« Avant. Et maintenant. » Raymond Queneau by Reading Club is part of the exhibition “Print error / publishing in the digital age” proposed by Alessandro Ludovico, for the Jeu de Paume virtual space.
Annie Abrahams and Emmanuel Guez’s ‘Reading Club’ is a performance involving a few writers re-writing live a text over the Internet for a limited amount of time and with some automatically set rules. It can be ascribed to the domain of Internet performances as it happens within the network, but it pervades multiple spaces. There’s the space of the performing writers, and the chat space of live commenting audience, but also the physical space of people attending the live projection of the performance itself. And even more there’s the space of the text. It starts as the fixed space on a printed page, and it transforms to the digital space of the digitized text, becoming for a limited time, a ‘liquid text’ in a very unique (digital) space, where the live writing, which is also a mutual textual intervention, is making the text floating in a sea of meanings and emotions, through a public act of constructing and deconstructing sense. Abrahams and Guez’s selection of an excerpt from Raymond Queneau’s ‘Exercises in style’ as the starting text couldn’t have been more symbolic then. It is literally bridging in time literary experimentation, and connecting the playfulness and vision of a brilliant text, challenging writing at its core, with the contemporary attitudes of expressing us all the time through physical and virtual keyboards.
Annie Abrahams, born in 1954 in Hilvarenbeek (the Netherlands) lives in Montpellier. She has a doctorate (M2) in biology from the University of Utrecht and a grade (MA2) from the Academy of Fine Arts of Arnhem. In her work, using video, installations, performance as well as the internet, she questions the possibilities and the limits of communication in general and more specifically investigates its modes under networked conditions. Annie Abrahams is well known for her net art, her collective writing experiments and is an internationally regarded pioneer of networked performance art.
Emmanuel Guez is an artist, philosopher, writer and teacher. Crossing networked art with textuality, fixed and/or moving images, theater or the public space, his work explores contemporary changes of identity and language as well as the effects of the digital environment on writing. His research focusses on the « name » issue (anonymity pseudonymity, heteronymy …), writing machines and writing as a performative act. Most of his productions are realized in collaboration with other artists. He is currently in charge of the research projects at the École Supérieure d’Art d’Avignon.