Kreider + O’Leary - a work of natural philosophy, about wire-walkers and moonwalkers, elevators, angels, slapstick, skyscrapers, swerves, and the dynamic figure that links them. Here Kreider + O’Leary describe ‘the beautiful mess we’re in’ with a speculative precision. Their description of falling, in its uncoupling of the tyranny of cause and effect, displaces the now-prevalent despondency of end-thinking with a prolific joyousness

Kreider + O’Leary, Falling, Copy Press, 2015.

This book begins in zero gravity and ends with everything flowers. In between, figures are falling as we hear something about philosophy, laughter, architecture and war. With writing and drawing coursing through its pages, Falling gathers momentum and, through this, a picture emerges: it looks something like today.

‘Falling is a work of natural philosophy, about wire-walkers and moonwalkers, elevators, angels, slapstick, skyscrapers, swerves, and the dynamic figure that links them. Here Kreider + O’Leary describe ‘the beautiful mess we’re in’ with a speculative precision. Their description of falling, in its uncoupling of the tyranny of cause and effect, displaces the now-prevalent despondency of end-thinking with a prolific joyousness.’ Lisa Robertson



Kristen Kreider, Poetics & Place: The Architecture of Sign, Subjects and Site, I.B. Tauris, 2014.

How do artworks 'speak', and how do we 'listen' and respond? These questions underlie the investigation here of Roni Horn's Pair Object III: For Two Rooms, Emily Dickinson's later manuscripts, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Passages Paysages, Fiona Templeton's Cells of Release and Jenny Holzer's Lustmord. The tenets of critical performance, art-writing and site-writing inform the critical method used in Poetics and Place. Each chapter is dedicated to one of these five artworks, and is arranged in order to fulfill three main objectives: to understand how the artworks generate meaning through a material poetics in relation to place; to develop a critical methodology for engaging with them; and to investigate their ethical potential and political imperative.

‘This book makes words break open the order of things. It is intense and meticulous thinking; indeed, it shows you what research can be. If your care is for art writing and the relations we make between ourselves, our cultural objects, practices and theories, then you must read this book, and read it yet again.’- Yve Lomax

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary, Particles of Moisture and other Substance Suspended in Air and Visible as Clouds: Approaching Ambiguity through Site-Related Creative Practice [Book chapter in Drawing Ambiguity: Beside the Lines of Contemporary Art edited by Phil Sawdon and Russ Marshell, London: I.B. Tauris (March 2015)]

Drawing Ambiguity: Beside the Lines of Contemporary Art is the third book in the innovative TRACEY series on contemporary drawing. Drawing Ambiguity builds upon its predecessors, Drawing Now: Between the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2007 and Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012, by proposing that a position of ambiguity, a lack of definition, is not only desirable within fine art drawing but also necessary - having the capacity to enable and sustain drawing practices. What happens if we are ambivalent to what is a drawing, or what drawing is?
In their chapter 'Particles of Moisture and other Substance Suspended in Air and Visible as Clouds', the collaborative pair Kreider + O'Leary outline a history, theory and practice of site-related creative practices across poetry, art and architecture. In setting this out, they argue for the importance of ambiguity in such practices, including their own. Alongside this written component, Kreider + O’Leary engage with an expanded drawing technique to delineate the specific narrative of one of their site-related projects, Video Shakkei.

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary, Open City
Artists pages in Performance Research: On Poetics & Performance 2015 (Volume 20:1): 70-76.

In a series of word-and-image pages, the collaborative pair Kreider + O'Leary reflect on their site visit to the Open City in Valparaiso, Chile. Situated in the sand dunes just off coast of the Pacific ocean, this radical pedagogical experiment was founded in 1971 by the Chilean architect Alberto Cruz and Argentinean poet Godofredo Iommi. Open City is as much a school as it is an urban laboratory and the embodiment of a utopian ideal. Here architecture is constructed on a foundation of poetry and shifting sand and, as students of the Open City, Kreider + O'Leary examine the place in detail. In this series of word-and-image pages they present these findings in a loose taxonomy: a configuration of words and lines; a cifra reflective of their study of site and that marks the beginning of their story of Open City.

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary, Time, Place and Empathy:The Poetics and Phenomenology of Andrei Tarkovsky's Film Image
Journal article in Visual Studies 2013 (Volume 28:1): 1-16

Acclaimed Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovksy’s specific understanding of what constitutes the ‘film image’ is outlined in his collection of writings, Sculpting in Time (1986), and evidenced by his body of film work. Our aim in this article is to identify the specificity of Tarkovsky’s theory and practice of the film image and to argue that the film image is a meaningful composite of poetic, spatial and material properties. We unpack this complexity through a close, careful and attenuated reading of a single scene from Tarkovsky’s film Nostalghia (1983).
In this scene, the film’s protagonist – the poet, Gorchakov – carries a lit candle across the expanse of the Santa Catarina pool. The pool, a geothermal bath in the Tuscan hillside town of Bagno Vignoni, Italy, is emptied for this shot, but still steaming. This infuses the film image with atmospheric qualities ofplace. We read these qualities in relation to Tarkovsky’s use of symbol, the relationship of this scene to others in the context of the filmic narrative, and the filmic syntax of the long take and tracking shot. We also examine how the film image is received, as a projection, by an embodied recipient, and to what effect. Through this discussion, we defend Tarkovsky’s work against charges that it embodies a naïve realism, exposing the critical potential inherent in Tarkovsky’s nostalgic impulse.

Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary, Memento Mori
Artists pages in Performance Research: Memento Mori 2010 (Volume 15:1): 66-71.

Over the past number of years, the collaborative pair Kreider + O’Leary have worked on projects in Japan (Video Shakkei), Italy (Gorchakov’s Wish) and Ireland (Eight Rooms).  During their visits to each of these locations they have often stopped to engage with places of cultural and spiritual significance including holy wells, cemetaries and burial sites in acts of observation, perhaps even contemplation. 'Memento Mori'  is a series of word-and-image composites relating to this experience.
The images are photographs taken at the following locations: Isola di San Michele (‘Island of the Dead’) in Venice, Italy; Daigh Bhríde (St. Brigid’s Well) in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland'; a burial site in Tenryu-ji (天龍寺) in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Japan. The text, some of which is comprised of found materials from the specific locations, is a poetic meditation on death and remembrance.


Eight Rooms, Kristen Kreider and James O'Leary with Zander Olsen, photography, Unnameable Press, 2005.

Working in relation to a derelict wing of the Cork City Gaol or ‘Women’s Prison,’ the interdisciplinary project Eight Rooms explores notions of site through  poetry, art and architecture. The project was developed in response to a commission from the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, Ireland as part of their program for the Cork European Capital of Culture 2005. The book Eight Rooms is a limited edition artist’s book designed specifically to document this project.

The book is designed as multiple pages within a slip case. This includes an Introduction with an overview of the project and a Conclusion with a copy of the poem ‘Concrete Enclosure,’ written collaboratively with prisoners in a workshop held at Limerick Prison. The main body of the book comprises eight individually folded pages. Each page bears, on its recto, one of the poems from the sequence ‘Eight Voices.’ On the verso are printed images of site and process including maps, drawings, photographs, stills, sketches and scans of found objects. This includes a photographic sequence by the photographer Zander Olsen.

Kreider + O’Leary, Field Poetics, EROS Press, 2017.

Kreider + O’Leary are a poet and an architect who collaborate to make performance, installation and time-based media work in relation to sites of architectural and cultural interest. Since 2003, Kreider + O’Leary have made work in places such as prisons, military sites, film locations, landscape gardens, desert environments and more traditional galleryvenues across the UK, USA, Europe, Australia, South America and Japan. Their work Light Vessel Automatic was exhibited at Performing Architecture at Tate Britain in 2013, Edge City was exhibited at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale in Lisbon in 2013 and their book Falling has recently been published by Copy Press (2015).
Dr. Kristen Kreider is a poet situated in the expanded field of contemporary writing. Through her work as a writer, researcher and educator, Kristen works to promote an interdisciplinary, socially engaged approach to contemporary poetry and poetics, and to encourage a rigorous dialogue between creative and critical practice. Her monograph 'Poetics & Place: The Architecture of Sign, Subjects and Site' is published by I.B. Taurus (January 2014). Kristen is a Reader in Poetry & Poetics and Director of the Practice-based PhD programme at Royal Holloway, University of London.
James O'Leary is an architect and installation artist. His work explores the inter-relationship between human beings and the spatial systems we inhabit. As a practitioner and academic operating between the disciplines of art and architecture, his interests include narrative, interactive and reflexive systems in architecture; performative and site-specific practice in contemporary fine art; and the codification and documentation systems deployed in these fields. He is currently a Lecturer in Innovative Technology and Design Realisation at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University