Survey by Qualaroo

Mary Paterson

Friday 31 March 2017 to Sunday 25 June 2017, 11:00 to 18:00

Our writer-in-residence has written a text on the walls of our basement, themed around the idea of movement in public space.

Mary Paterson has written three pantoum poems directly on to the walls of our basement, using found text, loosely themed around the idea of movement in public space.

Each poem takes a different type of movement as its source. The first poem, Soon after, this creature was moved to tears is taken from The Book of Margery Kempe, a first-person account of the life of the medieval mystic, Margery Kempe. The second poem, Affords Well Appointed Communal Areas is taken from the language used by estate agents to sell new homes or refurbishment properties in Bristol. The third poem is based on Bojana Kunst's Artist at Work (Zero Books) and text from the Arnolfini blog, from artists describing their contributions to our Spring Residency Season.

Mary says: 'the pantoum is a form of poem taken from Malaysian tradition, made of four line stanzas. The second and fourth line of the first stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza, and so on. As a result, the poem has a stumbling, stilted feel. It blocks its own momentum, as if it is struggling to move, and its repetitions mean that each line is read in two different contexts. As a form, I think it lends itself to language that is hiding something'.

You can read more about the approach she took in creating the piece in her blog post here.


Mary Paterson is a writer who works between critical writing, poetry and live art. She is currently Bristol Writer in Residence for the Art Writer's Programme, hosted by the Art Writers Group, Spike Island and Arnolfini, funded by Arts Council England. Here, she is continuing her research into the politics of movement and the etiquettes of public space, through a series of interviews, critical texts and public walking workshops. 

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