100 Teetering Plinths

Louis Armand and John Kinsella – Monument (Hesterglock Press, 2020)

The story begins at the British Museum and ends one hundred poems later. Louis Armand and John Kinsella’s Monument is an exhibition of our culture in freefall.

It is written in a hundred sections (or not quite a hundred, allowing for some variations). It starts at 100, the longest section, before counting us down. Short, punchy squares of text no bigger than the description cards stuck beside museum pieces.

We see figures of historical prominence – Trump and Trey Parker, Capote and McCarthy – alongside USBs and MFAs, “Marx and Dada and Fort Knox”. A collision of contemporary imagery, like two self-driving cars meeting at an unfortunate intersection.

The feeling is that of a word-assemblage. It reminds me more of Jeff Nuttall’s work than William Burroughs’. There’s something cheeky in its iconoclasm that winks amid the doom. There’s a desire for clarity that keeps things parsable, even if what we are parsing is strange and alien.

There is obscenity and depravity too. Danger, to keep us on our toes. A refusal to be polite. Waves of internet pornography and hook-up app profiles break along the shores of its prose.

It’s very difficult to describe. One doesn’t so much read it as experience it. For those looking for new experiences, it’s out now with Hesterglock Press.

– Joe Darlington

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