Maria Fusco (born Belfast, 1972, lives in London) interrogates the phenomenon of writing about art, writing about writing and art about writing, but primarily she is interested in is what she describes as “writing with art”. In her roles as art critic, editor, lecturer, fiction writer and Director of Writing at Goldsmiths College, Fusco has searched out diverse styles of writing, not simply for their literary value but as part of an ongoing fascination with the slippery nature of writing, and its intimate relationship to contemporary art practice.
With The Happy Hypocrite, launched in spring 2008, Fusco has generated a periodical that nods to the history of avant-garde writing, reproducing the pages of seminal publications, such as the experimental journal Bananas, within each issue. The Happy Hypocrite is also committed to new forms of experimental writing, and central to its remit is Fusco's desire to make the journal a triangular conversation between writer, subject and reader. Taking its title from a Max Beerbohm's short story, the publication began as a book, but soon outgrew this format, transforming instead into a bi-annual journal. The Happy Hypocrite is published by Bookworks, and to date has featured contributions from artists such as Gerard Byrne, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Farhad Ahrahnia. The Happy Hypocrite is also the focus of a discussion which forms one of the artist's contributions to Nought to Sixty. Drawing on Fusco's wide-ranging interests in fiction, analysis, criticism and conversation, the event is also accompanied by a special screening of the Maysles Brothers' Meet Marlon Brando (1965), a film that has influenced Fusco's understanding of oral culture and literacy. The short portrait – in part created by Albert Maysles, who went on to shoot the seminal documentary Grey Gardens (1976) – candidly shows Brando toying with the format of the Hollywood interview, while on a press junket for the film Morituri (1966). Sitting in his New York hotel room, the film star deftly dodges the journalists' often banal questions and exposes their fawning attitudes.
In addition to the latter event, however, Fusco is also presenting a longer work, one that begins in September and continues to the end of Nought to Sixty. Expanding on a previous piece, Doom Knots (2006), the artist is generating a barrage of texts that will be broadcast daily, by Bluetooth, to mobile phones passing within range of her transmitter. The piece, which is based at the ICA, is characterised by a fragmentation of narrative, and it would be very hard for any one individual to experience the entirety of this work. However, its engagement with narrative as a physical but metamorphic object is typical of Fusco – and one of the things has lent her work to an art context.
For Nought to Sixty Fusco has developed SPUME, a series of texts that are broadcast daily, via Bluetooth, to the mobile phones of ICA visitors. Texts are changed each week until the end of Nought to Sixty.