Sarah Tripp in collaboration with Isobel Lutz-Smith, ‘With’, video, 6.44 mins, 2020

Dear Alice,

Because I do not play the guitar, nor do I want to, I have this with. I do not play the guitar, I play with the guitar. What is this with? What’s with the with? If I learn how to play where does with go? Does with disappear, like a noise out of a sentence, and what was with doing? I don’t play a person or a wooden bee. Once someone can make music on the guitar, is with forgotten? Is noise the sound of with? What is the work of with? Does music just conceal the with-ness of doing the guitar, or is it that once playing the guitar is underway, and music-making becomes effortless, the guitar and you merge and the doing, the playing, is no longer with anything, no friction, the guitar has vanished and you are alone without with.



The Self-Illuminating Pen was also published as a limited edition notebook by MAP Editions in November 2020 and made available free. Designed by the artist and with cover artwork by Ciara Phillips, it includes the 5 letters, 5 special writing exercises devised by Sarah Tripp and over 100 blank pages.


Sarah Tripp is an artist, writer and lecturer based in Glasgow. She lectures in Scotland and the United Kingdom and guest lectures at international universities. Her work has been published by Book Works (London), F.R. DAVID (Berlin), 2HB (Glasgow), Space Poetry (Denmark) and The Happy Hypocrite.

Isobel Lutz-Smith is a Scottish moving image artist based in Glasgow. In 2016 she graduated from the Master of Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art, as part of this programme she spent an exchange semester in Tokyo. Her work will feature in an upcoming issue of The Drouth.