Bycroft M., “Ten Tickles, My Fancy”, ed. by Monceaux G., 2020.

La pubblicazione è stata presentata presso CASTRO projects il 19 marzo 2023. La serata, con Madison Bycroft in conversazione con Guilhem Monceaux, ha previsto la lettura di alcuni estratti dal libro ed è stata accompagnata dalla proiezione del cortometraggio “The Fouled Compass”.

In occasione della presentazione, Chiara Pagano – borsista dello Studio Program Turn #7 di CASTRO – ha realizzato un testo documentativo, che riporta i momenti salienti dell’evento:


words, drawings, images, bodies, bodies brushing against each other, bodies falling into the water, bodies floating, (more words), words slipping inside from the outside of the page, rolling outside from the inside of the margins, (more words), words becoming sounds, sounds sounding lines, sounds writing scores. the eyes keep moving in different directions, going ahead and jumping back again, they swim following the tentacles.   

My hands hold Ten Tickles – My Fancy: a book by Australian artist Madison Bycroft, a rhapsodic assemblage of aquatic performances, drawings, frames and texts produced and collected over several years. The publication, originally commissioned by Okto-Lab – Laboratory for Octopus Aesthetics in collaboration with Glasmoog Academy of Media Arts Cologne, was recently published and presented at CASTRO Project, among other venues, as part of the program of events that activates CASTRO’s Library on Alternative Education, a collectively built project initiated in June 2023, which foster a dialogue on the theme of alternative education and radical pedagogy through reading groups, talks and workshops, and by inviting artists, curators, educators and researchers to contribute with their understanding of alternative education and pedagogy.

For the occasion, Madison Bycroft in conversation with Guilhem Monceaux, a friend, independent curator and designer of the publication, gave a lecture performance that, followed by the screening of The Fouled Compass, carried the audience into the deepest corners of the tongue. 

Interested in the relational aspects of reading and understanding in their broadest sense, Madison Bycroft’s work explores words, sound, traditions and imagination to find alternative ways of approaching and producing knowledge. Their research is driven by a hydro-feminist sensitivity that leads them to think about the practice of floating as a methodology of disorientation and pleasure: an active passivity entailed in the intention and effort of allowing oneself to get carried “away” by a force that is other than the self. Indeed, in the process of floatation, although gravity is still present, connections with other surrounding agents become more evident and, in perceiving the multiple more-than-human bonds that link our bodies to the world, and sustain us in staying afloat, a new kind of ” watery” relationality emerges: a relationality that, as Astrida Neimanis would say, “we already incorporate and trans-corporate,” forming a hydro-commons that “we make and that makes us in turn.” 

By breaking the verticality, thoughts take on new inclinations and flex the perceptions in unexplored directions. A new form of movement takes shape and allows the disruption of old preconceptions. The redistribution of the meaning brings to the surface unconventional orders and alternative alliances. After all, thinking of the embodiment as something that is mainly aquatic, is a way to dismantle the idea of the body as inherited from the dominant metaphysical Western tradition, setting a politics that counteracts individualistic thinking and, at the same time, open spaces for new forms of affectivities: another core element in Bycroft’s work. 

Indeed, by interweaving different narratives, coming from different geographies and genealogies, the artist links theories and tongues of authors such as Glissant, Barad, Woolf, Deleuze, and Ahmed—among others, creating a polyvocal vessel of allies. By parasitising texts and cutting them up together, new history is woven and, in the ri-evocations of the multiple identities, the hegemonic narrations tremble. This kind of operation shakes up the notion of authorship and leads the body to become a vehicle of alternative histories in which the disfluency of the fragmented discourse redeems the very notion of failure and brings to the surface the potential power of the error. Everything becomes permeable and, by letting the matter of the world flow through the skin, we expand til the point of blurring the boundaries. 

Chiara Pagano