Corner Pieces

By Phil Hawes

A review of Corner Pieces by Lance Blomgren

Published on April 1, 2005

Corner Pieces
Lance Blomgren

conundrum press
$15.95
paper
112pp
1-894994-04-3

Corner Pieces is a collection of writing by the author of Practice and Walkups, loosely grouping several short texts on the theme of public space and art, some of which are collaborations with visual artists.

The title work was originally a project placing text in public space in Montreal, Banff, and Berlin. “Corner Pieces (Banff),” presented at the nebulously entitled “Informal Architecture Residency” were originally makeshift plaques, neatly typed one-page texts pasted up in various Banff locales. They present bits of dubiously interpreted local lore. The Banff Springs Hotel text, for example, divulges the infamous sexual debauchery of the hotel’s seasonal workers. (Whether Planned Parenthood Alberta actually studied the loss of virginity amongst the hotel employees is up for speculation.) For “Corner Pieces (Berlin),” Blomgren was supported by the Conseil des arts et des letters du Québec to paste up short and provocative texts in a foreign city. This time the pasted-up texts functioned as temporary monuments to passing moments of affection, love, and public sex. Berlin becomes the public notebook for the private recollections of an anonymous exhibitionist. This is literate graffiti breaking through the estrangement of city life, infused with the individual’s fear of becoming an indifferent passer-by. Unfortunately, reprinting the “Corner Pieces” in book form contradicts the aim of fusing art and life.

Blomgren is a human conveyor belt of ideas and images. He has different strategies for processing this hyperproductivity. In “Liner” and “34 Stops” he efficiently avoids transitional phrases, instead connecting events and concepts in a haiku-like manner. Elsewhere he relies, less effectively, on establishing rhythm through tiresome repetition of pronouns. In general, he is a lively and engaging writer who goes hyperbolic when excited. One looks forward to something more substantial from him in the future. mRb

Phil Hawes works for the Centre for Digital Art. His short script "Somnopolis" was recently published in nor: ideas of north.

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