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Staff Picks May 2022 - Future Cities Exhibition special

We're celebrating the launch of our Future Cities Exhibition with these special Staff Picks

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Greater Vegas bleeds into the dreams of my cryogenic slumber / Kenneth M. Cale (Steel Incisors, 2022)

Dazzlingly disorientating on the eye and the ear, this pamphlet by Oregon visual poet Kenneth Cale evokes the insomniac neon vacuity of Las Vegas and projects them into a futurescape of ‘portents and dissociations’. Using cut-up, erasure and collage techniques, Cale conjures the fragmentary Ur-City where we see ourselves becoming ‘Psychic pilgrims [...] losing feeling’ and our inner worlds are no longer truly ours: ‘Private thoughts in public hands’. As dystopian and unsettling as this vision may be, there’s hope if you look —and act— carefully: ‘(Don’t be told) there’s no future’ and ‘live to confound’.

—Chosen by Karen Smith

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Vinegar Hill by Colm Tóibín (Carcanet Press, 2022) 

Many of the poems in Tóibín’s debut collection explore lives affected by the urban space, particularly Dublin and its streets and safe spaces’ relationship with the queer body. In the ten-page poem ‘Dublin: 23 May 2015’, the poet offers the reader a glimpse into a conversation ruminating over age, familiarity, keeping up heteronormative appearances, and the everchanging urban landscape of queerness.

—Chosen by Troy Cabida

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Invasive by Kay Syrad and Clare Whistler (Elephant Press, 2019)

Invasive is a collaboration by composite eco-poet kin’d & kin’d (artist Clare Whistler and poet Kay Syrad), published by Elephant Press. The book looks at an exhibition in which Whistler uses plants to paint the walls where Syrad’s poems are displayed. This interesting collection explores the world of invasive plants and ruderal structures to examine the ways in which social, political and ecological landscapes are formed/uniformed. It creates a catalogue not only of the process of creating, exhibiting and responding to various art forms, but also of how the lens through which we view ‘invasive’ can colour how we structure society around us. 

—Chosen by Elspeth Walker

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Future Words by Mark Cunningham (if p then q, 2020)

Ever wondered what the word is for “saving a fingernail for chewing later”? In Future Words Marc Cunningham writes dictionary definitions not yet in existence, but whose meanings have started to emerge. The new definitions were written, modified and re-hashed from found material taken from a mixture of well known dictionaries. The resulting collection is almost like a road map into a future language; a document of where it might go and what we might, collectively, imagine into reality. 

—Chosen by Emily Wood

You can experience our audio-visual exhibition Future Cities for free in the library until 18th Sep 2022.

read more about the exhibition

related workshop 28th May