MICHAEL SALU
I am a writer, artist, critic and creative director, my work and ideas find a place in a multidisciplinary practice. My writing, art and talks have recently centred on where the evolving semantics of technology, language and identity meet. My written work has appeared in many literary journals, magazines and art publications including Freeman's Journal and Catapult.

I have often given talks and contributed to the art and media curriculums of various universities including The Royal College of Art, Kingston University, Birmingham University and Norwich University. I have been an advisor to the AOI (Association of Illustrators), a mentor at The Photographers Gallery and have been a guest speaker and moderator at a variety of live events and symposiums across the arts including TEDx and 5x15.

I have picked up awards for my design and direction, and I am the founder of House of Thought, a research practice and creative consultancy, underscored by new technologies, literature, art and design.

More of my non-fiction is archived here .


A WRITER OF CRITICALLY SPECULATIVE
AND EXPLORATORY LITERATURE.

A WORLD-BUILDER AND THINKER.

AN ARTIST WORKING WITH BOTH WORDS AND IMAGES.

Over the last few years I've researched the impact of tech on social behaviour, and this has culminated in my novel We Do God's Work. Currently represented by United Agents, it explores the moment when physical and digital worlds became a single entity. It is about race, class, capitalism and corporations and challenges the boundaries of what form a book of fiction can take.

It even goes beyond print form, and stretches into a digital world that will enrich and expand upon the stories on the page. WE DO GOD'S WORK blends cultural criticism and fiction, art and technology, 'reality' and VR.

From the aftermath of the hit-and-run which opens the book, to User010's disturbing journey through the levels of S.O.U.L, to the visible and invisible workers that inhabit the building, the cumulative effect of the cacophony of voices that make up the world of S.O.U.L aims to be experimental, challenging, and political.

Shortlisted for the UEA New Forms Award 2020.
For more information, contact my agent Seren Adams at United Agents.

I'm currently working on a second book of fiction.
WE DO GOD'S WORK, A NOVEL
SELECTED FICTION & POETRY
FICTION: DOMICILE 4
A short piece of speculative fiction about the future of haptic and perception-based technologies, and how they might play a role in new methods of extraction from West Africa. The story appears in RETRO FUTURE a 2022 publication by NEXT NATURE
PROSE POEM: Red Earth (extract Berfrois
A selection from my inter-disciplinary project Red Earth, including a section from the book-length prose poem.
PROSE POEM: Red Earth (extract Ambit Magazine
A selection from my inter-disciplinary project Red Earth, including a section from the book-length prose poem appears in issue 245 of Ambit Magazine .
FICTION: PHANTOM TELOS
A short story for the annually released magazine, Garagisme.

An unsettling ambience hovers over a couple's escape to the Lake District and over their choices and the decisions they feel they have made. A fast-moving frictionless power is dragging them forward into a self-made abyss involving a 'financial dominatrix' called Phantom Telos. Does the dominatrix exist or not? Maybe it doesn't matter.

A short story in Wildness Journal, Aug 2021


A brief meditation on the virtual, on landscape, existential anxiety, and some of the psychological dissonances wrapped up in 'British Identity'

PROSE POEM: RED EARTH
Prose extract from my book-length work, a part of my research project Red Earth, conceptually exploring translation as a way of straddling divergent cosmologies in a virtual afterlife.

Included in The Archive of Forgetfulness, 2021. A project supported by the Goethe Institute.
A short story about art, time and a fading love. Inspired by my intimate relationship with music.

Pubiished in La Piccioletta Barca. You can read it here
POEM: "DRAFT" 2020. TOOLS FROM EXTINCTION, LOLLI EDITIONS
Lolli Editions brings 18 international writers together in special book object designed by Studio Ard – Chuard & Nørregaard. A meteoric publishing project, the volume has been produced in response to Covid-19.

Tools for Extinction brings together 18 international writers in a collective response to the open-ended period of social distancing, closures, and illness caused by Covid-19. Compiled during the initial lockdown in Europe, this special collection is a meteoric publishing project with contributions from some of the most exciting and innovative authors working today.

Meditating on notions of distance and closeness, sameness and alterity, extinguishing and kindling, Tools for Extinction considers how a common pause might give rise to new modes of domesticity and shift experiences of time. What gestures and actions are we willing to perform to make ourselves, and each other, feel at ease – or at work? What tools and objects are useful, or unprecedentedly useless, to us in the process? And as our species' trademark proclivity for projecting ourselves into the future is disrupted, might we come to see the buildings, animals, plants and foodstuffs around us in a new light?

Compiled, edited and with a foreword by Denise Rose Hansen

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FICTION: THE DARK FACTORY, 2020 GARAGISME ISSUE 7: DESIRE
Design produces desires.

If an automated factory producing self-driving cars to automate the cognitive experience of driving, were to speak, what would it say and how might it sound? Say it needed a way to communicate its output, might it stoop as low to using language. Might it examine and quickly transcend our meagre musings on being, consciousness and even aura.

I mused on this for a piece of short fiction in the latest issue of Garagisme the contemporary automotive journal. The structure of the story ins inspired by the Python programming language. The theme of the issue: Design produces desires. Available to pre-order now.

FICTION: Black Hands. Archivio Magazine: The Crime Issue
My story 'Black Hands' that appears in issue 2 of the brilliant new magazine Archivio, was shortlisted for 'Best Original Fiction' in the Stack Magazine awards, alongside work from notable literary magazines like SAND and Funhouse. The story came about as a response to some anonymous Desert Storm photographs from the collection of Brad Feuerhelm. My story is written through the voice of a gulf war vet, who, many years later reckons painfully with his resignation at the limitations of mankind and the eternal enterprise of ritual, sacrifice and scapegoat.
POEM: "APOLLYON'S GHOSTS". THE DARK PREVIEW ISSUE 1
The Dark Preview is a new research collective set up by Casper Laing and Rut Blees Luxemburg. My contribution to Issue 1, is a somewhat elegiac poem to the ghosts of the city of London (see Grenfell, Homelessness, Windrush), to their erasure, to our impotence and to the relentlessness of technocratic deception.
FICTION: THE FORSAKEN. Archivio Magazine: The Americana Issue 2019
Courtney fell in love at Disneyland. Fifty years later she returns to the site of this life changing encounter to take shelter from the disorder brought on by an increasingly unforgiving climate.
PROSE: CLOAKS. CABARET WITTGENSTEIN
A short piece of prose inspired by The Hypocrites in Dante's Inferno. The piece appeared in a publication by The Photographer's Gallery and on Cabaret Wittgenstein.

Artwork by Michael Salu
FICTION: The Nod. Freeman's Journal: Arrival
My short story entitled The Nod appears in the inaugural issue of Freeman's Journal.

The Nod is a i guess a kafka-esque exploration of a digital world, in this case virtual reality, to dig a little into the nuances of the tropes of cultural and social identity constructs. Can virtual reality and digital experiences help us to understand each other?
FICTION: A ONE-SIDED CONVERSATION WITH DJANGO. GREY MAGAZINE
A short story, partly inspired by Kanye West and transgressing economic/racial realities. It explores a prototype software (still in BETA) that has been designed to further the advancement of the S.O.U.L. dream experience for a particular group of Users.
FICTION: DEAR MARILYN. CATAPULT
Her fingers play the keys of your spine and yours hers. They will move and explore, nimbly traversing each others contrasting landscapes. In the dark you will begin to feel more hands upon your body, hands that you are sure do not belong to her.

A story about Marilyn Monroe.

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POEM: LET US NOW PRAISE INFAMOUS MEN
FICTION: SLEEPING BEAUTY
A story about the male gaze.

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FICTION: 20 FAQS ABOUT S.O.U.L.. SCIENCE AND FICTION, BLACK DOG PUBLISHING
Systemic Obfuscation of User Liberalism (or S.O.U.L. for short) is a theoretical construct there set up to help you predetermine your own dreams and desires through your own experiences and behaviour. 20 FAQs for S.O.U.L is an introduction to this world. Subsequent story's and works will take you deeper into a greater understanding of S.O.U.L. and a collective digital consciousness .
FICTION: THE WAVE. THE SHORT ANTHOLOGY
'Your head rests on his chest. It is a gritty embrace. Of sandy residue and futility. Maybe it is conviction you cannot muster. To see this through and cut through the numbness of communication within which you can idealise a romance. You cannot spend so much time constructing a love simply through carefully manicured sentences of intent.'

Each issue of The Short Anthology uses a selection of work from one photographer as the stimulus for a collection of short stories. It brings together writers from around the world, encouraging them to share their varied narratives and interpretations of the photographs.

Included in this collection is my story entitled The Wave. The wave explores how romantic encounters linger maybe longer than they should as we sustain a connection through a digital window into the loved one's world.

FICTION: THE CHILDREN OF THE CHILDREN
A story in the form of a screenplay, which looks at two generations of immigrant disillusionment, but also mental illness in the urban environment and culminating in the riots of 2011.

Published in the 'Coming of Age' issue of Under the Influence magazine.

SELECTED ESSAYS
THE SWARM: LANGUAGE AS A FICTION. ENTROPY MAGAZINE
Entropy Magazine published my exploratory essay using the mechanics of nature's swarming species to explore the changes in language, cognition and perception today and who actually owns language. You can read the full essay here.

"Our language, certainly our new language, is beholden to this new congealing of experience and story. We use our experience of fictional tropes to speak new common image-driven languages, while words have taken on new thrillingly malevolent dynamism within this autonomous swarm. A diet of superhero futurist fantasy sets off absolute drivers of binary comprehensions of experience. Yet, it is clear Hollywood won't save you. Arguably, one of the clearest drivers of a new language being formed is the whipping up of us into a custom framework for hysteria. Dissemination, deflection and chaos become a practice to withstand and decode; an embrace of the surreal and the postmodern become themselves sharp edged tools of weaponization."

Artwork by Michael Salu.

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Darker Night: Interior Realms, Theatrum Mundi Editions
An essay commissioned by Theatrum Mundi, for their publication entitled 'Interior Realms' which looks at the way home is both a space for cultural production and a symbol within the cultural landscape of the city.

My essay is about walking at night through lockdown and how the role of night changed as time did, what inspiration and solace it provided.

Interior Realms

A domain of reflection, a zone of imagination, a sphere of cosmic reverie, a field of observation, an empire of fleeting thoughts, a territory of contemplation, a province of desires, an orbit of fantasy. Sixteen new pieces of writing – essays, poems, prose poems, short stories – two interviews taking you to the kitchen table, spare bedroom, home office, home studio, garage, shed, bedroom, bathroom, garden, closet and, on one occasion, car productions. The book is accompanied by an audio compilation including ten homemade tracks that reflect the ways in which architectural spaces shape music production and how that music, in turn, transforms architecture's atmospheric qualities. Contributors:Alison Irvine/ Andrea Cetrulo / Casper Laing Ebbensgaard / Cecily Chua / Charlotte Law / Cucina Povera / ENDGAME / Flora Pitrolo / Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh / John Bingham-Hall / Labeja Kodua Okullu / Lyall Hakaraia / Marta Michalowska / Meghana Bisineer / Michael Salu / Niall Campbell / Pol Esteve Castelló / R.W.P/ Rut Blees Luxemburg / Satu Streatfield / Stephen Sutcliffe / Victor Ginesta / Vladimir Muratovski Divo aka Elektro Kultura / William Messenger

ABOVE AND BELOW, 2019. KING KONG MAGAZINE: THE MIGRATION ISSUE
An ancient necropolis in Ibiza makes for an interesting location from which to ruminate on the possibility of an afterlife for the earth and her humans.

Also now available to read on Medium.

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ON GAMING AND CAPITALISM, 2019. SLEEK MAGAZINE ISSUE 60
To better understand tomorrow's hypermediated world, we could do worse than to follow the experience of today's video gamers. Writer and artist Michael Salu considers the increasing prevalence of synthesised experience in our day-to-day lives.

Also now available on Medium.

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EXHIBIT B, ASIA CULTURAL CENTER
An essay reviewing Brett Bailey's Exhibit B.
The Art of the GIF
A little piece for LitHub on the art of the GIF, book publishing's digital reticence and the drama of our profoundly agitated mixed reality.

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MIXED MEDIA, DIMENSIONS VARIABLE, 2015. TALES OF TWO CITIES, PENGUIN RANDOMHOUSE
My essay included in this anthology, was a semotically-flecked wander around New York for the first time. Taking in the contrasts and the breadth of American exceptionalism internationally, I wandered through moments and experiences.

The divide between rich and poor in New York is growing ever wider. In this collection of essays and short stories, writers from Zadie Smith to Dave Eggers look at how it has changed; at what has been lost and what, if anything, remains the same.

In a city where the top one percent earns more than half a million dollars per year while 25 thousand children are homeless, public discourse about our entrenched and worsening wealth gap has never been more sorely needed. This remarkable anthology is the literary world's response, with leading lights including Zadie Smith, Junot Díaz and Lydia Davis bearing witness to the experience of ordinary New Yorkers in extraordinarily unequal circumstances.

Through fiction and reportage, these writers convey the indignities and heartbreak, the callousness and solidarities, of living side by side with people of starkly different means. They shed light on the subterranean lives of homeless people who must find a bed in the city's tunnels; the stresses that gentrification can bring to neighbours in a Brooklyn apartment block; the shenanigans of seriously alienated night-shift paralegals; the trials of a housing defendant standing up for tenants' rights and the humanity that survives in the midst of a deeply divided city. TALES OF TWO CITIES is a brilliant, moving and ultimately galvanizing clarion call for a city in crisis.

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O DIGBA KA NA
A letter to home, from the diaspora.

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SELECTED TALKS & OTHER BITS
ON LANGUAGES AND TECHNOLOGY
"Is there a case to suggest that language as we know it doesn't actually belong to us anymore?"5x15Amsterdam third speaker Michael Salu explores how technology impacts languages, social behaviour and ultimately, alters our ability to perceive.

Michael Salu is a writer, artist and critic, whose work and ideas are executed through a multidisciplinary practice. His writing, art and talks have focused on where the evolving semantics of technology, language and identity meet.

His written work has appeared in a number of literary journals, anthologies and art publications including Freeman's Journal and Catapult. He has exhibited and screened art projects internationally and is the owner and creative director of S.A.L.U, a multidisciplinary creative consultancy collaborating with clients around the globe.

Recorded at 5x15 in Amsterdam in March 2019.

5x15 Amsterdam brings together 5 outstanding speakers, who each have 15 minutes to share their lives, dreams and passions.

Listen here
CONCEPTION AND PERCEPTION:THE HYPER MYTHOLOGY OF IMAGES TODAY
I spoke at #Narrative17 a conference held by the Initiative of Narrative Journalism in Amsterdam. Fellow speakers included journalists such as chair Jaqcui Banaszynski, CNN's John Sutter & NPRs Lulu Miller. My talk was an overview of my current thinking space on the altering of perception, new instant mythologies and the binary relationship between aggregation of information and obfuscation. Exploring the relationship between all this and accelerated technologies on is the essence of my current fiction and art project, also looking at the potential power of fiction as a critical device in these new spaces.

You can read a transcript excerpt here
INGER CHRISTENSEN'S ALPHABET, A READING
A meditation on existence. Reading Inger Christensen's Alphabet, with HKW, Berlin.

Listen here
BODY TEXTS AND PANIC MACHINE, A READING. BLAKE AND VARGAS GALLERY
A reading of works around corporeality and the machine.

Watch here
WHO WON, A COLLABORATION WITH LAUREL HALO
A vocal collaboration for a track on Laurel Halo's Album, DUST.

Listen here
Beat Poets, Vogue magazine and the weaponisation of image
My conversation with John Freeman over at Lithub, discussing the evolving nature of the image, from photography through to neural networks.

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THE ECONOMY OF DECEPTION
Our lives are massively bombarded by images. Should we celebrate that fact or dread its consequences? As a creator of images, Michael Salu is interested in communication they provoke. Can communication through images nd our advancement with digital experiences actually help us reach a greater level of empathy for each other?
How to reach me