Field Poetics

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary
London: MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE (April 2018)

Field Poetics explores five different places, each with a story to tell, each with a unique mode, form, and vocal register through which to tell it. The writing journeys through a sequence of Andrei Tarkovsky’s ‘film images’, the multi-dimensional, interconnected space machine of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, maritime pockets on the edge of the city of Lisbon, a history of silence and surveillance in a derelict wing of the Cork City Gaol, and the transposition of a centuries-old landscape aesthetic through video, performance, and pop in fourteen locations across the Kansai region of Japan. Sometimes documentation, sometimes score, and sometimes the work of a poet and an architect engaging with these sites, Field Poetics spins, suspends, and extends a relation to place.

'Field Poetics is the second volume from this longstanding partnership between a poet and an architect. With fluidity and thoughtfulness it uses what such a meeting may enable. Through sparse and precise poetic pieces and diagrammatic ink sketches, this work operates like a dystopian travel journal, making up a universe of flat lines and temporary stations through a series of real and unreal places. Architexture of un-dwellings.'
- Caroline Bergvall

Available to order here.



Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary
London: Copy Press (February 2015)

This book begins in zero gravity and ends with everything flowers. In between, figures are falling as we hear something about philosophy, laughter, architecture and war. With writing and drawing coursing through its pages, Falling gathers momentum and, through this, a picture emerges: it looks something like today.

'Falling is a work of natural philosophy, about wire-walkers and moonwalkers, elevators, angels, slapstick, skyscrapers, swerves, and the dynamic figure that links them. Here Kreider + O'Leary describe 'the beautiful mess we're in' with a speculative precision. Their description of falling, in its uncoupling of the tyranny of cause and effect, displaces the now-prevalent despondency of end-thinking with a prolific joyousness.'
- Lisa Robertson

Available to order here.


Poetics & Place

The Architecture of Sign, Subjects and Site

Kristen Kreider
London: I.B. Tauris (January 2014)

How do artworks 'speak', and how do we 'listen' and respond? These questions underlie the investigation here of Roni Horn's Pair Object III: For Two Rooms, Emily Dickinson's later manuscripts, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Passages Paysages, Fiona Templeton's Cells of Release and Jenny Holzer's Lustmord. The tenets of critical performance, art-writing and site-writing inform the critical method used in Poetics and Place. Each chapter is dedicated to one of these five artworks, and is arranged in order to fulfill three main objectives: to understand how the artworks generate meaning through a material poetics in relation to place; to develop a critical methodology for engaging with them; and to investigate their ethical potential and political imperative.

‘This book makes words break open the order of things. It is intense and meticulous thinking; indeed, it shows you what research can be. If your care is for art writing and the relations we make between ourselves, our cultural objects, practices and theories, then you must read this book, and read it yet again.’
- Yve Lomax, Professor of Art Writing, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK

Available to order here.



Particles of Moisture and other Substance Suspended in Air and Visible as Clouds

Approaching Ambiguity through Site-Related Creative Practice

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary 
Book chapter in Drawing Ambiguity: Beside the Lines of Contemporary Art edited by Phil Sawdon and Russ Marshell
London: I.B. Tauris (March 2015)

Drawing Ambiguity: Beside the Lines of Contemporary Art is the third book in the innovative TRACEY series on contemporary drawing. Drawing Ambiguity builds upon its predecessors, Drawing Now: Between the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2007 and Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012, by proposing that a position of ambiguity, a lack of definition, is not only desirable within fine art drawing but also necessary - having the capacity to enable and sustain drawing practices. What happens if we are ambivalent to what is a drawing, or what drawing is? 

In their chapter 'Particles of Moisture and other Substance Suspended in Air and Visible as Clouds', the collaborative pair Kreider + O'Leary outline a history, theory and practice of site-related creative practices across poetry, art and architecture. In setting this out, they argue for the importance of ambiguity in such practices, including their own. Alongside this written component, Kreider + O’Leary engage with an expanded drawing technique to delineate the specific narrative of one of their site-related projects, Video Shakkei.

Available to order here.


Open City

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary
Artists pages in Performance Research: On Poetics & Performance 2015 (Volume 20:1): 70-76.

In a series of word-and-image pages, the collaborative pair Kreider + O'Leary reflect on their site visit to the Open City in Valparaiso, Chile. Situated in the sand dunes just off coast of the Pacific ocean, this radical pedagogical experiment was founded in 1971 by the Chilean architect Alberto Cruz and Argentinean poet Godofredo Iommi. Open City is as much a school as it is an urban laboratory and the embodiment of a utopian ideal. Here architecture is constructed on a foundation of poetry and shifting sand and, as students of the Open City, Kreider + O'Leary examine the place in detail. In this series of word-and-image pages they present these findings in a loose taxonomy: a configuration of words and lines; a cifra reflective of their study of site and that marks the beginning of their story of Open City.

Journal issue available from Taylor & Francis here.


Time, Place and Empathy

The Poetics and Phenomenology of Andrei Tarkovsky's Film Image

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary
Journal article in Visual Studies 2013 (Volume 28:1): 1-16

Acclaimed Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovksy’s specific understanding of what constitutes the ‘film image’ is outlined in his collection of writings, Sculpting in Time (1986), and evidenced by his body of film work. Our aim in this article is to identify the specificity of Tarkovsky’s theory and practice of the film image and to argue that the film image is a meaningful composite of poetic, spatial and material properties. We unpack this complexity through a close, careful and attenuated reading of a single scene from Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia (1983).

In this scene, the film’s protagonist – the poet, Gorchakov – carries a lit candle across the expanse of the Santa Catarina pool. The pool, a geothermal bath in the Tuscan hillside town of Bagno Vignoni, Italy, is emptied for this shot, but still steaming. This infuses the film image with atmospheric qualities ofplace. We read these qualities in relation to Tarkovsky’s use of symbol, the relationship of this scene to others in the context of the filmic narrative, and the filmic syntax of the long take and tracking shot. We also examine how the film image is received, as a projection, by an embodied recipient, and to what effect. Through this discussion, we defend Tarkovsky’s work against charges that it embodies a naïve realism, exposing the critical potential inherent in Tarkovsky’s nostalgic impulse.

Available from Taylor & Francis on-line here.


Memento Mori

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary
Artists pages in Performance Research: Memento Mori 2010 (Volume 15:1): 66-71.

Over the past number of years, the collaborative pair Kreider + O’Leary have worked on projects in Japan (Video Shakkei), Italy (Gorchakov’s Wish) and Ireland (Eight Rooms).  During their visits to each of these locations they have often stopped to engage with places of cultural and spiritual significance including holy wells, cemetaries and burial sites in acts of observation, perhaps even contemplation. 'Memento Mori'  is a series of word-and-image composites relating to this experience.

The images are photographs taken at the following locations: Isola di San Michele (‘Island of the Dead’) in Venice, Italy; Daigh Bhríde (St. Brigid’s Well) in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland'; a burial site in Tenryu-ji (天龍寺) in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan. The text, some of which is comprised of found materials from the specific locations, is a poetic meditation on death and remembrance. 

Journal issue available from Taylor & Francis here.


Eight Rooms

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary with Zander Olsen, photography
Unnameable Press (London: 2005)

Working in relation to a derelict wing of the Cork City Gaol or ‘Women’s Prison,’ the interdisciplinary project Eight Rooms explores notions of site through  poetry, art and architecture. The project was developed in response to a commission from the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, Ireland as part of their program for the Cork European Capital of Culture 2005. The book Eight Rooms is a limited edition artist’s book designed specifically to document this project.

The book is designed as multiple pages within a slip case. This includes an Introduction with an overview of the project and a Conclusion with a copy of the poem ‘Concrete Enclosure,’ written collaboratively with prisoners in a workshop held at Limerick Prison. The main body of the book comprises eight individually folded pages. Each page bears, on its recto, one of the poems from the sequence ‘Eight Voices.’ On the verso are printed images of site and process including maps, drawings, photographs, stills, sketches and scans of found objects. This includes a photographic sequence by the photographer Zander Olsen. 

A copy of the book is available for purchase (£10, including postage) by contacting us here.