Sean Tatol – Black Pin
Sean Tatol – Black Pin
Sean Tatol directs his artistic output via a number of different literary and sound practices, most notably in the assemblage of alluring, artfully broken text that falls somewhere in the realm of poetry. I’m pleased to offer his most recent publication in the form of a slim, nicely pocketable book of puzzling and enticing forms. Much of Black Pin is like having words predigested on the page, approximating how the skimmed version of an unknown text might be processed in one’s brain. I found myself disoriented enough to experience the sensation that I was reading through someone else's shifty eyes, much like the way Graham Lambkin’s work employs diegetic music to create a similarly mind-altering experience of listening to someone else listen—the sense of being a fly on the wall that eventually lands in someone’s drink. This is likely not the author’s intention at all; nevertheless, I found my reading enriched by being able to frame the seemingly inscrutable fragments through the lens of a lurking persona that exists in an unseen stratum of the book. Tatol strikes a difficult balance by stitching together a work that’s very much spliced and folded, yet still fluid, readable, and mellifluous. A tasteful layout delivers the goods in eye-catching, playful, floral text arrangements, tucked into niches along a well-lit hallway sporadically adorned with clipart. In terms of content, my personal tasting notes: flawed YouTube auto-captions that still achieve some level of coherence in their absurdity; screen caps explored in microscopic detail with a mildly voyeuristic tone; origami; lyrical field surveys; concrete poetry sourced from technical manuals; chopped and screwed semi-romantic prose excerpts; a smashed vase, glued back together, bearing only minor semblance of a vase. There’s also kind of a twist ending, so let's say a 'dry finish'. I road tested my copy linearly, and also cherry-picked pages at random to pass the time on public transit; both have been equally satisfying, but the cover-to-cover option offers a panorama conducive to plotting the scattered dots of curiously recurring characters. Sean has been leaving a trail of understated artifacts around the internet and in small publications for what looks to be a few years now. I’ve only had a chance to familiarize myself with what’s been offered on his equal parts transparent and enigmatic website, but I think it’s safe to speculate that this is his most significant and aesthetically representative work to date. I look forward to giving my already tattered, coffee-stained copy many future perusals. A lovely, singular addition to any shelf. Straight from the bottle.