Outskirts: The Book to Come

The Book to Come is a project developed by Bulegoa z/b in collaboration with book designer Filiep Tacq between 2015 and 2017. It is based on five books by Marcel Broodthaers, which the artist conceived as autonomous artworks, and aims to explore the book as a living entity. A book is made up of printed sheets of paper bound into a volume, and is a stable object, not inert matter; something living, a place for producing lived experience. It holds spaces, times and movements waiting to be activated.

The five books the project will take as its starting point are: Pense-Bête (1963-1964), Un coup de dés jamais n´abolira le hazard (1969), MTL (1970-1972), Un voyage on mer du nord (1973) y L’Angelus de Daumier (1975). Each of these touch on aspects of books, such as how they relate to other art forms (sculpture, poetry, exhibitions, film, painting) or the production processes involved in making them (technical, material, institutional, negotiation with others).

The title of the project alludes to a chain of citation. The Book to Come takes its name from a book by Maurice Blanchot from 1959 (Le Livre à venir), which revolves around another book by Stéphane Mallarmé, Un coup de dés jamais n´abolira le hazard (1914). Broodthaers responded to Mallarmé in 1969 with a work by the same title. Jacques Derrida, in his 1997 lecture “The Book to Come” proposed we consider the future of the printed object at a time when technological developments were announcing profound changes in our ways of reading and writing.

Decades later these changes are fully underway, and the project The Book to Come aims to explore the performativity of books. Some of the issues we will consider are the relationship between reading and writing, image and text, matter and the immaterial, the living and the inert. We also wish to question the idea of the future the project refers to: any book is by nature a stable object, perpetually awaited, perpetually awaiting; always to come.

The Book to Come will begin with an eight-session reading group. Sessions will take place once a month from April 2015 to January 2016, and will be proposed by different guests whose readings will relate to the book as a specific medium for artistic practice.

The project The Book to Come is developed as part of Corpus, network for performance practice. Corpus is Bulegoa z/b (Bilbao), Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius), KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution (Amsterdam), Playground (STUK Kunstencentrum & M-Museum, Leuven), and Tate Modern (London): www.corpus-network.org.

Corpus is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.