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About Twelve Entries from The Encyclopaedia of Natural Sexual Relations

Christine Kennedy's installation 'Twelve Entries' 1999 - photo David Lloyd Roberts

Christine Kennedy’s installation ‘Twelve Entries from The Encyclopaedia of Natural Sexual Relations’ 1999 – photo David Lloyd Roberts

In May 1999 I contributed to an exhibition called ‘There is no sexual relation’. This was held at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, London as part of a curated series which explored psychoanalytic concepts and propositions. The invitation to take part came from curator Sharon Kivland, who had been one of my tutors during my recently completed fine art studies at Sheffield Hallam University.

I produced a set of 12 altered gardening books as a site-specific installation work for the exhibition room’s barred window. This basement exhibition room doubled as the training room for psychoanalysts, and was topped by a ground floor specialist bookstore. The chained library that was the original form of Twelve Entries was designed to address the Lacanian theme, and the setting.  The theme of the Garden of Eden and the fall had been one of the strands of my studio work during my final phase of studio work at university.
In April 2000 I produced a small pamphlet edition of 50 signed and numbered books titled as the May 1999 installation. This held a sequence of 12 poems, one derived from each of the altered books of the installations. Each poem was centred in a boxed border of words, phrases and fragments from which composition took place. The words, phrases and fragments were those discovered at the cut borders of the secret compartment carved into each of the installed books. Rules of the game: only these language elements allowed for composition, nothing could be added or changed. The compositions were steered towards the broad thematics of my subject.

In 2003 I produced a special edition of Twelve Entries, 20 books with 12 coloured images. These images showed the secret compartment of each altered gardening book, and opposite the poem derived and border of words.  A folded and stitched wraparound binding of my own design allowed a small spine to the volume, and each book had a handmade brownpaper slipcase collaged with fragments of the gardening book pages cut out during the hollowing of the secret compartments. To order a copy of this please visit the available books page on The Cherry On The Top Press blog. To see a visual of this special edition visit the webpage for the We Love Your Books project at Library Special Collection at University of Northampton.

Twelve Entries now has a new life in its arrangement for voices by Alan Halsey. As Nine Entries from the Encyclopaedia of Natural Sexual Relations the shortened sequence has found its way into the repertoire of Juxtavoices, who premiered this in February 2012 at the Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool. Juxtavoices is Martin Archer’s anti-choir of improvising singers. I am very happy to be counted amongst the members, and for the performances of Nine Entries I take the solo soprano part. The vocalists of Juxtavoices produce all original musical experiences, and these may be derived from poetry or other starting points.

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