Statement by the artist
The project is to adapt the dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (1953), into an exhibition. This is an endeavor to retranscribe the narrative into experience and to explore its principle concerns. In a future society where it is forbidden to read, where books are burnt once they are discovered, people who want to save them learn them by heart. To take this as fact, the confrontation between censorship and resistance, the incarnation of a visionary aesthetic and the use of language as a weapon, will be materialised within the works proposed in this exhibition.
To hide a book and to memorize its contents when there are no other possible formats; to keep the words as a form of survival and to use their transmittal to found a future collective – these are the almost hopeless themes of Fahrenheit 451. The adaptation is motivated by this dramatic subject with its heroic dimension whose political content holds a prophecy of a world without freedom or free will, and which directly evokes certain historic events, wars and book burnings.
My interest in science fiction is particular to this adaptation, my attention is focused on the principal characteristic of the genre: anticipation. It reconstructs the experience of our present as already past. This process demands us to understand our present as the history of things still to come, being told to us. In this way, aware of the links to fact, I will attempt to invest the space of the exhibition with notions of duration and origin by lending it a format wherein these ideas can take form.
For this project I have invited the intervention of a graphic designer originally from Hong Kong, Chi Waï Ng. Trusting in him the materialization of a visual and narrative identity. Swiss Artist Didier Rittener has been engaged to collaborate around the question of book burning. During the exhibition there will be a program of performances and debates conducted around the theme of the power of language.
The exhibition will start with a phonetic prelude and will evolve over the seven following chapters: CH 1-Existing hidden, CH 2-Book burning, CH 3-The dandelion or the destructive bloodhound?, CH 4-An immediate happiness, CH 5-Germination, CH 6-The imagination won’t give in, CH 7-The escape.
Performances orchestrated by the artist
In a future society where it is forbidden to read, where books are burnt once they are discovered, people who want to save them learn them by heart to then pass them on. The power of speech, an immaterial noun, at times cheap and at times heavy, is the tragic economy from where facts and consequences unfold.
We all learn a language. It is said that speech is more than blood. We also say the pen is mightier than the sword. The sword can break because of a defect in the steel. The pommel of the medieval sword contained a religious relic. To each his own faith thus, his own obsession, his own devotion. The verbal murder chooses its motives and its means.
This meeting over three days is inspired by the power of language. Artists and researchers will meet to explore oral character, recitation, discussion, verbal improvisation, storytelling and listening, and even singing.