(DISPATCH) portals by Rosie Roberts
Cover photograph: Rosie Roberts and Alexander Hetherington
We are very excited to announce SPAM's first non-fiction publication: portals by Rosie Roberts. Structured around the loops of Glasgow’s five sigils (ring, fish, bird, tree and bell), portals is a lyric meditation on acts of transportation, meaning and collectivity through language and image – zooming and falling, waiting and breaking, swimming and twisting through forests and shoals.
Praise for portals:
‘And / I go in, it’s just a portal after all’, writes Alice Notley in Certain Magical Acts (2016). After all what? In a recent talk on ‘A Global Green New Deal: Into the Portal, No One Left Behind’, Naomi Klein and Arundhati Roy talk of the Covid-19 pandemic as a potential ‘portal’ into what future we want to build now, a future which is ‘bounded in treating no one as if they are sacrificeable—and nowhere’. Rosie Roberts’ manuscript portals arrived prior to the pandemic, but its portals yet proliferate into many possible futures and even prior arrivals. Structured around the loops of Glasgow’s five sigils (ring, fish, bird, tree and bell), portals is a lyric meditation on acts of transportation, meaning and collectivity through language and image – zooming and falling, waiting and breaking, swimming and twisting through forests and shoals. Acts which shift kaleidoscopically in perspective and scale through what Fred Moten calls the ‘remixing and reorganising’ of ‘a different modality of sociality’. Like the teasing narrative enjambment of Notley’s ‘And / I go in’, portals performs this beckoning whereby the reader may engage in clearing, perceiving and ‘step[ping] through’ the text and its sprawl of references, from Saidiya Hartman to Jack Halberstam, Céline Sciamma to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Clyde 1 Radio to Anne Carson — and all the ringing unknown between.
With self-awareness, dialogue and gently guiding reference, Roberts enacts a warm holding of citation that invites conversational and participatory gestures of meaning, relation and intimacy. Returning to more local signposts of heritage, culture and geography, Roberts resists the appropriative urge of novelty and discovery in favour of playful acts of recontextualisation and care, in which the familiar offers up something generative, provocative or even comforting. In turn, her staging of social happenings, gestations in progress, lyric address, curiosity, documentation and ludic disruption allow the reader to similarly enter the text again and again through its numerous portals of possible sense, mapping them onto your own surroundings, glimpsing value in the oft-neglected. This is SPAM’s first full-length foray into publishing nonfiction, and we are proud to explore with Rosie Roberts that special change when a text is touched and ‘[t]he moment changes, the emphasis changes, you can insist and then try and then fail and, in the failing, there is a new space created, where a knowledge of that chase is held’.
— Maria Sledmere, Poetry and Nonfiction Editor at SPAM Press.
Rosie Roberts is an artist and writer from Glasgow interested in observing overlapping relations from an intersectional feminist perspective. She focusses on paratextual matter, for instance: live presence in tandem with an artwork, footnotes as evidence of time spent reading; cinematic experiences and entwined events or (auto)biographies. Her practice is interdisciplinary, collaborative and her work hybrid in form.
Rosie’s research surrounds the poetic haptics of everyday occurrence, moving image, auto-theory, auto-fiction, speculative writings and affective relevance/commons/locality. Peripherally Rosie is interested in football, 16mm film and time – what they can demonstrate, their histories, future and intersections.
Rosie is currently pregnant with her first child, a Projects and Reviews Editor at MAP Magazine alongside fellow artist and writer Alison Scott, and is a visiting lecturer in Art Writing and Moving Image at the Glasgow School of Art and the University of the Highlands and Islands respectively. Her income however is mainly derived from tour guiding, caféwork and benefits.
Rosie’s work has been published by Dostoyevsky Wannabe, SPAM Press, MAP Magazine, Edna Press, The Yellow Paper and The Quarterless Review New York. Her moving image, object and performance work have been presented at the Glasgow Film Festival, Alchemy Film Festival, the CCA Glasgow, The Glasgow Women’s Library, The Centre for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics Sheffield, Taigh Chearsabhagh North Uist, WOMP Space Sheffield, The Poetry Club Glasgow, Centre for Contemporary Arts Cyprus and Candid Arts Trust London.
We will be launching portals in early August, with details to follow shortly!