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A Dog at the Edge of Things — Angus Carlyle

A Dog at the Edge of Things — Angus Carlyle


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Leaning over the bed, I tilt and shake my shoes, wary that the mate of the centipede killed yesterday could still be at large. I head from the guesthouse down the wide pavement that the white-painted tree trunks separate from the road. Cloudbanks seem to lour over to the west in the gloom before dawn. Later, the smell of dough changing into bread turns me towards a large window glowing white in the darkness, swung wide open with bakers bent in steam and puffs of flour. As the sky lightens, what were once clouds become mountains fringed with old vegetation.

‘Sounds haunt these texts, erupting suddenly, evoking memories, or wild to themselves.The precarity of the audio-artist’s process is generously exposed in these records of attempts to capture the vibrant elemental world he immerses himself in. Always conscious that he is not some detached observer, he very much desires to be part of the whole, even if he is sometimes at the mercy of unpredictable weather and landscapes.

The writing captures moments others might not give time to, background details are anything but; an epic contained in a wave moving pebbles, or smoke curling through a street lamp’s glare. The writer is sharp-eared and eyed like the often mentioned birds that appear amongst these pages, offering up a fox's scream, a chalk-gleam, the swerve of a jet, the language itself circling and enfolding the sounds and sights.

Field recording and writing are depicted as a kind of hunting, animal-like, but with delicate equipment, human vulnerability, and compassion. The moods and activities of light and weather are given as much agency as any human, and seem immense and mysterious in their passing. Mundane detail is always on equal footing with the sublime in these writings, or maybe it was always sublime all along.’

- Suzanne Walsh

‘The index precedes encounter. Code and classification hum in anticipation. This prophetic includes what was never published, and what was rejected (inevitably - Cassandra knew this, keenly). Carlyle is no less enthusiastic. Previously he has run his way towards record and the provisions of meaning. Here he gathers the moments in shards of richly sonic upload. Place / s is / are the ground of the work, various and hybrid. Text, talk, essay, blog, submission, report, diary, chapter, sleevenote: the form proposes an outcome this suggestively elusive anthology resists. The dog might be at the edge but place yourself central: read its constellation. Stories don't need plots, but they require attention. This is a listening device, a collection of fugitive pieces for uncertain times, one to carry with you.’

- Gareth Evans, Adjunct Moving Image Curator, Whitechapel Gallery, London


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