I will pay to make it bigger

£20.00

Ahren Warner

 

You wake up in the footwell of a mid-sized hatchback somewhere on a highway in outer Bangkok. You compile neurotic spreadsheets of the best ‘party destinations’ in Europe, whilst your work emails pile up without ever being read. You quit your job. You launch a banal start-up. You grieve for a past relationship. You stare endlessly at the waves coming in from a beach in Koh Pha Ngan. You vape intensely. You spend money on feelings, on the performance of your own persona, whilst you observe yourself with a detached sense of horror.

i will pay to make it bigger is a novella, by poet and artist Ahren Warner, in which ‘you’ are the main character. Through text and image – autofiction, docufiction, and just plain fiction – you work your way through a tangle of preoccupations: from what it means to buy enjoyment, to the fragile construction of your own self as a cultural product.

i will pay to make it bigger is also a photobook, a collection of images produced whilst living in Thai ‘party hostels’. Although these photographs might seem to exist as the documentation of intimate or ecstatic moments, they are in fact quite painstakingly, and artificially, constructed: composited and manipulated from multiple still frames of film footage to produce images that advertise the calculated artifice of their own hedonism, emotion and seemingly raw experience.

With a Coda by Hana K. Ohnewehr, commissioned by Yu’an Huang

‘Ahren Warner has a claim to be the “poet’s poet” of his generation. Even in apparently domestic and personal guise, he’s a writer whose work conveys voluptuous but intelligent delight in language and technique.’ – Carol Rumens, The Guardian

Description

You wake up in the footwell of a mid-sized hatchback somewhere on a highway in outer Bangkok. You compile neurotic spreadsheets of the best ‘party destinations’ in Europe, whilst your work emails pile up without ever being read. You quit your job. You launch a banal start-up. You grieve for a past relationship. You stare endlessly at the waves coming in from a beach in Koh Pha Ngan. You vape intensely. You spend money on feelings, on the performance of your own persona, whilst you observe yourself with a detached sense of horror.

i will pay to make it bigger is a novella, by poet and artist Ahren Warner, in which ‘you’ are the main character. Through text and image – autofiction, docufiction, and just plain fiction – you work your way through a tangle of preoccupations: from what it means to buy enjoyment, to the fragile construction of your own self as a cultural product.

i will pay to make it bigger is also a photobook, a collection of images produced whilst living in Thai ‘party hostels’. Although these photographs might seem to exist as the documentation of intimate or ecstatic moments, they are in fact quite painstakingly, and artificially, constructed: composited and manipulated from multiple still frames of film footage to produce images that advertise the calculated artifice of their own hedonism, emotion and seemingly raw experience.

With a Coda by Hana K. Ohnewehr, commissioned by Yu’an Huang

Praise for the author

‘Theatrical, toxic and oddly gorgeous… Warner moves from playful social observation, through reflections on memory and artifice, to a near-Baudelairean spleen, his games with language and ideas as serious in their investigations of the given world as any philosophy.’ – John Burnside, PBS Bulletin

Ahren Warner has a claim to be the “poet’s poet” of his generation. Even in apparently domestic and personal guise, he’s a writer whose work conveys voluptuous but intelligent delight in language and technique.’ – Carol Rumens, The Guardian

Praise for The sea is spread and cleaved and furled

The experience of Ahren Warner’s new book is part invitation and part secrecy. As I read it I felt I had wandered from a party and stumbled into something vulnerable, something human and real beyond the clinking of glasses and fake laughter. That I had gotten the chance to hide in a closet and listen to a conversation I needed to hear but couldn’t quite access on my own… What a strange joy to be invited in.’ – Matthew Dickman

‘The brilliant writer and artist Ahren Warner makes a welcome return with this verse sequence with photographs… This story of an affair is a messy, disturbing triumph in the traditions of Arthur Rimbaud and John Berryman: how Le bateau ivre or The Dream Songs would read if they’d been written today. It too could be the anthem of a generation.’ – Fiona Sampson, The Guardian


Ahren Warner has published five books of poetry, most recently I’m totally killing your vibes (Bloodaxe, 2021) and The sea is spread and cleaved and furled (Prototype, 2020). His photography, film and installed works have been exhibited and screened at galleries and institutions including TJ Boulting (London), South London Gallery, The Centre for Digital Arts (Mexico City), Tube Gallery (Palma), Saatchi Gallery (London), Nikola Tesla Museum (Zagreb) and British Council (Athens). His work has appeared in the MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery Documents in Contemporary Art series, The Guardian and on BBC Radio, as well as being published internationally in journals and magazines. He has also received awards from organisations including The Arts Foundation, Royal Society of Literature and Society of Authors. I will pay to make it bigger is his first novella, and his first photobook.

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