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Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 08:39 am
The Book of Scotlands (a proposal and an outline)

Momus
The Book of Scotlands
(Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2009)

The Book of Scotlands will outline, in a numbered sequence, one thousand Scotlands which don't currently exist anywhere, even in the most visionary speeches of politicians. At a time when functional independence seems to be a real possibility for Scotland -- and yet nobody is quite sure what that will mean -- a delirium of visions, realistic and absurd, seems called for.

The Book of Scotlands, published by Sternberg Press under the editorship of Ingo Niermann, will provide one answer to this requirement for focused dreaming about possible and parallel world Scotlands. Its author, Momus, is a Scottish artist who's been in voluntary exile from his homeland for over twenty years, living in Paris, New York, Tokyo and now Berlin. Paradoxically, of course, there's nothing more Scottish than leaving Scotland. Typically too, the further a Scot travels from Scotland, the more clear and powerful his "inner Scotland" becomes; in Tokyo, for instance, Momus found himself composing songs about 20th century Scottish vaudevillians, and in Berlin he made an album inspired by the parallel pagan Scotland depicted in cult horror film The Wicker Man.

In the spirit of Italo Calvino, Bruno Schulz and French animation series Les Shadoks (using any language, that is, except the "wooden tongue" of official discourse), The Book of Scotlands will brainstorm a thousand "possible Scotlands" and lay out the quiet frenzy of its imaginings in carefully-polished paragraphs. Did you hear about the Scotland that spent fifty years at war with Austria, perfecting its weaponry by sending spies to the Tyrolian republic? Or about the Scotland covered in equatorial rainforest and populated by cloned lemurs? Did you hear about the futuristic Shinto Scotland which models itself on the Japan of the Heian period? Or about Nova Caledonia, a lifeship suspended in geostationary orbit exactly 35,786 kilometers above Perth?

You probably didn't, but they'll all be in The Book of Scotlands.

63CommentReplyFlag

eptified
eptified
H. Duck
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)

Now THAT I can get behind. Less penis, more kilts.

I'll dream of a Scotland where Ivor Cutler finally gets his due and he, Robbie Burns and perhaps some other nameless scrivener form a new holy trinity, with sacraments of oatmeal and sour mash.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 07:38 am (UTC)

Well, Burns, kilts, oatmeal and sour mash are some of the things that won't be in the book, because they've had their due. I'll certainly be reaching in the direction of Ivor Cutler's searing imagination, though, and his absurdism.

I'd also like to curate an exhibition, to be held during the 2009 Edinburgh Festival, in which artists (not necessarily just Scottish ones) show 1000 visual glimpses of parallel and possible Scotlands. So if there are any arts organisations or venues reading this who'd find that an interesting event to fund or house, please contact me!


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smudie.myopenid.com
smudie.myopenid.com
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 07:35 am (UTC)
Och aye (as I've never once said)

Excellent, I'd buy that!


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 08:22 am (UTC)

Ooh, I quite like that design!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 08:41 am (UTC)

It's sort of an Ordnance Survey map glimpsed in a mirror, a map turned into a Rorschach blot. And that's perfect, because it's about imagining and projecting visions onto something nebulous.

I did this version in orange, amongst others, but thought it was too 70s in conjunction with that typeface (Massive Hero via Fonstruct). After I'd chosen the red and yellow one, it struck me that it looks quite like the very first record sleeve I made, the Happy Family EP:






Edited at 2008-04-09 09:12 am (UTC)


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rhodri
rhodri
Rhodri Marsden
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 08:59 am (UTC)

You lived in London, as well. Best stick that in, eh.

Oh, and the map of Scotland is upside-down, too. Good job I'm here, isn't it.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 09:11 am (UTC)

What do you see when you look at this soon-to-be-independent country, Rhodri?


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 09:17 am (UTC)

I trust you have written parts of this already. Please don't tell me you started with a cover?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 09:25 am (UTC)

There is already a manuscript with 13 Scotlands outlined (just 987 to go!), but don't knock starting with a title and a cover, that's the way I've always worked. If you can get the title and cover right, strong and clear, you've got the basic idea, and that's at least half the battle.

Here, I have to give credit to my editor, Ingo Niermann -- this is really his idea (the idea in his book Umbauland and his manifesto, co-written with Rafael Horzon, REDESIGNDEUTSCHLAND) applied to Scotland. But the contents of the book, the visions themselves, will be mine.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 11:06 am (UTC)

Yes, I'd like to see this 1920s documentary about St Kilda. Then there's Michael Powell's The Edge of the World.


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moose_noise
moose_noise
Zero Point Zero
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 11:33 am (UTC)

Scotland #1001: A nation that honours its prophets and accordingly appoints international artist/provocateur momus as First Minister. His promise: to let these 1000 flowers bloom...
I'd vote for that.
Less fawningly, though, surely self-referentiality and symmetry and literary precedent and whatnot demand 1001 Scotlands?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)

Yes, but remember that REDESIGNDEUTSCHLAND, which inspired this project, is super-decimal!


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC)
i love scotland

How about a de-calvinised (or antitheist) scotland with winters that don't last five and a half months, and without a ridiculous murder rate.

cs


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 12:46 pm (UTC)
Re: i love scotland

de-calvinised

Yes, one of the very first Scotlands in my book is "the Scotland in which four hundred years of profound influence from Calvin is replaced by four hundred years of profound influence from Calvino".


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)

some old unfinished nonsense about scotland (http://indoor-oak.org/scotland/), the point is to just mouseover as quickly as possible :)


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC)
Scotland 690

Post-Irish unification, Ulster Unionists are bequeathed a new homeland on Ailsa Craig where they mow the lawn and drink blood from a mould of Richard Jobson's chin.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Scotland 690

I like it!


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cheapsurrealist
cheapsurrealist
Dave Nold
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)

"...populated by cloned lemurs?"

and grooving with a Pict?

It would appear we're looking at a "Book Of" series. You'll have to do one more to make the obligatory trilogy.


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xyzedd
xyzedd
xyzedd
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Scotch Missed

Do not take a bath in Jordon, Gordon,
On the holy Sabbath on the peaceful day--
Or you'll never go to heaven, Gordon MacPherson,
And speaking purely as a private person
That is the place--that is the place--that is the place for me!

Edith Sitwell, "Scotch Rhapsody," Facade


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erotreme
erotreme
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Scotch Missed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShPrbtWiN9A


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fishwithissues
fishwithissues
jordan fish
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)

YAEH! DO IT! From the heart!


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qscrisp
qscrisp
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
If you took it out of Britain you'd have a brain

Errrm, talking of mythical countries, I've just written about Britain (I'm a poet and I know it), here. Contains sickening sycophancy. Hope you like it.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: If you took it out of Britain you'd have a brain

For some reason the link gives a 404, but this one works.

Thank you for putting me in your "worthwhile" list!

I think the point of the ads is that if you're a bit crap, drinking beer makes you care less. But yes, the old people's home one is particularly callous. I suppose the message is "Drink beer and you can act callously without feeling guilty."

But going guilt-free is being sold as a guilty pleasure, so I guess guilt still wins the day.


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)

Not many things more annoying than Scottish-Americans with their Highland Festivals and their kilts and throwing big logs around for fun. Though I'm sure I have some Scottish ancestry somewhere (didn't they all leave and emigrate to America due to the great Whisky famine of 1820 or something) I try to suppress it in favor of my Welsh/Malaysian side.

How's about a Scotland where Gordon Ramsey never left, but is chained to a rock in a cave somewhere, and an immortal bird plucks out his liver every morning and delivers it to the poshest restaraunt in Edinburgh where it is picked over by the "ladies who lunch"?


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Wed, Apr. 9th, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
Radha's Dance




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Welsh/Malaysian - (Anonymous) Expand