Transcript of an audio recording of Sharon Kivland introducing herself and her publication at a hybrid workshop with DAAP at the Women's Art Library, 27 May 2023:
Oh God, I feared it might be me first because of course I’ve completely forgotten which publication, Jessa, you suggested. Quick, a quick reminder.
[There are a few of yours in there (the WAL). It’s ‘the Value one’ that’s in French and English. Do you know which one I mean?]
[So Sharon should we come back to you or do you need a bit more time?]
No, no, I found it but it does rather demonstrate the importance of archives when one can't remember one's own history. [laughter]. I have to say I have very little interest in my own history. As a Trotskyist, of course, I'm a keeper of history, just not my own. I'm an artist and writer. I've been, also, a curator - God help me! - a translator at times, and I am ‘The Editor’ (note the capitals) of MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE, which is a small publishing house. I've also to my great surprise, being called a poet on a number of occasions, which never ceases to astonish me.
The book that emerges, La Forme-Valeur, The Value-Form, is a 16 page booklet that was produced following an exhibition in France, derived from a number of wall texts taken from Marx, from Capital, the first bit, the bit everyone's read before he goes all economic and agricultural in the chapters, that no-one, even Marxists, haven’t read -- though they claim they have, but they’re always surprised when they come across the agricultural parts. The text, I’ll describe it: I am trying to find a woman speaking in Marx's Capital. Yet all I find is an object speaking, the charming voice of a commodity and the chorus of goods going to market (which is of course, from Luce Irigaray). The wall texts were in French painted by a signwriter against a pink background. This is not quite the right pink in the book. The sign writer was called Monsieur Claude Monet, with two ‘n’s, but you know, it’s one of those fortuitous things. And the phrases – it's simply when the commodity (happily) is feminine in French: 'la marchandise.' So actually it was pretty easy to find ‘elle’ speaking in the translation. It was the first in a number of works that followed in my re-readings and rewritings of Marx.
It's also made after the packaging of the scent ‘Allure’ by Chanel, using the gold edging, which at the last moment, I had printed. It was before digital printing came in so anything you were doing offset cost a fortune, you couldn't do less than 500 or it wasn't worthwhile and then you just have boxes of books forever. Until you open the box and there were none left and you didn't remember selling any. You don't have, again, the sense the importance of archiving your history, and in any case, it's too easy to give it away - because history takes up far too much room. That's it. I’ll pass over to someone else.