It takes a quiet space to tame my pupils, to concentrate and involve myself in the prose of James Knight. His random patterns, word art and anarchy of ideas escape his mind. These border between genius and a bewildering mess, often turning those with lesser tuned-in peeper’s to self immolate. The lucky ones are left side by side with him, looking in, looking out, no other option then, to see how it will evolve.
Characters here seem to be in a state of surprise. The uncontrollable muse, himself, is often helped along by the rich soup that is Twitter. Song lyrics, movies, fragments of news stories, classic authors and politics, everything is absorbed and transmuted with a smack and spatter off his lips, the players coaxed and shoved onto his stage.
He’s been doing this for years. James’ solo works and many collaborations as part of the Chimera Group @chimeragroup0 and the long running Twitter experiment that is @echovirus12, have been projects of alchemy and from many of these encounters grow richer, less linear experiments, a great hole to dive into. The unorthodox prose here natters away as chapters connect but it’s not until you finish that you find out how perfectly they fit in all their abstract angst and dream within a dream reminiscence.
Social media has escaped its shackles, James documents the rampage, its years of bloody torment, the anguish, the stupidity, shredding its endurance, we are tried and tired of the nonsense, the hell of it. If Void Voices is an re imagining of Dante’s Inferno, the language and stories he provokes here revolutionises his own style of storytelling. The feverish twang, his madness is stronger than ever, interspersed with contemporary visions via the unshackled parts of himself, begin their walk through his mind and reproduce into a part play, part letter from the gods of popular culture, his ‘second circle’ farcically shreds the bureaucratic circus in a form filling piece that permeates a masterful comic frustration.
Bowie makes a visit, psycho actors, as does the nameless self, consonants in memes so readily recognised. His white out poetics, his black outs block out the yet unspoken. The madness of the Bird King never leaves his side, though it is James this time that we get to really know more, his cogs and wires still poke out of his stuffing, his humour sits comfortably in the confines of this surreal plain. His reflections of now and the future are playfully lonely, there are no answers, the words glitch back and forth and we pick up where we left off.
James plays again with image, linking each to a lightly mirrored canto, all his favourites are here, the insects, the mechanisms, the mannequins though they seem more than his wonderful Oneirographs that he is known for, these aren’t dreams anymore.
To better understand Void Voices there is no better oracle than the writer himself. Indulge in the honest deconstruction of Void Voices here. To enhance the experience, pop the headphones on and drift as Void Voices has its own soundtrack.