Giving Over While Enlarge
Ann Quin, The Unmapped Country, And Other Stories, 2018


Waking waves and the waves of slipping through 

Imaging scapes, modular in action, allowing disagreeing scenes some fleeting equivalence 

This offered landscape comes from the incoherence of transcribing thoughts

Incoherent meddling allows a disowning of volition though, so it’s not all bad

The vast peachy surface

I fall to and from it with equal force

The softest graze of epidermal swerving

Clawing at the atmosphere 

This impossible movement, this filmic image impresses on my ears, it’s not unpleasant 

As a life-sized photograph of any face printed on thin shiny squeaky toner saturated paper approaches my ear, the same feeling appears: that wavering altering familiarity, it’s not unpleasant but it is tracing my soft borders

The ear seems to see

Hair follicles convene, swelling my limits


The sensation is of being bigger than myself and smaller than myself

I’m a brittle container for soft, malleable thought and I’m the yeasty action of thoughts making progress

Hindered and held by my defining “nature”

I don’t want to — I can’t — replay a consequential stream of actions, but I do want to take part in the unmapped streams of possibilities.



Trying to access the tone of the memory-images

While the current institutions query our methods

Identification is difficult

The confidence to talk about something either from within or without

An improvisation that is trying

and trying

And playing along with the inscrutable

Because the inscrutable is asking 

It’s disorganising the gaze


Re-learning through writing it out

Giving the process a “she” to enable the intervening “could, would, should”.

We might address the institutions of our lives through repetition 

Extraction and replaying

But the recalling of a situation might obliterate the sequence

The threads holding the named trail of memory are kept taut to avoid a tangle yet run the risk of snapping


Taking their language, which became our current

And trafficking it upstream

This backwards has no known beginning

But does have several known gatekeepers


Various attempts at cross-generational understandings

The lag

What does that mean though? 

The feeling of hearing your own prejudices as you remind yourself of somebody else

As if your *** belongs to somebody else, somebody close

Identification is difficult

A jarring pluck through the skeleton that you sketched out

Mapped out, barely

Not committed enough for flesh

Only pointers

But it’s a lack of signposts that make the journeying memorable



Secret codes of the library. Tuned to horizontal states, or just prone to suggestion, distraction. Breathy folds excrete a force, the force holds objects mute and paused, paused in liquid-like stasis so that we might misrecognise the reflections as they sway. Several panes of nearly-glass offer this moiré of definition, this fuzzing of each edge. The static force is a dry feeling and is channelled frequently, commonly, frequently through fingers. This electrical impulse shows us what we know but commonly, frequently might forget: that we are receivers of certain, partial, nuanced-if-we-try types of information, and that invisible forces seek their own pathways to bear the burden of transformations. 

The longing to take part in somebody else’s story

Their welling tendencies might wash you down with them

My parsing excludes the plunge of heat and dampening, resistance and breaching, as fingers searched deeper into the sand

Déjà-vu itself might breach that parsed, compartmentalised memory 


We have this luxury of language that is malleable and has the potential to stretch the institution of time and spin stories outwards so that the energetic protagonist loses their footing. We have this burden of language that asks of reinvention in each new utterance. The forks of a lightning storm lead our way.


And production isn’t necessarily positive, because production might encroach on a different type of lack.

And positive feelings have no universality, because feelings are never found in isolation. Are feelings found?



Misrecognition brought about by synaesthetic blurring of senses

Mother’s lack of sleep

The clamp around her head

Listen to the sound of your own body surging

You’ve been protected and you’ve protected yourself against

And the questions of children 

Questions from children

Something potent

Bringing about potency 

What a weight  



An urge, which remains as instantaneous as an urge (no follow through); begin again and from the side, hotter now. Experimentation means grafting the contexts on and on to a saturation? Means not knowing. Means not knowing the outcome. No outcome whatsoever, except that the moving-knowing-growing is captured in words, so there we see it, it is reproduced. The urge might come from a lack. This having a lack is a tricky starting point because the lack is commonly the backgrounded information, a wash. An urge is not synonymous with the desire to produce and add to that volume. An urge is also not related to re-contextualising and appropriating, and it doesn’t come from a desire to sit alongside and absorb nourishment by association.



How far into it are you willing to go? 

The further you go, the more difficult to leave

a subject matter / the top deck of a bus / a language / an argument / a game / a relationship / a cave / the urge / that wavering altering familiarity


Favour public transport routes that traverse the layers

This widening of your environment lets your decisions fold in on themselves

Cutting through desolate suburbia, syncopated city lines and the holes found in both simplifies the daily relations of your experience

Only, the holes, in their gaping insufficiency, reveal the deep knotted substructures of time spent ***

Conductive properties meet insular bindings in an unwieldy show

Turn away from that metallic stench



Right brain

Left brain

So serious!

And something can snap you out of this

It’s usually a sound

The sound could be any type of sound

And you bring yourself closer to the sound

Clamour sound

Grinding sound

Ground down to a pale dust

The rusted teeth that vibrate

Edges soften as matter disappears

Resting place reveals what once was present and has been taken away

That negative image of evidence



Chopping into something that is already fragmented

More like an encounter with a person

Than listening to their stories


An imaging process

Resting in reflection

The action on the brown glass bottle

Sent fragments to nestle

As I pass over the disturbance I see bugs wriggling 

These bugs are simply my own image in transit over the surface


Pausing in the scene 

The tunnel


Like a song


Skirting around the edges of the fleshy mass

Reluctant to try and put my finger on



Using these word tools as an acknowledged temporary resistance

But here, it’s already reproduced

Rebecca Wilcox is an artist living in Glasgow. She works with writing, audio and video and sometimes with their manifestations as performance and installation. Along with Sarah Rose and Scott Rogers she organises tenletters, a space in Glasgow exploring expanded forms of publication.

‘Giving Over While’ was presented by Rebecca Wilcox at the Narrative Experiments event held in August 2018 at the Glasgow Women’s Library. It was made while paying particular attention to the work of Ann Quin. Part of Muriel Spark 100, this programme, curated by Hannah Van Hove, was funded by Creative Scotland and supported by MAP, the National Library of Scotland and the Glasgow Women’s Library.