In November 2011 Darko Dragičević and John Holten carried out ‘It’ s Already A Success!’, a weeklong reading of the entire novel The Readymades as part of an exhibition by The LGB Group at the legendary Gallery D.O.R. in Brussels. For the first international release of his follow up novel, Oslo, Norway, Holten will once more read a novel in full. Echoing not only the earlier performance, but also contemporary writer Travis Jeppeson, who has read his novel The Suiciders in full at various venues, the performance posits a total exposure of the literary work, allowing the audience to come and go, converse and drink a glass of wine over a period of several hours for durations of their choosing. This is not so much a comment on the contested audience expectation for free content, but an investigation into new modes of attention and readership, how one can go about performing a novel, as well as subverting the social expectations of a traditional book launch.
Alongside the reading will be a screening of ‘Blips’, a series of pseudo commercials Holten produced and screened over the last two years. These have been screened individually in Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, (Blip # 4); Extrapool, Nijmegan (Blip#3); Team Titanic, Berlin (Blip # 2) and Galerie Plan B, Berlin (Blip# 1). These will be slowed down to approach the length of the reading, a mixture of footage from Oslo and extracts from the novel, they counteract and draw out what the audience may or may not hear depending on the length they listen.
Oslo, Norway takes the form of a literary atlas, telling its stories over 39 sections titled after streets and places around Oslo and its environs. These are included at the beginning of each of the three sections of the book and the original drawings will also be on display, along with other totem like iterations of the book. In line with Holten’s practice, all aspects of the book and its creation are presented over the course of the performance and exhibition heralding, as does the form of the novel, a new mode of reading, one that is inherently based on life online and how the majority of textual matter is now read, bringing that into an offline, durational and haptic literary experience.
John Holten is a writer and artist as well as a publisher. Born in 1984 in Ireland, he studied at University College Dublin and the Sorbonne-Paris IV before obtaining an MPhil from Trinity College Dublin. In 2011 he published his first novel The Readymades to great acclaim, and the art group he created in the novel (with Darko Dragičević), The LGB Group, enjoyed exhibitions in many cities as well as being included in The Armory Show, New York in 2012. Known for his collaborative projects, Holten has written for many artists such as Natalie Czech, Mahony, Darri Lorenzen and Jani Ruscica, often working closely with them to produce immersive or participatory texts. His work has appeared in many international contemporary art settings such as Malmö konsthall, The White Building London, David Zwirner Gallery New York (with Aengus Woods), NGBK and Agora, Berlin and Villa Romana, Florence amongst others. Having co-founded Broken Dimanche Press as an international art press in 2009, he has overseen as Editor-In-Chief more than thirty publications and attendant exhibitions, projects and public events. In 2012 he travelled to the Congo with artist Richard Mosse for whom he edited A Supplement to The Enclave as part of Mosse’s 2014 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize winning exhibition in London. In 2011 he received a Literature Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland.