Iain Sinclair exhibition at the Swedenborg Society, London

“I’m doing a sort of found-object installation at Swedenborg House (launching next week on the 25h)” says Iain Sinclair.

This will be part of a bigger event at the Swedenborg Society, called “Fourteen Interventions”.

Find more info here.

Exclusive preview of materials from the coming Iain Sinclair installation at the Svedenborg Society

Iain Sinclair has kindly shared with the site some materials from the coming installation at the Svedenborg Society. Many thanks to Stephen McNeilly, curator of the exhibition, for allowing us to publish this materials.


The iced dome solicits fingerprints. Here is the borderland of Cesare Lombroso’s system of taxonomy, a relief model floating somewhere between kitchen and path lab; cake or helmet. A study in tensile anxiety: Atlas of the Criminal Classes. That German sleepwalker, who never escapes the confines of his own skull, is also called Cesare. The box in which the second cast of the head is kept –  the head which is not the head of Emanuel Swedenborg – becomes Das Kabinet des Dr Caligari. Bloomsbury as Prague (as Prague, much later, will become Whitechapel for those who are determined to invade the past with industrial technology tested in Iraq). That city where reality fuses with dreams, and dreams turn into visions of horror. One evening in October 1913 this young poet was strolling through a fair…

The trophy contrives numerous and conflicting narratives. The sack Warren Oates left behind the bar in the Crown and Dolphin bred flies with the gift of language, dung-feet dancing cuneiform messages into foul linen. The white skull puffs on a black cigar. Close the lid and the light goes out. Loose talk costs lives. Plaster dribbles from a detached jaw. One bone brought down the temple. A kingdom of ends and uses.

An object of proven ambiguity, pivotal to a raft of painstakingly documented fictions. Published in sepia Latin. A much travelled memento of the classic era of phrenology. Swedenborg’s low brow was built up, postmortem. In old age he grew milkteeth. A ridge-like vertex and more or less complete fusion of the parietal bones. A limited edition artwork multiplied by resurrectionists, naval officers with an eye to the main chance, Celtic antiquarians, released Cable Street lunatics. ‘There issued forth effluvia in such abundance and of such a sort that candles went out, and all the observers were obliged to rush head over heels out of the burial vault in order not to be smothered.’


“An audience attending to dissolution is dissolved. Think of the printed portrait, its scale, its detail, as a paper mirror. The Bloomsbury hats, waiting on spirits, on revelation, are suddenly aware that it is not to be found on the stage in front of them but away to the side, to the left. Is that Robert Louis Stevenson, a consumptive gunslinger, behind the Spanish moustache? Has Arnold Bennett looked in, after a fish-omelette dinner, from which he can still suck the odd bone? They twist and turn on the hard chairs. Dark clothes provide a suitable drape for this tapestry of burnt-out heads, fleshed bulbs, cups with eyes. The octopus emerges from its celluloid collar. Frame any dozen or so attendees and you have a small masterpiece of nervous movement, the straining, the slipped focus, frozen instants of pin-sharp attention. The curved backs of the chairs are spinal whips recorded in Swedenborg’s anatomy primer. As the explosion happens, in the powder flash and afterburn of violet haloes, the wall goes down, so that this mob, civilised, well-intentioned, locates its other self, to the east, from which foul winds come, in the Bishopsgate Institute. London, suddenly, in lecture halls with their stages and curved swimming-bath ceilings, stares at itself, audience looking at audience looking at audience. A nanosecond telescoped and infinitely prolonged. To be studied like a Mappa Mundi. An earthquake in China. Photograph collapses into photograph. The prophecy is fulfilled. And the stage, when they return to it, is empty, prepared for a silken execution.”

Iain Sinclair

Marine Court Rendezvous

By Chris Petit & Iain Sinclair
Photographed by Rob Petit at Milkwood, featuring Rebecca Marshall, sound by Susan Stenger

This video installation is a series of documentary-fictions shot in and around Marine Court, St Leonard’s on Sea – a 1930s crumbling modernist building in the style of a Cunard luxury liner. In essence, Marine Court Rendezvous is a film that was never made, containing within it numerous false starts, trial shots, one-off auditions in blind corridors.

There is even a travelogue about the performer’s walk through the town towards the set. Everything is definitively provisional. The score by Susan Stenger is constructed in another country around footage that has never been seen. The footage shot at Marine Court is intertwined with gothic hints and film quotations as diverse as The Shining, Rear Window and Le Mépris.

Marine Court Rendezvous, it becomes apparent, is a deleted feature inspired by its location.

Website: http://www.dlwp.com/WhatsOn/ExhibitionDetail.aspx?EventId=4890