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Writing (MA)

Margot Wilson

Margot Wilson is an artist and writer living with her partner on a houseboat in the outskirts of London. She read philosophy at Birkbeck and Glasgow and writing at Sheffield and The Royal College of Art. Margot’s work is obsessed with horses, death, levitation, vicious circularity, and numbers being kept in their place. Her plays have performed at The Cockpit Theatre (London) and Drama Studio (Sheffield) and her poetry is published in Route 57, The Mechanics Institute Review, Bare Fiction, Prometheus Dreaming. Prior to the pandemic she also performed at The Bowery Poetry Club in New York. As a self-taught artist she has created and exhibited sculpture and paintings since the 1980s, including: The Mall Galleries, Blenheim Gallery, Thrown Contemporary Winter Exhibition, and in 2021 her work received a Special Jury Mention at Art&Cavallo Exhibition in Verona, Italy.

I work in text and sculpture as video, clay, paper, etchings, and prints, drawing with both hands simultaneously and practicing automatic writing. Tantric performance lies at the centre of my research and creative practice. It is steeped in ancient and occult concepts of elevation and levitation created by dynamic spiral forces found in DNA, kundalini energy, and Yeats’s Thirteenth Cone. The spiral tightens, creates a torque that shivers arrests floats. The spiral twist opens closes expands contracts multi-directs the sensory flow of text and line to page. The gap between hand and line is an eternal folding fold.  

My RCA final major project is about a motorcycle road trip to a funeral 45-years late. The project re-imagines death as a material continuum, a rock metamorphosis, a circadian cycle, and the glimpsing of agency in fear. This account of my brother’s death reflects my marginal involvement in his death. Setting out on this pilgrimage I was determined to meet the road and encounters on their terms. On reflection, the pilgrimage mirrored my experience of Robin’s death. Minimal external explanation, maximum silent chaos and metaphysical diversions, some useful, some not.

Image: Riding the Picos, Spain, 2019. Photograph by James Merrell.

Ode to Number 6

Ode to Number 6 is an ode to ‘The Prisoner’, the 60s Cult TV series about abducted protagonist Number 6, and his relationship with his ever-changing chief administrator Number 2. At the time of writing, I am number 260036, please remember this number throughout because soon, I am told, I am to return to my given lettered name.

This letter was a philosophical protest to numbers for names. Specifically, the RCA’s adoption of using student ID numbers as the email address. A college wide protest resulted in the return to student names.

Writing by Margot Wilson (MA Writing 2022).

Performed by Greer Dale-Foulkes (MA Writing 2021).

Medium:

Video Essay
The Myth of Respiration

The Myth of Respiration: Levitation in 10 Acts is part of an RCA and Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) collaboration.

The image that the text speaks to is of an acrobat performing a tightrope performance in a remote region of India. The rope is specially woven, and the masts are specially chosen tree trunks from the local forest. There is no net. The man looks towards the horizon. Below, the women bathe a baby pig for the village feast. They sing. Drink alcohol. Create a fervor of energy that spirals to the skies.

What is it about humans that we climb, jump, fly? Is it a vestige of Plato’s concept of humans as a featherless biped? Do we each possess a memory of ‘bird’?

The photograph taken in March 1948, is by Ursula Violet Bower.

Written by Margot Wilson

Performance by Kalvin Page

Music by Marcus Herne

Medium:

Audio Essay
Bathsheba by Day Galatea by Night - ThoughtMapThis image is the product of a writing workshop with Dr. Sally O'Reilly. The exercise revealed the problems of density and complexity in handling entangled narratives. One of the best workshops I've ever participated in. The essay can be read on Academia.edu.

Stigmata by Hélène Cixous is a waking dream: a meditative cauldron stirred anticlockwise against itself: a somnabulatory retracing of a scar that rediscovers itself: the footprints that remain point in all directions. In Bathsheba or the Interior Bible, Cixous weaves a poetical tapestry that pierces the private worlds of both Rembrandt and his muse. In placing Cixous' moving meditation on Bathsheba next to Salvador Dali's Galatea of the Spheres, and borrowing the lens of frontier thought in neuroscience, this essay explores reclaiming of Origin and liberty in dreaming.

Margot Wilson on 'everything that endlessly paints us'.

Medium:

Essay
The Human Energy Network

The Human Energy Network is a collaboration project with RCA student Haoyue Yang (MA Digital Direction 2022) and composer Marcus Herne.

Human energy generation is both a personal and communal – never, and impossibly, a product– but always a service to be shared and exchanged in service of one and all. Debunking then, the existing concept of labour value and social serfdom, instead, offering a collective all-inclusive micro-macro-solution as a model of equanimity that is not derived from artificial constructs. Here, Energy is the universal set and Human Energy Beings is the subset, reforming the term ‘Humanity’ as the master set that devalues every other species, habitat, and organism. Human Energy Generation includes the consuming and generating of personal and shared energy, such as breathing, moving, endeavouring, performing, creating, entertaining, digesting, even sleep, dreaming, but most of all, movement as walking, running, commuting. In establishing such an organic foundation human identity is released from its chains of a binary and hierarchical ontology.

The ideas flow from a lifelong interest in the myths of Atlantis, practices of sacred geometry and astrology, and yogic and occult experimentations in multi-dimensional being. More recently, it struck me that behind the richest, arguably most powerful people on the planet, I’m speaking of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, is their receptiveness to concepts in science fiction.

Medium:

Video Animation
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract I
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract II
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract III
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract IV
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract V
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract VI
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract VII
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract VIII
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract IX
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract X
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract XI
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract XII
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract XII
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract XIII
Travels with the Anxious Nerve - Extract XIV

Travels with the Anxious Nerve is a contemplative road trip memoir of a pilgrimage to a funeral 45- years late. Ten years ago I read and was inspired by Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), often described as an ‘odyssey into life’s philosophical challenges’. Ten years ago, and despite my brother’s death in a motorcycle crash in 1975, I learned to ride a motorcycle. Ten years ago, I was the first member of my family to graduate from university: I studied undergraduate philosophy and obtained an MPhil for my research into Buddhist philosophy and parallels in neuroscience. Influenced by Tibetan Buddhist concepts of reincarnation and more recent postmodernist Entanglement (particularly Emergence) perspectives led by Johnny Golding at the RCA, this project is a culmination of my motorcycle travels and philosophical contemplations of this period, converging in the relationship between ‘falling’ and ‘death’. The research was predominantly practice-led, exploring my acute fear of falling from horses and motorcycles, and residing relationship with guilt. I chose to let the road, landscape, and art, particularly Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures, direct this examination of death: as mortal and cosmological origin and end, as a non-binary continuum of life, and lastly as maintaining living relationships with the dead. The project uses photography to situate the reader in the journey and invite an intimate reading experience, and while not a ‘confessional’ or psychological memoir, it is a catharsis of arrested grief created in a child ‘protected’ from the presence of death, and funerals.

Medium:

Long Essay

Size:

20,000 words