Published: March 25th 2008March 25th 2008
Tomorrow I will be going to Nassau, the Bahamas. For the duration of my stay, I’ll be posting a blog every day. But this won’t be a conventional travel blog. For one thing, I’m not really on vacation, although you might think so, given that I’ll be in the sun-kissed Caribbean. The blog will in fact report on some of the work I’ll be doing whilst I’m on the island. It will also serve as a kind of insurance policy, a statement of intent, in case anything happens to me.
Some time ago, I was contacted out of the blue by the Swedish artists goldin+senneby. They asked me if I wanted to participate in an exploration of how the secret world of offshore companies might somehow be linked to Acéphale (‘Headless’ in Greek), a secret society established in the 1930s but now presumed defunct (wiki)
. It seems that there is a company registered on the Bahamas called Headless, and my job is to investigate possible connections between Acéphale (the secret society) and Headless (the secret company).
There’ll be more about this in upcoming posts, but as far as I understand it (which isn’t very far) the aim is to understand more about closed, inaccessible spaces in the world, be they secret societies or offshore companies, and what these spaces mean and imply.
There are all sorts of strands to this investigation, but my specific role is as a sort of literary assistant. I take all the various bits of research - photographs, interviews, emails, articles - and create a narrative around it. That narrative will grow into a novel, to be called HEADLESS. My trip to Nassau will be part of that novel.
Secrecy implies ‘withdrawal’, an act of seclusion which might also be one of hiding, of closure. As far as the novel (and my writing of it) is concerned, this concern extends to the aims of my paymasters here, the artists goldin+senneby. Part of the implicit agreement between us (we never negotiated this, it was a position that both sides naturally adopted) was that I would act as a blind recipient of research material, and construct narratives around the information available to me. Their broader ambitions are unknown to me. I am simply writing a novel for them.
I have never met, or even seen, either Goldin or Senneby, nor talked to them on the phone. I know noting about them personally, other than that they have brown hair. I have heard a recorded conversation between them and another person, but who’s to say it was them? I don’t know. I do know that over the course of me working for them (and receiving research material) certain people have been portrayed by others (actors), and that the activities of others have been secretly monitored. This, at least, is what I’ve been led to believe. I also know that the activities of goldin+senneby have attracted some unwelcome attention recently, as indeed I have myself.
My remit here on the Bahamas is to look for an offshore company called Headless. More of that as the search unfolds. But let’s get it straight: I’m the foot soldier here, and I don’t really understand the deeper ramifications of goldin+senneby’s investigations. My job is to use my time here to explore Nassau, and to use that in the narrative we are creating. It’s tough work, I know, but someone has to do it.