Pester introduced the talk by stating that she explores poetry, research and her sense of self. As an author she actively participates in her work taking the form of Subject. She introduced us to Map she created that acts as a cosmology to her practice: in the middle are the objects/things that are the focus of her obsessions. Outside the middle column are the methods or modes that have are followed to explore the central topics. Pester is particularly fascinated with the relationships between these things that she is drawn to and how she can engage with them in her practice. Some of these Methodologies include cadence and hallucinations and her interests include bogs, clairvoyance, posture etc. Through this pursuit, Pester does not attempt to emphasis the self/the person.
Pester has touched on various artists and writers that have enabled and provoked particular ways of thinking. She found it important to acknowledge and locate the lineage of thinking and honour the texts and works created in line with her interests. Hannah Weiner’s “I see words” – and the practice of Hannah Weiner – was a particular interest. Weiner suffered from schizophrenia and an example of a symptom of her condition is that she sees texts coming out people heads. Weiner claimed this symptom as clairvoyancy and logged her findings in her “clairvoyancy journals”. What Pester is intrigued by is the archiving of a bodily state into a mode of composition and how the text negotiates with this very particular, personal language.
“The Fast” is another text by Weiner that Pester studied and is interested in. Pester traveled to San Diego to read this piece and Pester traced the entries of Weiner as she starved herself, locked herself in the room and documented her experiences. Pester noticed how a strange attachment is formed when you study a persons very personal account of events. Pester told us how Weiner was seeing witches coming out of the taps and found herself (after time) agreeing with Weiner when she thought it was a good idea to move into the kitchen sink so it would allow her to drink and piss simultaneously . Pester found that Weiner’s voice within the text was haunting the material and also Pester herself.
Pester read snippets of essays that she has written. She described her work as “hallucinatory lyric” despite the fact she does not hallucinated but does experience Hypnogogia (the vibrant space between sleeping and waking). When Pester hears things during this state, she is interested in this arena as a research space.
“Voices confuse a sense of myself”
“Voices of an expression as a different state of being”
“Mad utterances to be not mine”
Moving from Hallucination to gossip, Pester showed us a clip, that was quite old, installed inside telephone box on the gates of the Royal Academy. The piece was titled An Epic of Gossip and acted as a “a storage tank of reserved otherness”. Some snippets of dialogue include “Its coming apart”and “you or the phone?”. Pester here was interested in this described otherness and the Lacanian idea of letting the other into your unconscious space of speech. As two people were on the phone, the friendship between the duo is a a space that allows the rehearsing of politics within our speech; after all your friends are the closest version to you.
Pester later worked on a book project after taking a residency ins the Woman’s Art Library at Goldsmiths which focuses on woman’s literature mainly from 60’s through to the 80’s. She focused on an archival reading strategy centered around gossip which is the connector of data and information. The result of “Fan Fiction of the Archive” was a book of poetry, short stories and experimental fictions.
Pester then read from her poem “Two Sculptures” and these lines, I felt, were especially poignant: “Everyone works in memory of victims”, “can anyone cut this cream cake”, “my birth chart is braided”. Here, the fact that someones birth is predetermined and woven to already to an already specified design is what especially piqued my interest. This action is a very feminine practice and suggests that care has similarly been woven into the creation of life.
Within Pester’s group Common Rest project, she and seven other artists used lullabies as method to draw on – and to think about – care, friendship and the politics of care and labour. They composed lullabies outside of the domestic normative space whilst attempting to maintain the spellbinding magic of the lullaby (that perhaps acts as a curse as well). Each song was a duet and they worked together to create an immersive, surreal piece. The group tackled themes such as: activism, mental health, abortion, love, the sea, spines, money, dogs, education and beds amongst other things.The piece we listened to called Rush was very repetitive, immersive and surreal and featured the layering of one specific sound which were in fact “elevated particles of speech”.
Pester than told us how she then focused on nervousness as a state of being and how she hopes to convert this into a mode of knowledge. She questions how this nervousness can be transformed into resistance. Below are some snippets of Nervousness as Style.
“I do include worry pressure anxiety and apprehension”
“Becoming a body in a sea/scene of bodies and functions”
“To be this much in love is to be sick and I love to be sick”
“Being a out exuberance and material together”
Pester than spoke about how she explored de-creativity to cultivation. Charlotte Bronte’s Villette was influential to this mode of thought. During the novel, the protagonist is so overcome with emotion regarding some love letters she has received she cannot bare to read them. Therefore, she wraps them in a handkerchief, dips them in oil, puts them in a glass and seals them with wax, and then they are finally buried in the ground resembling a grave. It is this raptured obsession that Pester finds so engaging and the archival quality of the protagonist’s actions. The letters inhabit a space that is not destructive but not creative either, they are placed in stasis.