Books, articles, broadcasts: all the texts.

“a beautiful art object, petite and strange,” says Bookforum magazine.

On the shelves: Sharks, Death, Surfers: An Illustrated Companion is published by Sternberg Press. Available through all good book purveyors and on the shelves in art-related places like the Tate Modern, Camden Arts Centre and Modern Art Edinburgh. In the US, the MIT Press are the distributors, and in France, Les presses du réel. Beautifully designed by A Practice for Everyday Life.

On the airwaves: my radio series Melissa McCarthy’s View from a Shark went out in September and Oct 2019 on Resonance 104.4 FM, but you can listen to all episodes via the link, above. Also! to the one-off live broadcast, Sharks: New Worlds, New Words, that was part of Resonance’s Art on Air residency at Tate Modern.

Earl of Cumberland’s voyage to the Azores, 1589, map by Edward Wright, in Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, printed 1903. Image from Biodiversity Heritage Library.

“How did you become interested in sharks?” I am often asked. Some of the roots of inquiry can be found in this interview, at the Austrian Cultural Institute, from 2001.

For those who prefer to peruse a hard copy, the interview is included in The Mattering of Matter: Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society (Berlin: Sternberg, 2012).

“An obituary reviewer?” the people inquire. “Can you explain what this is?” Yes, in this deposition from 2000.

A sea-serpent, making its way out of a 16th century version of Zakariya al-Qazwini’s Wonders of Creation. From the US National Library of Medicine.

“Where else have you been discussing your work?” I am frequently quizzed. In 2003 I gave a talk at the Tate Modern, about aerial reconnaissance and the photographic interpreter Constance Babington Smith.

photo: M. McCarthy

In 2006 I was at the Beaconsfield Gallery, London, sharing my thoughts on William Faulkner, Donald Campbell and the idea of The Trip.

In 2007, there’s this piece in the LRB that purports to be a review of Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts.

Zooming on through the decades, in May 2019 I went to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, to speak on Reading Sharks and Sharks That Read at the Miss Read art book fair, putting forward an idea about sharks as ideal, and slow, readers and cinematic audiences. Thanks to Ivan, Azores, for discussion.

In May 2019 I was discussing Sharks in Loops in Sharks in Books at the Tate Modern, talking about sharks and obituaries as models of electrical circuits, as part of the Offprint art publishing fair:

photo: Liz Earwaker

In May 2019 I was in Berlin’s Roter Salon, appearing in Sharks vs Vampires: Doubles That Bite. You can watch edited highlights of the event here, and read the match report here.

Photos: Armen Avanessian. Clearly the team with the cheekier smiles will be victorious.

In June 2019 I took part in A Night of Pure Moby Dickery. More here.

Oct 2019, I was visiting Glasgow School of Art, for a workshop with the Art Writing masters students on Writing as Composing and as Decomposing, and to deliver a talk, below, called Who’s Dying Now?.

Who’s this lurking in the blue, under the curve of the theatre? it’s me.
Pic: Julie Duffy; thanks.

Jan 2020, at the French Institute, Edinburgh, I was talking La Reconnaissance du Requin / Shark Attack! again, giving my bons mots on Zinedine Zidane, the obituary as formal text, and sudden violence. Here’s Félix Fénéon, in 1906, with his Nouvelles en trois lignes: Une lame sourde enleva sous l’œil maternel l’enfant Mace, qui pêchait dans les roches de Poul-Briel, près de Penmarch.

March 2020, I wrote a piece called Sharks; Circling for full-of-curiosity Full Stop Magazine (“We believe books exist in a supercollider,” they say). It’s about the painter Giotto, fighter planes, and the potential for trouble in the circular, liquid surface of a pint of beer.

S.H. Gruber and J.L. Cohen, 1978, in Sensory Biology of Sharks, Skates and Rays

August 2020, I joined David Collard’s online salon, A Lark in the Deep, to talk with writer Emma Devlin about Jaws (1975), gender, but mostly cars. Mayor Vaughn’s car is a Cadillac Coup de Ville 1974, in terracotta mist. His blazer defies categorisation.

December 2020, here’s a long-gestating interview over on Glasgow’s Map Magazine, about writing slowly.

Carcharias glaucus, or blue shark, from Francis Day’s The Fishes of Great Britain and Ireland, 1880-1884. From the Smithsonian Libraries, via Biodiversity Heritage Library.

In Feb 2021 I reported back to my old educational establishment, talking about how I’d come to write my book (spoiler alert: the answer was, slowly). Four-minute mini-i/v here.

It’s captioned.

May 2021, in the Conjectures series of the Public Domain Review, I have this piece, An Archaeology of Surf, about a west-coast surf legend who finds himself in Wells Cathedral pondering stone, impending death, and the ambassadorial wooing missions sent out by Henry VI in the fifteenth century.

1494, from the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana