What I am Reading Now…
Tako Taal

May 2022

I started reading Chantal Akerman’sMy Mother Laughslast summer and it absorbed me entirely. It is a shuddery account of Chantal caring for her dying mother.  I return to its painful detail in the love and hurt of a maternal relationship. In the Silver Press edition, Eileen Myles introduces the book in the most stunning terms,

I might think of this whole book as a sneeze. Or a black hole imploding. A cartoon deployment of feeling into temporary space with unclear boundaries that manages to hold the entire narrative, be it the relationship and the world, twinkling in a momentary gory splendour in which everything shows till it fades, midsummer dream like.

This winter I made public a four-year project in the shape of an exhibition titled At the shore, everything touches, a few months later Nain, my maternal grandmother died. Both endings were expected, considered, planned for even and yet…  To put these two events in sequence, in a sentence is not to reduce or to draw equivalences. Their proximity is something about inevitable ends, a moment that is easy to anticipate but difficult to feel for. A new kind of space, a pause, an accumulation that requires thinking around stuff, a redistribution, and a reconfiguration of the selves.  My selection here as well as revealing what I am reading now are texts I have gathered around me in an attempt to parse the feelings of these transitions. A foundation to move from.

In a recent, in conversation event at DCA with Kandace Siobhan Walker, we spoke about the companionship of writers, laughing at how we cited some authors by their first names and how they feel like our friends. My books were in storage until I found a studio recently so all of these books I am returning to. Some were gifts from friends and all have become companions.  I’m learning with these texts about pleasure, resistance, associative logics, distraction, and being with tension. I am thinking about everyday practices of creativity, how to play and how to embrace the unruly nature of sadness. 

Kameelah writes; 

Finally, in the coherence we weep.

Chantal writes; 

My mother appears at the door to the small bedroom. 
Won’t you talk to me for a minute, please. 
Am I annoying you?

Well, you should work those things out.

Yes I’ll work them out.

Tako Taal is an artist and programmer living in Glasgow. Recent presentations include At the shore, everything touches, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Survey II, Jerwood Arts (Touring UK) and NADA House, Governors Island New York. In 2021 as Associate Artist she produced What happens to desire…  six artist commissions for the 17th Edinburgh Art Festival, co-programmed GIVE BIRTH TO ME TOMORROW with Adam Benmakhlouf for LUX Scotland’s artists’ moving image festival and was shortlisted for the 2021 Margaret Tait Award.


No New Theories, Kameelah Janan Rasheed (Printed Matter, 2019)

My Mother Laughs, Chantal Akerman (Silver Press, 2019)

Mirror Reflecting Darkly The Rita Keegan Archive, (ed) Rita Keegan, Matthew Harle, Ego Ahaiwe Sowinsk (MIT Press, 2021)

She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks, M NourbSe Philip, 1989 (Wesleyan University Press, reprint 2015)

The Years, Annie Ernaux (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018)

Please note the views published in What I am Reading Now… are personal reflections of the contributors.
These may not necessarily represent the views of the University of Dundee.


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