Past exhibitions

Poetry Machines by Lucy Harrison | 14-Apr-09 to 05-Jul-09

April 14 - July 5 2009

For the first year after the Royal Festival Hall reopened following its recent refurbishment, poetry was gathered from the many places it occurs from poetry performance events, to publication and song lyrics. An anthology was created by Southbank Centre artist in residence Lemn Sissay to celebrate the collection.

Lucy Harrison's Poetry Machines have been made by taking the first 8 words of 200 poems from this work.

Lucy scanned each poem in order to retain the original typefaces, handwriting and paper qualities of the poems submitted. The scanned images were recorded onto 8 DVDs which, when played in a line of TV screens, create new sequences that suggest up surprising and enigmatic combinations. The total number of combinations runs into billions, so as visitors watch the words change they may see sequences that will not be seen again during the rest of the exhibition.

Lucy's work has taken its influence from 20th century 'writing machines' and Oulipo writing strategies to find out whether poems can be created through chance, allowing the machines to make new juxtapositions. However, as the viewers? interpretation of the words is what really makes them into 'poems', it is perhaps people themselves that could be described as 'poetry machines'.

You are invited to note down lines you have seen during your time in the library. A limited edition pack of 24 cards has also been produced for you to remember this exhibition.

Lemn Sissay's artist in residence scheme is supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Lucy Harrison graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1999, where she utilised the Printmaking department to produce books and multiples. In 2008 she worked on a Research Project for Art on the Underground at Stratford station, for which she published three editions of a newspaper called The Stratford Grapevine. Other recent projects include Haunts, a solo exhibition at Outpost Gallery (2008), a residency at Lokaal 01 in Antwerp (2008), and Library Bingo (2007), part of Beacon 07, where she replaced bingo calls in a Skegness social club with library book titles.

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