What does it mean to count words? or to spend the majority of a writing life within small word counts of funding applications?. To live in the speculative framework of life deferred.
The project Talented Grants began with an essay about funding applications within the structure of funding applications. It tracked the changing language of the national funding body Creative Scotland, whilst critiquing the privatisation of public funding of arts in Scotland, trying to undo notions of “no clean money” and pointing to something outside of a general mathematical flattening – the faux transparency of limited transactional desires.
The performance ‘Talented Grants’ ended with an indefinite collective counting exercise. Here the counting of the word count is an abstraction of labour spent. What then does counting word count together do? At once a nonsense action it was also a liberating, somewhat cathartic exercise. Does it ‘bundle the horror away’, akin to deaths counted as a statistic, or does it hold to account for the hours of surplus labour we collectively have, marking them, making them ‘count’.
Originally commissioned for Good Work, Bad Money zine edited by Rosie Roberts.