The filmed performances from the ‘Book Lovers’ event in Warsaw last month are now available via their YouTube channel here:
They are all pretty wonderful in their own sweet way, though I say so myself, but more importantly they seem to me to add up to something. And this of course is what the Book Lovers project is really about – drawing attention to the fact that the curious and under-researched phenomenon of the artist novel is much more than a ‘playful’ version of the ‘real’ novel, but is a form in its own right, albeit one that is very hard to define in any absolute sense. If one moves away from that rather art-historical obsession with categories and taxonomies, however, the artist novel emerges as something both very varied and very distinct at the same time. This, certainly, was the experience of those taking part in the event who for all our very different backgrounds and current practice, found common cause in what we were doing. Hopefully some of the excitement we all felt will come though in these films.
In terms of xenospaces, the building in which all this took places was decidedly strange. The temporary home of the Warsaw museum of modern art, it is a former furniture showroom dating from the Soviet days. It is right in the centre of the city under the looming bulk of the Palace of Culture generously donated to the city by Stalin himself. The space in which the films were shot is a cavernous space extending down into the basement, providing a suitably original setting for what then took place.