Glitching the Poem: A workshop with SPAM Press

This event is part of the Glasgow Zine Fest 2022 Programme

Location: CCA Glasgow, 350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3JD

Room: Creative Lab

Who: Maria Sledmere & Kirsty Dunlop from SPAM Press

Tickets: Pay-What-You-Can (find out more here!)


In Glitch Feminism (2020), Legacy Russell hones in on the sudden error of the glitch as ‘a form of refusal’. As our social, intimate and professional lives become increasingly directed by the commercial algorithms of everyday media platforms, how can poetry intervene in the cognitive minefield of Web 2.0? Playing with text-mixing, collage and procedural forms, we’ll consider ways of glitching between interfaces of browsing/writing in virtual space and print, with time for questions and discussion.

Through cookies, advertisements and terms and conditions, digital capitalism constantly demands that we affirm the ‘yes’ of its systems. In this workshop, poetry will offer something alternative. We’ll break through the junk space of virtual realms and create innovative works within and beyond them, while exploring the world of SPAM Press. Asking what it means to be post-internet, to write from error, to envision the poem as an interactive environment. Let’s glitch!

This event will include: group discussions, reading out loud, reading alone, writing, sharing work that has been created in the workshop.

LINK FOR TICKETS.

New website!

At long last, I built a website: kaleidoscopic arcadia for keeping up-to-date with current work in the terrain of the written and visual. It’s still under construction, perhaps in a permo state of flux, but otherwise functional. I’ll keep the website updated with records of publications, workshops, teaching and the like. It’s also the home of a micro-publisher, Mermaid Motel, and various prints, publications and other artworks will be available for sale there. I’ll still be using this blog for BLOGGING PURPOSES (<3) but please check out the website for other things. :’)

Visit me: mariasledmere.com 🌐

Let’s Go to the (Dead) Mall

Adam Rybak (AI-generated vapourwave mall art)

Last week I taught a seminar and workshop at the University of Glasgow’s Summer School: Urban Arcadia: Mythologies of the Mall. We explored how malls represent liminal spaces of urbanism and suburbia, public and private, the civic and surveillance. We reflected on the decline of malls in recent years, on the deadmalls archive project, on malls as institutions, infrastructures and emblematic locales of capitalism. I once wrote a phenomenology of my local mall, a shopping centre in Ayr, the site of teenage loitering, toil and trouble. I asked the students to write manifestos or plans towards new malls: public sites built into or out of a failing mall building. The more I write mall, the more I fall into it. The idea of plenitude. One student said malls are so prevalent in post-apocalyptic fiction because that’s where the resources are pooled. It’s only natural that when capital eats itself we go back to its crumbling temples to eat. Malls are for raiding, free-running, skating, squatting, paying disrespect to statuesque disgrace of billionaires, wishing in fountains, abolishing, raving, growing plants in greenhouses. Malls with solar panels, malls with turbines, malls with open canteens, malls where you take what you like. I want malls to metabolise the brilliance of dreaming the billioning of a generous elsewhere that yes could be ours, not like in adverts but actually in our hands, sticky with bricks and mortar and molten pennies the fountains spat back as lithium rainbows in the battery acid of plurality, nothing pristine, our shattering. It’s so infinitely worthless, warm and deplorable. The lyric I is a mallwalker. All of them. Open doors.

I’ve written about malls before in fiction and poetry. See ‘Mallwalkers’ and Rainbow Arcadia.  

Suggested exercise: 

Mall Regeneration

You have been tasked with reviving a so-called dead mall in your local town or city. The budget is limitless! In pairs, come up with a manifesto for how you would rebuild the mall or put it to new uses. You might want to share the different contexts of how retail works in your local area and think about a ‘solution’ that works for both of you. What values do you find important in urban architecture? How should public space be used in the twenty-first century and beyond? Is this mall just for human people or other creatures? What would the mall need to serve, withstand or endure?

You can write this as a list or mini essay.