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PAUL HAWKINS: A Word on Poem Brut

I’ve been fortunate to be involved with Poem Brut, either as a performer, an artist, an audience member, as a collaborator or as a publisher, since 2017. My Poem Brut commission, which Serendip has generously supported, is a collaboration with artist Patrick Cosgrove. It is currently still developing, a work-in-progress, involving film, verbalised sound(s), noise(s), an acoustic guitar being scraped down a partially demolished upright piano, samples from an album I made on a laptop a long time ago, Patrick’s chants and incantations, all processed through Jaan Altosaar and Ethan Benjamin’s one-stop, freely available, browser-based app, MusicMappr, which creates sample clusters from our recordings. MusicMappr splits up the sounds we feed into it, then runs spectrographic analysis on the samples and clusters them together into similar-sounding groups. The results are displayed in a playable interface that runs in a browser window. Patrick and I are both fascinated with sound(s), verbal and non-verbal, scratches, scrapes, booms, etc and this software really lends itself to experimentation, a sound-mapping of thoughts, electrical impulses and mulched brain-mechanics. When it’s finished, our commission will take the form of a live, improvised soundtrack to an abstract short film. 


I’m no stranger to the mental health industry: I have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, which impacts hugely on how I understand the world, how I engage with it, how I operate within it and with other humans, other structures. So it follows that it impacts on how I make art in the chaos of the 21st century.


The next collection of this work-in-progress is this book: 

EACHWHAT Vol. 1: A Poem Brut-ish culmination of the gestural, the instinctual, the scribbled and the scrawled over the past few years. I’m confident that EACHWHAT Vol. 1 won’t be widely read, but don’t let that stop you. I’m proud of it. EACHWHAT Vol. 2 follows in 2021.