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Chapitre 8 – Reniflez La Fantaisie

Chapitre 8 – Reniflez La Fantaisie

Year:
Media: Installation Art/Mixed Media/Conceptual Art

As seen through the front window of Gooden Gallery: Barbara Ryan’s installation, representing the 8th chapter of the ‘NierghtravAOnWint’sIf A Teller’ group project.
An illustrated book of the same name as the show was published. Ryan invited viewers to sniff ‘the smell of November’ (a scent manufactured by her) while looking at the installation through the front windows of the gallery: by doing this one could experience the synaesthesic perception of the month of November.

Each chapter lasted one week and was visible 24 hours a day from the street. Each artist constructed a chapter. Each artist embedded their work in the previous artist’s. Each changed, incorporated or moved aside what was already in the space, to develop a series of unfolding chapters.

The work was rule-based.
THE RULES WERE:
• 8 chapters will follow a preface and in turn be followed by an afterword.
• The order in which artists make a chapter has been randomly determined in advance.
• Each chapter will be a response to the previous one.
• Material can be introduced into the space but not taken out. Anything can be altered, moved, reconstituted (even destroyed) but must stay there till the end.
• The rules are a part of the work, so are subject to the same rules.
• New rules may be introduced but not removed.

The following two passages were offered, by way of explanation:

“Alternating between second-person narrative chapters of this story are the remaining (even) passages, each of which is a first chapter in ten different novels, of widely varying style, genre, and subject-matter. All are broken off, for various reasons explained in the interspersed passages, most of them at some moment of plot climax.
After reading the first chapter, the reader finds the book is misprinted and contains only more copies of that same chapter. When he goes to return it he is given a replacement book, but this turns out to be another novel altogether. Just as he becomes engrossed in that, it too is broken off: the pages, which were uncut, turn out to have been largely blank.
This cycle repeats itself, where the reader reads the first chapter of a book, cannot find the other chapters in his copy of the book, so he goes out to find another copy. But the new copy he gets turns out to be another book altogether.
…Themes which are introduced in each of the first chapters will then exist in proceeding narrative chapters, such as after reading the first chapter of a detective novel, then the narrative story takes on a few common detective-style themes. There are also phrases and descriptions which will be eerily similar between the narrative and first-chapter chapters.
The ending exposes a hidden element to the entire book, where the actual first-chapter titles (which are the titles of the books that the reader is trying to read) make up a single coherent sentence…”
From the entry in Wikipedia describing Italo Calvino’s ‘If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller’

” … the … project was, a scheme for entirely abolishing all words whatsoever; and this was urged as a great advantage in point of health, as well as brevity. For it is plain, that every word we speak is, in some degree, a diminution of our lungs by corrosion, and, consequently, contributes to the shortening of our lives. An expedient was therefore offered, that since words are only names for things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things as were necessary to express a particular business they are to discourse on. … many of the most learned and wise adhere to the new scheme of expressing themselves by things; which has only this inconvenience attending it, that if a man’s business be very great, and of various kinds, he must be obliged, in proportion, to carry a greater bundle of things upon his back, unless he can afford one or two strong servants to attend him…
But for short conversations, a man may carry implements in his pockets, and under his arms, enough to supply him; and in his house, he cannot be at a loss. Therefore the room where company meet who practise this art, is full of all things, ready at hand, requisite to furnish matter for this kind of artificial converse.”
(Extract from Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’)

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