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Elena Knox

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Palinpoem for Pete's sake

2006, 2008, 2012

Palinpoem for Pete’s sake is a commissioned textual installation for an art gallery staircase, installed in 3 iterations over 6 years.

Artist Statement

I went and viewed the staircase from street level. I climbed up and down. For the gallery, the stairs were clearly more about inviting people in than escorting them out. It struck me that I was in the same terrain as council signwriters who paint instructions on road surfaces for readers who are assumed to be travelling forward whilst reading. I could never fathom why it is assumed that the first word encountered is the one that will be read first. Who instinctively reads from the bottom up?

AHEAD
HUMP

DOWN
SLOW

I like the disrupture to the normal phrases; workaday surrealism.

In order not to be worried about whether people might read my work from the top step down or from the bottom step up, I wrote poems inspired by numerical palindromes: formulaic constructions which satisfied me that they made poetic ‘sense’ in both directions. Two for the price of one; read them both ways!

Documentation of Palinpoem for Pete’s sake has been published in a variety of contexts on 3 continents, and included on the syllabus for an Oxford University summer writing course.

Links

A Slice of Cherry Pie, published in Wales and USA
The Alternative Press Anthology, UK
The Material Poem, Australia