Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History,
issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
  • Simon Morris, Gill Partington & Adam Smyth (editors) | York: Information as Material, October 2020

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  • Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History,
    issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
  • Simon Morris, Gill Partington & Adam Smyth (editors) | York: Information as Material, October 2020
  • ‘Inscription and notation – making marks, lines, notes, images – are the foundation of human communication. This is the first journal to make these forms and processes its main area of inquiry. With an internationally distinguished Advisory Board and a diverse community of participating scholars and practitioners, Inscription is poised to create a vital niche within current discussions around media and information.’ – Johanna Drucker, Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies and Distinguished Professor, Information Studies, UCLA

    Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History (est. September 2020) is edited by Gill Partington (Exeter University), Adam Smyth (Oxford University) and Simon Morris (Leeds Beckett University). Radical in design (editors with Fraser Muggeridge Studio), Inscription combines imaginative thinking and critical rigour to take the study of material texts in new directions. Inscription is at home equally in the first century and the twenty-first, as well as all points in between, and features work by practitioners – book artists, printmakers and writers – alongside academic discussion, a merger of the theoretical, practical and historical. Inscription’s focus is not just on the meanings and uses of the codex book, but also the nature of writing surfaces (papery or otherwise), and the processes of mark-marking in the widest possible sense: from hand-press printing to vapour trails in the sky; from engraved stones to digital text. The journal’s theoretically aware, trans-historical, and cross-disciplinary remit breaks with the conventions of academic ghettoization, creating connections between areas that have much to say to one another – bibliography, media theory, conservation, the history of the book, museum studies, and artist’s book studies, for instance – enabling wide-ranging conversation and unexpected juxtapositions. Inscription not only adds to the existing field but sets new agendas for the next phase in the study of material texts. Inscription is a cross-platform work that combines: a) an academic journal for critical discussion surrounding the materiality of text from the first century to the twenty-first century with (b) an exhibition space for multi-media works, vinyl records, augmented reality (AR) digital works, artworks, prints, poems etc. and (c) an artist’s book in its own right, ‘a means of conveying art ideas from the artist to the viewer/reader’ – Sol LeWitt (issue 1 responds to Edgar Alan Poe’s text, ‘A Descent into the Maelström’ with pages rotating). 


    Simon Morris is co-editor of Inscription, and Professor of Art at Leeds Beckett University. In 2002, he founded the publishing imprint information as material (iam) which has published over fifty books by artists and poets across the globe. Morris has guest lectured and facilitated workshops on the Site-Writing Module, MA Situated Practices at the Bartlett School of Architecture in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

    Gill Partington is co-editor of Inscription. She was Munby Fellow in Bibliography 2018-19 at University of Cambridge, and now works on the Wellcome-funded Index of Evidence project at the University of Exeter. She co-edited Book Destruction (2014) with Adam Smyth, and is currently writing Page Not Found, a book about the oddities and history of the page.

    Adam Smyth is co-editor of Inscription, and Professor of English Literature and the History of the Book at Balliol College, Oxford University. His most recent books are Material Texts in Early Modern England (2018), 13 March 1911 (2019), and, with Dennis Duncan, Book Parts (2019). He is currently writing The Book: A Story in Thirteen Extraordinary Lives, under contract with the Bodley Head. 


    In terms of site-writing, our journal pays specific attention to the relationship of the reader to the writer and the materiality of text. For example, to read issue one of our journal requires a level of performativity on the part of the reader, as they are required to rotate the journal in their hands in order to engage with the content. You are spun out of place – spinning allows one to de-stabilise yourself from your particular space and arrive at new ways of thinking.

    ‘I was experimenting-experimenting with the camera in the room, with the mind, with the props and the actions. I was experimenting when something seemed to happen. Then I would repeat it, refine it. The refining usually meant heightening the experience. I was interested in spinning, and I would often spin in front of the camera. I got to a point where I could spin for 30–40 minutes. I would bang my outstretched hands against the wall, that helped me from getting disorientated and dizzy. The intuitive action that I kept returning to became an involvement. I still make actions and sculpture that relate to spinning … There’s this aspect of getting into something repetitive, going with that repetition to the point of discovery, and then sort of letting go in that space.’ Paul McCarthy, ‘Kristine Stiles in conversation with Paul McCarthy,’ Paul McCarthy, (Phaidon, 1996), p.8 and p.16.

    Material text, artists’ book, cross-disciplinary, trans-historical, academic journal, exhibition space.


    The Aspen Journal, New York City, Roaring Fork Press, 1965–1971, nos 1–10. Series Editor: Phyllis Johnson.

    Studio International: Journal of Modern Art, London, July–August 1970, vol.180. no. 924. Editor: Peter Townsend, Assistant Editor: Charles Harrison, special 48-page exhibition curated by Seth Siegelaub.

    Convolution: Journal of Conceptual Criticism, New York City, Fall 2011–19, issues 1–7. Editor: Paul Stephens.

    Other projects
  • Signal/Noise: Ambient Text in the Urban Landscape (ongoing project)
  • Site Stories: explorations of urban spaces through drawing and animation (25–29 April 2022)
  • Rainbow Palace, Bergen, Norway (March 2022)
  •  Acanthus, (March 2022)
  • Unter der Hohen Brücke. 
digging in a ditch, writing for a place 
  • ‘Reading-writing alongside HALL08,’ HALL08 (2021)
  • Nothingness Beyond Blossom (2021)
  • Angelo Ciccaglione, ‘The back of the dust-machine, where the visitors pour the dust in,’ Rotterdam (2021)
    The Deposition of Dust (July 2021)
  • Skye Edge (April 2021)
  • Corvid-19 (15 March 2021)
  • 1_5
    Glòries_(Eixample). A dispositive for very slow aesthetic observation, (January 2021 –)
  • As Lightning to the Children Eased (January 2021)
  • Station F (October 2020)
  • It’s Just a Matter of Time (2020)
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    Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History,
    issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
  • Homekeeping-image_sml
    Homekeeping (2020)
  • City Embers (2020)
  • Between Our Words I will Trace Your Presence (February 2020)
  • What Remains (2019)
  • Situated Writing as Theory and Method (2019)
  • Parts Apart Read Together (2019)
  • Fields of Awareness, (2019, 3min 18 secs)
  • A Non-Aligned Narrative in and Around KSEVT, (2019)
  • 21 Orientations: An Atlas of Geographic Promiscuity (2019)
  • The Windowless Hotel Room (2018)
  • Spaces of Grief (2018)
  • Soft Landing (2018)
  • Shared Remains (April 2018)
  • Poetic Water Boundaries: towards a possible borderless sea, (2018)
  • Metropolitan Salem, Liuerpul (9 June – 18 August 2018)
  • Things Come Apart (21 – 24 March 2018)
  • Learn to Read Differently (2018)
  • Il Balcone. A site-writing performance (2018)
  • History begins with the vanity of kings (2018)
  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • A Lunar Perspective, (2018-2020)
  • Heaton Hall: A Palimpsest (2017)
  • Location (+) (2017)
  • There’s Sand in My Infinity Pool (2017)
  • Talking Quilts (April 2017)
  • fifteen ways to cross the desert (2017)
  • Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft (2017)
  • Agency at the threshold, (2017)
  • A Ficto-Historical Theory of the London Underground (2017)
  • The Glorious Tomb to the Memory of Nothing (2016)
  • The Arrival’s Reader; A Visual Literary Criticism on The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2016)
  • Reading as Art (27 August-19 November 2016)
  • Re: development (London: Silent Grid, 2016)
  • Kjemikerens død [The Death of the Chemist] (23 – 26 May 2016)
  • Kingsland High Street (2016)
  • Foray in a Modern Reserve: An Impounding Portrait of Landuse (2016 – 2018)
  • Fall of the Derwent (2016)
  • Away from Home – Home from Away (April 2016)
  • Penguin Pool (2015)
  • Geography Lessons: Liberian Landmarks 1953-2013 (2015)
  • Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (2014)
  • The Writing on the Wall (after Rembrandt) (2014)
  • The Italic I (2014)
  • Designing Architecture as a Performing-Ground (2014)
  • Urban Literacy (2013/2014/2016)
  • The Disappearance: Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth (April 2013)
  • Folded Ground: Escape from Cape Town (2013)
  • Phantom Railings (2012 – 2017)
  • In The Emptiness Between Them (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • The Museum of Breath (2010)
  • Slab (2010)
  • One wound. Two wounds. The body as site for writing (2010)
  • The Fluid Pavement and Other Stories on Growing Old (2006)
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