Errors, Imperfections and Erasures

Susie Howarth is a multi-disciplinary artist currently making drawings exploring errors, imperfections and erasures. She takes inspiration from organisational documents: annual reports, business plans, newsletters, brochures, charts and strategic policy frameworks.

Susie Howarth: 22 Breakdown, 34cm x 30cm

I am working on a ‘psychogeography’ of the Crown Prosecution Service (which I shall refer to as ‘The Organisation’). I am trying to make an experimental film that is not a film, about The Organisation, using drawings. Like Len Lye when he made his film Trade Tattoo for the General Post Office Film Unit, I am working with leftover footage.

Why hold onto all that? And I said,

Where can I put it down?’

(Anne Carson, The Glass Essay)

Susie Howarth: Furnival Street December ’06, 61cm x 42cm


Susie Howarth: Furnival Street, winter ’91, 42cm x 29.5cm

Psychogeography describes the effect of a geographical location on the emotions and behaviour of individuals. How do places make us feel and behave? My drawn psychogeography/film explores the effects of The Organisation. Now, although it remains somewhat inside me, I am outside The Organisation’s physical spaces. Its buildings are locked, to me, and those that are not locked are repurposed or bulldozed: Vintry House; Queen Anne’s Gate; Gresham Street; 10 Furnival Street; 50 Ludgate Hill: I cannot simply flâneur or flannel my way in but, if I pay attention to the appropriate frequencies, I can still make out the virtual acoustic footprint; the organisational clatter.

The confusion is not my invention.’ (Samuel Beckett)

Susie Howarth: Information System version 1, 61cm x 42cm


Susie Howarth: Isleworth 04-94, 61cm x 42cm

Action plans and strategy documents are carefully crafted by The Organisation to pin down time, to plot events. Distance is realised by bands of colour. Shapes are chosen to represent the actions to be taken, or not taken. They are relics of busy-ness, attempts to control and influence the future. ‘To try to fix the future is a manifest absurdity,’ says the writer and filmmaker Iain Sinclair.

Susie Howarth: Ludgate Hill 01, 42cm x 30cm

In those days, pre-computer days, we would redact the documents by hand using scissors and glue, and bottles of paint, and light, and pressure, and heat, shifting the words and lines to form new joints; removing phrases, restructuring sentences.

A blank line does not say nothing.’ (Anne Carson)

Susie Howarth: Redaction of document 54, 42cm x 30cm


Susie Howarth: Redaction of TL system, 42cm x 30cm

Always remember that The Organisation is ruthless in the pursuit of its interest. The Organisation produces many artefacts: annual reports, business plans, newsletters, brochures, charts, strategic policy frameworks, PR announcements, tweets. Top Risk profiles. Reasons for Non-Achievement. The work of The Organisation is a kind of performance, and the plans and documents are preparatory drawings for the performance. I am interested in the notes at the back, the scribbles in the margins, the small adjustments, the errors, the system collapse. I am trying to draw the unspeakable things:

‘… more dream than document’ (Iain Sinclair). The forgotten; the discarded; the fragments, frail and precise.

Susie Howarth: Second Tuesday in June 1987, 61cm x 42cm


All images copyright and courtesy of Susie Howarth

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