The Strange Account of Ellery Cordwainer
video, text, Monster Munch, tusks
fivehundredthousand project space
with thanks to Eliot Felde, Harry Smithson and Gillies Adamson Semple, and Diane and Russell Heritage
Firstly thanks a lot for coming, I really appreciate your being here. What precedes is a collation of objects and research stemming from a story I was told last year.
In the summer of 2017 I found myself engaged in a series of online conversations with someone going by the name of Ellery Cordwainer* who claimed to been part of a cult of SF writers in the late 90’s engaged in an attempt to create a mythic image of the future, a fiction capable of derailing what they saw as the technological determinism at the heart of global capitalism, providing an alternative to the ‘there is no alternative’ doctrine of neoliberalism through the creation of hyperstitions; fictions which make themselves real. Cordwainer told me a strange tale of their collective writers block whilst on a group retreat in the Yorkshire port town of Whitby, how when they found themselves unable to write new fictions, they instead found themselves endeared towards the narratives and tales of the landscape and communities surrounding them, to the point where some of their group even found those fictions informing their behaviour and interactions, latching onto and ensnaring their realities. He claimed one of their group became so susceptible to these fictions that he ended up walking into the north sea never to be seen again.
The exhibition is a presentation and examinationº of this story done with the hope that something interesting might unfold. Much of the material is still unprocessed/unfixed in some regard and so I’m sorry if this means it requires more work.
* I think this is clearly a fake name; Ellery/allegory (poor joke?), and Cordwainer was a pseudonym used by SF writer Harlan Ellison when he felt his fictions had been managed and distorted beyond repair when handed onto to someone else, typically Hollywood producers.
º Cordwainer claimed his account might not be entirely accurate but was none the less true. I’m happy to go with that.