12 February – 17 April 2016
Heather Phillipson’s new commission transposes her time as Whitechapel Gallery’s Writer in Residence into physical space with a freely distributed, multi-part poem.
nothing is isolated in me nothing is isolated in the universe nothing does not involve me / in many public acts
Filling the gallery with her mass-produced text, accompanied by video, audio and objects, Phillipson allows poetry’s compressed intensity to inform the display. Piled high on the floor and on a rotating platform for free circulation, the poem is in perpetual motion. By crowding the room with words, then emptying them out, Phillipson renders the space as a living body in the process of depletion.
Merging the shooting of a police dog with the death of a pet, the poem collapses images with bodies, and politics with intimacies, enacting failed attempts to navigate practical and emotional entanglements. The text’s disrupted tangents are haunted by recurring Muzak, advertising-speak, sex scenes, terrorism, broadcast media, consumption-anxiety and human-animal relations.
Heather Phillipson: more flinching coincides with the major exhibition Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966)