Professor Simon Morris, Director of Research

Professor Simon Morris

Director of Research

Simon Morris (b.1968) is an artist and a teacher. He is Professor of Art and Director of Research in the Leeds School of Art at Leeds Beckett University, UK.

In 2002, Morris founded the publishing imprint ‘information as material’ which has published over sixty books by international artists and writers. He is the author of numerous experimental books, including; Bibliomania (1998); The Royal Road to the Unconscious (2003); Re-Writing Freud (2005); Getting Inside Jack Kerouac’s Head (2010); and Pigeon Reader (2012). He is an occasional curator and a regular lecturer on contemporary art and also directed the documentary films sucking on words: Kenneth Goldsmith (2007) and making nothing happen: Pavel Büchler (2010). In 2020, Morris founded Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History with his co-editors, Dr Gill Partington (Institute of English Studies, University of London) and Professor Adam Smyth (University of Oxford). The journal has over 400 subscribers including: The Bienecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; The Huntington Library, California; ten College libraries at Oxford and Cambridge Universities; The Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the University libraries from Princeton, Stanford University, New York University and Columbia University in the USA; the University of Toronto in Canada; the National Library of Scotland; and Tate Gallery, London. Morris has had solo shows at the Freud Museum in London and Printed Matter Inc., New York City. He regularly gives talks on his work and was recently invited to speak at; Institute of Advanced Study, University of Santiago, Chile; Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, UK; The Royal Academy in the Hague, Holland; Warsaw Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland; the Kelly Writer’s House at the University of Pennsylvania; USA; Cabinet Gallery in Brooklyn, New York City, USA; Harvard University, Boston, USA; and the Literaturwerkstatt in Berlin, Germany. 

“True watershed works, I suspect, are quite rare in the history of art. Duchamp’s Fountain is certainly one. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and John Cage’s 4'33" may be others. Each of these forced not only artists but ultimately the general public to rethink their notions of art. Each changed the nature and trajectory of art. Potential watershed works are those that stand at the outer boundary of our concepts of art and push further outward. This is where Getting Inside Jack Keroauc’s Head stands.” - Darren Hudson Hick, ‘Ontology and the Challenge of Literary Appropriation’ for the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 71:2 Spring 2013, The American Society for Aesthetics.

“Getting Inside Jack Keroauc’s Head is an exemplary instance of a conceptual work that operates by means of remediation and reclassification.” – Paul Stephens, ‘From the Personal to the Proprietary: Conceptual Writing’s Critique of Metadata’ for Digital Humanities Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2012

“I can think of no more exemplary introduction to uncreative writing, or to the broader field of conceptual writing, than this book.” – Doug Nufer ‘On the Road Again’ in American Book Review, vol.32, no.4 (Victoria: University of Houston, May/June 2011) p.11

Current Teaching

Simon teaches across the provision in Leeds School of Arts for undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral students. A key responsibility is the coordination of Unit: 32 - Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory for the University submission for REF.

Research Interests

Simon Morris’ research appears in the form of exhibitions, publications, installations, films, actions and texts which all revolve around the form of the book and often involve collaborations with people from the fields of art, creative technology, literature and psychoanalysis.

Simon Morris examines the relationship between reading and art. He proposes a new method of making art via conceptualist performed readings. This method grafts the aesthetic legacy of Conceptual Art on to various notions of writing (from literary composition to data management) in order to produce materially-specific poems as artworks that have in some way re-read a found object. This is an art of reading things differently. It starts from a premise proved by the impossibility of making purely conceptual art: that art is always aesthetical and conceptual. To that it couples an obsession with language as both material signifier and social activity. In doing so it establishes a mode of making art that asks: What could we write if reading could be a materially productive act of making art? How might a certain kind of reading-as-making problematise the understandings of authorship, production and reproduction ensconced in our cultural industries? Morris’ work celebrates reading differently as a praxis of exploring the elsewhere of what languages and their users can mean and do. Morris is committed to working collaboratively and against all-too-certain counter-productive divisions between contemporary art and contemporary literature.

Professor Simon Morris, Director of Research

Ask Me About

  1. Conceptual art
  2. Psychoanalysis

Selected Outputs

  • Morris SDC (2018) Learn to Read Differently. In: Brillenburg Wurth K; Driscoll K; Pressman J ed. Book Presence in a Digital Age. Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 163-194.

  • Morris SDC (2016) Forms of Criticism (Symposium). In: Forms of Criticism symposium, 30 June 2016, University of Westminster, Regent St. Campus, London..

    http://www.formsofcriticism.net/

  • Morris S (2014) Publishing as Performance. In: X marks the Bökship, 17 September 2014, Matt's Gallery.

    http://www.mattsgallery.org/revolver2/bokship.php#simonmorris

  • Morris S (2014) Algorithm in Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam). In: Algorithm in Amsterdam, 11 June 2014, University of Amsterdam, Department of Musicology..

  • Morris S (2014) Publishing as Performance Symposium. In: Publishing as Performance Symposium, 25 April 2014, Prinsessegracht 4, 2514 AN The Hague The Netherlands.

  • Morris S (2014) Materiality of Literature. In: Ravenstein Seminar: Materiality of Literature, 5 February 2014 - 7 February 2014, Utrecht University and OSL.

  • Morris S (2014) Conceptual Poetics Day: Getting Inside Jack Kerouac’s Head. In: Conceptual Poetics Day, 7 December 2014, Berlin.

    http://missread.com/cpd2014/

  • Morris S (2014) Original Pirate Material. In: Original Pirate Material, 6 December 2014, Literaturwerkstatt.

    http://www.fu-berlin.de/en/presse/informationen/fup/2014/fup_14_414-buchpiraterie-literaturwerkstatt/index.html

  • Morris S (2013) The Book Lover’s Symposium. In: The Book Lover’s Symposium, 25 October 2013 - 27 October 2013, The Book Lover’s Symposium at Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, Poland, 25-27 October, 2013 on the invitation of David Marato and Joanne Zielinska..

    http://www.thebooklovers.info/The-Novel-as-an-Art-Form-Museum-of-Modern-Art-in-Warsaw-Cricoteka

  • Morris S (2013) Arts Research Initiative (Research and Practice Forum, University of Cumbria). In: Arts Research Initiative, 23 October 2013, Research and Practice Forum, Faculty of Education, Arts and Business.

  • Morris S (2013) The Writing Industry. In: The Writing Industry, 8 June 2013, Birkbeck, University of London, Keynes Library.

  • Morris S (2012) Book Presence in a Digital Age. In: Book Presence in a Digital Age Symposium, 28 May 2012 - 30 May 2012, Department of Modern Languages.

  • Morris S; Simon Z; Thurston N; Morris C; Dworkin C (2011) Summer School for Literary Perverts. In: Summer School for Literary Perverts, 26 July 2011 - 28 July 2011, The Whitechapel Gallery.

    http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/learn/writer-residence/information-as-material/

  • Morris S (2009) The Voice and Nothing More. In: The Voice and Nothing More, 12 January 2009 - 16 January 2009, Slade Research Centre.

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/slade/research/slade-research-centre-archive/the-voice-and-nothing-more

  • Morris S; Thurston N (2008) A Perverse Library. In: Writing Encounters Symposium, 11 September 2008 - 13 September 2008, York St John University.

  • Morris S (2006) Freud in Translation, Freud in Transition. In: Freud in Translation, Freud in Transition. Psychoanalysis and the Arts & Humanities: A Multilingual Perspective,, 24 November 2006 - 25 November 2006, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies.

    http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/213/1/1Psy%20freud%20conf%20flier%202-sides.pdf

  • Making Nothing Happen: Pavel Büchler (Information As Material). (2010) Lavers R; Schneider N; Robin L; Dworkin C; Morris C. Whitechapel Gallery, London, Vistamare festival in Pescara, Italy.: Information as Material.

  • sucking on words: Kenneth Goldsmith (2007) Lavers R; Morris C; Harmann-Hardeman. J; Fowler F; Biggiero F; Fitterman R; Cole B; Andrews B. Eccles Centre: British Library, Oslo Poetry Festival: information as material, York.

    http://www.informationasmaterial.org/

  • Morris SDC eds. Andersson A (2017) Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art (Book). University of Toronto Press.

  • Morris SDC eds. Morris S (2016) Reading As Art (Book). 1000 York: Information As Material.

  • (2016) READING AS ART.

  • Morris SDC; Brouws J; Burton W; Zschiegner H (2013) Various Small Books: Referencing Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha (The Royal Road to the Unconscious). London: MIT Press.

  • Dworkin C; Morris S; Thurston N (2012) Do or Diy (Information as Material). 2012 York: Information as Material.

  • Morris S (2012) Pigeon Reader (Information As Material). 750 Middlesbrough: Information as Material.

  • Morris S eds. Thurston N (2010) Getting Inside Jack Kerouac's Head (Information as Material). York: Information as Material.

  • Morris S (2008) Spinning: de-centering the self. York: information as material.

  • Morris S (2005) Re-writing Freud. Information As Material.

  • Morris S; Britton H (2003) The Royal Road to the Unconscious (Book). 750 York: Information As Material.

  • Morris S (2002) Interpretation. York: information as material.

  • Morris S (2002) Interpretation. York: information as material.

  • Morris S (2000) Bibliomania. York: information as material.

  • Morris S; Helen Sacoor HC (1998) Bibliomania. York: information as material.

  • Morris S. (2012) ‘the audience are politely reminded the ears have no lids’. 14 April 2012. New York City, USA: The Bowery Poetry Club, NYC, USA.

    http://www.seguefoundation.com/calendar_pdfs/segue_winter-spring_2012.pdf

  • Morris S; Lavers R. (2012) ‘the voice and nothing more’. 18 February 2012. London: sucking on words with Jaap Blonk at The Whitechapel Gallery.

  • Morris S. (2009) spinning: de-centering the self. 1 August 2009. Mildred’s Lane, Pennsylvannia, USA: Experimental Art School.

    http://www.informationasmaterial.org/

  • Morris S. (2003) A Text that Destroys Itself in the Process of Its Own Reading, at the Gustav Metzger Congress. 17 May 2003. Brick Lane, London: Gustav Metzger Congress, Atlantis Gallery.

    http://www.informationasmaterial.org/about/

  • Morris S; Dworkin C; Thurston N (2012) Publishing Imprint: Information as Material (iam).

  • Morris S; Thurston N; Dworkin C (2011) Writer-in-Residence.

  • Goldsmith K (2011) Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing.