti-tradition of Violette Leduc and Albertine Sarrazin, leaps beyond the cloying contract of capital with the feminine, of intimacy with violence, to animate a lush document of the refusal of subjection. Much like the young Jean-Jacques, she’s a tutor underpaid for her sensitivity. She is, like him, a thief of small things, a sponge for the edifying comportments of the employing class. What she makes of her servitude—a fabulously grotesque encyclopedia of sensing—is dedicated to female anger. Scrubbing, washing, chewing, frigging, barfing, stealing, moisturising, shitting: every surface, every gesture, is appropriated to her bodily resistance.  ‘Live anyway’ is her stoic motto. This glorious tract ends with a call for the anarchical vigour of the animal body we share. Read it and flourish. You will perhaps be invoiced.’ 
–> Lisa Robertson 

Mira Mattar writes fiction and poetry. She is an independent researcher, editor, and tutor. A Palestinian/Jordanian born in the suburbs of London, she continues to live and work there. She has read and published her work widely. Yes, I Am A Destroyer is her first book.

Entertaining Ideas (The Long View)
Kate Briggs
Ma Bibliotheque - 12.00€ -

Imagine that we too (imagine that I too), wanted to welcome ideas, to attend to them, to take care of them, to make sure they have a good time. Imagine that I too wanted to be a good hostess to writing ideas. How to be open to them, how to be alert to them—so that I know how and when to let them in? 

ENTERTAINING IDEAS began as a reading exercise: an effort to perform a ‘good reading’ of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s The Long View(1956), and to think about what a ‘good’ short reading of a long novel might mean, what it might look like or read like. As a translator, Kate Briggs accepts that writing out a reading involves change, tampering with what seems perfect, and doing so from necessity, as a way of learning how exactly it works. She has changed Howard’s book. Her exercise changed too, expanding unexpectedly into a set of reflections on writing backwards, living forwards, and entertaining ideas.

‘Kate Briggs generously shares with us her unique and delicately revolutionary way of reading; the moment where writing becomes the only way to grasp our slippery thoughts and desires. This book is pure joy.’
– >Alejandro Zambra

Kate Briggs is a writer and translator based in Rotterdam, NL. She is the translator of two volumes of lecture and seminar notes by Roland Barthes (Columbia University Press, 2011 and 2013). Other publications include:Exercise in Pathetic Criticism (Information as Material, 2011), On Reading as an Alternation of Flights and Perchings (NO Press, 2013), and The Nabokov Paper (Information as Material, 2013). This Little Art, a long essay on the practice of translation, was published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in 2017.

Objectophilia
Susan Finlay
Ma Bibliotheque - 14.00€ -

Design classics, the dates of which ranged from the beginnings of the previous century to the start of the current one, were scattered throughout the room, their very definite shapes offset against the off-white, off-modern walls. I allowed my gaze to flit from one piece of furniture to the next, and as I mentally joined the dots between them I unwittingly re-wrote their history according to thematic as opposed to chronological concerns. I wondered if perhaps I were simply seeing my own flat ‘in the expanded field’, each element repositioned by some new and typically rabid curator eager to facilitate the production of their own dense texts...

Part metafiction, part design criticism, with a touch of armchair psychoanalysis, Objektophiliabegins in London in 2014, where a nameless design critic and her partner X reside in a decrepit but Grade II listed tower block. It ends some months later among the fin de siècle wonders of Vienna in an echo of the successive encounters of Schnitzler’s La Ronde. Possessed by the ruins of social housing and its accompanying ideologies, but nonetheless in possession of those ruins’ original brushed-steel light-fittings, the critic soon discovers that her craving for these and similarly ‘undemanding things’ has usurped her more conventional—or fleshly—desires.

‘Susan Finlay’s deft, subtle work examines the psychic texture of life through our relation to things... objects of all kinds, from Filet-O-Fish sandwiches to high art, Le Creuset cookware, bicycle baskets and purpose-built, modern flats. Objektophiliais witty and brisk and devastating all at the same time.’ 
–> Chris Kraus

Susan Finlay is a writer and artist.  She is the author of three poetry pamphets: Indole, 2019, The Unruly Glove, the Green Bum and the Sickly Trickle(2018), and Sex and the City 2 (2017), and two previous novels: Our Lady of Everything(Serpent’s Tail, 2019), and Arriviste (Five Lines in the Sand, 2007).  Most (but not all) of her work relates to psychoanalysis, magic, and the decorative arts.  She lives in the UK and Berlin.  

Future Imperfect
Adrian Rifkin
Ma Bibliotheque - 12.00€ -

Then let the story really begin in 1968, though it has little to do with May. By chance it opens in January of that year, and it really concerns me rather than the world of political events, though these are always on my mind, as they were always on my mind. Its antecedents are in the summer of 1967, when I lived, happily, in a squalid bedsit in the then squalid Ladbroke Square, as well as in some basement maid’s room in the West End, and did my secondary sources in the British Library, the V&A, and also, a bit, in Paris, Bordeaux, and Montauban, though that was to flirt with the primary sources ahead of time. 

This short Bildungsroman sets beside each other the fault lines of events and moments recalled without a diary with the verification and sometimes undermining effects of new research of materials, the recovery of what was known, what might have been known, and what was merely probable, as if this were a history of the history of art. 

‘This is an extraordinary journey. Using ekphrasis as method—and as a proper timeline for an indefinite confinement—it wanders through a lived calendar of scholarship, where forgotten stories of art history books flirt with library indexes and archival catalogues, and streetwalking meets gay longing at the heart of the text.’ 
–> Élisabeth Lebovici

Adrian Rifkin worked in art departments as a historian and a studio tutor, in historical and cultural studies as well as visual culture, from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1970 to Goldsmiths, University of London in 2012, where he was a professor of Art Writing. A collection of essays, Communards and Other Cultural Histories, edited and introduced by Steve Edwards, was published in 2017. Interdisciplinary Encounters, Hidden and Visible Explorations of the Work of Adrian Rifkin, edited by Dana Arnold, appeared in 2015.

Unable To Achieve Broad Recognition In My Lifetime, I Laboured In Obscurity Until My Death Last Year
Sharon Kivland
Ma Bibliotheque - 13.00€ -

For nearly two years the author collected phrases from the exhibition press releases she received through email, posting certain of them on Facebook in a rather unsystematic way (that is to say, when she felt like it), with only one change, that of the personal pronoun, so each statement appeared vainglorious, absurd, even tragic. She supposes the measure was if they made her laugh or gasp or used words she deplores when thinking or writing about art. The posts gathered quite a following. Some people still mention them to her, and others have asked her to look at their own press releases before circulation.

These extracts have provoked laughter, disbelief (especially when performed as public readings, when she has  been obliged to swear to their veracity), self-recognition, and yes, shame.

She had only three rules: 1) She would not quote the press release of anyone she knows (certainly she could have done—she must admit that both a friend and someone she dislikes intensely have slipped in, and she fervently hopes neither ever reads this book); 2) She would not alter anything except the pronoun (this is largely true; however, for this book, she corrected some errors of punctuation and spelling, changed spellings to their English form, and employed her beloved Oxford comma); and 3) She would not use anything the artist had written (this, too, is true, save for one exception that was too wonderful not to include).

Finally, she  gathered a collection of endorsements, some along the way, others when she indicated this work was done. She is still alive and she continues to labour in obscurity. 

The Lost Diagrams of Walter Benjamin
ed. Helen Clarke & Sharon Kivland
Ma Bibliotheque - 12.50€ -  out of stock

In A Berlin Chronicle Walter Benjamin describes his autobiography as a space to be walked (indeed, it is a labyrinth, with entrances he calls primal acquaintances). The contributors to The Lost Diagrams respond to the invitation to accompany Benjamin in reproducing the web of connections of his diagram, which, once lost (he was inconsolable), was never fully redrawn. They translate his words into maps, trees, lists, and constellations. Their diagrams, after Benjamin, are fragments, scribbles, indexes, bed covers, and body parts. Subjectivities sharpen and blur, merge and redefine, scatter and recollect. Benjamin writes: ‘Whatever cross connections are finally established between these systems also depends on the inter-twinements of our path through life’.

Contributors: Helen Clarke, Sam Dolbear, Sharon Kivland, Christian A. Wollin

Moi
Sharon Kivland
Ma Bibliotheque - 6.00€ -

The straplines of a number of advertisements drawn from magazines of the 1950s are turned into drawings, as though a particularly vain and narcissistic woman speaks (as of course she does), She is ‘en pleine forme’ of her beauty. (2016).

Library
Paul Buck
Ma Bibliotheque - 12.00€ -  out of stock

LIBRARY contains four essays and two interviews, with the pre-dominant concern of sexual questions: the subjects in art, film, and literature—the issues tied to Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse, Madonna’s sexual assault in Dangerous Game, Clunie Reid’s use of language, Richard Prince’s obsession with books, and Paul Meyersberg’s articulation about sex.

‘Like Carol Reed’s crippled trapeze artist now devoted to sensuality, Paul Buck is more than a suitable case for treatment. A personable deviant, Buck’s culpable, desiring proximity steeps these writings, inasmuch as they are apostrophised by his appearance in cameo, inside and outside the text. Buck stalks his work, addressing us in collusive asides. Rather than the disinterest of resistable objectivity, Buck’s criticism is moved by a profound personal investment in his subjects; he does not elide his complicity, nor does he quiet moral considerations. Discussing Richard Prince’s library or Madonna’s instrumentality, Buck makes the possessive, accountable case throughout. His underlying subject is the snarl of art and life, and the perils that abound in their confusion in the personal and their forced dichotomy in culture at large. Art, for Buck, cannot be an apology for the failures of experience, but instead is a compulsive and risky exposure, like a heretical grace, modelling life for our benefit.’ - Ed Atkins

‘Translator, poet, collagist, archivist, novelist, and all-around intellectual impresario, Paul Buck has a formidable knowledge of culture that he shines like a laser in LIBRARY on Richard Prince, Madonna, Abel Ferrera, and the erotics of painting and representation.  He approaches the critical essay like a crime scene investigation. LIBRARY is a fantastic read’. - Chris Kraus

 

On Violence
Sharon Kivland and Rebecca Jagoe (ed)
Ma Bibliotheque - 15.00€ -  out of stock

Violence is in language and violence is language. The violence of language stratifies voices into those that matter and those that do not, using ideas of appropriate form and structure as its weaponry. It claims propriety and politeness are the correct mode of address, when urgency and anger are what is needed. Where languages intersect, hierarchies of language become means for domination and colonization, for othering, suppression, negation, and obliteration. The demand for a correctness of grammar, the refusal to see what is seen as incorrect, the dismissal of vernacular in favour of the homogenised tongue: all are violent. The narrative of history is a narrative of violence. The contributions herein refuse this narrative. They explore how violence permeates and performs in language, how language may be seized, taken back to be used against the overwhelming force of structural and institutional violence that passes as acceptable or normal. Violence may be a force for rupture, for refusal, for dissent, for the herstories that refuse to cohere into a dominant narrative.

Contributors: Travis Alabanza, Katherine Angel, Skye Arundhati-Thomas, Mieke Bal, Janani Balasubramanian, Elena Bajo, Jordan Baseman, Emma Bolland, Pavel Büchler, Paul Buck,Kirsten Cooke, Jih-Fie Cheng, John Cunningham, Andy Fisher, Caspar Heinemann, Jakob Kolding, Candice Lin, Rudy Loewe, Nick Mwaluko, Vanessa Place, Katharina Poos, Tai Shani, Linda Stupart, Benjamin Swaim, Jonathan Trayner, Jala Wahid, Isobel Wohl, Sarah Wood

Civilisation & its Malcontents
Sarah Wood
Ma Bibliothèque - 11.00€ -  out of stock

Caught up in the vortex of this bellicose age, adrift on the sea of digital information and misinformation, without perspective enough to glimpse the future that is actually forming, I am finding it hard to think. Here is a book about thought right now and about how to think in a world that asks us at every level not to. Discontent? Malcontent? Sarah Wood looks at the world through Freud and fraud.

A Lover's Discourse
Sharon Kivland
Ma Bibliotheque - 10.00€ -  out of stock
I read unsolicited ‘encounter’ emails as if they were intended for me alone in a sincere desire for a real love relation, until their repetition bored me.I posted them on Facebook, while I sought their form. My friend A. C. wrote to tell me how much he was enjoying my lover’s discourse. The form became clear: after the French edition of Roland Barthes’s Fragments d’un discours amoureux (“Tel Quel”, Seuil, 1977).
Reading Nana
Sharon Kivland
Ma Bibliotheque - 10.00€ -  out of stock
Emile Zola’s novel Nana is re-read and re-written,ghost-written, condensed according to soft furnishings, lighting effects (including metaphor), other women, death and dying, cats, anti-semitism, money, smell, and many other categories.
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