Carter Drawings

An activation by Nicholas Laughlin, devised for documenta fifteen (2022) and ongoing


Drawing is one of the skills I regret not having. But it consoles me to think that handwriting is a kind of drawing.

Martin Carter’s poem “Proem” — see below — is a short text that has intrigued and haunted me for years. I read it often, and occasionally I sit and copy it out. Transcribing a poem is an act of reading and writing at the same time, and maybe also an act of drawing.

I invite you to sit and transcribe “Proem” in your own handwriting — to simultaneously read, write, and re-write the text — and contribute your “drawing” of the poem to a modest archive that will grow over time.

Please use your ordinary handwriting — no need to perform any special calligraphy — and don’t worry about making mistakes, just cross them out and go on.

This activation has been performed live at Granderson Lab in Belmont, Port of Spain (July and October 2022); WH22 in Kassel (August to September 2022); and Ruby Cruel in Hackney, London (November 2022).