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In 2013 I was invited by Carolina Larrea to participate on a project to produce artists’ books from catalog cards formerly used in libraries: specifically those belonging to the National Library of Chile. I chose a set of 35 cards, distributed in five rows and seven columns, organized according to their tittles, expecting they could be read in every direction:

In white and black | White gray black | Black faces | The red skinned | The red car
Although it is night | Brigitte sous le cel gris | The blue garnet | La peau | The green coat

It is still day | L’empire céleste | Blue; and, Thistles | The blue woman case | La robe de laine

The sky is too high | The distant forest | Thistles | At the foot of the tree | Through the yellow pane

Under the lilies | The night forest | Trees | The trees die standing | The sky is the limit

Under the shadow of the cinnamon-tree | The weeping forest | Tree inside | Across the river and between the trees | The air through the fingers

The gloomy forest | The other side of the world | Of the edge of the impossible | Something takes the river | Abyss

I join them together with bookbinding thread, and over this new surface I wrote and then hand-cut this text by Georges Perec, belonging to his book Thoughts of Sorts:

“Like the librarians in Borges’s Babel looking for the book which holds the key to all the others, we waver between the illusion of completion and the abyss of the ungraspable. In the name of completion we would like to believe that a single order exists which would allow us immediate access to knowledge; in the name of the ungraspable we wish to believe that order and disorder are two identical terms signifying chance”.

Text over text, emptiness over full, words crossed interweaving new possible meanings, new reading possibilities based on those insignificant objects, useful for no more than to briefly take us back into the past.

  1. © 2019 monica bengoa

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