1. Oslo, Norway

    John Holten

    Design: FUK Graphic Design Studio

    ISBN: 978-3-943196-22-1

    14 EUR

    127 x 184 mm

    191 pages

    April 2015

    Fiction | Novel

    BUY THE BOOK HERE

    After his critically acclaimed debut novel The Readymades, John Holten returns with an intriguing story of love and loss that begins in the affluent and rapidly growing city of Oslo, Norway. It follows the story of William Day, an economic migrant who moves to the city to work as a mechanical engineer before chance thrusts him into the alluring world of Sybille and her artist friend Camille. As they do their best to reconcile growing differences in personality and culture, Camille’s growing influence over Sybille threatens the relationship, before her dangerous friends in the Oslo underworld finally undo William’s search for stability. This sets William – and the reader – in the direction of the novel’s horizon, which is set outside of historical time and space, taking in the history of oil exploration, Norse mythology, coronal mass ejections and post-apocalyptic landscapes.


    Written with an emotional honesty, Holten places himself directly in the book as both narrator and first reader, highlighting the discrepancy between any map and the territory it represents. The second book of a project entitled Ragnarok, Oslo Norway is constructed in a unique style and set with a visually arresting layout: a self-styled literary atlas that is a pleasure to hold, it creates a new form for a reading experience in line with how we read online. The story is recounted over thirty nine chapters, each named after various streets and environs of the city of Oslo, followed by a legend that unlocks and provides information from the preceding narrative in a revealing interplay between what is real and what is fiction. Inviting a non-linear reading, Holten has galvanised a new type of literary experience that is open-ended, multi-layered, wholly contemporary.

     

    About John Holten

    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 John published his first novel The Readymades to great acclaim, and the art group he created in the novel (with Darko Dragicevic), The LGB Group, enjoyed exhibitions in many cities as well as being included in The Armory Show, New York in 2012.  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 Boerse Photography Prize winning exhibition in London. You Are Here, the first book published by Broken Dimanche Press, won at the Charlemagne European Youth Prize in 2010. As well as this editorial work, John has also 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. His video commercials for Oslo, Norway have been exhibited in Plan B Gallery and Team Titanic, Berlin, Extrapool, Nijmegen and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna. In 2011 he received a Literature Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland.

     

    Some Praise for The Readymades:

    Holten's novel is one of the greatest works of art to come out of Berlin in recent years...You could say that LGB are the Next Big Thing to come of of Berlin, the timely projection of an embattled nexus - East versus West, the Real World versus the Art World, Purity versus Commodification, Literature versus the Visual Arts, Fiction versus Truth.
                — Travis Jeppesen, June/July 2012 issue of Art in America.

    Young writers could do worse than take a leaf from [Tom] McCarthy’s book; John Holten’s debut The Readymades continues the European tradition without trying to pass itself as a book by a Continental author. To say that McCarthy’s shadow is hanging over it would be unfair – rather, his themes are played anew, at times convincingly, at times tentatively, but for the most part boldly and with an honesty bordering on desperation.

    —Anna Aslanyan, 3AM Magazine

    Politics, art and literature get together in a perfect mix of novel, documentary text and art catalogue. The edition, beautifully designed by F.U.K Laboratories, elevates this novel to a piece of art in itself.

    — Eva Gonçalves, mono.blog

    The Readymades by John Holten: easily one of the most ambitious, interesting, well-executed novels by an Irish writer I’ve come across.

    — Rob Doyle, author of Here Are the Young Men

    Holten has expanded the scope of the contemporary novel so that it is not merely a comment on the present but a set of artistic strategies and processes sent out into the world at large. 

     — Brian Dillon, UK editor of Cabinet magazine and author of Sanctuary

    Book of the month April 2012

    — The White Review


  2. Blip#1, installation view, Language Leaps, Gallery Plan B, August 2013

    Blip#1, installation view, Language Leaps, Gallery Plan B, August 2013

    • 1

      Blip#1, installation view, Language Leaps, Gallery Plan B, August 2013

    • 2

      Blip#2, installation view of GOODBYHOOD, TeamTitanic (Kiosk44,Berlin)

    • 3

      John Holten reading from Oslo, Norway in front of Blip#3, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, August, 2014; Photo: Daniel Gottschling

    • 4

      John Holten reading from Oslo, Norway in front of Blip#3, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, August, 2014; Photo: Daniel Gottschling

    • 5

      Still from Blip #4

    • 6

      Still from Blip #4

    Blips: Oslo Norway, an Aside

    A Text by John Holten

    August 2013

    My next novel will be called Oslo, Norway and it is the second installment in a three-part roman-fleuve called Ragnarök. When drafting this novel I began to imagine it in the hands of an unseen audience, a fictive future readership. To better enable me to do this, I decided to actively explore some of the roles I carry out in the publishing house that will facilitate the book in the world, to deepen, in a celebratory way, my role in the publishing of my own work.

    Oslo, Norway is about love and the creation of fictions. And like any relationship, it wills itself to be read in a new way, to do something different: there can’t be anything hidden about how it comes into the world. No secrets. Regrets come later.

    So I have conceived of four video commercials – blips – that will precede the event of Oslo, Norway. Built into the conception of these blips is the dual belief in the necessity for carving out a space for a new novel in the minds of a potential audience, as well as the acceptance of the failing status of commercial literary publishing to confidently mark out its territory. Video trailers for books made in the past for online dissemination feel like still-births in the minds of lost and slightly stunned marketing departments.

    These blips are fragments of my dreams as I finish drafting my next novel, they are incantatory, vatic companions to the fictional, made-up worlds I inhabit as I edit and rewrite the novel called Oslo, Norway

    Shot on my mobile phone, they are unadorned, silent. They are expanded video commercials born to live on the Internet. They are introductions to an event yet to happen. They represent freedom, where conclusions and conceits don’t show their faces, not until a future time, in the turn of the page or the fold of a metaphor. They are intended for non-literary contexts and settings.

    I no longer read in a way that is similar to how I read when I first started writing fiction and novels. I do not want to write in a way similar to how I wrote when I first started to write fiction and novels simply because I cannot: I am unable to.

    As a novelist first and foremost I carry out my duties in relation to Broken Dimanche Press in a social and artistic way: I see the creation of books in the world as an artistic fiction that mirrors how the best metaphors operate, turning abstract bodies of work into real, tangible objects in the hands and minds of unseen, imagined audiences through the use of convincing, well designed, haptic similes and metaphors. It often feels that there isn’t anything approaching the entrepreneurial with regard to Independent Publishing, that if anything it feels more like a creative endeavor. The stages of publishing a book can be as artistic as the writing of the book: the ambitions remaining the same during both activities.

    Lastly, these blips are introductions to fiction, they are images that house words which in turn add up to approximations of love and telling stories. Disappointing relationships, misleading advertisements? Most certainly. In the words of a man of greater imaginative power than I, they should declare: I’m going to deceive you and for that you will be grateful to me.

     

    Public Broadcasts:

    Blip # 4: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, 05.08.2014

    Blip # 3: Extrapool, Nijmegan, 16.03.2014

    Blip # 2: Team Titanic, Berlin 29.-30.11.2013

    Blip # 1: Galerie Plan B, Berlin 28-30.08.2013

     

     



  3. Oslo, Norway

    John Holten

    Design: FUK Graphic Design Studio

    ISBN: 978-3-943196-22-1

    14 EUR

    127 x 184 mm

    191 pages

    April 2015


    Purchase


Built with Berta.me