Heather Phillipson

SERIOUS TRACTION

Commission

2015

http://serioustraction.otdac.org

Heather Phillipson’s new online video, SERIOUS TRACTION, takes place inside a body inside a room inside a screen inside a browser window. Limited to text and sporadic two-tone, diagrammatic images, the video conflates systematised behaviours – of language, medicine and intimate/public experience – through which the body is laid out, penetrated, assessed.

For an interview with the artist about her commission, please click here.

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Fernando Pessoa

35 Sonnets (1918)

Poetry

2014

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19978

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was a prolific Portuguese poet, author and philosopher who wrote not only under his own name, but under roughly seventy-five heteronyms, each corresponding to a different persona of his own creation.

He wrote his 35 Sonnets (1918), exceptionally, in English; a review that appeared in the Scotsman soon after their publication called these works “often too Southern in expression and feeling,” by which the author most certainly meant too sensual, and too queer. Pessoa was also an occultist, and his spiritualism and interest in mediumship permeates the sonnets, which often narrate a kind of paralysis, an agonizing suspension “between” action and inaction, flesh and spirit, language and the incommunicable, or truth and the material world. In Sonnet IX, Pessoa’s paralysis, and the elusiveness of the intangible activity he craves, causes him to decay.