I was in Copenhagen for the COP15 climate change talks in December 2009 when I began writing The Fluxus President. Although I had gone to conduct interviews as part of a public art project, I soon became unsure exactly what I was contributing to an event that was, as the banners around the city repeatedly told me, “the last chance to save planet Earth.”
As I drifted through Copenhagen, I became aware of the different groups that were doing the same, with varying mixtures of purpose and aimlessness. Despite many differences of geography and profession, this suggested the almost-character “they” which recurs throughout the novel, an impossible amalgam of diplomats, activists, itinerant poets and musicians, farmers, anarchists…
My initial idea was a kind of instant response fiction, and over the two weeks of COP15 I did write something that was equivalent in length to the finished book. Again, I think this picked up on the rhetoric of the event, although the idea was something that had long fascinated me: a fiction or poetry at the speed of journalism, but with its own imperatives of form and content.
If, however, I had been asked to list some of the historical models that came to mind when conceiving such a project, it would have included Kafka, Walser, Sarraute, Duras, Borges and Ionesco. This should have made me aware that things were likely to get somewhat more complicated than what I was calling “a book in two weeks and be done with it!”
Continue reading here. See other RESEARCH NOTES contributions here.
The Fluxus President is published by Dark Windows Press and is available here.
It was recently reviewed by Charlotte Barnes at Sabotage Reviews here.