Nicola Themistes talks about her first trip to TINA and her 2012 Critical Animals appearance.
When I arrived at my first This Is Not Art festival in 2011, I was heaving the unpublished manuscript of an experimental novel in the back of my mind. My reason for making the journey from Melbourne up to Newcastle for the festival was to meet people and to encounter new ideas that would assist me in bringing my project to completion; part of me wanted to publish the book myself, but at that stage I had very little idea about what that sort of undertaking would entail. Should I publish online or in print? How would I go about promoting and distributing my work? Is it a completely crazy endeavour to self-publish your first novel?
Over the course of the festival, I participated in a lot of discussions and asked a million questions about what it would take to get my novel, Spectacle City: An Allegory, off my computer screen and out into the world, without having to resort to mainstream literary publishers. When I attended a panel for Critical Animals, ‘Petit Presses and Artist Books,’ I found the answer to a lot of questions I’d been asking myself. The panel’s participants had all acted on the impulse to maintain an integrity of vision in producing their books as artistic objects, and their intelligence and enthusiasm inspired me to undertake the enormous effort of self-publication.
A year later, now that my project is complete, I’m really looking forward to returning to Critical Animals as a participating artist, in the hopes that I can now share my knowledge and experience of literature and life with other people who are seeking direction for their creative works. I’ll be speaking about the use of allegory in contemporary literature on the panel ‘Experimental Writing and the Force of Fluidity,’ which is a great opportunity to discuss the theoretical dimension of my writing in a bit more detail.
Photo: Luke Kellet Headjam