Holding Patterns by Julia Rose Lewis & Paul Hawkins

Julia Rose Lewis is the author of Phenomenology of the Feral (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2017), High Erratic Ecology (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2020) and The Hen Wife (Contrabrand, 2020). James Miller and she co-authored Strays (Haverthorn, 2017).

Paul Hawkins aka Bob Modem learn’t how to drink lying down and sleep standing up with nearly disastrous consequences. He works mainly in poetry, visual art and performance. Author of Eachwhat Vol. 1 (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2020), Lou Ham: Racing Anthropocene Statements (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018) and Why Chant Meat (Hesterglock Press, 2021), amongst others. More information can be found at eachwhat.com

Holding Patterns
“Let us be fragile for we are not the ocean”Eduardo Milan trans. Patrick Madden & Steven J. Stewart.

We began our visual poetry collaboration by exchanging digital archives of travelling through America at times when we had both felt overwhelmed. The project was conceived over email and has been progressing through the use of Dropbox, more email, Google Drive, Affinity Photo, Photoshop and Twitter. It started with the simple realisation that we tend to document difficult times in our lives. We create archives of ourselves to revise at a time when we are less overwhelmed. The archives take cities and highways, spaces and places as their subject matter with anonymous humans, others, as background objects. The images show that somehow we keep going and yet our flaws keep following us despite the fact that we kept going. Is there a genetic component to being easily overwhelmed or to being easy?

We know we are very easy to very easily overwhelmed. If whelm originally meant to overturn, then a vessel is implied here. To overwhelm is to over-repeat turn a vessel. Turning over an engine gets a motorboat started, and yet overturning a boat pauses or stops the boat in the water. Exchanging our personal archives felt like turning over an hourglass. The passage of sand back and forth and back and forth is a soothing and subtle reference to death. The pattern of sand grains runs on the hourglass….

Praise for Holding Patterns

“ A stunning travel record of everyday visual poetry.. Holding Patterns draws attention to and invites the viewer to consider textures, colours and shapes of the ordinary with an open mind of vast possibilities. Mesmerising and artistic.”

Rezia Wahid

“When I’m moving, I’m going through change. Place me in the air, where there maybe no consequences, time has no bearing and land can’t age me, I’m relieved enough to think clearly but I know that what I left behind will never be the same again; where I’m going will change me forever. When I’m in a Holding Pattern, in flight, I’m able to do my most lucid of thinking; momentarily, I’m free. I’ve felt most alive in places that I’m least at home, where I’m most likely to experience change. At these times I reach for a camera. It acts as a collection unit for effervescent experiences that meld me with their heat, burn me into an other. Reliving these moments show I survived, show others I lived and how. Creating a dialogue of images collected in states of overwhelmed-ness must help us process, even if to divert us from our inability to land ourselves.”

Tom Skipp

“The dazzling images in Julia Rose Lewis and Paul Hawkins’s collaboration Holding Patterns are literally that: the eye is deliberately dazzled by page after page of stunning,
multi-layered compositions. This powerful, sometimes visceral, sequence of visual poems deliberately avoids directing the viewer where to look. And that’s the point. Holding Patterns is a subtle yet intense exploration of ‘what it means to be easily overwhelmed in 21st century America’. Lewis and Hawkins sensitively deploy unexpected colour saturation and light exposure, off-kilter framing, and oblique perspectives to suggest permeability and fragility in the face of the barrage of sensory stimuli which is America and indeed, much of the world, today. The collection overtly explores themes of travel, technology, memory and place, but it is also a moving synthesis of two personal archives which tell of the pain and queasiness of sensory overload. Yet it also gestures to the possibility of new kinds of illumination through these apparently raw, unprocessed perspectives. The sense of movement, both within and between images, suggests that this is not a static ‘holding pattern’but one in which competing elements, like jostling aircraft, are actively vying for our attention. Meanings might be made, this collection suggests, not by resolving the pluralities of these images, but more radically, by engaging with them in their work of resistance as they overwhelm our attempts to process and too-easily digest them.”

Susie Campbell

cover image by Julia Rose Lewis and Paul Hawkins

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